This guest blog entry was written by Articulate Community Manager Jeanette Brooks.
Recently I talked with an Articulate user who wanted to showcase some of his e-learning samples to potential clients. He also wanted to enter some of his projects in the Articulate Guru Awards. “But I can’t do either,” he said, “because all the work I’ve done is proprietary.”
Maybe you’re in the same boat. Or maybe you just want to add something fresh and innovative to your e-learning portfolio, but you’re not sure what topic to focus on.
If that’s the case, don’t let content be a roadblock! There are plenty of sources for great content that won’t require you to spend weeks building out your course. Here are six ideas:
If you’ve built a cool course that contains confidential info, maybe you can transform it. Just take out your client’s branding and replace the proprietary stuff with something that isn’t confidential. Any topic will do — for example, maybe that module you created on a top-secret manufacturing process could become a course on how to make macaroons. The Guru Award judges (and most potential employers) won’t really focus on the content anyway — it’s more about whether you built a course that’s compelling, visually appealing, and instructionally sound.
Arguably, for some courses, adapting the content might end up being just as much work as creating something from scratch. If that’s true in your case, then read on.
There’s no need to create an exhaustive, multi-module learning experience. If you have a project in mind but the topic is big or complex, why not build just one or two sections of it to demonstrate your skills? A lean, efficient proof-of-concept that makes great use of the Articulate Studio features is all you need. That’ll definitely turn more heads than an hour-long, detail-heavy, click-and-read presentation.
Your content doesn’t have to be technical or corporate-ish. Build a course on whatever interests you, or tackle a topic that you’re an expert in: archery, sushi, boating, medieval history, photography — anything you enjoy. By choosing a topic you already know, you won’t spend crazy amounts of time researching and collecting info. Instead, you’ll be able to invest more of your creative energy into leveraging the Articulate tools in engaging ways.
If you decide you want to build a complete course from scratch, how about making the world a better place at the same time? Consider whether your efforts could benefit a charity.
Maybe your town’s library could use an online tutorial to teach patrons how to use its resources. Or maybe a local pet shelter, soup kitchen, or faith-based organization needs some online training for its volunteers.
You could also find out about the e-learning needs of the humanitarian & relief organizations served by LINGOs. In fact, if you volunteer to create a course through LINGOs, you can even enter your work in both the Articulate Guru Awards and this year’s LINGOs Elearning Global Giveback competition.
Though Articulate Studio’s designed for authoring e-learning courses, you can certainly use the software for more than just e-learning. You can build an interactive, media-rich experience to communicate whatever message or information you want. How about building an interactive reference guide, or a splashy marketing promo… or even build your own website, like Stephanie Harnett did. Anything that showcases your ability to effectively use the software’s features would make a great Guru Award submission or a great addition to your portfolio.
Another great place to look for content ideas is the vast selection of government websites. Might as well get some mileage out of those tax dollars, right? Below are some pretty cool sites that offer lots of good content — plus you might learn something new while you’re building your course:
In fact, if you do use content from a government site, consider contacting the agency directly and arranging to donate your course to them when you’re done. That way, everyone benefits.
Want More Tips for Building Guru-Quality E-Learning?
If you’re thinking about entering the Guru Awards, stay tuned — we’ll have more tips & advice each day for the rest of this week on the Word of Mouth blog!