10 Helpful Tips for Using PowerPoint for E-Learning
We all know that PowerPoint is an amazing tool in the world of E-Learning software. It allows us to connect directly with users, as well as share our message in a wholly unique and fully customizable way. But, as with any tool, there are good ways (and therefore not-so-good ways) to use it.
So today, in hopes of helping you to solve the PowerPoint puzzle, I’d like to share a few tips that have worked for me along the way. Nothing too fancy, just a great place to start when it comes to building presentations of your own!
1. Keep it Simple
Let’s face it…PowerPoint is fun! It’s packed with all of these happy little features that let you make your slides move, bounce and shimmy to the beat of your favorite music.
The problem with this is that all those extras can detract from your message. Users will spend their time focused on the fun instead of the lesson you are trying to teach. Simple slides may seem boring, but they are the best way to deliver a targeted and tailored E-Learning experience.
2. Build an Outline
Effective E-Learning has to have a natural flow, especially when you are using PowerPoint. One slide needs to feed into the next in a way that makes sense to your audience and builds on your message.
The best way to achieve this is to create a simple outline for your presentation before you ever sit down in front of the computer. Doing so will help you keep your message targeted and your audience engaged.
This may seem simple, but it is a complaint that I have seen time and time again. When fonts are too small it can create a few different problems for your audience.
One, it can make your print hard to see, and, two; it can make it difficult to absorb the entire slide in the allotted amount of time.
Remember, while this information is simple and familiar to you, it is brand new to your audience.
Therefore, keep your fonts at a nice, easy to read size and don’t overload your slides. It will make the entire experience both more effective and enjoyable for your users.
4. Be Energetic
This may sound a bit harsh, but if your presentation is boring to you….then it is boring to your users! Work to keep your audience engaged by offering an energetic and engaging presentation rather than just a rote list of facts that they could print off from any number of other sources. You want them to not only remember this lesson, you want them coming back for more.
5. Stay Focused
One of the biggest challenges to giving any type of presentation is staying focused on the topic at hand. Its like a new thought just “pops” into your head mid-sentence, and before you know it, you have followed that string right down a rabbit hole that has nothing to do with the original topic. Now, while this is bad enough in a classroom setting, in E-Learning it can be devastating and impossible to recover from. To combat this reality, build the outline we talked about earlier….and then stick to it!
6. Short and Sweet
Trying to pack too much information into a single message is a rich temptation for the average PowerPoint user. After all, you have your audience’s attention, so why not share everything that you have to say in a single sitting? Because they will not remember it. If your goal is retention, then it is far better to do a series of short lessons, than a single marathon stretch.
7. Have a Clear Goal
Before you sit down to build your presentation, ask yourself one question. Do you know what you want to teach? The answer should be simple. It should be no longer than a sentence. If not, then go back to the drawing board and break things up a bit more. Remember, if you do not have a goal in mind, then how is your audience supposed to follow you?
8. Be Polite
Now, this may seem like one of those “no-brainer” tips, but again, you would not believe the things I have seen! Keep this in mind…with E-Learning, you never know who your end audience is going to be. So, keep it clean. Your message will be both more professional and more effective.
Let’s face it, errors are distracting! Especially ones that jump out at people, like misspelled words or improper use of common words. (Their or There anyone?)
Not only that, but having multiple errors in your presentation is a quick way to reduce your credibility with your audience.
So, as frustrating as it is, take a few extra minutes to go through your work with a fine-tooth comb.
Remove the errors and I can promise that you will increase the effectiveness of your work.
10. Have Fun!
This is a tip that holds true regardless of the topic at hand. If you are having fun with the process, then it will show through in the finished product. You will be more engaged and excited from beginning to end, and your audience will join you in your enthusiasm. And that my friends is a win/win situation all the way around!
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