Top 10 Free Business Presentation Software Tools For eLearning Professionals

There are a wide range of uses for business presentation software, from creating eLearning tutorials to showcasing online training prototypes. In this article, I’ll highlight the 10 top free business presentation software options that you may want to consider, especially if you are working with a tight Learning & Development budget.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

5 EdTech Tools To Create Exciting Camera Presentations 

Making Camera Presentations Exciting With These 5 EdTech Tools

successful video presentation has a variety of qualities. The voice over or audio should be crisp and clear. The animations for presentation should not be incredibly distracting. The list could go on and on. However, there are many incredible EdTech tools out there to help create these engaging camera presentations that will help you keep your audience's attention.

  1. PowerPoint Online.
    We have all had those incredibly boring PowerPoint presentations. You know, the ones with black text on a simple white background and no photos whatsoever. These presentations often have “blocky” slides - slides with too much text. The presenter is pretty much reading from the presentation! PowerPoint Online allows you to work with others on your team to put together a wonderful PowerPoint. If there’s one person who does really well with making the information clear and concise, they can work on the text while another person works on putting in animations or pictures. A good rule of thumb when working with others for a PowerPoint is to make sure that there is an element of everyone in the presentation.
  2. PowToon.
    Not unlike many sites online, there are two types of membership for this site: Free (or basic) and paid (or premium). The basic membership is free to sign up for and use. There is only one fee that you must pay to access the full site, but a good portion of the site is available via the free account. PowToon does not allow you to work on the same presentation from multiple accounts; however, you can share presentations. Be wary of using this for long presentations - the longest PowToon you can create is five minutes long, whether or not you pay for the account. It's incredibly easy to use, and there are animations free and ready to use when you sign up for free. You get access to about half of the music library and you can upload MP3s if you don't see one that you like. You can also do a voice over, but you must do it in one take.
  3. Prezi.
    If you’ve seen a Prezi presentation, it is worth using. If you have not, there is not enough space to do it justice in this article. You can sign up completely free and get access to hundreds of different templates. These templates allow you to create one of a kind presentations that you can use like a PowerPoint in a video presentation - but more engaging, with less work on your part. You can more easily embed videos than in PowerPoint, and this allows you to be more interactive. There’s no download required to use Prezi. You can easily log in on any computer that has internet access, and then work on your presentation from wherever you are. It'll automatically update on your account, and then you can access the new version from another computer.
  4. ZooBurst.
    This is for the whimsical company. ZooBurst allows you to create pop up books online. You can upload pictures for free to use in your presentations, and you can move them around, change the angles, the shadows, etc. There is a free version, but premium and school licenses for $9.99 monthly or $29.99 yearly, respectively, are available. The premium and school options offer the same benefits. You can have up to ten pages for free and ten books for free.
  5. AuthorSTREAM.
    This tool allows you to upload PowerPoint slides and share them. You can password protect individual presentations, create custom channels, upload videos to YouTube or Vimeo, and share to social media. You can use it on the web or download a desktop app. You can see an analytics report of your presentations, and much more.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

10 Creative Online Presentation Ideas For eLearning Professionals

Online Presentations: 10 Creative Ideas For eLearning Professionals

How you present your eLearning content to your audience is critical. Engaging your learners requires a creative approach to visual design and, more often than not, effective online presentations are creative presentations. Luckily, there are several tools you can use to build your own presentation, such as Prezi, Aurasma, and Powtoon; all you need to do is bring in your fresh ideas. In this article, I´ll share 10 creative ideas for online presentations eLearning professionals may use in order to create an inspiring eLearning product and an unforgettable eLearning experience for their audience.

  1. Engage your audience.
    An online presentation should never be a static activity. On the contrary; the more your audience participates, the more effective it is. Integrate as much interactivity as possible into your online presentation by including scenarios, eLearning games, and drag and drop interactions, always making sure that your navigation system is easy enough to use. Once your learners interact with your eLearning content, their levels of engagement automatically raise. Furthermore, consider leaving a thought-provoking question for the end of your online presentation; if you leave your learners with an interesting question they cannot answer right away, and you make them think about it hours after your online presentation is over, you have done a great job. Make sure, however, that this question will be answered later on in the eLearning course.
  2. Take advantage of metaphors.
    A good metaphor brings an online presentation to life by simplifying a concept and further engaging your learners, as it helps them not only to get your idea instantly, but also leaves a lasting impression in their minds. In other words, by comparing a topic to a situation that your learners already know, you make it relevant, which facilitates the process this information gets transferred into their long-term memory. To incorporate metaphors into your online presentation, think of the point you want to make and use stock images that showcase the comparison. It may take you some time to find the appropriate metaphor, but keep in mind that the more unusual the metaphors you use are, the better they will stand out in the minds of your audience.
  3. Tell a story.
    By integrating stories into your online presentation you can bring your learners to your world. No matter how many facts and figures you need to use for making your point, you can instantly turn boring material into something exciting by sharing a story behind it. Research the background of your subject matter, build a storyline around it, develop your characters, and let them narrate the facts. People love stories; storytelling is one of the best online presentation ideas in order for eLearning professionals to truly capture and engage their audiences, as are all by default more attracted to stories than to abstract ideas.
  4. Add music.
    Adding a soundtrack to your online presentation will truly take it to another level. Music creates emotional responses, as it tells things words cannot express, communicates a feel-good vibe, and instantly connects people. Furthermore, strong melodic hooks become easily memorable, as they grab the attention of your audience and slip the parts of your eLearning content that are surrounded by music into their long-term memory. Just remember to give copyright credit to the composer and obey licensing laws.
  5. Add videos.
    A good video can bring into your online presentation the life that static slides lack. eLearning videos can optimize the effectiveness of your online presentation, as long as you don’t use them too often; a maximum of three short video clips is more than enough. A good idea is to use well known movie clips, as when your learners recognize the material it is easier for them to make connections with the eLearning content presented. Furthermore, you can create and produce your own eLearning videos, so that you can be more focused on your eLearning content and directly communicate your eLearning objectives.
  6. Replace bullet points with powerful images.
    While the adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” is pretty much as cliché as it gets, it is 100% true. Picture superiority effect is not a myth; images communicate concepts faster and more effectively, as they are more likely to be remembered than words, even if these words are only a few and presented as bullet points. But be careful; whether you use stock images or you create your own pictures, you always need to remember that for your visuals to be effective, they must be of high quality and relevant to your eLearning content. Low resolution, cheesy, unrealistic, and irrelevant to your topic images, will not only fail to get your point across, but they will also decrease the effectiveness of you eLearning content, as they can be distracting and confusing. All in all, don’t hesitate to be very selective and take the extra time to find or create aesthetically pleasing images that are directly related to your message.
  7. Use animations.
    Animations don’t just eliminate language barriers; when used properly, they can turn your online presentation into an almost cinematic experience. However, as it happens with images, they simply don’t work if they are distracting. They can easily get irritating, so choose them carefully and don’t overwhelm your online presentation with lots of bells and whistles. Use tasteful animated characters to demonstrate key points and communicate your more complicated topics, and consider implementing a friendly narration to accompany them, in order to increase your learners’ engagement levels.
  8. Include a small dose of humor.
    Using humor in eLearning can be tricky, either because there is a risk for your audience to get carried away as it may overshadow the subject matter, or your audience’s different humor levels may lead to misunderstandings. To make sure that you neither overdo it nor potentially offend any of your learners, add only small doses of humor and keep them inspirational and positive. If you have the slightest doubt that your witty joke could offend someone, leave it out. It may sound complicated to keep balance, but it is definitely worth giving it a try; humor is not only entertaining, but also capable to help your audience instantly relate to your eLearning content.
  9. Include podcasts.
    Adding a podcast can be a very creative idea with respect to online presentations for eLearning. There is a variety of free podcast tools for creating your own cost-effective, approachable, and high quality podcasts. You can use them to incorporate stories, interviews, or even well-crafted open-ended questions. Podcasting, when done right, is a great way to engage your audience, especially its auditory members.
  10. Keep the surprises coming.
    Finally, consider not relying only on tried-and-tested recipes. To use your online presentation for creating a memorable eLearning experience you need to intrigue your audience by keeping the surprises coming. Enrich your message with eLearning tools and ways that your learners are not expecting and you can be certain that your online presentation will stay in your audience’s minds for a long, long, time.

Now that you can take advantage of these creative ideas for online presentations for eLearning, you may be looking for additional ways to bring a creative spark in your eLearning course. Read the article 7 Tips To Use Learners' Creativity In eLearning and explore how you can transform the most tedious subject matter into a unique and memorable eLearning experience.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

5 Free Tools To Make Alternative School Presentations

Free Tools To Make Alternative School Presentations

From this article teachers and schoolchildren will learn how to create a visually great and informative slideshow, which will look stylish and will also capture students’ attention.

School presentations and slideshows are great to transfer knowledge to children’s heads, as kids better react on bright and moving things. There are two types of presentations: the ones with slides and the ones with video-slideshows. Presentations with slides are getting out of date now, as complete video presentations are much more winning and eye-pleasing. Here are 5 free tools to make alternative school presentations. These are the best tools to make your video slideshow more attractive for schoolchildren.

1) Freemake Video Converter
Freemake Video Converter is a great tool in creating slideshows. First of all, it is absolutely free, and then, it possesses all the features to make a well-organised slideshow in a moment or two. The procedure is very simple: you upload pictures to the program and it organizes all the images in the required order, set default transitions and customizable time. You can also add a soundtrack for your presentation. Preview the final version before clicking on “Convert”. The great thing is that Freemake Video Converter makes the outcome file in any format.

makephotoslideshow2So, you can choose the one suiting your purpose: MP4 for playing on iOS device, AVI for high resolution watching and WMV for creating smart files with different language paths, for example.

Freemake-Video-Converter-2-1-0-2_3

Well, Freemake Video Converter is the Windows tool for creating all-in-one slideshows without bothering your head about sophisticated programs.

2) PhotoScape
Photoscape is a free Photoshop-like tool. It will help you make colorful images with required comments on them.

Photoscape

Photoscape is aimed at picture enhancing, photo-editing, and adding effects to images. So, here you can modify brightness, contrast and other photo properties, apply frames and effects, add texts, even make gifs. Apply effects and add texts to create winning images to focus attention on. And it is also free. So, use Photoscape for making great picture-like slides with required effects and words.

3) CollageIt
Use CollageIt to organize your ready pecs into logic sets. Collages are easy to make, so they are suitable for presenting material in a legible way.

CollageIt

For the wide choice of layouts, CollageIt lets you create collages of almost any kind and order. So, after making your images bright and after adding your comments, you are welcome to join them in logic tables with this tool.

4) 1001Freefonts.com
1001Freefonts.com is an online tool for getting free fonts, which can be used for your comments. Here you can try a wide range of letter formats, from Disney to Tatoo ones. Using them  will make your on-photo texts more stylish and memory-capturing, which is also great for students.

1001Freefonts.com

The majority of great fonts are free to download, so you are welcome to install them on your PC and then use them in different programs.

5) Surveyplanet.com
Surveyplanet.com is an online tool for creating polls.

Surveyplanet.com

After slideshow presentation you can check if they digested the information or not. Then use this tool. It will let you create surveys with different answers about the slideshow itself or the data presented in it.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Instructional Presentation Is Just As Important As Instructional Design

The Instructional Presentation

If you’re an instructional designer, you may think your design work is the most important. Seems logical because without good content the course probably won’t be that good. Can a presenter ruin good instructional content? Yes! Think of instances of when a person’s verbal tone could seem genuine and sincere or be sarcastic and uncaring while using the exact the same words (e.g., “ Have a nice day”— As a long time law enforcement trainer these are words we tell new officers to never say when you give a ticket because most people won’t interpret it as sincerity).

Instructional Design is Not Just For E-Learning

When we think instructional design, e-learning might be the first thing people think about. However, instructional design is critical to instructor led training so the material is covered properly and in a logical order. At least that is the desire.

However, the reality is you could have provided a client with your best work but the course gets bad reviews. What happened? A mistake I have seen way too often is the assumption (not by instructional designers of course) that a subject matter expert (SME) is the best person to give the presentation. Sometimes they are, if they have experience as an effective instructor or facilitator. But frequently, that is not the case.

Instructional Design or Instructional Design for Success

As instructional designers, maybe we should also consider investing in our work by providing the client with a “Best Practices” checklist to make sure the goal of the training is met and basic fatal mistakes are not made with the presentation?

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a conference presented by an international organization for two days. It was one of the most painful experiences I ever encountered with professional development training. Having taught and designed training for over 20 years, I am always analyzing training classes or courses that I attend. In this particular conference, the hard copy material and references provided were good but when someone from the Federal Communications Commission who doesn’t normally teach is the best instructor— there is a problem.

So what was wrong with the conference? The content was good but the presentation delivery was bad. The SME’s set the tone and mood of the audience (less people showed up on the second day).

The Obvious is Not Always the Obvious

Some of the following may seem obvious to learning professionals but not necessarily to the client. A few tips can go a long way with the client. We want them to come back to us with more work not complaints on how our material bombed with the audience. Consider the items below as suggestions for your clients. You certainly can come up with more, but these three can have a big impact on the instructional presentation.

  1. The Room Layout
    Position the tables or chairs for attendees so they can see the instructor and audiovisual presentation. Center the audience off of the presentation screens or monitors. The instructor can always move around but the technology or attendees don’t always have the option to move. In this conference, more than half of the audience had to strain their necks trying to look at the material being presented on the screen (Remember it's not always obvious to everyone! The conference I referenced is an organization that does a significant amount of training).
  2. The Presenters
    Just because the presenter knows the subject matter doesn’t mean they will be an effective presenter. Don’t assume that your client understands this concept. Take the time to ask questions about the presenters and suggest to the client to do a dry run with the presenter (like instructional designers do with the iterative design process).
  3. The Technology
    At one time it was socially unacceptable to be on your laptops or phones during a training session. Now for many it has become their way of taking notes. However, it has also become a personal distraction during a training session because people start checking their e-mails, surfing the web or working on other projects (like taking notes for this article). Can we solve this? Not completely but I have seen in other conferences and effective way of dealing with this is by providing download links to all presentation material and not having an open wireless connection in the classroom. Sure some people have personal hotspots and smartphones, but by encouraging participants to sit back and listen to the presentation and not worry about writing everything down (because they will be able to download the material later) the end goal of learning just might happen!

As learning professionals, an instructional designer’s success does not end with the completion of a project. Working with a client on the content and presentation can make the difference on meeting the learner’s expectations and the success of the course.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

6 Tips To Turn Your Presentation Into An Interactive eLearning Course

How To Turn Your Presentation Into An Interactive eLearning Course

The secret to creating successful eLearning experiences is developing an environment that mimics the real world. An eLearning course that encourages learners to make choices that lead to consequences or highlights the real world benefits of the subject matter, through simulations and other interactive elements, is essential to its success. But what do you do if your content is wrapped up in a presentation that you've spent countless hours and resources creating, and now you want to make it more dynamic, engaging, and interactive? The answer is to turn your presentation into an interactive eLearning course.

  1. Choose the right eLearning authoring tool.
    There are a number of eLearning authoring tools that can help eLearning professionals transform presentations into dynamic and interactive eLearning courses. Here are the best eLearning authoring tools that you may want to consider:

    • Lectora 12 is the ultimate eLearning authoring tool for professionals who want to easily turn their presentations into eLearning courses. A remarkably simple, yet exceptionally powerful tool, Lectora 12 makes it easy to create eLearning courses that get results. Or, develop eLearning in the cloud with Lectora Online, perfect for collaboration and teamwork.
    • Elucidat is the fastest way for SMEs and non-technical authors to create engaging, interactive and gamified eLearning. It is a Brandon Hall Award Winning Authoring tool, which provides the building blocks you need to create well designed, and engaging eLearning without having to start from scratch. It is the perfect tool for turning presentation content into interactive eLearning courses.
    • Gomo is a cloud based, award winning e-learning software that allows you to create beautiful multi-device HTML5 courses in minutes. Using their intuitive drag and drop interface to convert PowerPoint presentations into highly interactive courses without programming. Drop in sound, video, animation, quizzes and rich interactivity to engage your learners. Also you can embed third party content from across the Internet, including Twitter feeds, YouTube and Vimeo videos, Google Maps and more. Last but not least, you can deliver your single-source content directly from Gomo to all your devices (including full-screen on smartphones and tablets) as well as desktops and your LMS.
    • Adobe Captivate 8 reimagines the way interactive eLearning is created for a multi-device world. Create multi-screen responsive eLearning without programming. You can use the intuitive UI to transform PowerPoint presentations into engaging eLearning and mLearning using actors, voices, interactions, and quizzes. Also leverage best-in-class HTML5 publishing to deliver any content to mobile devices, the web, desktops, and leading LMSs.
    • Based in PowerPoint, iSpring Suite 7 provides comfortable content authoring right in the familiar PowerPoint interface. Though it's extremely easy to use, the tool is supercharged with a wide range of cool capabilities like adding rich media and characters, creating quizzes and interactions, and much more. After the course is ready, it can be easily published for virtually all browsers, mobile devices and LMSs thanks to the support of a cross-platform content format.
    • With Articulate Storyline 2 you can convert presentations, such as those created in PowerPoint, into interactive eLearning courses that feature rich and immersive multimedia content. Articulate Storyline 2 features a wide range of templates, screen capture tools, and a character library that you can use to design your eLearning course.
  2. Don't be afraid to reorganize the layout.
    After you've chosen the ideal eLearning authoring tool, bear in mind that you don't necessarily have to stick with the existing layout. In fact, you can make the eLearning course more interactive and engaging by merely rearranging the layout and design or by using page layout templates to speed up the eLearning development time. For example, if you have a PowerPoint presentation where the only distinguishing features are bullet points and a handful of stock images, you can change the background, include clickable links to outside resources, or add additional relevant and attention-grabbing graphics to make it more exciting. All by using a simple eLearning template.
  3. Create a branching menu for easy navigation.
    One of the most effective ways to integrate a healthy dose of interactivity into your new eLearning course is to add a menu at the beginning that allows learners to access to various modules quickly. Rather than sticking to the linear structure that virtually all presentations follow, you can now group content based upon ideas or subject matters and separate them into different modules. This also helps to prevent cognitive overload, given that your learners will only have to digest small bits of information at one time, and enables the learners to take control over their own eLearning experience. You can often create these branching menus by simply hyperlinking the modules on the main page.
  4. Use hyperlinks to integrate video into your eLearning course.
    Speaking of hyperlinks, their usefulness doesn't stop with branching menus. In fact, they serve a variety of purposes in interactive eLearning course design. You can even use them to integrate videos into your eLearning course, whether you've created them yourself, use stock video, or you are taking advantage of previously uploaded videos, such as those on YouTube. This gives your learners the chance to expand their knowledge base and explore a topic in depth, without even clicking away from the eLearning course itself.
  5. Integrate characters and audio to make it immersive.
    When you want to turn your presentation into an eLearning course, even something as seemingly insignificant as background audio integration or use of a character  can make a world of difference. To include audio, you can add royalty free music or stock audio into your eLearning course to make it more immersive and entertaining. You can include a character by simply choosing eLearning stock from eLearning Brothers that offer 500,000 high quality stock assets. Turn an eLearning character into a host that helps the learners throughout the eLearning course or offers insight into key subject matters. For example, if there are bullet points within your presentation, why not let a stock image and a character share those important bits of information with the learners through dialogue boxes or audio narratives. The learners can then click on the box if they want to view all of the bulleted information at once or need to refresh their memory about a particular sub-topic. You can also integrate vector stock graphics or infographic that may supersede your design capabilities.
  6. Include stories and scenarios to boost interactivity.
    You can include storiesgame templates, and scenarios into your new eLearning course design. These elements not only make the eLearning course more effective, but more emotionally-centered too. If you currently have a static page within your presentation that delves into a real world example, for instance, you can transform it into an interactive scenario that encourages the learners to make choices and learn about real world consequences based upon the content that you already have. You can also opt to create stories that tie into real world situations or challenges, and then ask your learners questions based upon the story and also include links to videos or virtual lectures that pertain to the subject matter being discussed. This will instantly make your one-dimensional presentation into an amazing and memorable experience for your learners, thanks to the fact that they can connect and interact with the content.

By using these tips you can turn any presentation into an interactive eLearning course that engages, motivates, and excites your learners.

Looking for tips to create effective eLearning Presentations and Slideshows? At the article How To Create Effective eLearning Presentations and Slideshows you will find 10 tips that will help you to effectively create eLearning presentations and slideshows for your learners.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.