My Top 10 Tools for Learning

Last Thursday I shared the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies’ (C4LPT) 2015 list of the top 100 tools for learning.

If you want your voice heard for 2016’s top 100 list, there are several ways to do it: 1) you can vote here, 2) you can email your choices to C4LPT’s Jane Hart at jane.hart@c4lpt.co.uk, or 3) you can write a blog post about your top 10 choices.

By way of this blog post, I’m casting my votes for the 2016 list. Following are my top 10 choices (in no particular order):  Continue reading

PowerPoint and Canva are making it easy to create amazing slides… but terrible slides are only part of the problem.

Last week, Microsoft “declared war on boring PowerPoint.” If you have Microsoft 365 for Windows desktop or Windows Mobile, you’ll have access to PowerPoint Designer (for better slide design) and PowerPoint Morph (for better animation).

Then there’s Canva, which is a freemium design tool that can be used to create amazing visual experiences by limiting the number of poor design choices you can actually make.

There are other tools for interesting ways to present visual information, too. Haiku Deck. SlideRocket. Prezi. PowToon.

Yet, contrary to popular vernacular, the slides actually aren’t the “presentation.” A presentation is the total experience that you offer to the audience. Slides? Yes. And finding ways to engage your audience with your content.

What I’ve found most presenters to be missing is Continue reading

9 ways to get smarter if your bus (or subway) is running late this morning

Bus Stop

I was out of breath, but I had made it. I had just sprinted two city blocks up a (small-ish) hill, dodged oncoming traffic, hurdled a raccoon that just happened to waddle out of a neighbor’s hedge and firmly planted my two feet at the base of the bus stop sign. It was 7:03am, and I was on time. Barely.

Then I checked the OneBusAway app to find out when the bus would arrive and my blood pressure began to rise.

I had risked life and limb to catch the early bus, and it was delayed. Not just delayed… it was delayed EIGHT. WHOLE. MINUTES!

Suddenly a strange, Zen-like feeling washed over me. Instead of getting upset or indignant, I could be thankful for an 8-minute window I could use to get smarter or learn something new.

If you’re in a similar situation this morning as you commute to work, here are 9 articles, resources or videos you may want to check out in order to productively spend your minutes before that next bus (or train or plane or automobile) arrives: Continue reading

2 Ideas to Make Your Bullet Points in PowerPoint a Little More Palatable

PowerPoint default formatting is begging you to use bullet points in your slide deck.

The thing about bullet points is that they’re not attractive. They’re not visually stimulating. But they’re set up as a default way to organize information on your slides, which makes them very easy to use.

If you or someone you know is seeking help to break a bullet point habit, Melissa Milloway posted a great slide deck on Slideshare last week with some ideas on how to avoid using bullet points.

If you’re not quite ready to break your habit, here are two simple ideas that may help you better engage your audience: Continue reading

What Would You Do If This Happened In Your Training Session?

The clock struck 1:00pm and it was time for my presentation to begin. That’s when the first of four text messages arrived on my phone. All four messages began with the same two words: “Oh no!” My friends and co-workers had heard what was happening in my breakout room and they began to offer their empathy.

As the A/V staff frantically worked on the facility’s new projector system (which worked just fine for the previous presenter), I tried to remain calm and professional on the outside. On the inside, Continue reading

5 Ways to Start a Webinar for Maximum Interactivity

A while back I asked: “Why are people checking their email when they should be paying attention to my webinar?!” The answer to that question revolved around engagement and interactivity that can be designed into a webinar. That blog post had several ideas for interactivity depending on your tolerance for risk (the cooler and more engaging you may want to make your webinar, the greater the reward… and the greater the opportunity that the technology could fail).

One thing to remember about interactivity in webinars, however, is that your audience may not be ready for it. Many people still see webinars as little more than glorified conference calls (and by “glorified” I mean conference calls that simply have accompanying on-screen PowerPoint presentations… and maybe a poll or two).

Why not take the first five minutes of your next webinar – you know, the time that you’re needing to kill as you’re waiting for last-minute joiners to log on to Adobe Connect or download all the stuff that needs to be downloaded in order to hop on to Blackboard Collaborate – and get your attendees warmed up with some of the web conferencing features you’ll be using to engage them.

Here are five ideas of how to do this as people are logging on: