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The Daily Mindflash

The Mindflash Knowledge Sharing and Online Training Blog

Trina Rimmer

Recent Posts

3 Ways to Introduce the Element of Surprise into Your Online Training

Ever left your wallet at home only to find a long-forgotten $20 bill in your coat pocket - just in time for lunch?  Or, ever pulled up to a highway toll plaza only to discover that the person ahead of you, a stranger, has paid your toll?  These are life’s little moments of surprise and delight – a welcome break from the expected that can transform an ordinary moment into a memorable one.

Yet in training, we tend to regard surprise as a negative element to be “overcome” or “avoided.”  But what would happen if we stopped trying to outfox the element of surprise and started leveraging it to create better training?  Here are some benefits I've experienced from adding a few surprises to my training:

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Visual Design Tip: Finding Font Personality

Like other visual design elements, the right font has the power to grab your audience on an emotional level while reinforcing your message.   But unlike other visual elements such as color scheme, photos, or clip art, which are readily translated from inspiration to application, a stylized font can be harder to replicate and integrate into a design.   Add in a healthy dose of behavioral conditioning from brand management and marketing folks who want everyone using only the approved presentation templates and style guide, and you've got a recipe for a visual plague of 12pt Times New Roman!  So, how can you use fonts to add a little more personality to your training – without breaking all the design rules and regulations? 

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Visual Design Tip: Cut the Clip Art Clutter

What is the training slide below telling you? Okay, so the corporate speak is uninspiring, but I’ll bet it’s the random clip art that’s really speaking to you - and it’s probably screaming “Train wreck!”

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Visual Design Tip: 3 Ways to Use Emphasis in Your Online Training

Emphasis is an important element in graphic design because it’s the way you direct your audience’s attention. Designers know that well-placed emphasis is a powerful tool for making their message sticky, so it only makes sense that we should use emphasis in training design to make our online training sticky.

Unfortunately most online training uses emphasis in very expected ways – with text effects (color, bold, italics, font type, font size, etc.) or with depth through the use of drop-shadows. Overuse of these treatments erodes their impact and puts you AND the trainee into a slide coma. So what can you do to revive your trainee and keep their attention? With a little PowerPoint know-how and some design inspiration it’s actually easier than you might think to add artful emphasis - and visual flair to your next training.

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Take Your Online Training from "Content-Focused" to "Trainee-Friendly"

If you’re like me, you may have found yourself walking away from meetings with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) with tons of content, lots of rules for how to use it, and absolutely NO ideas for turning it into an effective, trainee-friendly course.

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Grabbing Your Trainees with the Right Picture

It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand bullet points, and this is particularly true of training. Training designs are at their most engaging when words AND pictures work together to drive home the message. But when one element is missing or in conflict with the other (see above) you end up with a design disconnect, where message and media compete for the learner’s attention. If you’re a non-designer designer, how can you keep your training from being the next “Death by PowerPoint” anecdote?

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