Recently, I took on an e-learning design project that had me wanting to refresh my perspective. For this particular project, I did not want to fall into the trap of producing the same old style of e-learning with which I am comfortable. I wanted to enter this project with some fresh ideas. We all get comfortable with what we do and how we do it, and those phases last far too long. For me, the best way to break the spell, is to read a new book, or even an old book as if I were reading it for the first time.
It's indispensable, it's maddening. It's revolutionary, it's boring. It's every training designer's best friend and worst enemy — PowerPoint.
Love it or hate it, PowerPoint is one of the most commonly used tools for corporate trainers. But, as is the case with any such tool, its value lies in how its used. With that in
This post first appeared on Brent Dykes' blog, PowerPoint Ninja.
If you work at a company with more than 100 people, you probably have an official corporate PowerPoint template. If you work in a company with more than 1,000 people, you probably don’t know the designer who created your presentation template. There’s a good chance that the graphic designer who created your PowerPoint template doesn’t use PowerPoint on a regular basis — in fact, they probably detest PowerPoint and never touch the presentation software other than to make sure the template looks okay every time the corporate branding is updated.
One of the biggest challenges online training developers have is that they often have no background in online training. Online training is very different than face-to-face training, yet many classroom trainers inherit the online learning developer role simply because their organization has decided to begin offering online training.
I recently covered an MBA class for a Ph.D colleague of mine. Though the class lesson was to cover global HR, the instructor required that at the beginning of each class, one or two teams of students present an overview of critical concepts from that week’s reading.
So you’ve toiled and fine-tuned and delivered your PowerPoint presentation dozens of times, until it really sings. The good news is that Mindflash allows you to upload it in a snap, and easily share it with your colleagues or trainees instantly.
Photos, sound files and video clips are always great ways to liven up great presentations. For people creating training content, there's an added bonus: adding media also helps boost retention. A few quick examples:
- Photos. A retail clerk needs to categorize items rung up at the point of sale -- photos of the inventory aid in product recognition.
- Video. A health care worker needs to perform a multi-step procedure exactly the same way every time -- a video shows how it's done.
- Audio. Trainees at a call center must provide consistent answers to common questions -- sound clips demonstrate the proper language.
First, a Few Ground Rules
Before adding big media files, think about whether you really need them. Most embedded media increase the computing power required to view the presentation -- often without adding value to the presentation. If your audience is running on older, slower hardware, try keeping media files to a minimum -- pictures might be worth 1000 words, but can just as easily suck up hundreds of megabytes. PowerPoint varies more than most software programs across versions and platforms, so the instructions below are deliberately generalized so as to be applicable to everyone.
1. Adding Images
To create a new slide containing a picture, select the New Slide command from the Insert menu. Some prefer a blank slide pre-formatted for ‘Picture with caption’ (right click to reveal the various slide layout themes), but photos can be added easily to any slide type.
Once you have the correct slide, go to the Insert menu and select Picture (this is a perfect time to use the thumbnail display option for menus). Browse for the image you want, and then select it. The photo may not be the size you want at first; adjust it by grabbing any of the corners and dragging until you’re satisfied. Don’t adjust from the side -- that is, unless squishing the image along one axis is the look you are going for.
Keep resolution consistent by selecting the Compress Pictures command from the Picture Tools format menu. A resolution of 150 dpi (dots per inch) is ideal. Make sure the box labeled “apply to selected pictures only” is unchecked.
Use An Easy Web Imagine Library
I recently stumbled upon Bill Gammell's ebook on marketing lessons learned from Seinfeld. Because of Seinfeld's ongoing pop-culture resonance, I've been mulling over the idea of a Seinfeld-themed post for a while now - but I'd never taken the time to further conceptualize it. Thankfully Bill's ebook demonstrated not only how to make some meaningful connections between Seinfeld and the real world, but how to do so in a way that was surprising and fun. It got me thinking: Are there any meaningful training lessons to be learned from Seinfeld?
I recently shared some insights I've had on the usability of the iPad and walked you through the steps for creating your own iPad/iPhone-inspired app icons in PowerPoint. This post is all about applying the icons and an iPad theme to your online training course.