It is the nerd in me, but I like it when I can base decisions on evidence from research. So when I found this study, "What drives a successful eLearning? An Empirical investigation of the critical factors influencing learning satisfaction,” I thought it would be worth reading. Although this study was conducted in an academic environment, there are important lessons for any eLearning designer about what makes eLearning effective.
Pop quiz: How do you ensure that your employees are really absorbing the materials in the training courses you’ve created with Mindflash? Answer: Make a pop quiz.
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
Erik J. Froelich speaks from 12 years experience in developing and implementing training, teaching and learning solutions, administering and supporting corporate research and educational technologies in a variety of sectors. His most recent work includes teaching Information Literacy and Technology at Philadelphia University. Following is an interview with Erik & Bloomfire, a software site geared for easily sharing knowledge and the discussions that surround it.
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