3 Reasons to Swap Out Your Slides for a Google Doc in Your Next Webinar

Over the last week, I’ve had several virtual meetings in which I’ve chosen to forego slides and instead use a spreadsheet that I had set up in my Google Drive and shared with participants.

Google Drive

Depending on the purpose of a webinar or virtual meeting, there will always be room for a variety of visual aids, including slides, here are three reasons I plan to use more Google documents and fewer slides (or white boards or chat boxes or other standard virtual meeting tools): Continue reading

Including Remote Staff in your Next Training Session

Max Headroom

A month and a half ago, we had a high profile speaker come to our headquarters and some of our remote staff wanted to be included in her training presentation. We set them up in Adobe Connect, we turned on the web cam in the conference room, we projected the remote staff on the screens in the front of the room (so we wouldn’t forget about them), and then… we forgot about them.

They were seen, but not really heard, during the presentation.

We struggle to include remote staff in our meetings and training sessions. Have you had similar problems?

Recently I was involved in a training program and the organization that hosted the event may have stumbled upon a better way to include remote staff.   Continue reading

Crafting an Online Learning Strategy

Online Learning

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been involved in a number of conversations with a variety of organizations about overall learning strategies, and the role that online learning should play in a more comprehensive strategy. Following are my thoughts on components that need to be considered when developing a more comprehensive strategy for online learning: Continue reading

My Picks for the Top 10 Learning Tools (2015 Edition)

Each year, Jane Hart and the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies (C4LPT) publishes a list of the top 100 learning tools as nominated by more than 1,000 learning professionals from across the country. Earlier in the year, I had some fun with Articulate Storyline and this list to help you find out how many of the top 100 tools from 2014 that you’re using.

How Many Tools

Here is how I’ll be casting my ballot this year (in no particular order of importance): Continue reading

It’s 5 Minutes Before My Presentation And The Projector Still Isn’t Working…

 

Panic

On Monday, I described a pit-in-the-stomach inducing moment I had prior to a workshop I was scheduled to deliver last week. In case you missed it, here’s the quick summary:

  • I inexplicably designed a presentation that depended a little too much on PowerPoint
  • It included visual aids designed to make a visceral impact on the audience
  • It also included a series of embedded PollEverywhere questions so the entire audience could see where their fellow participants stood on a variety of issues
  • The facility’s entire A/V staff couldn’t get the ceiling-mounted projector to work

What Other Presenters Would Have Done Continue reading

It’s not gonna win the Oscar for Best Animated Short, but…

…for training professionals, PowToon is worth checking out. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s an online tool (free and premium versions are available) to create short, animated videos.

I wrote about it last October, but at that time I hadn’t quite figured out how to use it. Over the weekend I watched a short how-to video on YouTube and decided it shouldn’t be that hard to figure out. The timeline element is a bit of a pain, but once you figure out that quirky feature, it’s actually pretty easy to work with.

After a few hours this weekend I was able to put together this little sample video, using only the free features and the time I had available while my children napped (or were supposed to be napping, anyway). Using some of the paid features and a little more time, this can be quite a powerful tool.

Why might you want to use PowToon?

1. Create a Super Bowl-like Ad. I’ve written before about using eLearning to generate some buzz prior to your next session. PowToon might be a quicker and perhaps even more fun way to get your learners excited about your next workshop or eLearning module.

2. Seriously, Create a Buzz-generating Video to Show Off Your Product. Next week, a colleague will be using a video created in PowToon as a way to build anticipation and generate some enthusiasm for a new IT system that he will be training users on in the coming months. It’s a quick look at the features of the IT system and describes some of the benefits it holds over the current IT system people are using.

3. Tutorials. Yes, you can create screencasts much more quickly by recording your mouse flying around your computer screen, clicking on tabs or buttons. Sometimes that’s sufficient. Sometimes you want something a little more engaging. PowToon can help with creating a more engaging tutorial.

If you’re using PowToon, how have you found it useful? Inspired by this post? How might you want to put PowToon to use? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments section.

Are You Using Some Of The Top 100 Tools For Learning?

Each year, the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies (C4LPT) puts together a list of the top 200 tools for learning. This year, I decided to vote for my top 10.

When I read the voting requirements – that I had to list ten tools in order for my vote to count – I started to wonder if I would be able to complete my ballot. I have several go-to tools, but I’m not sure that I have ten tools that I consider essential to my role as a learning practitioner.

Throwing caution to the wind, I began completing my ballot. Seven minutes later, I realized that there are more than ten tools that I use and my ballot was complete.

I then clicked on this link and started perusing how other people completed their ballots. It was interesting – many others use the same tools as I do. However, there were some tools that I’d never heard of and which I plan to check out in the very near future. And there were some tools I’d used in the past and then forgotten about, which I plan to begin using once again. And these last two points, I believe, hold the power to this list: an opportunity to be exposed to new tools and a reminder of old tools that have long since been forgotten.

If you have ten minutes, I encourage you to fill out your own ballot by clicking here. I’d also encourage you to see what kinds of tools others are using – perhaps you’ll be exposed to something new (and life changing?), perhaps you’ll simply be reminded of an old favorite.

Elearning: What’s Possible vs. What Customers Want

I expect that every learning experience – in person or online – should be amazing. I don’t think I’m alone with this expectation. How “amazing” is defined is a different story.

When I think of amazing learning experiences, I expect good, engaging content that will help me do a job better or differently. And if it’s going to help me do something better or differently, I think amazing also includes allowing me to practice in a safe environment. I expect a variety of media… and if there’s going to be video I expect that there will be specific things I should be looking for in the video. I expect interactive case studies with branching scenarios so that I can try out new skills or different ways of doing things. I expect to be able to remember the learning experience days, weeks, even months after I complete it.

Last week, I asked several friends and colleagues what they expect when it comes to elearning.  Here’s what they had to say:

“Clarity in finding resources and functions and overall simplicity in design. If [there is] a function or resource that needs to be used frequently as part of the course design, but you have to click through seven menu options or screens to find it, or if they list three different ways to access it, then you’ve got a frustrated learner on hand.”

– Grad Student in Human Resources Development

“My expectations are that the information is practical, accessible through a variety of formats (desktop, tablet, mobile phone, etc), evidence based, non-biased and up to date.”

– Doctor and Director of Telemedicine for a university hospital system

“One thing I would expect is that there is some level of self-navigation and that at each concept or learning point there is a link to further resources that the learner can use if they are finding that particular concept difficult.”

– Regional Director for a large Global Health organization

Granted, this was a very small sample size and certainly wasn’t a very scientific study, but nonetheless not a single person expected a variety of media. Not a single person mentioned case studies or branching or gamification or other features that are trendy in the instructional design community. Not a single person used the word “engaging” in their expectations.

What they did expect included things such as ease of use, intuitive interface, relevant content, simplicity.

Just listening to what people expect, I wonder if those of us who develop elearning sometimes go too far in trying to make something creative and memorable and engaging. Of course, not a single person I surveyed said they expect their elearning experiences to be boring, either.

If you’ve made it this far through this article, I’d like to hear from you in the comments section below. What do you expect out of an elearning experience?

Looking for ways to make elearning design more interesting for the learner? You may enjoy these previous posts (written as case studies) that feature feedback from a variety of experts:

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