Dozens of Free Dingbat Fonts for Commercial Use

free fonts

In an earlier post, we looked at how to convert dingbat and wingding fonts into vector images that you can use in your e-learning courses and presentations. They’re great for creating icons or bullet lists.

Not that you know how to convert the fonts into vector images, you need some fonts to use.

I reviewed a bunch of the free fonts and tried to sort to the those that are free for commercial use. If you want to search on your own, look for facefonts, dingbats, or wingdings. They tend to produce good results. Also, most of the free font sites have an assortment of these fonts.

As always when using free resources, confirm the licensing agreement and provide proper attribution. And it’s still good practice to give the owner props.

Free Faces & Character Fonts

free font icon

Free Icon Fonts

free font icons 2

Free Shape & Arrow Fonts

free fonts arrows

Are there certain fonts like these you like to use?


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

Upcoming E-Learning Events


 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

How to Get Better at Building Courses

build better courses

At a recent conference I was on a panel that asked about how to get better at building elearning courses. I reflected on a few things that I did when I first started and some of those things carry forward to today. I discussed this a bit in this post on how to build your elearning skills.

Learning is an Iterative Process

Essentially, we learn something new, apply what we learn, look at the results, and then make adjustments.

Your first project isn’t going to be your best. I look back at some of the stuff I did worked on earlier in my career and am surprised that I wasn’t tarred and feathered by those who had to take the courses.

I recall one where I taught people how to use this new thing called the Internet. Instead of having them open Netscape and doing searches for things that interested them, I spent a bunch of time explaining the interface features, and focused on a lot of unimportant information. What could have been a fun time searching for interesting things became the world’s most boring introduction to the Internet.  How lame was that?

If I were to build that course today, it would be much different.

how to learn

How to Build Better Courses

  • Focus on the learner. We tend to make our courses info-centric and because of this, we focus on how to structure and present content. We should focus on the learner and how they’ll use the content. Then build activities to help them practice doing that.
  • Ask for honest feedback and try to apply what you learn to the next project. This suggestion is a bit challenging because it requires some vulnerability, but it also requires access to an expert who can provide relevant feedback. This is why being connected in the community helps.
  • Keep an idea folder that you can review when starting new projects. I collect ideas from all sorts of sources. When I want some inspiration, I look over the ideas. I will add that it does help to make a note about what you found inspiring at the time you saved it. Often, I’ll review an idea from the folder and can’t recall why I liked it.
  • Set some time aside to practice. I usually find one or two cool multimedia interactions online each week. I try replicate them in Storyline. I don’t worry about how they look. I just focus on wiring it all together to see if I can get the multimedia interaction to work. One of the things I really like about Storyline is that I can quickly prototype my ideas. The other thing I like is that when I do build something from the idea, I can save it as a template and it becomes a reusable interaction.
  • Do one new thing. You’ve collected ideas and tried to prototype them. You’ve chatted with others and solicited feedback. Now it’s time to put it all into action. Take one idea and apply it to a real course. And every time you build a new course, try something new. I know that it’s not always easy to do that in the corporate environment so at a minimum participate in an occasional weekly challenge. At least then you can work on something real and try new things.
  • Keep on learning. Watch tutorials, take informal courses, get a formal degree or read some books. Here are a couple that will come in handy: the newly updated Michael Allen’s Guide to e-LearningHow People Learn by Julie Dirksen (also recently updated), and Jane Bozarth’s Show Your Work. Those are good books that teach about course design, how people learn, and the value of being connected and showing what you do—all good content for those getting started who also want to build their skills.

What are some things you’d share with the person who wants to learn how to build their skills to build better courses? Feel free to share them in the comments section.


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro
 

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • September 20-21 (Dallas, TX). Connect with your peers in Texas and learn all sorts of tips & tricks in this fun community-based workshop. SOLD OUT.
  • October 12-13 (Vancouver, BC). Connect with your peers in British Columbia and learn all sorts of tips & tricks in this fun community-based workshop. Register here.
  • November 1 & 2 (London). Two-day Articulate Roadshow. Learn all sorts of tips & tricks in this fun community-based workshop. Register here.
  • November 4 (Dublin). Articulate E-Learning Workshop. Learn all sorts of tips & tricks in this fun community-based workshop. Limited seats for this event, so don't delay. Register here.

 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

Find Color Schemes for Your E-Learning Courses

custom color scheme for e-learning

In a previous post I mentioned how to find color schemes using color schemers.  They’re great tools to help find the right color palette for your courses. Personally I find them valuable because I have slight color blindness. So having a system that keeps me in line really helps.

Use the Color Picker to Manually Create Color Schemes

Another way to create color schemes to manually pick colors from an image. In the tutorials I did for Storyline, I show how to use the color picker to pick colors from a background image.

custom color scheme for e-learning

With the color picker, I get colors that match colors from the image on the slides. Look at the image below. The tabs and side panel were color picked from the building on the right of the background image. I also added a colored, semi-transparent shape over the background to add some tinting and subdue the background a bit.

color picker

You’re not limited to Storyline, you can also do the same thing in PowerPoint.

Create Color Schemes from a Picture or Logo

Instead of creating a color scheme by manually picking colors, you can create one from the colors in an image. Upload an image and then let the color scheming site create a color palette for you.

  • Color Hunter: upload an image
  • Color Palette Generator: add an image URL to create the scheme
  • Kuler: upload an image or create custom themes using formulas; requires an account
  • Pictalous: upload an image and get advice from multiple sites
  • Colrd: upload an image and identify your image DNA

custom color scheme

Some of you have corporate style guides where the color information is provided. If you don’t have a formal style guide, you can upload a company-related image and have the color scheming site generate a usable palette.

As the image above shows, I uploaded a screen capture of my blog to pull together a color scheme. This is something you can do, too. You can use one of the following:

  • Company web site. Take a screenshot of your company website (or something else). Upload it to one of these sites and capture a color palette.
  • Company logo. Use the company logo to do the same thing.
  • Marketing collateral. You may have marketing or product material that you can use to pull a color palette.

Once you have a color palette, use it to create custom color themes in PowerPoint and Storyline.

As you can see, creating a custom color palette is pretty easy. And once you have one, you can customize your course to your heart’s content.


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • February 3 & 4 (London). Learning Technologies. Swing by the Articulate booth and say "Hello" or check out my free session February 3 at 2:45: 5 Ways to Use Interactive Video to Engage Your Learners.
  • April 26 (Houston, TX). Interactive Video Made Easy in Articulate Storyline. Details coming soon.
  • April 27 (Houston, TX). Keynote presentation. Details coming soon.

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

Top Instructional Design Tips

instructional design tips

At a recent workshop I was asked to put together a post with some of my top instructional design tips. So here it is. Of course, over the past 8 years most of the posts are littered with various tips related to instructional design.

If there’s a single best tip it’s that the course content needs to be relevant to the learner’s needs. If not, why is the person taking the course?

Instructional Design Tips

Here’s a list of blog posts related to instructional design.

Instructional Design Tips from the Community

I’m a big advocate of the weekly elearning challenges because they offer a reason to step away from the daily grind of building the same types of courses and doing the same thing over again and again. We get to try out some new ideas, practice production techniques, show off our skills, and see how others approach the same challenge.

Here is a list of challenges that offer an extra bonus because they each share some tips and tricks that will help you build better courses.

Do you have any instructional design tips to share?


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

Upcoming E-Learning Workshops & Events (2015)

  • October 28 & 29 (Philadelphia). Community-based elearning workshops focused on practical tips & tricks. You can register for one day or two days. To learn more and register, click here.
  • November 9 (London). We have a morning event that's repeated in the afternoon: two sessions: 1) Getting Started with E-Learning and 2) Common Interactions & How to Build Them. Click here to register.
  • November 10 (Dublin). In the morning we'll have two sessions: 1) Getting Started with E-Learning and 2) Common Interactions & How to Build Them. In the afternoon, we're hosting an Articulate Jam Session. Click here to register.
  • November 12 & 13 (Berlin). Two days of great stuff and Articulate goodness. Come from one or both days. Details here.
  • November 16 & 17 (Paris). David and I are doing a session on getting started with elearning and how to build common interactions. Learn more here.
  • November 17 (Antwerp). The sessions in Antwerp and Utrecht are repeated. We'll do sessions on interactive video and a skill-building activity. Learn more here.
  • November 19 or 20 (Utrecht). We'll do sessions on interactive video and a skill-building activity. Learn more here.

Free E-learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

A Complete List of Free Stock Image Sites for E-Learning

The Internet is rife with free things, especially free stock image sites. However, there are usually three main issues with the free stock image sites:

  • The free stock images aren’t really free. For example, free is confined to “free for personal use.” This is great when I want to build elearning courses for my family’s safety training but pretty useless when I need to do anything work-related.
  • The free stock image sites are only there to point to for-pay stock image sites. You are enticed with free stock images, but when you click on the ones that look good, they turn out to be connected to a for-pay service.
  • Most of the free stock image sites are irrelevant. You’re building courses and not the montages for Soylent Green’s Home Centers. Thus, all of those beautiful shots of nature are mostly useless.

In this post, we’ll look at free stock images sire that are mostly free for commercial use. As far as relevance, I sorted them based on how I value them.

Free Stock Images in the Community

Of course, the elearning community has all sorts of free stock images. Here are some that I think work well for many elearning courses:

Free Stock Image Sites

Keep in mind that these types of sites are starting to gain popularity; so while some may not have a lot available right now, they will probably continue to grow and have more at a later date.

free stock image sites

Startup Stock Photos:

free stock image sites

Unsplash

free stock image sites

Picjumbo:

They do offer commercial services, but the images are free and I love the “test drive” option they offer for each image. Here are some searches that may help for elearning: desk, business, and workspace.

free stock image sites

Stokpic

free stock image sites

Gratisography

free stock image sites

Jay Mantri

free stock image sites

Jeshoots

free stock image sites

Life of Pix:

Desk and construction are nice collections.

free stock image sites

Magdeleine

Curated from other sites; do like the color filtering

free stock image sites

New Old Stock

A great resource of old public domain images via public archives.

free stock image sites

Public Domain Archive

free stock image sites

Kaboom Pics

free stock image sites

Splitshire

free stock image sites

Skitter Photo

free stock image sites

FancyCrave

free stock image sites

Good Stock Photos

free stock image sites

Snapographic

free stock image sites

Snapwire Snaps

free stock image sites

Foodie’s Feed

Great food images. Do not view while hungry

Free Stock Image Sites with Strings Attached

Here’s a list of free stock image sites that require some sort of registration or are supported by commercial vendors.

Free for commercial use but requires registration

Tied to commercial vendors

  • Pixabay: they pull in a lot of the other free sites but are sponsored by a commercial vendor. You can search by user like Unsplash and StartupStockPhotos to see a thumbnail list of what those sites have.
  • IM Creator: many free for commercial use; some require attribution
  • Stock Vault: some free and sponsored images. Seems like most of these sites are basically the same. Another good reason why curating them makes sense and saves time.
  • Morgue File: lots of free images as well as indexed commercial sites.
  • Foter: database of a lot of free images; attribution requirements are in the image details.
  • Compfight: database of free images with links to sponsored images
  • Superfamous Studios: attribution required

Keep in mind that licensing terms may change so before you use the images, double-check to make sure you can.

While it’s technically not necessary to give many of the free stock image sites attribution, I think it’s still good to acknowledge them because they take the time to collect and curate the resources. Of course, attribution doesn’t work if you have to plaster links all over your course screens, but you could try one of the ideas we discussed in this post on how to use free assets in commercial projects.

Obviously, there are a lot more free stock image sites. With this list I tried to focus mostly on the ones that were free for commercial use and didn’t require attribution (which bumped a lot off of the list).

Are there free stock sites you recommend (assuming that they are free for commercial use and don’t require attribution when used)? Feel free to add to the comments. Spammers will be deleted. :)


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

Upcoming E-Learning Workshops & Events (2015)

  • September 30 (Las Vegas). Going to Devlearn? Swing by the Articulate booth and say hello.
  • October 28 & 29 (Philadelphia). Community-based elearning workshops focused on practical tips & tricks. You can register for one day or two days. To learn more and register, click here.
  • November: Just added! Details coming soon.
    • London
    • Dublin
    • Berlin
    • Paris
    • November 17: Antwerp
    • November 19 or 20: Utrecht

Free E-learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

A Three-Step Process to Create Hand Drawn Custom Characters

draw custom characters

In previous posts we discussed how visual thinking helps us focus on core concepts and teaches us to communicate those with graphics and other visual elements. We also looked at ways to practice developing your visual thinking skills so that you can effectively apply them to your course design.

In today’s post we’ll look at how to create custom characters that you can use in your visual thinking activities and course design.

The Case for Hand Drawn Custom Characters

You don’t have to be an artist to create custom characters. In fact, there’s a lot of value in hand drawn characters because they add personality and stand in contrast to the more typical (and often sterile) characters used in a lot of elearning courses. It’s just a matter of learning a few production techniques and then taking some time to practice.

Here are some examples of hand drawn characters I found online. You’ll notice that they’re relatively simple and that’s the key. Unless you’re really skilled, keep them simple. I think you’ll agree that the characters below are something most of us can create.

custom characters found in online search

I like the custom characters below created by Ella Zheng. They’re clean and based on a few simple shapes. And they work well with the other icons in her examples.

custom characters built with simple shapes

I could see something like these characters and icons working in an elearning course. And for you, they’re easy enough to build in PowerPoint because they’re simple combinations of some basic shapes. This is something we discussed in the post on creating your own pictograph characters.

create custom characters in PowerPoint

 Step 1: Decide on a Style for Hand Drawn Custom Characters

Start with a simple stick person. There are a number of ways to create them. You can go with straight lines, thick/bent lines, filled in shapes, square or oval bodies, or just trace over pictures. Below are a few ideas I played with. I like the first one which is a head and lines for legs and arms with no body. It’s easy to create and has a distinct style.

examples of hand-drawn custom characters

Once you develop a style, practice creating that character over and over again so feel comfortable creating the custom character when you need it. What makes a character like this work is the expression and pose. We’ll look at both below.

Step 2: Identify Some Common Facial Expressions for Your Custom Characters

Identify a few facial expressions and practice drawing them. Look at what others have done for inspiration. I like this guy’s approach below, draw some circles and practice the expressions.

custom characters with different facial expressions

Articulate’s illustrated characters have twelve common expressions. That’s probably all you need for expressions. Practice by recreating those twelve expressions with your own custom characters.

12 simple expressions for your custom characters

And here’s a good example from blogger, Chinie Hidalgo Diaz, who’s created a distinct look for her characters. As you can see the style of drawing isn’t overly complex. And the water color brush is an easy effect to apply using some of the mobile apps. These would work great in a comic-panel style course. She also offers some of her own tips on creating facial expressions.

example of custom characters

She focuses on two key areas: the mouth and brows. Start with her expressionless face and then practice drawing mouths and brows to create simple expressions.

Here are some other examples that require a little more practice. And finally, here’s a site that has all sorts of drawing tips for those who really want to push their skills.

As far as the expressions, I’d probably build the expressions as images that I can copy and paste into faces. That means I only have to work on them once and then just pick and choose what I need later.

Step 3: Create Common Poses for Your Custom Character

Poses are a bit more challenging. The easiest way to practice is to find common poses and then apply those to your custom character style. I’d start by copying what you see so that you get a good feel for the pose and then draw your character in the poses you prefer. This is also a good reason to keep the custom character’s detail limited. It’s easier to create a pose for a stick figure than it is a character in an outfit.

poses for your custom characters

Here’s a good tutorial on drawing characters with poses.  And ScrawlerMauler shows some of his practice poses.

Here are some people who sell stick figure characters if you’re inclined to buy some. You can also find inspiration in how they pose their characters and try your hand at creating the same pose with your custom characters.

Here are some free stick figure downloads in various poses:

free custom characters to download

What are some poses to practice? Here are a few ideas:

  • Sitting
  • Pointing
  • Talking
  • Surprised
  • Angry
  • Holding a paper
  • Thinking
  • Interacting with someone else

I quickly drew the images for this presentation on how rapid elearning is so simple that even a monkey can do it.  As you can see, nothing fancy, but they work.

hand drawn custom characters and images

If you want to learn more, Dan Roam released a great how-to workbook that shows how to create the images for visual thinking.  You may also be interested in Beyond Words: A Guide to Drawing Out Ideas.  You can learn some simple drawing techniques that can be applied to your elearning courses (and wow your peers as you doodle during those boring staff meetings).

The goal in all of this is recognize that for some of your courses and presentations you can create your own illustrated graphics. This also works well when combined with visual thinking skills. And learning to create your own may help speed up your production and lend itself to courses with more personality.

Have you ever applied hand drawn images to your courses? If so, how did they turn out?


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

Upcoming E-Learning Workshops & Events (2015)

  • September 23 & 24 (Vancouver). Community-based elearning workshops focused on practical tips & tricks. You can register for one day or two days. To learn more & register, click here.
  • September 29 (Las Vegas). Want to learn to get the right look and feel for your courses? Join David Anderson and me for a fun and active hands-on workshop. This topic is by far one of the most popular of the ones we've covered in any of our workshops in the past.
  • September 30 (Las Vegas). Going to Devlearn? Swing by the Articulate booth and say hello.
  • October 28 & 29 (Philadelphia). Community-based elearning workshops focused on practical tips & tricks. You can register for one day or two days. To learn more and register, click here.
  • November: Just added! I'll be in London, Dublin, Berlin, Paris, Belgium, and Utrecht. Details coming soon.

Free E-learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

Over 60 Free Stock Images

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - over 60 free stock images here

Now that Microsoft’s quit providing free clip art and free stock images many of you are scrambling to get hold of free resources to use for your elearning and training development.

Download Free Stock Images

In a previous post I shared 45 free stock images via the Unsplash site. In today’s post I’m going to share how to get 68 free stock images via Creative Tail. They’re free for commercial use which means you can use them for your online training courses.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - examples free stock images here

Since the images are free to distribute based on the CC 4.0 license, I saved a few steps by putting them in a single folder for you to download. You can download the free stock images here. However, since Creative Tail made the images available for free, here’s a courtesy link to their 500 image pack you can purchase.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - over 60 free stock images for download

Editing Free Stock Images

Sometimes the stock images may not appear usable. However, one way to get more use out of them is to isolate people from the original image. This gives you more usable assets because a single image can become multiple distinct assets. And even if the stock images don’t work as a main image, with a blur filter applied, they become useful ambient background images.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - how to use free stock images here

In either case, it never hurts to take advantage of the free assets like these free stock images while they’re available. Hopefully they’ll come in handy.


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

Upcoming E-Learning Workshops & Events (2015)

  • August 4 & 5 (Seattle). Community-based elearning workshops focused on practical tips & tricks. You can register for one day or two days. To learn more & register, click here.
  • September 23 & 24 (Vancouver). Community-based elearning workshops focused on practical tips & tricks. You can register for one day or two days. To learn more & register, click here.
  • October 28 & 29 (Philadelphia). Community-based elearning workshops focused on practical tips & tricks. You can register for one day or two days. To learn more and register, click here.

Free E-learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

Free People Icons for E-Learning

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - free people icons

Free people icons are great when they’re truly free to use for commercial courses. And who doesn’t like them, especially now that Microsoft no longer offers free clip art?

Here’s a list of some free icons. I only link to the ones that are free for commercial use. That means you can use them for your work and not spend time looking at free icons that you can’t use.

Kameleon Free People Icons

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - free people icons example 1

Nice flat people icons. Free for commercial use and the site also includes additional icons. Download them individually from iconfinder as .PNG files.

Customizable Free People Icons

free people icons for e-learning

Trina Rimmer shares some free icons that can be easily customized because she built them in PowerPoint. Click here to get the free PowerPoint template.

Large Boss Free People Icons

Good mix of characters. Also includes the elusive Satan avatar which is critical for totally serious feedback in compliance training. Free for commercial use; attribution required.

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - free people icons example 3

Flatflow Free People Icons

Nice flat icons with actual faces (not sure why there are so many blank-faced icons). Free for commercial use; attribution not required but appreciated. Here’s a direct link to the designer’s site.

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - free people icons example 4

Vista Free People Icons

Good assortment of occupations. Free for commercial use, attribution required.

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - free people icons example 5

Creative Tail Free People Icons

Another nice collection of flat people icons. Free for commercial user via CC 4.0

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - free people icons example 2

Kids Set Free People Icons

These are informal, cartoony icons. Free for commercial use under GPL license.

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - free people icons example 6

Need ideas on how to use the free icons? Here’s an example from a presentation I did a few years ago where I used the Kids Set icons above.

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - free people icons used in presentations

And here’s an example from a recent blog post where I gave away a free elearning template made with free icons. You can download the free Storyline or PowerPoint template files.

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - free people icons used in online training courses

Click here to view the free template in action.

As you can see, there are all sorts of ways to use the people icons. They can be used as avatars, buttons, or characters in your courses.

Some of the free icons do require attribution. If so, here’s a post that shows how to properly attribute the free people icons and give their creators proper recognition. Even if they don’t require attribution, it’s a good practice to still give them credit.

As you can see there are quite a few ways you can leverage the free people icons. Which icon set do you like best? Any ideas on how you’d use them?


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

Upcoming E-Learning Workshops & Events (2015)

  • August 4 & 5 (Seattle). Community-based elearning workshops focused on practical tips & tricks. You can register for one day or two days. To learn more & register, click here.
  • September 23 & 24 (Vancouver). Community-based elearning workshops focused on practical tips & tricks. You can register for one day or two days. To learn more & register, click here.
  • October 28 & 29 (Philadelphia). Community-based elearning workshops focused on practical tips & tricks. You can register for one day or two days. To learn more and register, click here.

Free E-learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

12 Websites for Free Vector Images Good for E-Learning

free vector images online

Do a search for “free vector images” and you’ll find hundreds of sites that boast tens of thousands of free images. The problem is many of them are junk and not even worth your time. Besides, how many free vector images do you really need?

Websites that Offer Free Vector Images

As you may know, many of the sites that offer “free” resources only allow them to be used for personal use. That won’t work for your courses and presentations. To make things simple, I reviewed dozens of websites that claim they offer free vector images and narrowed them down to just a few. My criteria for listing the sites below is that they really are free for commercial use.

 

Some of the sites may require credit or attribution. That’s OK. Here are some tips on how to provide attribution in commercial projects when you use free vector images.

Other Sources for Free Vector Images

Another good source for free vector images is from artist community sites or a graphic artist’s own page. Here are a few additional places to locate some good quality, free vector images:

free vector images via dribbble

  • Dribbble: mostly professional quality images
  • Deviant Art: miscellaneous artist site; it’s a mixed bag but there are a lot of free images
  • Snap2Objects: images created by Mauricio Duque
  • E-Learning Heroes: whatever you find in the community you are free to use for your elearning projects and presentations.
  • PageResource: if you sport a mullet and watch Full House, then this site has the perfect free clip art for you.

Editing Free Vector Images

Most of the free vector images are going to be in .AI or .EPS format. If they’re .PNG or .JPG they’re not vectors. Editing the images requires an illustration application like Illustrator or Inkscape (free). However, you can edit most free vector images that are in .EPS format using PowerPoint.

edit free vector images in PowerPoint

Here’s a post that explains how to edit free vector images in PowerPoint and a tutorial video. Unless you’re comfortable with the illustration apps, I’d look for .EPS files first and use PowerPoint.

So there you go, a complete list of sites that provide free vector images that you can freely use in your presentations and elearning courses.


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Upcoming E-Learning Workshops & Events (2015)

  • August 4 & 5 (Seattle). Community-based elearning workshops focused on practical tips & tricks. You can register for one day or two days. To learn more & register, click here.
  • September 23 & 24 (Vancouver). Community-based elearning workshops focused on practical tips & tricks. You can register for one day or two days. To learn more & register, click here.
  • October 28 & 29 (Philadelphia). Community-based elearning workshops focused on practical tips & tricks. You can register for one day or two days. To learn more and register, click here.

Free E-learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

How to Build Better Interactive Scenarios for E-Learning

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - interactive scenarios

As many of you know, I tend to divide courses into two buckets. One bucket is information. The other is performance. When I meet with a client I quickly asses what type of course they want to build so that we can best meet the organization’s goals and control the cost of development.

Information-based courses are common and many people complain that they’re just click-and-read. However they are legitimate and do meet a need. Here are few common examples:

  • Awareness: sometimes, the only goal is an awareness campaign to share information. For example, the organization wants people to know about a new health program. The course is really more like an interactive marketing campaign but the organization is still going to call it an “elearning course.”
  • Blended: often the information in the elearning course is coupled with a blended learning solution where the interaction happens in real-life. In that case, the course is more like a multimedia textbook.
  • Compliance: let’s admit it, there are a bunch of courses that serve no other purpose other than to have an end-of-year check mark. Obviously this has little to do with learning. I’m not going to stand on a soapbox and argue against this. It’s just the way it is and probably won’t change.

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - interactive scenarios performance vs information courses

Performance-based courses focus on achieving specific objectives through performance and behavioral change.  Generally there are two types of performance-based courses:

  • Procedure: teaches defined step-by-step procedures.
  • Principled: less about structured steps and more about guiding principles.

While many complain about them, information-based courses have their place. Ideally, we build courses to instigate changes in performance or behavior. With a focus on specific objectives you also get valuable metrics to demonstrate success. However, when consulting with the client I do try to get to the performance issue so that we’re not just pushing information. If we can’t find the performance issue, then we either don’t build a course, or we build one that’s simple and doesn’t cost too much in time and money.

Interactive Scenarios: Procedural

Procedural courses are more how-to type elearning. They generally go through a defined flow or process. They’re less about making nuanced decisions and more about following the proper procedures to achieve a specific outcome. Often these are the source of many of our click-and-read courses.

While it’s easy enough to make an information-based course where the learner learns the proper sequence and is tested on it (like the typical linear courses), a scenario-based interaction can add some real world context.

For example, in the real world even if the process is clearly defined, there are other considerations like timing of the steps and maintaining accuracy. This type of context makes the interactive scenario work even if the procedure is relatively simple.

Think of the classic I Love Lucy chocolate factory clip. It’s easy enough to build an information-based course on how to pick up and wrap chocolates. But what the information-based course lacks is the pressure that a real-world context applies. This pressure is easy to simulate in interactive scenarios. So you can teach and assess their understanding of the procedures and do it in a real-world context.

Interactive Scenarios: Principle

Principle-based courses are different. They tend to lean less on specific steps and more on working through the various nuances in the work environment. They require that the learners collect information, assess it, and make the appropriate decisions.

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - interactive scenarios for principle based decisions

Let’s say you’re a new manager and have to deal with various employee issues. Each employee has unique needs. The organization teaches guiding principles that help you make good decisions. So instead of going through prescribed steps, you collect information, analyze it, and make decisions. 

In this case a decision-making scenario works really well. It allows you to teach the learner to evaluate information and make good decisions that are aligned to the organization’s needs. Because the decisions are nuanced, sometimes they’ll make bad decisions which can produce negative consequences and sometimes they make good ones. Just like in real life.

Although in real life, a bad decision may seriously impact the organization. And that’s where an interactive scenario comes in handy. They get to practice the decision-making required in a realistic situation that produces great opportunities for feedback. When they make good decisions, they gain confidence and can demonstrate to the organization their level of understanding. And if they make poor decisions they can receive feedback that will help them make better decisions in the real world. And it’s all done in a safe and non-threatening environment.

Elearning is valuable for more than quick, click-and-read courses. Focus on the performance requirement and then craft a learning experience that mimics real world activities. Even if you build simple courses, adding interactive decisions and real-world pressure will create a more meaningful experience that impacts learning.


Download your free 46-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

Upcoming Events (2015)

We’re hosting a series of two-day elearning workshops that focus on practical tips and tricks. You can register for one day or two days.


E-learning Community News

Check out all of the free resources below. You can grab a bunch of free downloads, see some nice examples, and learn everything you need to build great elearning.

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills 

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out
and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

The post How to Build Better Interactive Scenarios for E-Learning appeared first on The Rapid eLearning Blog.