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5 Shortcuts to Effective E-Learning

253947_2193.jpgThe other day I sat down to work on some new course content and ran straight into a solid brick wall.  It didn’t matter what I tried, my mind was a complete blank and words were simply not making their way onto the page in any way shape form or fashion.

Normally this wouldn’t be much more than a simple irritation but on this particular day it was giving me cause to panic.

Why?  Because I had all of 48 hours to build this course and my participants weren’t really going to care one way or another about my teacher’s block.

Any of this sound familiar?  I’m guessing it might.  See, no matter how prepared we are, we all have those moments when nothing seems to be working yet the clock just keeps ticking away.

Really its enough to make a person go stark raving mad.

So today I am going to talk about a few tips that can help you out even in those dark moments that none of us want to think about.   These little tidbits have saved my skin a time or two and they are tricks that every E-Learning professional should have in their arsenal.

Here are my 5 Shortcuts to Effective E-Learning:

1.  Don’t Be Afraid to Pre-Build Content

I’m not saying that you should use the same presentation time and time again, BUT if you are teaching a similar course then don’t be afraid to recycle things that work.  Or, pre-build stock presentations for topics that you use often.  Then when you get that last minute call you have content on hand that you can piece together for a new course.

Personally I have several small groups of slides dedicated to specific concepts or ideas.  None of them are long enough to cover a whole course, but when I hit that topic I can pull in the slides I need without having to start from scratch every single time.

On a side note, don’t let your stock content get stagnant.  I always find myself tweaking and changing just about every time I pull these slides out in an attempt to keep my material both fresh and relevant.

2.436214_79037420.jpg  Learn How to Tell a Good Story

Now, this is a topic that I am going to explore in greater detail very soon, but it also fits here.  The reality is that people relate to stories.  They remember them and they generally remember the information they were related to.  Plus, telling a story is quick and easy.  It is a great attention getter and can prove invaluable when it comes to retention.

In short, stories can help your participants connect the materiel they are learning to everyday life.  Ever seen a PowerPoint slide that can do that?  Not sure that I have.

See why this is such a valuable tool?  Learning how to tell a good story is one of the easiest ways to add interest and depth to your E-Learning initiatives.  Plus, they can save you amazing amounts of time when the clock is ticking.

3.  Buy a Thesaurus

Do you ever struggle with words?  Ever write the same thing over and over again as you fight to covey just the right meaning?  Yep…me too.  The problem is that we all get into ruts.  Not only with our day to day lives, but also with words that we use.  Most of the time our standard vocabulary is perfectly acceptable, but there are others when the same old vernacular just won’t cut it.

Want to cut through the tedium?  Buy a thesaurus.  Or, since your handy dandy computer comes stocked with one right in your word processor, use it!

You’ll find the words that you need and have the power to get your point across in half the time.
40794_1637.jpg4.  Become a PowerPoint Guru

In the world of E-Learning, PowerPoint is a tool that you cannot afford to ignore.  Sure, there are plenty of discussions about the good and evil of this program, but the reality is that it is the most commonly used E-Learning format across the board.  So if you want to save time then you need to make a point to learn this program inside and out.

We have utilities that convert Powerpoint into our Weblearning LMS, as well as to our slidepoint.net platform, and there are numerous utilities that will convert them to Flash as well – all mean you can easily get your Powerpoints online.

Become the guru and learn all the little tips and tricks that will save you hours, if not days, in the future.

Let me give you a quick example of what I’m talking about, only substitute Microsoft Word for PowerPoint.  I was once called on to edit a very detailed book, one that collaborated the work of 14 different individuals into one single text.  My single biggest hurdle in this project was fighting the formatting from each contributor into one cohesive document.  It was an absolute nightmare that I literally fought for WEEKS!

Here’s the thing.  If I had truly known my Microsoft Word, the headache would have been non-existent.   The difference?  Simply choosing to”Paste Special” rather than “Paste,” and go for the “Unformatted Text” option.  This one small change would have made all the difference in the world and it was my own lack of knowledge that held me back.

So know your tools.  You’ll be glad that you do!

5.  Build Yourself a Template

Templates are pretty useful little gems if I do say so myself.  They give you a framework to go by and can save you from having to start from scratch each and every time.  Now, they come in many forms.  Maybe you will create a question and answer template to help you organize the information for your course.  Or, maybe you will create a PowerPoint template to help you create a course of a certain length or one that fits into a specific time slot.  Either way, doing a small amount of work upfront can end up saving you untold amounts of time in the long run.

Which of these tips will be the most valuable to you?  Only time will tell, but I hope that you will try them out and maybe even share a few of your own along the way.

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The Atrixware Weblearning LMS is a powerful, budget-friendly, easy-to-use Online E-Learning System for authoring, managing, and tracking online learning presentations and tests. You can read the brochure, or to try it FREE, go to the Weblearning E-Learning System Sign-up Form.

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