How to be Successfull in the E-Learning Industry

successful e-learning

Successful e-learning is measured in many ways. It’s important to provide measurable value. However, a large part of success revolves around how others view your contributions. Thus it’s important to manage how you work with customers and how they understand your contributions.

If you’re just getting started, here are some things to keep in mind:

Successful E-Learning Pleases the Customer

Your customer is why you have a job. Thus it’s important to ensure the customer’s needs are met.

Who is your customer? The obvious answer is the one who commissions the e-learning course. However, there’s also the dynamic between you and your manager (who may not be the customer) but is the person who influences your employment.

How to Please the Customer

There are many things you can do, but here are a few basics:

  • Establish clear expectations. Write them down and get affirmation. This way everyone is on the same page. I create a Service Level Agreement that documents the project details and expectations.
  • Find ways to make your customers look good. Often I’ll send encouraging emails and CC their managers. I try to deflect credit from myself and pass it to others. Give them the credit when possible.
  • Control your costs and resources. Everyone’s on a budget and has limited time.
  • Finish ahead of schedule. I try to pad extra time into the production, get agreement on the production schedule, and then work to be done early. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if you’re early because they may not be prepared for it, but it builds your reputation and how they perceive you.
  • Take care of details before they become issues. Be proactive and do this before the customer is aware. The more projects you do, the more you’re able to anticipate potential issues. I always make a list of things that may derail the process so that I can think through a work around before it happens.

Successful E-Learning Knows that the Business is the Business

Ultimately you’re hired to help meet specific organizational goals. Sometimes we lose sight of that. It’s easy to get stuck in the way things have always been done or on our own pet projects. Keep your focus on what the organization says is important and the metrics they use.

When working with customers, try to steer them towards measurable results and not just content. From there you set clear objectives that are tied to a metric which helps measure the course’s efficacy. If the client has no metrics (sometimes that happens with compliance training) measure cost and production time as well as a reduction in training time.

How to Report the Results of Successful E-Learning

It’s important to show the results of your work. The challenge is knowing what to report, getting the numbers, and how to report them. Here are a few thoughts:

  • Performance results. Create courses with measurable objectives. That gives you something to measure. How does the client know that they need training? What metrics are they using? Use the same process. Connect with the team that collects and curates results. Often training is a small part of the process thus you may not see significant results from training alone.
  • Measure before and after performance. Create a means to pre-assess the learners and then compare how they did after the training. You may not directly impact real-world performance but you can state that before the training they were at X and after they were at Y.
  • Measure what was saved. Some training is not performance-based. Thus it’s a challenge to report performance metrics. In those cases, track how much training costs before and how the e-learning courses saved time by reducing travel costs, etc. Another benefit is the flexibility training offers because it is time-shifted. Worst case, compare your production costs to that of an outside vendor.

Building engaging and relevant e-learning is the main measure of success. That happens in the context of supporting a customer and your organization. Develop some strategies to manage those relationships and the expectations. Help them focus on real results and do a good job reporting your success. And their success will be your success.


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

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • July 17 & 18 (St Louis, MO)Articulate Community Roadshow. Register here. ATD St. Louis members get a 25% discount. Contact ATD St. Louis for more information.
  • September 12 & 13 (Durham, NC): September 12 & 13. Articulate Community Roadshow. Register here.
  • November 5 & 6 (London): Details coming.
  • November ? (Edinburgh): Tentative.
  • November 12 (Dublin): Details coming.
  • November ? (Prague): Tentative.

 

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.

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A Simple Way to Track Courses without an LMS

no LMS

Generally, delivering e-learning courses is a two-step process: 1) create the course in your favorite e-learning software and 2) host the course in a learning management system.

There are many small organizations that don’t use formal learning management systems; however they want simple tracking of the courses. I had someone ask how they could track people in their organization who have taken a compliance course. He didn’t have a lot of learners and wanted something simple.

Here are two quick solutions that work well. They don’t require a lot of work to set up and they’re mostly free.

This solution assumes that the user gets a URL that links to the course. We have no identifying information so we need a simple way to collect who they are and track their completion.

Create a Form

Create a form using a hosted service. In these examples I am using Google Forms and Jot Form. However, you can use a different service if you want (or create your own form on a server). It doesn’t matter. The main thing is you have a way for the person to share info and send it your way.

form no LMS

Embed the Form

Once you have the form, you’ll embed it into the course. In these examples we’re using Rise’s embed block. If you use Storyline, the web object works perfectly for this.

Embed form no LMS

Create a Gate to the Form

The goal is to only expose the form when the course is complete. There are many ways to do this. For these demos, I’ll show two ways. In the first, I use a continue block that is locked until the learner affirms completion of the course and agreement with the content. In the second example, I use a quiz to serve as the gate.

no LMS two options

Examples of Embedded Forms

These are simple examples to show how the form looks embedded in the course and how you could create a gate to get to the form.

  • Jot Form Example: the course has free navigation and user affirms completion to unlock the the gate
  • Google Form Example: the course is locked and passing the final quiz unlocks the certificate of completion

Jot Form offers a bit more control and looks more integrated with the course. I colorized the block to match the form’s color.

JotForm example no LMS

On the other hand, Google Forms has that enormous header space and scrollbar. I removed the header image and filled it with white to avoid the Frankenform look but it still looks like something pasted into the course. It would be nice to have more control over the look, but it still works fine for what we need and it’s free. Also, the integration with Google Sheets saves a few steps later.

Google fomr example no LMS

Upload the Course

Since we’re not using an LMS, we need a place to upload the course. I use Amazon S3 which I showed how to set up in a previous post; but it could also be Google Storage. But it can be any web server.

no LMS Amazon S3 free

Track Course Completion

The form collects the data and sends it to the service. Jot Form displays a table with the option to download. Google Form sends the data to a Google Sheet.

Google Sheet no LMS

Of course, there are many other ways to do something similar to avoid using an LMS, especially if you have programming skills.

At a previous place, we used the course URL to drop a cookie on the person’s computer. At the end of the course, we inserted an .ASP file via a web object. The .ASP file collected the info from the cookie and sent it to the database. Thus we knew who took the course, when they completed it, and their minimum passing score.

Do you have any other ways you use to track the course without using an LMS or paid service? Please share in the comments.


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

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • July 17 & 18 (St Louis, MO)Articulate Community Roadshow. Register here. ATD St. Louis members get a 25% discount. Contact ATD St. Louis for more information.
  • September 12 & 13 (Durham, NC): September 12 & 13. Articulate Community Roadshow. Register here.
  • November 5 & 6 (London): Details coming.
  • November ? (Edinburgh): Tentative.
  • November 12 (Dublin): Details coming.
  • November ? (Prague): Tentative.

 

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.

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10 Tips for Better Troubleshooting & Technical Support

technical support & troubleshooting tips

I’m really proud of the e-learning heroes community. It’s active and filled with so many helpful people. I’m always amazed at how willing they are to answer questions and how quick they are to respond. It’s a testament to the outstanding people in our industry who are eager to share and help (which is probably why they’re in our industry in the first place).

Many e-learning developers are small teams of one or two people, so see the community as an extension of the team. It’s like having a helpmate in the cubicle next door.

Today, I’d like to offer some timesaving tips that will help you troubleshoot your projects when asking for help. This way you get the right help and get it in a timely manner.

Become Fluent with the Software

It all starts with what you know. The more you know about the software and how to use the features, the better you’re able to find solutions or troubleshoot your courses. At a minimum, watch the tutorials. They do a good job going through the basic features and many of them have downloads with practice activities. In fact, many of the questions I see asked in the community are answered in the basic tutorials.

Articulate 360 subscribers have access to Articulate Live. Every month we do a getting started series for Storyline and Rise. Those are great to learn the basics. And we often hangout after the webinars to answer additional questions.

Name Your Timeline Objects and Layers

It takes a little extra effort to name objects and layers; but it pays off in the long run when it comes to troubleshooting your course. This is especially true for the person in the community who’s trying to make heads or tails out of your slides.

troubleshooting tip title objects

It really slows things down when every slide is filled with the generic default titles. When I help with the files, I start by titling the objects and layers so that I can follow what’s happening. My guess is most people who want to help don’t have the time to do that.

You’ll get faster help if your file makes sense and is easy to parse.

It’s Volunteer Time

Keep in mind that e-learning heroes is a community of your peers. Many of them share source files, record tutorials, and show demos. What they offer is offered for free and on their own time. Be respectful of their time. In fact some of these tips will make it easier for them to help you.

Use a Descriptive Question Title

troubleshooting tips e-learning

Most people scan the titles to figure out where they can best help. If your title is “Help with course, please,” it requires the person to click on the link. However, if the title is more descriptive, it is easier to discern what help is required.

“Variables don’t change when I click the button,” provides enough information for the person who’s looking to help.

Share What Version You Use

I am part of a swimming pool forum. They ask that all members have a signature file that includes pool size, type of pool, equipment used, etc. This ends up in every post and eliminates a lot of back-and-forth questions between people looking for and giving help.

It’s a good idea to do something similar when asking for help in the community especially since there are different versions of software which have various updates and different features. Share what version you have, type of PC or Mac, etc.

Keep it Simple

Ever have someone send you a video to watch and it’s 15 minutes long? Do you watch it? Or there’s that one friend on Facebook who’s never learned to create a paragraph break so you just see this massive block of text. I have the same friend and I just skip over what he writes. Who has time to read a book?

Two quick tips here:

  • Be liberal with paragraph spacing so it’s easier to scan and read. And use bullet or number lists.
  • Keep your question to a point or two. If you ask for too much, chances are that people will skip over what you ask. It’s not that they don’t want to help, it’s just that it’s either too hard to parse or too much to work on at one time.

Show What’s Happening

I find it’s easier to do a quick screencast and share it than it is to type a lot of text. This allows a person to see what you’re doing and what’s happening. If you’re using Articulate 360, take advantage of Peek. You can record a screencast which is automatically uploaded to Articulate 360 and generates a URL for you to share.

peek for screencasting

If you don’t use Articulate 360 yet, there are all sorts of other screencasting options that are free or low-cost. In fact, the newer versions of PowerPoint have a built-in screen recorder. Once the video is on the slide, just right-click and save the media as .mp4.

In either case, you can eliminate a lot of going back and forth in the chat by showing what you have and what’s happening. With that in mind, keep it simple and get to the point quickly.

Share a File or Demo

Without seeing the file, it’s often tough to diagnose the issue. Usually the first response to a question is whether you can share a file (or published version of the course) so that we can see what’s happening. So why not share a source file to start?

Here are a couple of tips that helps when sharing files:

  • There’s no need to share the entire course, especially if it’s a 400 MB download. Try to isolate the issue and get rid of slides that aren’t required.
  • Tell people where they should look, especially if there’s more than one slide.
  • Save the file you share as a copy. If the content is proprietary, you can still share the source file. Make a duplicate and either remove the content or replace it with gibberish.

Keep in mind, community members are all over the world and in different time zones. The more you share upfront, the easier it is to get help and a quick answer.

Focus on What You Want and Not Trying to Fix What You Have

It’s easy to get pulled into fixing an issue that is better resolved with an alternative approach. If the desired outcome isn’t clear we end up on a rabbit trail fixing something that had an easier solution. That’s what I usually ask people what they’re trying to do before I start helping to solve the issue they have.

When you ask for help, clarify what you’re trying to do. Sometimes you end up with some good production tips.

Share the Solution

If you get help and it works, let us know in the forum thread. That helps the next person.

Bonus Tip

Make a goal to pay it forward. I try to answer five questions a day. I find it fulfilling to know I’m helping someone. I also find there’s a lot I don’t know so I end up learning things either by testing ideas or seeing the responses from some really smart people in the community. A side benefit is that it builds your reputation and credentials in our industry.


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

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • July 17 & 18 (St Louis, MO)Articulate Community Roadshow. Register here. ATD St. Louis members get a 25% discount. Contact ATD St. Louis for more information.
  • September 12 & 13 (Durham, NC): September 12 & 13. Articulate Community Roadshow. Register here.
  • November: finalizing details for UK and EU workshops in November.

 

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.

Image already added

How to Simplify E-Learning Templates

e-learning templates made simple

E-learning templates are a great way to save time. This is especially true for those of us who build repetitive content and courses. And it’s even more true for those of us who aren’t graphic designers since many of the e-learning templates provide nice looking visual design.

However, working with templates can be challenge. Sometimes they’re so big and present too many choices (which can debilitate). Another challenge is that modifying templates often requires a more involved understanding of the authoring tools. This isn’t easy for the person just getting started.

Templates should save time and streamline the production process. Otherwise, why use them? Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

E-Learning Templates Are the Second Step

Figure out what you need before you build. A big time waster is not knowing what you want in the course but building it anyway. Then realizing it’s not what you want, you tear down and rebuild. Or worse, moving forward with a bad idea and letting it dictate the rest of what you’re doing because of the time already invested.

I like the weekly e-learning challenges as a way to play around with ideas and see what others do. The challenges help develop fluency with the software and build awareness around ideas that can be implemented before you work on a project.

ACTION ITEM

Let the Content Determine the Right Template

Templates are great, but don’t let the template dictate your content. This is one of the biggest issues with templates. We like a template because it has sixty cool layouts and then we force our content to the template. Or we think we have to use all sixty layouts so we have similar types of content but it all looks different throughout the course because we changed up our layouts.

ACTION ITEM

  • Review your templates and the various layout options. Then determine when you use them and why. Even if you have a lot of great layouts, it’s a good idea to reduce the layouts you use. This provides visual consistency and repetition is key to good visual communication.

Keep E-Learning Templates Simple

Templates don’t always need to be big all inclusive files. It helps to have single purpose templates like just one tabs interaction. The more single purpose the template is, the better you can use it. It’s also easier to customize one slide to match your course than it is to customize an entire template.

e-learning templates

One of the most under used features in Storyline is saving the files as templates. This makes the slides available for the next course. You can insert a single slide(s) or the entire file. The new teams feature in Storyline 360 makes it even better because the slides can be shared among the team and easily inserted in courses.

In Rise, you can build lessons and save them as templates. Once inserted, they can be modified to meet the course objectives. And they don’t need to be big lessons, you may just want to customize some blocks for easy re-use.  This is especially helpful if you want to use a multiple colors or change the text sizes.

rise e-learning templates

ACTION ITEM

  • Create single slide templates in Storyline and save them as templates. If you’re on a team account, share them with your team.
  • Learn to create and save templates in Rise. I like to create branded blocks where I add different colors and text sizes.

Learn to Edit the E-Learning Templates

Inevitably you’ll need to modify the template. There are things you should learn about the software so that when you need to change the template it doesn’t take forever (otherwise you lose the time-saving benefit of the template).

ACTION ITEM

  • In Storyline, learn more about master slides and how they work. Also, theme fonts and colors allow the content to change dynamically.
  • Rise is a lot easier to learn. Focus on theme settings, duplicating courses, and saving lessons as templates.

Templates are a real time-saver. But to save time, plan ahead, and learn to use the software you use to build e-elearning courses.


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

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • July 17 & 18 (St Louis, MO)Articulate Community Roadshow. Register here. ATD St. Louis members get a 25% discount. Contact ATD St. Louis for more information.
  • September 12 & 13 (Durham, NC): September 12 & 13. Articulate Community Roadshow. Register here.
  • November: finalizing details for UK and EU workshops in November.

 

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.

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Save Time & Money with Hybrid E-Learning Design

Years ago I developed a hierarchy for course design. I used it to help manage my team and allocate our limited resources.

Back then, most e-learning was custom-built in Flash. Those courses took more time, required special skills, and cost a lot more to produce. However, with Articulate Presenter and PowerPoint we could build about 80% of what we needed. It was fast and easy. So our default was Articulate Presenter unless we could justify why it didn’t meet our needs.

 

PowerPoint had its limits. But when we needed custom interactivity, we’d build just those pieces in Flash and insert them into our PowerPoint-based courses. That meant we got fast development and custom interactivity: a win-win.

There were courses where PowerPoint or a hybrid approach just didn’t work. As a final option we custom built our courses in Flash. Because this was the most expensive and time-consuming option, we tried to limit this and do most of our custom development using the hybrid approach.

We always started with rapid e-learning and only moved to more expensive development when we could justify doing so. It made no sense, to custom build Flash when we could do the same thing faster and less expensive with PowerPoint.

Today, we have a similar challenge so let’s revisit the hierarchy of course design for a new generation of rapid e-learning designers.

General E-Learning Content

A screen’s a screen whether it’s simple linear content or interactive. When you look at the screen, you’ll see text and some media such as images, illustrations, and video. If there’s an interactive element, at its core the interaction just changes what’s being exposed on the screen.

How screens are laid out is generally limited to left, right, up, and While we can be creative and do exotic things there are 20 or so common screen layouts.

The Updated E-Learning Course Design Hierarchy

Both Rise and Storyline are part of Articulate 360. Often, I’ll get questions about when to use Rise and when to use Storyline. To answer the question, I lean on the same strategic approach I used when managing my team and having to choose between rapid authoring with PowerPoint or custom development in Flash.

Operate at the Speed of Business

Most e-learning content exists because of regulatory and compliance requirements. Those courses are more explainer content and less interactive. Thus it makes sense to use the easiest tool and quickest production process possible.

And this tool is Rise. It’s super easy to use and getting courses, especially simple ones out the door is a breeze. On top of that, whatever you build can be saved as a template. And as far as interactive content, there are a number of interactive choices that come with Rise (and those get updated frequently). Rise is also fully responsive which is perfect for today’s mobile workforce.

 

The reality is that not all content is explainer content and often there needs to be more custom interactivity than what you get out of the box in Rise. That’s OK because when Rise doesn’t provide the content type you need, use Storyline by building single slide interactions and then insert them into your Rise courses with the Storyline block.

With this approach, you get easy authoring for the majority of the content in Rise and custom interactivity when you need it in Storyline. It’s a good balance between speed of production and providing the appropriate level of interactivity. That’s a win-win.

Manage Resources for Custom Interactivity

There are times when working directly in Storyline makes more sense than working in Rise. For example, if you need to build complex interactions, adaptive learning paths, variable-based navigation,  or interactive scenarios then it makes sense to build them in Storyline. Storyline gives you a lot more flexibility because you start with a blank screen and build from there.

This doesn’t mean working with Storyline is complicated. It’s still relatively easy to learn and grows with you. It just means that for simple content, especially, Rise is usually a better solution.

Want a tabs interaction? In Rise you select the tabs interaction block and add your content. You’re done. Building the same thing in Storyline requires time to think about what it will look like and how it will function; and then you add the objects, layers, and triggers. It’s easy enough to do, but just a bit more time-consuming to do it. And time is money.

So when people ask which tool to use, I suggest that all things should start with Rise. If you can’t build it with Rise, explain why. If you need custom interactions, build the core content in Rise (you have a lot of options with the various blocks) and add Storyline interactions where necessary. And if your course requirements are more complex and they can’t be met with Rise, then by all means, use Storyline.

The main thing is you’re managing your limited resources.  If you spend a week building something in Storyline when you could have built it in one day with Rise, you’re not being a good steward of your resources. And when you need more time for custom work, you won’t have it because you spent it on simple content.

That’s where the content creation hierarchy comes in handy. It’s all about managing resources and delivering a viable product on time and within budget.


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

Upcoming E-Learning Events

2018
 

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.

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How to Save Time When Using Variables in Your E-learning

variables to save time

Here’s a time saving tip when working with variables in your e-learning courses. This is helpful when testing your course as you work on it.

Create Reference Variables

During your production process when working with variables it’s always a good idea to create a reference to those variables. This is a text box that shows the current value of the variable. Thus when testing your course and making adjustments that change the value of the variable, you can see it displayed.

add a reference variable to the slide

If you don’t use a reference of the variable how else will you know the variable value changed? You have to assume that the course is working correctly, which may not be the case. Being able to see the variable helps in troubleshooting issues you may have when using them. For example, if the variable changes then you know something else is the issue.

Where to Put Reference Variables

The reference variables are only visible during the construction and testing of the course. Once it’s ready to go live, they need to be removed from the slide.

Everyone has their own production method. Here are a few options:

  • Delete them when you’re ready to publish the course. This gets rid of them, but if you need to go back and edit the slide, you need to recreate the references.
  • Move them off the slide. This works, but then you have to move them back on when you do edits. Seems like a lot of extra work.
  • Keep them on the slide, but hide them on the timeline. This means they’re always there, and just require a simple click to make them visible.
  • Put them on the master slide. I like this approach. I can turn them off on the master slide and they’re off on all the slides. And then if I need them available, I only need to turn them back on once rather than doing it slide by slide.

Additional Variable Resources

Here are a few quick tutorials and previous articles on working with variables:

Tutorials

Articles

What tips do you have when working with variables in your e-learning courses?


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

Upcoming E-Learning Events

2018
 

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.

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How to Use a Browser to Preview Responsive Courses

how to preview responsive courses and mobile learning in your browser

Here’s a simple way to test your published courses when building responsive mobile learning. While each browser is a bit different, most have some sort of emulation features.

Preview Your Published Responsive Courses

Open the course and right click to access the developer tools (see tutorials below). From there you can access the device emulator to test how the course will respond to different devices or screen resolutions. For example, here’s a responsive e-learning course I published in Rise. I want to see how it responds to other devices after it’s published. Some people scale their browsers to do this, but it makes more sense to use the browser’s feature instead.

Responsive Courses mobile learning demo via Chrome browser

Get the Aspect Ratio of Popular Devices for Responsive Courses

One side benefit is that in Chrome and Firefox they expose the resolutions for different mobile devices. Even if you don’t use the responsive emulators, it’s still an easy way to get the aspect ratios and resolutions of the popular mobile devices. I use these to to set the story size dimensions for my mobile Storyline courses when I build for specific devices.

Responsive Courses mobile learning device aspect ratio

Unfortunately, Microsoft’s Edge is a bit myopic and behind the times as they assume that people only use their devices. Of course, it doesn’t really matter because you can choose the orientation and customize the resolution.

 Responsive Courses mobile learning aspect ratio emulator Edge browser

How to View Responsive Courses Tutorials

Here are some quick tutorials where I go through this feature in the following browsers:

Each browser is a little different, but it is a handy feature to access when building responsive mobile learning. One thing to keep in mind is that what you get via the browser is an emulation and may not be an exact representation of how your course will really behave, but for the most part it should be fine.


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

Upcoming E-Learning Events

2018
 

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.

Image already added

The Future of E-Learning

future of learning technologies

Here’s an excerpt from a recent presentation on the future of learning technology.

I went to school to be a video producer. Right after I graduated, the video industry changed from analog to digital. At the time digital video technology was cutting-edge and super expensive. And I was stuck in a job with an organization that had no money, so I felt that everything was was passing me by and I’d never catch up.

I see a lot of the same things in our industry today. So much is changing and it’s hard to keep up. It can be quite stressful.

We’ll look at some emerging technologies and how they impact our jobs and then how it really impacts you.

E-Learning Democratized

future of learning technologies e-learning democratized

A few years back, it was expensive to build e-learning courses. That changed with the PowerPoint-to-Flash tools like Articulate Studio. Those tools let all organizations into the e-learning world and made it possible to bring course content to the masses.

Over time, the tools evolved as we went from PowerPoint to Storyline.

E-Learning Made Easy

e-learning made easy future of learning technologies

It took a lot to build web pages a few years back. Now you have sites like Wix where you can build a pretty sophisticated site in minutes. The same thing is happening with e-learning. Look at how easy it is to build a course in Rise.

There are the naysayers who complain about this. I actually had someone tell me that we should limit access to the software to only people with the training to build courses. That may have worked in the Soviet Union, but I prefer a less elitist approach. Give them the tools and then help them learn to use them better is a more charitable approach.

Besides, organizations will always opt for quicker, cheaper delivery (especially when most of their courses are explainer-type content).

Virtual Reality is Virtually Here

One emerging technology is virtual reality (VR). When done right it can create truly immersive experiences. I’ve seen some really cool demos and it’s definitely going to create opportunities for different ways to learn.

With that said, many of the virtual reality demos I see are simple 360° videos with clickable hotspots. They’re not much more than labeled graphics. There is a novelty to them, but it seems like a lot of work to create video labeled graphics. Not sure how much more valuable they are than static images once you get past the novelty of viewing them.

future of learning technologies virtual reality made real

The real value in virtual reality is being able to interact with the environment and not just move around and click for information, like in the images above where you work in a simulated dental office.

The reality (that’s not virtual) is that building an immersive virtual environment is cost prohibitive for most organizations. Until the costs to produce come way down, for most organizations virtual reality will be a pipe dream.

Augmented Reality is a More Affordable Reality

With augmented reality (AR) a lot of the cost of production is reduced. Instead of trying to create a virtual world, we augment the real world with additional content and experiences.

future of learning technologies augmented reality in the real world

Ikea and other sites allows us to put furniture in real rooms to see how it will fit.

future of learning technologies augmented reality to translate content

We can use our phones to translate content in real time or learn what’s around us.

future of learning technologies augmented reality to train new skills

And we can learn new things, just in time at our point of need.

If you want to play around with augmented reality, check out HP Reveal and learn more about what some of the tech leaders are doing:

The Technology That Will Really Change Your Job

Virtual and augmented realities are cool and obviously have a role in our industry, but the technologies that will really change your jobs are artificial intelligence (AI) and big data.

future of learning technologies chatbots to deliver training

future of learning technologies automated response

Most of what drives e-learning is compliance and regulatory training. Often, we’re just rehashing content that already exists someplace else. Soon, that’ll all be automated. Organizations will be able to pull custom content together to meet the needs of its learners. They’ll be able to create chatbots and other tools to push what you need when you need it. This emerging technology will create articles, documentation, guided instruction, and probably even videos. In that world there won’t be much need for instructional designers.

While it’s exciting to see and anticipate these emerging technologies, it does induce a bit of stress. Can we keep up? Will we be out of work?

I’ll leave you with this one thought.

Twenty-five years ago when I created custom presentations using Harvard Graphics (pre PowerPoint) I thought that one day people will know how easy this is and I’ll be out of work. Today, close to three decades later, not much has changed. Sure we’ve got a lot of cool technologies and all of that. But the presentations and the courses are still mostly the same quality (for good or bad).

So take heart in knowing that you’re part of an exciting industry with emerging technology, but don’t fear being out of work anytime soon.


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

Upcoming E-Learning Events

2018
 

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.

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The Role of Today’s Trainer

role of today's trainer

The other day I was at Costco about to buy something. But before I made the purchase, I got online to do some research….right there in the store. I learned enough to make an informed decision. In fact, I was so “informed” that I was able to provide some assistance to another shopper. Despite all of that, I’m no expert on the product, but I am expert enough to meet my own needs.

And this is the world our learners live in, as well. As they have a learning need, they can access what they need when they need it because technology has changed the role of today’s trainer (or at least part of it).

At the start of my career in training, most of the content required to learn wasn’t always easily obtained. Thus it did require some research, meetings with subject matter experts, and a formal training plan to build and deliver training. Otherwise, those on the other end wouldn’t be able to access what they needed.

Today, a lot of that has changed. With the Internet, we have access to all sorts of information. And we can get it at the time we need it. Gone are the days for much of the formal training we used to build. They took too long to build and deliver. And often were hard to maintain.

Does it mean there’s no need for trainers? No! But it does mean the role is a bit different.

I like to think the new trainer has two areas of focus to ensure the training mission is complete:

  • Structured training
  • Convenient training

The Role of the Structured Trainer

the role of trainer structured

I see this as more of the traditional role of trainer where you meet with content owners, understand their needs, and put together a training plan. It’s designed to create a specific learning experience to meet a specific goal.

There’s a lot of value in a formal training process. A well-designed training plan can speed up the time to learn and mitigate potential issues. For example, many people have access to content, but it doesn’t mean the content is vetted or compliant with the organization’s needs.

On top of that, compliance and regulatory training often has to have specific content and be delivered a certain way. In those cases, the structure is important.

The Role of the Convenient Trainer

role of trainer convenient

This is where most people are. They have needs, they research them, and then do something with what they’ve learned. Does it means they’ve become experts? No. But it does mean they’ve gotten enough to do what they need to do.

So what’s your role in this world?

  • Curate content. Just because we can find information doesn’t mean it’s always relevant. And it takes time to find it. The trainer is a conduit to the content expert. Curate important information and make it easily available to those who need it.
  • Build a network of learners. A community is built around a shared interest and desire to grow in expertise. Find ways to connect learners so they can communicate, share, and learn from each other.
  • Keep it informal. This is usually where it breaks down. Organizations (and trainers) want structure and control. Thus, it’s hard to let things flow without imposing a bunch of organizational mumbo jumbo.

There’s a place for formal, structured training (see above) and there’s a place to keep it more organic. Organic allows people to choose the content that best serves their needs.

The two roles aren’t an either-or proposition. It’s not one way over the other. It’s just the reality that formal training doesn’t always have to be the plan. And a good training initiative builds on the informal aspects of learning and sees its trainers as part community managers who bring content and people together.


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

Upcoming E-Learning Events

2018
 

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.

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Understanding Today’s Empowered Learners

To quote the famous bumper sticker, “Learning Happens!”

I use that quote all the time with the entry-level instructional designers I train. It’s a reminder that people learn regardless of the training plans we put in place. And often they learn despite them.

Learning is innate to being human. It’s part of our nature and we’re never in a mode where we’re not learning something. It doesn’t mean that we always learn the right things or make the right adjustments to what we learn, but we are in a continual process of learning.

In that sense, learning hasn’t changed much over the years.

Training Today Versus Yesterday

What has changed is how we acquire and use content to learn. In the past, training teams (or the content owners) controlled access to most of the content. In a sense, they were the knowledge brokers. They organized content into “training” and provided “certification.”

Learners Today

Today, it’s a bit different. Learners are empowered in ways they weren’t a few years ago.

  • The Internet (and internal networks) make it easier to catalog and find content.
  • Online communities connect peers who can extend the one person’s realm of expertise.
  • What they find, they can save, curate, and share with their community of learners.
  • Mobile devices mean people can access content at a point of interest or need. It gives them information at the right time, and often at the right place.
  • There’s an app for everything (or so it seems). And in the same vein, there’s a YouTube video for everything, too. Thus, you may not gain a deep understanding of the content, but you generally can get a functional understanding.
  • Do you need to be a certified expert? Seems people are more inclined to become micro experts with their fingertip learning.

Trainers Today

What can today’s trainer do to respond to these changes?

  • Focus less on formal training programs that tend to be too long and provide more content than is needed.
  • Lean more on bite-sized learning modules that are chunked to focus on single objectives.
  • Learn from online tech and marketing. They track people and know what to deliver and when. I’m not a big fan of online ads, but I will have to say I’m always impressed with the ads that Facebook serves. Usually, they are things that interest me. The same with when I travel. Google knows where I’m at and serves up relevant information, often before I need it. Seems that training could implement similar ideas.
  • Build a community and let it be organic. There’s a place for formal training. But there’s also a place for learning communities where people can curate and share. And they can do that with little formal oversight.
  • There’s still a need to vet content, but what’s vetted can be packaged differently in formats more flexible to meeting real needs.

The reality is that people learn. And they don’t always depend on what we put in front of them. In fact, often they learn faster than we can teach. Are we adjusting to the needs or still relying on an old-school model?

How are you addressing the changes in our industry?


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

Upcoming E-Learning Events

2018
 

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.

Image already added