Online learning involves creating online presentations in various formats. Most instructional designers take the safer route – PowerPoint or a tool that produces the “PowerPoint effect”. Learners get tired, and so do instructional designers, by looking at the same monotonous slideshow. In this article, we divulge some fresh tips on giving life to your online presentations – all tried and tested!
Presenting online content in an engaging manner is critical to the success of the eLearning course. This process requires a great deal of creativity in terms of planning as well as visual design. In order to create an unforgettable eLearning experience, you need to think outside the “PowerPoint – box”.
Engage through Interactivity – like online presentations!
The more interactive your online presentation is, the more effective it will be. The question is, how do we integrate interactivity in eLearning? How much is enough and what factors create the “too much” effect?
To be honest, if you stick to the learning goals when creating interactive content, you can never have the “too much” effect. Plan out storylines using scenarios, eLearning games, and drag and drop interactions. Create navigation systems that are easy to use and have alternative methods to reach a certain point of your course.
The more your learners interact with your content the more they will get engaged and achieve their learning goals. Do you know what top instructional designers are doing to hold the attention of their learners? Add a thought-provoking question towards the end of the presentation. This encourages your learners to reply back as soon as possible, engaging their peers in the process.
What’s the quickest route of transferring knowledge from the working memory to the long-term memory? Simple – use metaphors. Metaphors create a visual image of a relatively abstract concept, making it easier to understand.
When learners compare a new concept to something they are familiar with, they develop interest in it. Their curiosity is piqued and they want to investigate the concept further. This is a natural “hunt and seek” knowledge gathering behavior in humans, triggered by a good metaphor. Bring your online presentations to life by using stock images that are unusual and attention-grabbing.
Stories and Fables
The power of stories and hypothetical situations continues to captivate us since we first believed in a good Christmas story! Turn boring material into an interesting novella where characters claim their solutions through the decisions made by the learner.
Research the background of your subject matter, build a storyline around it, develop your characters, and let them narrate the facts. A good story is the one which is believable, which your learners can relate with and something that connects their learning to their work-context.
You cannot go wrong with music. Create the desired tone for your scenario with the right music track. Get your learners emotionally involved in the scenario. Use the music in accordance with copyright laws.
A word of advice here: provide a mute button for those who can do without the music!
Add a Video
Very few eLearning courses and online presentations can be successful without integrating videos. Compare a good video with a static presentation. Optimize the effectiveness of your online presentation by adding relevant videos.
Bear in mind, too many videos will drown your content. Make sure the videos you include are brief. Reserve the longer videos for extra resources.
Another great way to enhance online presentations is to include a video of the instructor. Develop your own eLearning videos, in which you teach some of the content, instead of your eLearners reading it. Instructor videos have proven to improve course retention rates.
Bulleted lists “kill” attention spans! Replace those horrendous dots with meaningful images or icons that represent the content. This enables you to create a visual appeal for your content. Beware of low resolution and cheesy images!
Animations can be very disruptive if used incorrectly. Use tasteful animations at intervals to demonstrate main ideas or complex topics in an easier way.
Animations can create the “entertainment factor” in your online presentations that lead to improved learner engagement. Be careful, don’t over-use animations, as they can easily overwhelm your learners.
Use humor that inspires and motivates. Avoid humor that targets certain groups, behaviors or habits. Adding humor is a risk – you never know what may offend your learner. Try adding small doses of humor to entertain as well as help the learner connect with the material.
With more and more software freely available to create online presentations, eLearning program development has become challenging. This is becausee learners now prefer dramatic multimedia in their learning environments. With the aid of these tips, you should be able to improve your online presentations and create satisfying eLearning programs.