Close Out the Year with These Free E-Learning Templates

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I received quite a few emails last week about the iPad-inspired template in the post on how to get rid of bullet points. Here’s a link to one I did in for a previous post. I updated the template to give it a different look.

Free E-Learning Template

I opted for a flat design with larger boxes to replace the bullet points. They’ll work better on a touch device. For the demo I used the icons made available by the designers at Icons8.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - tablet PowerPoint template design

See the template in action.

In addition to the free template above, the community team shared a number of free resources this past week.

Get Your Subject Matter Experts to Create Quiz Questions

I like to get my subject matter experts (SME) to do as much of the course development as I can. The one thing I find cumbersome is copying and pasting quiz questions. Fortunately in Articulate Quizmaker ‘13 you can import quiz questions via an Excel spreadsheet.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - Excel quiz form template

Mike Taylor created a SME-friendly template to make this all easier. All they do is complete the form and it populates the template. You can learn more here.

Free PowerPoint Template

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - warehouse safety PowerPoint template

Nicole Legault shares a free PowerPoint template and tips on how to create your own.

Animated Templates for Screencast Videos

Mike Enders offers tips on how to use PowerPoint to create animated templates for your screencast videos. He shares these tips from the perspective of a flipped classroom, but they could just as easily be applied to any screencast training video.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - animated PowerPoint template for screencasting

Click here to see an example of the video.

He also has some tips on using royalty-free audio and a free Google web font. Good stuff. You can download two animated starter templates: blurred background or and chalkboard.

Create a Custom Quiz Feedback Slide

David Anderson shows how to jazz up your quiz feedback with a custom results slide. In his example he uses a gauged meter.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - custom quiz feedback template

Click here to view the example.

You can download the free template and learn more about how to build your own.

Free Tabs Interaction Template

A recent weekly challenge asked you to build a tabs interaction. David built the one below.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - tabs interaction template

Click here to view the tabs interaction.

In this post he shares the free template and explains how to build a tabs interaction.

Not a bad way to close out the year. Hope you all have a great 2014!

Post written by Tom Kuhlmann

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

The post Close Out the Year with These Free E-Learning Templates appeared first on The Rapid eLearning Blog.

Five Sure-Fire Ways to Get Rid of Bullet Points

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - protect yourself from bullet points

I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but bullet points get a lot of bad press. Apparently they contribute to bad courses. Although, I’m not sure they do. I tend to think that poor instructional design leads to bad courses.

There’s a place where bullet points make sense. They help break up information and make it easier to digest. However, we do have a tendency to over inform and thus the complaints about bullet points.

Here are a few tips on how to disguise bullet points. So that you get the value of the bullet point without all of the belly aching.

Convert each bullet point to an individual slide.

Does it matter if you have five bullet points on one screen or five screens with one point each? By breaking the points into separate screens you can focus on a single idea rather than multiple ideas on one screen. This eases cognitive load and can help the learner recall more.

Convert bullet point into labeled graphics.

Find an image appropriate to your content and then instead of bullet points, use labels to present the information. Find a descriptive single word title for the label and then add the bullet point information inside the label when active.

In this example I used the labeled graphic interaction in Engage. Because it’s a form-based authoring tool it’s easy to build yet offers a much more dynamic media experience.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - convert bullet points to interactive labels

Click here to view the labeled graphic.

In fact, you really could convert each bullet point to almost any of the interactions. Here’s an idea that’s a bit novel. Instead of using bullet points use characters and the conversation interaction. 

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - convert bullet points to engaging elearning

Click here to view the conversation interaction.

Keep in mind that it’s best to keep these ideas in context to the course objectives. The wrong information doesn’t become better because it’s interactive or novel.

Convert bullet points to interactive video labels.

This is one of my favorite techniques and works great for procedures or content appropriate to videos. Here’s an example from a previous post on how to create interactive videos.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - convert bullet points to interactive videos

Click here to view the demo.

What I like about this approach is the learner can watch the video, but if at certain points needs more information, she can click on one of the labels (which essentially is the bullet point content). This could even be used to enhance those standard talking head videos where the label bullets augment the lecture.

Convert bullet points to icons or thumbnail images.

Replace the bullet point text with an icon or image that represents the bullet point content. This type of visual connection to content is what makes sites like Pinterest popular. How interesting would the same pages be if they were just lists of links?

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - convert bullet points to graphics and thumbnail images

Below are a couple of ways to enhance the conversion of bullet points to graphics. Place the graphics in a context that is more aesthetically engaging.

Interactive bookshelf. Each shelf could represent the slide; and each book icon a bullet point. If you like the bookshelf idea, you can download the free template from the links below.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - convert bullet points to interactive bookshelf

Click here to view the interactive bookshelf.

Mimic a mobile tablet interface. This is similar to the bookshelf idea, except the bottom shelf could represent each slide. And the icons are the bullet points. Click an icon and open an area to add more content.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - convert bullet points to tablet-like interface

Click here to view the mobile interface demo.

Bullet points aren’t necessarily bad but because there is a lot of negativity around them, it’s a good idea to find other ways to share the same information. How else can you convert the bullet points?

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Community Resources & Tutorials

Post written by Tom Kuhlmann

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

The post Five Sure-Fire Ways to Get Rid of Bullet Points appeared first on The Rapid eLearning Blog.

Announce: Important changes to Adobe Captivate Subscription plan

Dear Adobe Captivate Month-to-Month Subscriber, We sincerely appreciate your continued patronage of Adobe Captivate. We wanted to reach out to you in advance and notify you about some important changes in the product offering expected to come into effect very soon. Starting January 14th 2014, Adobe will no longer offer the month-to-month subscription plan for […]

Net Promoter Score — Maybe Fine for Marketing, Stupid for Training

More and more training departments are considering the use of the Net Promoter Score as a question–or the central question–on their smile sheets.

This is one of the stupidest ideas yet for smile sheets, but I understand the impetus–traditional smile sheets provide poor information. In this blog post I am going to try and put a finely-honed dagger through the heart of this idea.

What is the Net Promoter Score?

Here's what the folks who wrote the book on the Net Promoter Score say it is:

The Net Promoter Score, or NPS®, is based on the fundamental perspective that every company’s customers can be divided into three categories: Promoters, Passives, and Detractors.

By asking one simple question — How likely is it that you would recommend [your company] to a friend or colleague? — you can track these groups and get a clear measure of your company’s performance through your customers’ eyes. Customers respond on a 0-to-10 point rating scale and are categorized as follows:

  • Promoters (score 9-10) are loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and refer others, fueling growth.
  • Passives (score 7-8) are satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who are vulnerable to competitive offerings.
  • Detractors (score 0-6) are unhappy customers who can damage your brand and impede growth through negative word-of-mouth.

To calculate your company’s NPS, take the percentage of customers who are Promoters and subtract the percentage who are Detractors.

So, the NPS is about Customer Perceptions, Right?

Yes, its intended purpose is to measure customer loyalty. It was designed as a marketing tool. It was specifically NOT designed to measure training outcomes. Therefore, we might want to be skeptical before using it.

It kind of makes sense for marketing right? Marketing is all about customer perceptions of a given product, brand, or company? Also, there is evidence–yes, actual evidence–that customers are influenced by others in their purchasing decisions. So again, asking about whether someone might recommend a company or product to another person seems like a reasonable thing to ask.

Of course, just because something seems reasonable, doesn't mean it is. Even for its intended purpose, the Net Promoter Score has a substantial number of critics. See wikipedia for details.

But Why Not for Training?

To measure training with a Net-Promoter approach, we would ask a question like, "How likely is it that you would recommend this training course to a friend or colleague?" 

Some reasonable arguments for why the NPS is stupid as a training metric:

  1. First we should ask, what is the causal pathway that would explain how the Net Promoter Score is a good measure of training effectiveness? We shouldn't willy-nilly take a construct from another field and apply it to our field without having some “theory-of-causality” that supports its likely effectiveness.

    Specifically we should ask whether it is reasonable to assume that a learner's recommendation about a training program tells us SOMETHING important about the effectiveness of that training program? And, for those using the NPS as the central measure of training effectiveness–which sends shivers down my spine–the query than becomes, is it reasonable to assume that a learner's recommendation about a training program tells us EVERYTHING important about the effectiveness of that training program?

    Those who would use the Net Promoter Score for training must have one of the following beliefs:

    • Learners know whether or not training has been effective.
    • Learners know whether their friends/colleagues are likely to have the same beliefs about the effectiveness of training as they themselves have.

    The second belief is not worth much, but it is probably what really happens. It is the first belief that is critical, so we should examine that belief in more depth. Are learners likely to be good judges of training effectiveness?

  2. Scientific evidence demonstrates that learners are not very good at judging their own learning. They have been shown to have many difficulties adequately judging how much they know and how much they’ll be able to remember. For example, learners fail to utilize retrieval practice to support long-term remembering, even though we know this is one of the most powerful learning methods (e.g., Karpicke, Butler, & Roediger, 2009). Learners don’t always overcome their incorrect prior knowledge when reading (Kendeou & van den Broek, 2005). Learners often fail to utilize examples in ways that would foster deeper learning (Renkl, 1997). These are just a few examples of many.
  3. Similarly, two meta-analyses on the potency of traditional smile sheets, which tend to measure the same kind of beliefs as NPS measures, have shown almost no correlation between learner responses and actual learning results (Alliger, Tannenbaum, Bennett, Traver, & Shotland, 1997; Sitzmann, Brown, Casper, Ely, & Zimmerman, 2008).
  4. Similarly, when we assess learning in the training context at the end of learning, several cognitive biases creep in to make learners perform much better than they would perform if they were in a more realistic situation back on the job at a later time (Thalheimer, 2007).
  5. Even if we did somehow prove that NPS was a good measure for training, is there evidence that it is the best measure? Obviously not!
  6. Should it be used as the most important measure. No! As stated in the Science of Training review article from last year: “The researchers [in talking about learning measurement] noted that researchers, authors, and practitioners are increasingly cognizant of the need to adopt a multidimensional perspective on learning [when designing learning measurement approaches].”
    Salas, Tannenbaum, Kraiger, & Smith-Jentsch, 2012).
  7. Finally, we might ask are there better types of questions to ask on our smile sheets? The answer to that is an emphatic YES! Performance-Focused Smile Sheets provide a whole new approach to smile sheet questions. You can learn more by attending my workshop on how to create and deploy these more powerful questions.

The Bottom Line

The Net Promoter Score was designed to measure customer loyalty and is not relevant for training. Indeed, it is likely to give us dangerously misguided information.

When we design courses solely so that learners like the courses, we create learning that doesn't stick, that fails to create long-term remembering, that fails to push for on-the-job application, etc.
Seriously, this is one of the stupidest ideas to come along for learning measurement in a long time. Buyers beware!! Please!

ANNOUNCE: Adobe Captivate 6.0.2 Update with support for OS X Mavericks now Available

A free Mac Only update to Adobe Captivate 6, (Adobe Captivate 6.0.2) is now available for download and installation through the following link; Mavericks users may download the update directly using this link. Mavericks Installation instructions To install the downloaded patch, you must first have Adobe Captivate 6.0.199 OR installed. This update is […]