Are you frustrated by the amount of time it takes to create and modify elearning? If you’re fed up with your lengthy delivery times and cumbersome processes, this article is for you. Steve Penfold shares three ideas on how you can create a nimble elearning team that can react effectively to fast-changing business environments.
The rate at which the business landscape changes today is as rapid as it’s ever been. Global competition, informed customers, ever-changing technology, and a fluctuating economy are all powerful forces that push and pull at business markets, changing them continually.
L&D teams need to be nimble to respond to these changing business needs. But how can you create a quality elearning product in this dynamic environment? Here are three ways to ensure that your L&D team is well placed to respond quickly to changing demand.
1. Extend your L&D team—and use everybody
Your organization is probably chock-full of people who know how to do their jobs well and have tips and stories about the best way to accomplish the tasks they do, i.e., Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). Wouldn’t it be great if all of these SMEs were capable of creating elearning to share their expertise? Wouldn’t you love to include them as part of the L&D development team?
The truth is, you can, and you should. Modern elearning authoring tools, such as Elucidat, give non-technical team members the ability to enter materials (knowledge, tips, anecdotes, etc.) into template-driven interactive screens for online deployment.
The templates in these authoring tools keep content authors on track by providing placeholders for text and images to be entered. Interactivity that may be part of a template, such as a popup text, an image panel, or a drag and drop functionality, can appear automatically as part of that screen template, removing the need for technical expertise.
Empowering SMEs to create content also minimizes production bottlenecks and content errors that can occur in a more segregated and protracted SME/production team development model.
2. Embrace online collaboration
Quick, accurate communication is vital in a nimble development process. Without this, miscommunication (and missed communication) can cause bottlenecks or content errors.
Inbuilt collaboration mechanisms in the form of review and comment panels on each content screen can make for a streamlined review and comment process.
Here are four benefits of inbuilt collaboration in your authoring tool:
- Gives concurrent, online, multi-reviewer access to course deliverables
- Provides a simple way of giving project feedback that everyone uses
- Allows reviewers to see what others have already recommended
- Allows the developer to see what recommendations have been requested and exactly where they should be made (directly inside in the authoring environment)
3. Use the right tools
In addition to using a simple-to-use elearning authoring tool, being nimble comes from leveraging additional tools to help get the job done. I have compiled a list of tools you can use for your elearning projects.
Most tools listed here have free trials and are available for the PC, Mac, or web-based browsers.
Tools for taking screenshots
Sometimes, it’s necessary to show your learners an image of a computer screen or a video of a screen interaction sequence. If you need this functionality, consider these tools.
- Snagit: This is a really powerful tool for screen-capture videos and static screen images.
- PrtScn: If you just want a static image of a computer screen, use your PrtScn keyboard key. Use the Alt + PrtScn key combination to capture the active window rather than the entire desktop. PrtScn copies an image to the Windows clipboard. From there, you can paste it onto a PowerPoint slide and export the slide as a PNG or JPG file.
Tools for designing graphics
Here are some sites to get images and inspiration for your elearning layouts:
- Canva: I like Canva for graphical layout inspiration or making title page-style graphics.
- PowerPoint: Recent versions of PowerPoint have powerful and flexible graphics capability. Here’s one example. The Internet is full of others.
- Free Images: This website can be a source of royalty-free and free images.
- Unsplash: Another source for royalty-free and free photographic images.
- Easelly: If you’re looking for infographic inspiration and a tool to help create them, this is a useful site.
Tools for designing mock-ups
These are useful if you’re looking to design a webpage, user interface, or mobile app-style piece of content. They let you quickly draw a wire-frame (lower detail) design for discussion and idea sharing.
Tools for capturing and editing audio
Audio can be very powerful in elearning, for example to provide your audience with different stakeholder perspectives, provide information via a simulated phone call, or just to provide workplace sound effects to immerse the learner and contextualize the learning.
- Audacity: This is the go-to tool for most non-professional sound recordists.
- Twisted Wave: This is a very simple sound recorder. Its advantage is that it’s web-based, so no downloads or installs.
Tools for editing video
You can use common mobile devices to capture quality video, but trimming or getting the video into a format you can use in your elearning authoring or editing tool can be tricky. These tools can help with this problem.
- Video Cutter: This web-based tool is useful for chopping segments out of a video or trimming it.
- Any Video Converter: This is really useful for converting video and audio from one format to another, perhaps so you can import it into another tool or project that doesn’t support the video’s native format.
The pressure is on your L&D to create elearning faster than ever before. You are also required to make changes and adapt to business needs quickly. By involving more of your team, embracing online collaboration, and using more effective tools, you can give yourself—and your L&D team—the ability to be nimble and meet the challenges that lie ahead.
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