Elearning Tip #6: Use Silhouettes in Your Elearning Courses

April 4, 2012

There are certain times when you just can’t find the right image of a business person; either their dress style is not quite right or you can’t find the right ethnicity (you always want diversity in your elearning courses). In those situations, use silhouettes. Silhouettes can come in handy when you are presenting generic information and need some kind of image to spice up the screen.

 You can find these images on pretty much any stock image website. If you can’t find images, you can create your own if you know a little bit of Photoshop.

For more tips, check out my book “45 Elearning Tips and Tricks” now available in the Kindle bookstore. Or if you are new to elearning and want some advice, try my other book “Become an Elearning Developer Today!” It’s  a blueprint for getting into the field of elearning development.

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Great post on Attention Grabbing Ideas for Elearning Courses

April 2, 2012

I ran across a great post this morning from the Elearning Heroes blog. These ideas have actually crossed my mind before, but I didn’t give them much credence because I thought they might be too “out of the box.” But apparently, other people think they might be useful as well. I am now considering creating a full elearning course with a Facebook style layout. I’ll let you know when I start it…

3 Ideas for Grabbing Attention

For more tips, check out my book “45 Elearning Tips and Tricks” now available in the Kindle bookstore. Or if you are new to elearning and want some advice, try my other book “Become an Elearning Developer Today!” It’s  a blueprint for getting into the field of elearning development.

Elearning Tip #5: Invest in a Good Microphone

March 27, 2012

Ten years ago, microphones were expensive and not very easy to use. You would have to buy the mic and a mixing board and figure out how to make the mixing board talk to your computer. Those days are gone. Now there are several great USB microphones that plug directly into your computer (no mixing board required). They are inexpensive and very high quality. I use the Blue Snowball microphone which, as of the beginning of 2012, is listed at around $70 on amazon.com. It is extremely easy to use and the sound quality is phenomenal. I use my microphone to create scratch audio for courses (which is basically placeholder audio so you can time animations and for review purposes) and to record my own podcasts. I love my microphone and have found it invaluable in my elearning development.

For more tips, check out my book “45 Elearning Tips and Tricks” now available in the Kindle bookstore. Or if you are new to elearning and want some advice, try my other book “Become an Elearning Developer Today!” It’s  a blueprint for getting into the field of elearning development.

BONUS!

For the next three days only, I am providing the following book absolutely FREE with the purchase of either of my two Kindle books.

“Photoshop for Business Pros: A No-Frills Approach for Learning Photoshop Fundamentals”

If you need to learn the most important aspects of Photoshop for the corporate world, enough to get that big project done on time, this is the fastest and easiest way to do it. The book is a series of how-to tutorials with videos embedded directly inside of the document. It’s cutting edge and it’s yours for free.

Great Post on How Infographics can Help Elearning Courses

March 27, 2012

Infographics are popping up everywhere nowadays. Many are visually impressive and the text is chunked into very manageable sections. Tom has a great new post on his Rapid Elearning Blog. Check it out. It has alot of great correlations between elearning and these graphics.

Click here to read the post.

Don’t let your organization suffer from the “Sticky Note” syndrome

March 22, 2012

This post is not necessarily elearning related; rather, it’s training related…

I’m sure you’ve dealt with the “sticky note” syndrome before. You go to interview a SME for a new project and you find out they have most of the information that you need either in their head, or written down on a sticky note somewhere. If you find yourself in this position, it’s your responsibility to get this information out of their heads and onto paper. I don’t say this because it will make your job easier (it will of course). I say this because it will make the organization’s life alot easier. The problem with organizations that suffer from the “sticky note” syndrome is that when people leave, all of that vital information leaves with them. And once that information leaves, the next person who is tasked with creating training, will be in a very difficult situation.

Once you get all the knowledge documented, do not just leave it at that. Set up some kind of database, or Sharepoint site, and dump all of the information into it. This will make it accessible to anyone who needs it.

For more tips, check out my book “45 Elearning Tips and Tricks” now available in the Kindle bookstore. Or if you are new to elearning and want some advice, try my other book “How to Create an E-Learning Course.”  It’s  a blueprint for getting into the field of elearning development.

Elearning Tip #4: Focus on Teaching the Essentials in Your Elearning Courses

March 20, 2012

As elearning developers, we are sometimes guilty of trying to teach too much in one elearning course. After all, we are approached by SME after SME trying to get their content into a course. But it is our responsibility, as developers, to draw the line when it comes to the amount of content we include in one elearning course. Remember, a person taking an elearning course is not a captive audience. They can get up whenever the please; they can answer the phone, surf the net, etc. So we must be very specific in what we teach in a course and not waste the learner’s time.

That being said, don’t include a to-do list of everything a SME thinks a learner might need to know sometime in the distant future. Focus on the essentials that the learner needs to master in order to make them immediately more productive after completing the course. And if something seems very easy and simplistic when you are creating the course, it probably is easy and simplistic to the learner as well; so you might want to think of leaving out that content and focusing more intently on content that might be harder for the learner to wrap their head’s around.

For more tips, check out my book “45 Elearning Tips and Tricks” now available in the Kindle bookstore. Or if you are new to elearning and want some advice, try my other book “Become an Elearning Developer Today!” It’s  a blueprint for getting into the field of elearning development.

Use Elearning to Free up Valuable Classroom Time

March 13, 2012

Corporations love classes. Walk into any corporation in America and you’ll probably find two or three classrooms full of students learning about any number of topics. If you sit in on any of these classes, you’re likely to see the same thing: an instructor teaching from a PowerPoint while learner’s eyes are glazing over.

This is not how classroom time should be spent. It should be spent with learners interacting with each other through hands-on activities and role plays. All the introductory material should be taken care of before the learner even steps foot in the classroom. And you can present this introductory material in the form of elearning.

The blended learning method is effective for many reasons, and elearning can be an extremely useful tool in increasing this effectiveness.  The easiest approach to creating blending learning using elearning is this: take anything related to knowledge acquisition and convert it into elearning. Make the elearning course pre-work for the class and then take about 15 minutes of class time to review the content.  This will allow you to quickly transition from discussion to the application of knowledge through hands-on activities.

Another advantage to the blended learning method is the fact that the person teaching the class no longer has to be an experienced facilitator. Since most of the presentation or lecture has been taken care of with the pre-work, the leader of the class can focus on helping with the hands-on activities. This means that someone who normally would not be comfortable teaching a class, say a subject matter expert, can confidently lead learners through scenarios by using their experience and knowledge.

Over the past few years, many corporations have started to embrace blended learning. If you’re corporation is not one of those, make a change. Look for opportunities to apply elearning to classroom training and your boss will love you for it.

For more tips, check out my book “45 Elearning Tips and Tricks” now available in the Kindle bookstore. Or if you are new to elearning and want some advice, try my other book “How to Create an E-learning Course.” It’s basically a blueprint for creating elearning courses for any industry.

Rhapsody removed from Apple App Store

March 9, 2012

This is not elearning related but it’s something I wanted to mention because I haven’t read about it anywhere else.

I spoke with a customer service rep for Rhapsody this morning and she told me that the Rhapsody app has been pulled from the App store because it was not working with the new OS 5.1 upgrade. I was wondering what happened because I recently updated my OS for my Iphone and Rhapsody abruptly stopped working. So I uninstalled it and planned on re-installing it when, lo and behold, I could not find it in the app store anymore. The rep said it should be available in a few days but how many of us have heard that before?

Leave me a comment if you’ve run into the same problem or have some additional information.

P.S. I was able to get a week refund for my troubles.

UPDATE – I switched to Spotify and am loving it! It seems to run much faster on my phone and I have had no problems with the app hanging up or closing itself. 

Photoshop Lightroom 3 Quick Review

February 29, 2012

I have used Photoshop for years now and I love it. I cannot imagine creating elearning courses without it. The main problem with the software is the price (almost $600 as of the writing of this post). So I recently came across Photoshop Lightroom software. The first thing that struck me was the price. At ony $89, it seems to be a very affordable alternative.

However, I was still wondering if it can be used as a replacement for Photoshop. Without actually purchasing the product, I can only use product reviews to determine its value. So here is what I’ve come up with:

Photoshop Elements is strictly for editing pictures. It’s like pulling the photo editing power from Photoshop and shrinking it into a more convenient package. It seems as if editing photos is actually streamlined in Lightroom; many of the edit tools are much quicker to access.

You cannot create text in Lightroom. That is reserved for Photoshop proper.

You can use Lightroom to organize images but it seems as if that is still best performed in Adobe Bridge.

From that limited information, I have come to the conclusion that if you have Photoshop, there is no reason to buy Lightroom. If you want software that is strictly for editing your pictures, go with Lightroom. But if you need a robust, photo editing/text creation software there is no replacement for Photoshop. It is much more expensive than Lightroom but the features you get are worth it if you are developing elearning or other graphics.

2012 Global eLearning Salary & Compensation Report

February 14, 2012

 

Today is like Christmas for me. It’s the day the Elearning Guild released their Global eLearning Salary & Compensation report. I always look forward to this day because they do such a fantastic job of keeping their finger on the pulse of the elearning job market. For those of you not familiar with this publication, the Guild interviews close to 8k individuals from all industries. They find out salary information, benefits information, etc. Then they publish this report that tells you what you should be making, salary wise, based on several criteria. This year the average eLearning salary fell by 1.3% to $78,937. You must be a member of the Guild to access the report but membership has it’s privileges so you should definitely check it out.

Visit their website for membership information and access to the Salary Report.

Additionally, check out my book “45 Elearning Tips and Tricks” now available in the Kindle bookstore. Or if you are new to elearning and want some advice, try my other book “Become an Elearning Developer Today!” It’s basically a blueprint for getting into the field of elearning development.