In this series of discussions, I shall try to iron out some of the common mis-beliefs related to e-learning courses and its production. Let’s start!
With the advent of ‘Rapid E-learning’ methodologies, most of the authority has been passed on to instructional designers from coders. But does that mean that we (the instructional designers) should be outright champion in rapid authoring tools such as – PPT etc., from Day 1?
Myth 1: Power-point is not my cup of tea.
Your cup is not the power-point, but your own thoughts instead!
To quote Tom Kuhlmann –
PowerPoint is a blank screen. So what you have on it is determined by you.
There’s nothing on the screen that’s there by accident.
Believe me. Knowing, how to illustrate a concept is more important, than to become an overnight champion PowerPoint.
You don’t have to be a genius to figure out how to use power-point. It’s just a tool that aids you in illustrating a concept. A little hands-on practice will get you going in no time!
What’s more important is – how to use that tool effectively, so that even a difficult concept looks easy? To start with, STEP AWAY FROM THE POWER-POINT! Use pen and paper. Scribble whatever you have in your mind. Don’t worry if it is good or bad.
Okay! Here’s pen and paper. But, what shall I scribble?
First – Decide how you will explain the course. To ideate a complete course at one go, may be difficult at first. Start with a small concept. Always keep the learner and its role in mind and then, decide how to show the concept on screen. This will help him relate the learning to his/ her real life, and understand better.
For example – Let us assume you need to explain the documents required during the KYC process to a learner. The learner’s role is going to be that of a Relationship Manager in the bank. Here, it is better to show the environment of a bank and how KYC is filled there by an RM (rather than showing an astronaut, trying to fill in the KYC Form). In this way, the learner can easily correlate his learning, to his prospective role.
During this phase, if you feel getting stuck, discuss it and sort it out. Once finished, move to next concept. Then, continue the same for all the other concepts. Once all the concepts are explained, try to make a flow that will connect all the concepts together.
Now, that you have decided the treatment, that the course will get, let us move forward. Now, decide the ambience of the course. Its color and design, type of the elements, etc. Having a discussion with a graphic artist or colleagues will give better ideas in this area. It is after chalking out the basic layout, you can use power-point to put the things in place. Also, it takes comparatively less time to sketch the layout on paper, than in power-point.
The only thing you need is time and practice. Keep reading blogs such as the rapidelearningblog. Keep getting ideas by google-ing and at various e-learning communities (For example – The Articulate Community). With time, and practice you’ll definitely outclass even your own expectations.
So! Do you still think that it is the power-point that is the root of all your production troubles?
Some food for thought –
In the next posts, we shall check the following myths:
Myth 2: E-learning is a waste! Books are better, when it comes to learning.
Myth 3: Just put the content with some relevant pictures, and my job is done.
Myth 4: Engaging the user means a self check with some options. That’s it!
Myth 5: No need to waste time on summary screens. Just put some key points as a bullet list.
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