Where to get high-quality, low-cost photos for your eLearning projects

While you or your organisation might subscribe to one or several online image libraries such as Getty Images, iStock Photo or even Adobe’s own photo library, in this post I’d like to highlight three low-cost (or even free) photo resources that let you search for and access photos instantly.

  1. Unsplash (https://unsplash.com)

    Unsplash is a well-known photo library that lets you use images for free (and without attribution) for personal, as well as commercial projects. The site lets photographers submit their photos who hope to get further (paid) business due to exposure on the site.

  2. Pexels (https://www.pexels.com)

    Another free photo library that lets you use photos freely without attribution. There is also a sister site called Pexels Videos which gives you access to free video resources.

  3. Death to Stockphoto (https://deathtothestockphoto.com)

    This site also offers photos, which can be downloaded by paying for a subscription. There is a separate subscription for companies/brands and for freelancers.

If there are any other good photo libraries you’d like to share here, post them in the comments!

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Where to find icons for your eLearning projects

Oftentimes using iconography can convey a message better than photos could. But where to find high-quality icon resources that don’t strain your budget? I’ve compiled a brief list of 3 online resources that let you download icons for free or for a moderate fee.

  1. Flaticon (https://www.flaticon.com/)

    Flaticon lets you download single icons, as well as complete icon packs. Icon packs can be very useful if you need several icons for your project and want to ensure consistency (same line weight, style etc.) between icons. The service lets you download icons for free, but you’ll have to give attribution inside your project. Alternatively you can pay for a 1 month or 12 months subscription and don’t have to attribute your source.

  2. The Noun Project (https://thenounproject.com/)

    The Noun Project is a well-known resource in the design world. Here you can also download icons for free (attribution needed) or purchase a license. You also have the option to filter icons by icon designer, so if a designer has uploaded an icon you like, you can easily find icons by the same creator. There is also a free plugin for you to download for Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign, as well as MS Office applications (Word & PowerPoint) applications that let you insert Noun Project icons easily while working in any of these programs.

  3. Icons 8 (https://icons8.com/icons)

    Another great resource is Icons 8. Here you can easily find icons that match up with each other. You can search by style (such as filled or outline icon) colour or category (sports, tech, animals etc.). All icons can be accessed and used free of charge.

If you’ve found other useful resources for cost effective and high-quality icons, feel free to share them below!

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4 Websites to inspire the design of your next eLearning course

When creating the user interface and visual language for an eLearning course, it’s helpful to look for inspiration online. Inspiration doesn’t necessarily have to come from existing eLearning courses, but can come from websites, landing pages, apps and even printed material. In this post I’d like to highlight four websites that let you browse a variety of visual content, save images for further reference and in some instances even showcase your own work.

  1. Dribbble (https://dribbble.com)
    Dribbble is a resource well known in the graphic and digital design world. While originally the platform was meant for uploading a designer’s “work in progress” shots (with the aim of receiving feedback from other participants), it now also features fully fleshed out designs, both for pint and web. As a user you can search by keywords that designers have tagged the work with and browse designs by colour. You can also save an artwork’s colour palette in ACO format to use in your own projects. Just keep in mind that in order to upload your own work (which might be beneficial for your exposure online, especially if you’re a freelancer), you must have a Dribbble account and the platform is per invite only.

  2. Behance (http://behance.net)
    Very similar to Dribble is Behance (owned by Adobe). Here you can also find a variety of different artwork posted by Designers and are able to simply login with your Adobe ID. On the platform you can view artwork curated by Adobe or filter projects by country, colour or creative field (such as UI/UX design, motion graphics etc.). Unfortunately there isn’t a category called instructional or eLearning design, but you can search for specific keywords via the search function. Additionally you can filter by the software used (and enter “Adobe Captivate to see only projects created with the software). Since there is no invite needed to join the platform, anyone can upload their own work if desired.
  3. Pinterest (https://pinterest.com)
    Everyone knows Pinterest. The platform lets you search by keyword, but you’ll have to do some digging through content to find exactly the kind of work you’re looking for. While both platforms mentioned above are solely showing artwork created, Pinterest links to a variety of other content such as infographics or articles. It’s often helpful to look for specific boards contain content from a particular category.
  4. Awwwards (https://www.awwwards.com)
    Awwwards is a site where designers can submit their work for evaluation. A jury assesses each site (for a fee) and the sites selected as being “the best” are then displayed on the Awwards website. What this means for the average user is that he or she can browse through a variety (mostly) high quality sites as a source of inspiration. There are a variety of filters (such as colour, technologies used or category). While, again there’s no “eLearning” category, you can search via the standard search bar on site.

Have you got any favourite sites you go to for inspiration? Share them in the comments!

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A Designer’s First Impression of Adobe Captivate

I don’t have a background in teaching or education (unlike many other participants in this community), but instead have many years of experience working as a designer for advertising agencies and publishers. Most recently I was involved in crafting a interface (UI) for the new eLearning hub of a large Australian university. This project sparked my interested in eLearning design and I decided to take a closer look at Adobe Captivate. Here is my first impression of Adobe Captivate:

User Interface
Being already very familiar with the software of the Adobe Creative Cloud – particularly InDesign, Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator After Effects, Premiere Pro – I was surprised that the user interface seemed to be more closely related to some of the Microsoft applications than other Adobe software. Maybe this is because many educators are more likely to have used Microsoft Word or PowerPoint than Adobe InDesign or Photoshop? Nevertheless the interface seemed to be easy to grasp and necessary tools and commands were easy enough to locate.

Even though it would have been great to have Captivate automatically included in ones Creative Cloud subscription, I believe the monthly subscription price is reasonable enough – especially compared to some of Adobe’s main competitors in the eLearning space…

What I believe is great about Adobe Captivate is that it’s available for both Windows and Macintosh. Unlike some competitors that are only available for Windows machines, Captivate can be downloaded for MacOS. It makes things so much easier, as I don’t have to either buy a cheap Windows laptop just to run my eLearning software or install a Windows emulator on my Mac.

I’ll post another testimonial as soon as I’ve had more time to explore Adobe Captivate.

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