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The Ultimate eLearning Development e-book

6 Takeaways
For Creating eLearning Courses Like a Pro

Karla Gutirrez

Karla Gutirrez is the Head of Inbound Marketing and Online Management at Aura Interactiva, creators of SHIFT eLearning. Shes focused on blogging and social media communications in the e-learning industry.


Idea 1: Make e-Learning

Bite Size.... 10
Idea 2: Think Visually....13

Idea 3: Activate Navigation With Exploration Screens............19

Idea 4: Spice-up your e-Learning with games..23 Idea 5: Add Videos..27 Idea 6: Include Scenarios...30 Interactivity Rules...34

In this e-book
We know there's no magic formula you can use to develop a highly interactive eLearning course. But if you want to create outstanding courseware in no time and with no programming skills this e-book will help you! SHIFT is an eLearning development tool that makes it easy for developers to add simple elements of interactivity to courses. Most people live in the world of linear, click-and-read eLearning mainly because thats all the company wants or because they do not know how to make something more interactive. Here, well share some tips and secrets you dont want to miss for the world.

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The Key to e-Learning Success?

Among the key success factors for eLearning include making sure it does not become boring, tired and predictable. Simply presenting content is not enough to create an effective learning experience. Many e-learning courses experience the same mistakes over and over again: They overload learners with too much information, they are too passive too formal, too repetitive and not very involving or challenging the learners. Beating these common mistakes is not difficult at all, actually youll save development time and probably get better results as well. You can use SHIFTs smart templates to develop highly interactive e-learning courses quickly and easily. Youll see how in this e-book!

Remember: e-Learning that looks great enhances learner engagement; it gains attention right from the start. Even though its necessary to keep the learners' attention throughout the entire course, engaging them at the beginning is essential.

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What do businesses need from e-Learning?

Source: Kineo.

Gain learners attention! Commonly just by adding auditory and visual resources, or with relevant data according to students learning needs.

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We must remember that adults still want, need, and can have fun while learning; in fact, it actually enhances it! It is important that we incorporate brainteasers, energizers, and icebreakers into our e-Learning programs.
(Why Your Instructional Techniques Should be Creative and Fun. Langevin Blog. September 4th, 2012)

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The Secret: Keep Learners Coming Back for More

Critical Elements
Challenging: Students must be challenged along the entire course. Learner-centered: Learner is able to make decisions and have control over the learning process.

Trial and error: Target audience is allowed to make mistakes.

Content is RELEVANT to the learners actual job.

Story-telling: Bring the power of stories into your e-Learning courses.

Add emotion: Emotions help make content more interesting and engaging.

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Keep it simple. Keep it Short. Keep it moving.

Its time to change the perception that e-learning is mundane and boring

Success: Developing rich media content. Failure: Simply copying and pasting contents from the traditional media to the digital media.

Gian Zelada
Check out this presentation for More tips and tricks to beat boring e-learning.

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Start by using SHIFTs pre-built, smart interactions they are more than just templates. Start here! Choose a layout that matches your content type and learning needs. You can seamlessly use these templates with scenarios, learning agents, images, and animations to bring your eLearning courses to life. SHIFT Templates are specially designed for you to create powerful, highly interactive courses, easily and quickly.

Its a fact: With the right template, you can stay ahead of the game.
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Keep It Small If it is longer than 15 minutes, cut it up into 15 minute chunks.

Jack Odom Cadence

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Idea 1:

Make e-Learning Bite Size

Its a fact: Learners want quick, bite-size pieces of content to make it easier to progress through a course. As well, organizing and summarizing information is key to grab your learners attention and keep them engaged. Bottom line: breaking content into pieces makes it much easier to digest and to understand.
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Chunking information in e-learning is very important. When information is organized into groups, students can learn content easier. One way you can chunk information is using bullets or checklists. Bullets are a big part of e-learning, and when used correctly, theyre an effective way to chunk content.
Bullets make lists of key points. However, dont include too many bullet lists in your course it can become boring and monotonous. Also, when organizing information in bullets, dont include much text. Ask yourself first if you really need to include all the information. If not, get rid of that extra content. Remember: Less is more.
Chunking refers to the

strategy of breaking down information into bite-sized pieces so the brain can more easily digest new information. The eLearning Coach

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Visually Engaging
The best way to enhance learner motivation is to make sure the courseware you develop looks appealing to the eye.

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Idea 2:

Think visually!

Avoiding text completely is not an effective practice, however, you can replace text overload through different types of visual content: diagrams, infographics, cartoons, animations and powerful images that communicate.

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Using images and graphics in courses can increase learning by 89%

Choosing the right image is a common challenge for e-learning developers. In order to select the best one, consider some factors:

Relevance: Do they add value? Are they relevant to the topic? Using an image that has nothing to do with the content you are displaying will lead to confusion. Avoid decorative graphics. Balance: There must exist balance between text and graphics. Avoid over powering the text with graphics or images. Consistency: Keeping uniformity along the entire courses is key. Specially, dont mix photos and clipart. Choose images that are of similar style, size and quality.

Good images are not easy to find. Besides the classic Shutterstock and iStockPhoto, try Pics4Learning, Fotopedia & Flickrs Creative Commons library

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Other common ways of adding visual interest to an e-Learning course:

Sketches, drawings, diagrams Timelines Charts, tables Icons, symbols Screenshots Photographs Video grabs Animated agents, avatars Maps Infographics

Some ideas on how you can use images creatively:

Use photos to tell a story. Photos with audio interviews. Clickable images that guide to different websites. Give a theme to your course or include a character. Play: What wrong with this picture? Have learners identify potential problems.
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Combine different techniques!

Instead of just using screen with bullets, make your courses more appealing to the learner by adding images too you can do this just by choosing one of SHIFTS smart templates that combines both resources.

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Use Interactive Pictures

Make sure youre keeping your learners engaged using visuals

to help explain ideas, concepts or statements. Remember to use photos that are relevant, and try not to

use more than three to five photos in a single layout.

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View Example Here.

Let Learners Choose

Give them choices of how, when, and where they will do the learning. Make sure each component is bite size and escapable.
Chris Ballinger Palo Alto Medical Foundation

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Idea 3:

Activate Navigation With Exploration Screens

Look for ways to let the learner find information in different ways by clicking around on the screen and finding the information they want. By using SHIFT this can be done by including one of the more than 20 different exploration screens the tool offers. These templates already include buttons, tabs, among other resources, without needing to program anything! So free up the navigation

and let the learners discover the content!

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You need more than Just click and Read!

Make sure you create non-linear environments that allow learners to explore and discover content on the screen. By letting students explore, they have more control over the learning process. Some good ideas:

Allow learners to click on questions to get feedback. View Example

You can use an image and the user navigates by clicking items in the different parts of the car.

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Want to make sure youre keeping your learners ACTIVE? Here are some areas to keep in mind:
Get the learner to pull content: Learners should not be forced go over content that they already know they should be able to access (pull) what they need in order to complete a course. Examples include: case studies, scenarios, or simulations. You must try to create a need for the information. Its time to change your focus from push to pull. Facilitate Exploration: Use Exploration Screens to involve your learners more let them choose something! Above all, make content relevant: Find creative and different ways to place the course content in a context that is relevant to the learner. Remove unnecessary information or content overload so that the learners can remember only what is truly important. Challenge learners: dont make it so easy theyll get bored and leave!

BONUS: Want to find out 25 engaging interactions for eLearning? Click here.
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Think about games as assessments and move away from the nonproductive approach of multiple choice questions
Karl Kapp

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Idea 4:

Spice-up your E-Learning with games

Games are a hot item to include in your eLearning courses!

Using game concepts in eLearning will definitely engage and interest the learner. When learning is fun, people can maintain their interest longer in the topic. Instead of overloading students with content, try presenting the subject as a problem or an activity to the learner and allow him to solve it. Keep in mind that successful learning games seamlessly integrate learning content into the gaming experience.
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Who doesnt love a good game? Instead of re-listing the learning objectives in bulleted list form, or adding a numbered and boring exercise, we encourage you to use learning games. You can also use games to: Help learners review complex information. Let the user practice concepts in a creative format such as Jeopardy-Style games. Close a topic or unit, or in the contrary, to introduce a unit, a great way to activate knowledge. Knowledge checks (Keep the questions simple). Interrupt course material . By adding a game into your course it will let your learners interact and stay engaged in the course.

Get to see one of SHIFTs learning games in action here. Or see some other examples in our blog.

Tools like SHIFT come pre-equipped with handy, enticing games.

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Ingredients that we considered necessary when creating every single game:

Include realistic but safe environments for the user. Demand challenges but also make users satisfied. Have defined objectives for each problem. Entirely interactive. Be fun: they keep people's interest. Effective instructions: clear and concise instructions.
FACT: Students will increase their number of attentive hours and their learning development once a stimulating, challenging goal is set for them to beat.

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Using video in e-Learning courses can be a powerful way for your organization to meet its learning objectives effectively and rapidly.
Learning Solutions Magazine

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Idea 5:

Add Videos

Do you integrate videos in your courses? If your answer is a no Its time to start. They are great ways to boost student engagement and interest. Students can not only grasp content more easily, but also videos complement course material (text and images) and especially deliver how-to instructions or step by step explanations in a better way. Since video plays on almost any device we own they are
also very practical and useful.

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Keep videos short and to the point Use videos for emphasis or reinforce specific content Use actors not real employees Be creative
Make it interactive: If you are making a longer video you pause it in different parts to ask the learner questions. Dont forget: Video is not a substitute for words and/or images Dont overuse video. Always ask yourself is this is the best way to illustrate the learning?

First, ask yourself: but what do we want (or need) to use it for? Use video when:

You want to communicate significant learning points and procedures for visual learners. You want to provide a clear view into specific learning material that goes beyond just text and images. Appeal a variety of learners who can easily understand the skills and techniques that are difficult to explain through words.

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Use scenarios familiar to your audience to capture their attention when creating content.
Carol Barnett PeaceHealth

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Idea 6:

Include Scenarios

Where possible, add scenarios in your courses! That will help learners apply their knowledge in a task-based environment. Users retain information better when they are trained using day-in-the-life of... scenarios. Scenarios are more about getting the learner to connect with (and think through) the information presented in the e-learning course. Scenario-based learning is mainly used in eLearning courses to challenge the learners, to put them in real-life situations, introduce them to common issues, and give them the opportunity to apply what they have learned.

Learn more about SHIFTs powerful Scenario Engine here.

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Some tips to keep in mind when creating eLearning scenarios:

Keep them realistic! Ask yourself: Is this something I would engage with? Be sure to plan your script in advance. Be relevant: create scenarios that really matter to your audience. Keep it simple, short and sharp! Remember: eLearning scenarios dont need to be complicated. Use a simple and powerful authoring tool like SHIFT to create and build interactive eLearning scenarios in just minutes.

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7 reasons why use scenarios:

Contextualization: eLearning scenarios place the student in a context, which facilitates the retention and assimilation of the content.
They give meaning to learning experiences: They show concrete and real actions along with their consequences (both positive and negative), therefore this will have a lasting impact on learners. Motivate, Motivate and Motivate: Students are motivated to learn as they are exposed to actual cases in which they can apply the information they are acquiring. Time to reflect: eLearning scenarios provide the learner time to reflect. As Clive Shepherd says we achieve more when we reflect, observe, explore, experiment and generalize. Add interactivity: They definitely increase the interactivity of your eLearning courses by creating an experiential space. Create a more dynamic environment: They help integrate subject theory and concepts with professional practice. Improve decision making: Using scenarios becomes valuable because they improve the learners ability to make their own decisions in their daily work activities and situations.
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Avoid text-heavy slides. Strive to have the interactivity on every screen to reinforce the content, not just to have the interactivity. Keep each slide brief and to the point. Keep learners active: As soon as your courses puts learners in a passive reading/listening/watching mode, you'll lose them. Be sure to give the learner an opportunity to put what they have learned into action. The sooner you get them to do this, the more likely the learning is going to stick. Do not transform your existing PowerPoint slide into eLearning content.

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Include Trial and Error: If learners fail to successfully complete a level, they must be given another chance. Use the right language (adapt it to the target audience). Add a dose of suspense. Dont give away all content at first. Make learners want to find out more this keeps students motivated. Consistency is key (colors, fonts, characters). Being constant throughout the course will improve the learning experience of your audience. Appeal To Learners! Know your audience. What are they interested in?

Download your eLearning interactivity checklist!

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http://shiftelearning.com/prod uct/demo/
If youre interested in improving your eLearning course creation, adding more interactivity in an easy and powerful way, request a custom demo of the SHIFT eLearning development tool.