There’s a great new post up from Jeff Goldman (@minutebio) called ‘My e-Learning Don’ts‘ and it’s definitely worth skimming his top 10 list to make sure you’re not committing any of the major design faux pas.
Here are my top 3 from Jeff’s list:
I’ve been reading Tom Kuhlmann’s eBook as pictured on the right. Tom is the author of The Rapid E-Learning Blog (part of the Articulate website) and although the book has been around for a wee while, there are some really great ideas and relevant tips in there. I extracted a few of the ones I liked the most for this post:
10 Tips from ‘The Insider’s Guide To Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro’:
- The difference between a novice and pro is that the pro knows how to contribute to the organization’s bottom line. Remember, while training is important and e-learning is vital to effective training, the organization’s true goal isn’t to create more training. Instead, the goal is to meet performance objectives. E-learning is just a means to an end, and performance results are the pot of gold at the end of the e-learning rainbow.
- The more relevant the course is to the learners, the more engaged they would be, even if the course isn’t “best in breed” multimedia.
On content authoring tools…
- START WITH A TOOL THAT LEVERAGES POWERPOINT. PowerPoint is a very flexible application and most people have access to it, and there are many products that leverage PowerPoint to create Flash-based e-learning.
- The secret is to step away from the PowerPoint look. Treat it like a blank canvas and you can do some really nice things with it.
- Effective e-learning requires assessment, and there are many similar quizzing tools on the market. What I’d look for is SCORM compliance, ability to publish to flash, and ease of use.
- To get the most out of your authoring tool you need to leverage multimedia to make quality e-learning courses.
On images, audio and video recording…
- One of the main considerations is whether the image can scale without losing quality. Those that can are called vector images and are preferred when working with most e-learning tools.
- When it comes to audio, start with the best quality you can, because you’ll never have better quality than your source file. [Here are some more tips on recording audio]
- Before you commit to using video, ensure that your organization has the infrastructure and investigate the technology available to your end users.
- Make it a habit never to exceed 3-4 minutes on a single video and you’ll avoid losing viewers.
I would definitely recommend giving the full eBook a read as it’s free to download here.
Photo courtesy of www.articulate.com
There’s a lot of pressure when it’s your first blog post of a new year! So, I’m just going to take the pressure off by mentioning a post (or many posts to be precise) that I was reading earlier today and found to be very interesting and useful.
- Google Wave in Education – Dont Waste Your Time, November 16, 2009
- 12 eLearning Predictions for 2009 – eLearning Technology, January 26, 2009
- Twitter in the classroom: 10 useful resources – Social Media in Learning, August 12, 2009
- Should Educators be Afraid of Having a Facebook Profile? – Learning Putty, November 20, 2009
- eLearning Conferences 2010 – eLearning Technology, November 19, 2009
- ZaidLearn: 75 Free EduGames to Spice Up Your Course!- ZaidLearn, December 11, 2008
- Top 100 Learning Game Resources – Upside Learning Blog, June 24, 2009
- Twitter Tips: for Teachers & Educators – Dont Waste Your Time, May 9, 2009
- Top 100 eLearning Items – eLearning Technology, April 7, 2009
- 9 Free Tools That Help Me Build Better E-Learning – Rapid eLearning Blog, May 5, 2009
As December wraps up and the year draws to a close it’s time to check in and see which 2009 posts were the most popular on the Learning Journey blog:
- Top 10 Best Practices for Teaching Online
- Top 6 Tips on Course Design Tips from an Instructional Designer
- New Firefox: Update Adobe Flash Player
- 7 Things to Avoid in Online Training Video Design
- Top 5 Tips on Course Design from an Interaction Designer
- 10 Great Online Training Resources
- Top Screen Recording Tools
- Online Learning More Effective Than Face to Face
- Calling all Learning Professionals on Twitter
- A Fundamental Shift in the Way we Conduct Learning
The real number one – that stands far out ahead of all the others by a gap of more than 3000 unique views – is still a post I wrote in August 2008 entitled 5 Key Characteristics of Generation Y. It seems this post just can’t be beaten, not for a lack of trying!
Although our primary offering at Litmos is our learning management system, this blog has grown over the past three years to become a bustling little place for people from all different backgrounds to stop by and read up on their favorite online learning topics. Thank you to all of those people who read this blog and also to those who comment on my posts. Although I start the conversation, it is you who keeps it going and that’s what keeps us all learning.
Yesterday I attended the first ever TEDx conference to be held in Auckland and all I can say is WOW. It’s humbling to hear what some people are doing every day; unbelievable things that will positively impact the future of our society, environment, health – you name it, they’re doing it. Anthropologists, Futurists, Doctors, Scientists, Adventurers, Technologists – the range of speakers was astounding and left me feeling just a little inadequate. Not in a bad way, but in the way that makes me feel I can do better, I can do more and I shouldn’t waste any time getting out there and making a difference, somehow.
So, here are 10 things I learned from 10 amazing people:
- Michael Henderson (Corporate Anthropologist): The difference between Cult and Culture is a cult leader/chief (CEO?) values himself, while the leader/chief of a culture, values the group.
- Wendy McGuiness (Futurist): There are 3 types of sight – hindsight (past), insight (present) and foresight (future).
- Nigel Parker (Technologist): Great companies and great people fail often; without failure you can’t have success.
- Robin Kelly (Doctor): Ear acupuncture is being used as the first line of medical treatment for pain in Afghanistan and Iraq today drastically reducing the amount of morphine needed.
- Brenda Frisk (Learning Technologist): 12 year olds are accessing online university webinars, yet our schools still teach them to use pen and paper resulting in a big disconnect between kids and teachers.
- Scott Gilmour (Philanthropist): He kicked off the “I have a Dream” program in Auckland with a first round of over 50 ‘under-served’ school kids involved. Fact: It costs $13,000/yr to fund a youth through university compared to $90,000/yr to have them in prison!
- Glenn Compain (Policeman): Showed us all that cops can rap to hip-hop – enough said!
- Billy Gammon (Adventurer): He just spent 3 months rowing across the Indian Ocean with 3 team mates – unsupported – to raise awareness for prostate cancer charities. The journey, in not much more that a 29ft tin can, involved a 2hr on/2hr off rowing schedule – every day. Pure mental and physical exhaustion took them to a dark place where the two rowing pairs did not speak for 3 weeks. It took a death in the family to drag them back, reinvigorate their determination and remind them how precious life is and they went on to become the 2nd team to complete the race.
- Andy Blood (Creative Director): Offered these words of advice – “Don’t be anti-social, the real-time web is here.”
- Ray Avery (Scientist): The most common medical procedure is IV therapy, yet an IV Infusion Pump in developed countries costs $2000 so it is not affordable for developing nations. Avery helped develop a reusable IV Flow controller for $6 and this little invention will improve the health of 2 billion people. Fact: It was Colin Murdoch, a Kiwi, who invented the disposable hypodermic syringe.
Finally, well worthy of a mention is Conductor/Composer David Squire. The orchestra positioned themselves amongst us (the crowd) as a finale to close the event and I learned what it feels like and sounds like, to be part of an orchestra, inside the music rather than having it projected at me – truly awesome!
If you don’t have the budget for a professional voice-over person or you just prefer to do-it-yourself, these tips may help you to create more professional screen recordings using a product like Camtasia (which I use) or another screen recording tool on the market.
- Storyboard your presentation and script it out making sure to note where slides change or where a point should be emphasized with voice inflection or a pause.
- Record your visuals first, without audio, but for practice talk through the audio so that you get the right timing for slide changes. Personally, I’ve found the audio quality is much better when the visual and audio tracks are recorded separately.
- It’s a good idea to start and finish your recording all on the same day as your voice changes pitch quite noticeably. It’s weird but I find it really hard to make my voice sound the same on a different day.
- Record the whole thing in one take if you can, it doesn’t have to be a perfect one track wonder. If you mess up a line, make a loud noise to cause a spike on the audio track, pause a moment and then begin again. The spike on the audio track indicates where you need to come back to for editing.
- Take a big drink of water before you begin and if you need to have some during the recording, just go ahead. Again, make a loud noise to indicate it’s an area of the track that needs editing, pause and then continue with the script.
- Avoid coffee and sugary drinks before recording as it does something weird to your saliva production and can make for some interesting mouth noises.
- Stand up to speak if you can. At the very least sit up straight on the edge of your chair and drop your knees to open up your chest for maximum voice projection and nice deep breaths.
- I use a headset with a mic which works pretty well as you can position the mic a short distance from your face, and out to the side to minimize breathing and mouth noises.
- Make sure to do your recording when traffic noise and background noises will be at a minimum. I always record on the weekend as my mic picks up every little noise. You can remove background noise afterward, but it’s not always perfect.
- Finally, it may sound random but having apple slices handy while you are recording is a good idea because the pectin in apples helps to reduce mouth noises.
I’d love to hear of any more helpful techniques that you’ve come up with in the comments section below.
I also should say that I’m not affiliated with Camtasia in any way.
The Litmos blog covers all sorts of online training related topics ranging from course design, industry news, learning technologies and content creation tools, to new feature updates for our own product.
Now I’d like to share 10 great web resources I enjoy reading that keep me up with the play when it comes to online learning, the online training (and training) industry and workplace news:
- Workforce Management
- Training Day
- Training Magazine Events
- Sharp End Training
- Learning and Working on the Web (blog by Harold Jarche)
- Internettime (blog by Jay Cross)
- The eLearn Blog (Lisa Neal Gualtieri)
- Millennial Leaders (Bea Fields)
- Harvard Business Publishing
- The Litmos blog of course :o)
There are a many more eLearning blogs out there to mention, but I’ve tried to stick to those resources that I find more relevant to business rather than (or as well as) educational environments, as there is definitely a distinction in the types of courses delivered in each.
If you have any blogs or websites that you rely on to keep you up to date with the training industry, please feel free to contribute the link via the comments section below.
Jeremy Vest knows video design. Having been a teacher, marketer, art director, author and instructional designer, his company xTrain are leaders in online video training having won Emmys for incorporating award winning television production with software-based training. The following is a summary of his slightly longer post that he brought to my attention today – thanks!
7 Sins of Online Video Instructional Design
- Not connected to learners When creating video training, have the SME address the camera, do not just show screen shots. The more impersonal you make your training videos, the less likely your learners will feel a connection to the SME.
- Poor Planning before the shoot If you are using a SME, make sure they are prepared for the day of the shoot. Ask them to give you a plan that details each 3-7 minute video unit weeks prior to the day of the shoot.
- Video length is too long Would you like to sit down and watch a 30-60 minute video clip? Three to seven minutes seems to be the optimum length for online video learning.
- No close captioning Close Caption all of your video, it’s good for the disabled, good for compliance and good for search engine results.
- Video and delivery is poor quality Use a reliable service to deliver your streaming video. This will ensure proper video delivery worldwide.
- No comprehension Keeping with the basic rules of the adult learning model, make sure your audience actually understands what they just watched and why.
- No Hands-on lessons Task your learners with hands-on lessons. Keep the lessons practical. Remember adult learners respond to relevancy-oriented training.
Jeremy Vest is the CLO of Splash Media, author of Exploring Web Design, President and Founder of xTrain. You can follow his blog here
Today’s online learning tips come to you from Dr. Judith V. Boettcher, Ph.D. of Designing for Learning. Dr. Boettcher is a U.S nationally-known author and consultant in online and distance learning with expertise in faculty development, learning theory, and instructional design. Judith’s career spans decades, beginning with computer-assisted instruction in the 1980s.
Here are Dr. Boettcher’s Top 10 Best Practices for Online Learning:
- “Be Present at the Course Site” – communicate with the students, use noticeboards and messaging options
- Create a supportive online course community
- Share a set of very clear expectations for your students and for yourself as to (1) how you will communicate and (2) how much time students should be working on the course each week.
- Use a variety of large group, small group, and individual work experiences
- Use both synchronous and asynchronous activities
- Early in the term ask for informal feedback on “How is the course going?” and “Do you have any suggestions?”
- Prepare Discussion Posts that Invite Questions, Discussions, Reflections and Responses
- Focus on content resources and applications and links to current events and examples that are easily accessed from learner’s computers
- Combine core concept learning with customized and personalized learning
- Plan a good closing and wrap activity for the course
To read the expanded version of the above tips please go to her website here
PowerPoint presentations are high on the list when it comes to the medium that companies use to deliver training material. Are your presentations effective in getting their key concepts across?
Garr Reynolds, a sort after speaker and worldwide consultant is the creator of www.presentationzen.com, the most popular presentation design site on the web.
For some ideas on how to make your presentations more effective and engaging check out Garr’s, Top 10 Slide Tips.