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The E-coach Blog
By Alison Bickford on April 6, 2013
One of the main reasons for having a Learning Management System (LMS) is the reporting function. Reports are used to assess e-learning uptake, Return on investment (ROI) and to justify an LMS upgrade. They are also utilised to provide evidence that a user has completed the training that has been assigned to them.
Compulsory doesn’t mean ‘compulsory’ if there is no consequence
There is no point communicating an e-learn is compulsory to complete if the feedback loop is not acted upon. Run weekly reports, and use the ‘chain of command’ to communicate non-completions. If required, write a policy that clearly articulates what occurs to staff, should compulsory e-learning not be completed.
Failure to act upon non-completions results in weakening the message behind what is considered by the business to be important, mandatory learning. It also creates risk associated with failing to demonstrate that legislated training has occurred.
“There’s something wrong with the system”
Depending upon the maturity of your LMS implementation, and the stability of your IT operating system, there can be times when staff have completed an e-learning module but the system has not registered completion. Under these circumstances, it is important to take a balanced view – a stand of giving the staff member the benefit of the doubt, and of checking to ensure they have understood the topic. Consider asking the staff member questions about the e-learning content. Check their understanding before closing the e-learning course from the ‘back end’ LMS database.
By Alison Bickford on March 23, 2013
Video podcast 33 is the second in a series of five videos exploring the role of change management when implementing a learning technology strategy; such as e-learning courseware, a Learning Management System, webinar, social media or a video platform for performance support. This video examines an organisational perspective to managing change, including corporate, not-for-profit and training provider prespectives.
Why not download this free training resource from iTunes.
Or read the transcript
Or watch the entire free tutorial series on our YouTube Channel (video podcast 33 is embedded below)
By Alison Bickford on March 9, 2013
What I mean is that I want to ensure a person who is new to e-learning:
a) knows what they are getting into from an effort perspective (a topic of many blog posts in the past), and
b) doesn’t think e-learning development is as simple as dumping content into a rapid authoring tool, branding it and sending it out into the world of unsuspecting learners and customers. I want the person who is new to e-learning to understand what quality looks like, and to become knowledgeable and skilled in four key areas.
Understand what quality looks like
It’s important to develop a mental model of what quality looks like, from the perspective of the target audience. Many learners these days are sophisticated consumers of multimedia. They won’t tolerate poor quality. So we need to develop a benchmark, a set of quality parameters. The E-Learning Academy has tools, resources and courses on this very topic.
Become knowledgeable and skilled in 4 key areas
If you are the sponsor of an e-learning project, it is useful to become knowledgeable in four key areas so that you can communicate and work effectively with your e-learning developer. If you are going to develop e-learning yourself, then you need to develop four key skills.
1. E-Learning Instructional Design
This skill is a subset of traditional Instructional Design (ID), because the multimedia aspects of e-learning enable additional instructional techniques compared with paper-based ID. Becoming knowledgeable in e-learning ID allows you to collaboration effectively with your e-learning developer. If you wat to become developer yourself, then be sure to network with others to develop different perspectives on how you can approach content and interactivity.
Tips: Attend workshops. Google e-learning instructional design thought leaders such as Cathy Moore and Nicole White. Get your first module, video or webinar designed and developed by a professional, and repeat the instructional approach for subsequent e-learning of the same series.
2. Visual Design Skills
Hand in hand with e-learning instructional design, visual design is pivotal to creating context, maintaining interest, reducing text burden and reinforcing narration. Additionally, ensuring a clean layout helps learners stay focused.
Tips: Read up on multimedia design, website design and online accessibility. Review online courses with colleagues and discuss your observations.
3. Multimedia Production and Authoring
Authoring tools such as Storyline, Articulate Studio, Captivate and Lectora are relatively easy to use. However, there is a big difference between knowing a tool well enough to get out of trouble, and knowing advanced techniques that really make your content fly. The better you know the tool, the easier it is for you to understand how the features can be maximised to create learning interactivity and visual interest.
Tips: Get training from an expert. Get your first efforts critiqued by an e-learning expert (I’m happy to help here). Get your first module developed by a professional, and repeat the authoring approach for subsequent e-learning of the same series.
4. E-Learning Project Management
Whether you’re working with an internal project team or with an external e-learning provider, projects can quickly unravel. Use project management techniques to scope requirements, monitor deliverables, uncover issues and keep communication transparent.
Tips: E-Learning Academy members have access to specific e-learning project templates which can help you to quickly develop the project governance you need.
Before starting e-learning, be sure to do your homework. Complete and investigation and analysis to ensure your effort will be worth the return. And actively build knowledge and skills in e-learning design, development and management. Don’t be surprised if the early year or two of your strategy becomes all-consuming.
Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment.
By Alison Bickford on March 2, 2013
A well scripted and camera shot video is very powerful for distributing corporate messages and training staff on concepts and processes.
However, training budgets don’t always have the budget for high-end production videos. There are other cost-effective production options that can add value to training, as long as principles of tight scripting and visual interest are maintained.
Option 1: Video production using a smartphone camera or camcorder
Examples uses include vox-pops, monologues from experts, Q&A interviews and capturing repeatable skills and other manual processes. I have written about how I produce my YouTube video series in an earlier blog post; How I make my video podcasts.
Option 2: Video production using PowerPoint (PPT)
I use Camtasia Studio for PC. It’s purpose built software, easy to use, relatively inexpensive and well supported by the company, Techsmith. Camtasia can be used straight from a PPT ribbon add-in. The Notes section of the PPT can be imported as captions to support WGEA accessibility. The narration can be recorded at the same time as recording the PPT animation.
For a more polished outcome with better editing control, I tend to record the narration separately, and save each PPT slides as a JPG prior to producing the video. How I do this is outlined below.
Steps for producing a quality video using PPT and Camtasia
1. Decide the size of the video: This is important to do up front, as you need to set up the size of the PPT slide to the dimension and size you require when it is saved as a JPG.
- Use PPT Page set-up and choose On-screen Show 16:9. The default size of this page set up is 25.4cm x 14.29cm. This creates a JPG size of 960 x 540 pixels, which is adequate for a video for web. The usual size for web videos is 800 x 450 pixels.
- If you want to show your video on a big screen, change the page set up to 36cm x 20.25cm. This creates a JPG size of 1360 x 765 pixels which is adequate for a video size of 1280 x 720 pixels.
2. Script the video in PPT: This is an iterative process between creating the PPT visual on screen and the narration, which I write in the notes section of the PPT. The visual effect is important to maintain interest and reinforce the narration key messages.
- I spend a little money purchasing iStock royalty-free pictures. I use enough pictures to ensure the graphics transition frequently, to keep viewer interest. Be sure to purchase the right size iStock photo to suit the size of the video you are creating (refer to the graphic pixel size).
- To create the effect of PPT animation, simply express any build over several screens e.g. PPT screen 1 has the first bullet point, PPT screen 2 has the first and second bullet point, and so on.
3. Record the narration: The Camtasia PPT add-in enables you to narrate in real time to recording the PPT animations and transitions, using the recording software that is native to the PC you are using. This creates a WMA file. However, I prefer to develop higher quality MP4 audio file using Cubase recording software. Try to export the audio file from the recording software as one file. This gives you more control when you begin to edit the video in Camtasia.
4. Import the PPT created JPG files and audio file/s into Camtasia:
- Add the audio file to the timeline, including any opening and closing music
- Add each jpg to the timeline, in synch with teh audio file narration
- Add any call outs effects to emphasise key points etc
- Add captions, if required
- Add transitions (if required – I usually avoid transitions)
5. Export the finished work to video format: (e.g. WMV, MP4), choosing the file size you require.
- If you require two file sizes, you will need to export the first video and then save the Camtasia file as another version. Then, adjust any call outs to suit new pixel size of the second video.
For the video series on how to use Camtasia, go to Camtasia Studio 8 tutorial video series.
For an example of what a Camtasia video can look like, using the more simply produced PPT add-in, view our Connect Thinking E-Learning Academy Introduction video.
Remember, Camtasia can also create video screencasts for software training.
If you have a question about this process, fee free to leave a comment and I will respond.