Let’s be honest, have we not dozed off during a boring PowerPoint presentation? What was wrong with the presentation? In my earlier blog, I had shared how CONTENT and the PRESENTER are very important for the success of a PowerPoint presentation. Now, if either the content or the presenter is not up to the mark, it would only be a sleep-inducing session. Don’t you agree?
Now, if we were to convert a presentation into an eLearning course where the PRESENTER is absent and the CONTENT lacks depth on its own, we need to have a well-defined strategy to supplement the value-addition provided by a Presenter in a classroom situation.
So, how do we go about creating an eLearning course from the PowerPoint deck? Here are some guidelines.
Step 1: Understand and assign a Learning Objective for the course.
One cannot blindly start off converting a PPT into an eLearning course. The first question that one needs to ask is – What is the learning objective of the course? What are learners supposed to know on completing the course? Typically, you will have one broader objective that is achieved through smaller learning goals. It would be a good idea to list down all these learning goals and this will help you get one with the next step.
Step 2: Analyze your PowerPoint presentation.
Once you have fixed your learning objective, you know what content will be useful to learners in attaining those goals. Online learners have a short attention span. Therefore, you need to divide your content into small learning bites categorizing them under different learning objectives. If there is too much information on a slide, you need to divide it into multiple sections – main topic with sub-topics. If there is content in the notes pane that could be a valuable resource to help you evaluate the flow of the onscreen content. You may also need to see if there are any missing links in the content flow and if so, you will need to research and include the missing links to make your course coherent and easily understandable for your learners.
Step 3: Choose an Authoring Tool that meets your criteria.
There are several rapid authoring tools, such as Articulate Presenter, iSpring, Camtasia, which help you convert your PowerPoint slides into eLearning courses. Choose the one that you are comfortable with and fits your budget. However, very often merely having an authoring tool does not suffice as you are required to have other image-editing, videos and audio-editing tools if you want your courses to be engaging and interactive. You could also consider outsourcing this requirement to an external vendor so that you do not get into the hassle of buying licenses for various software programs.
Step 4: Decide on the Learning Interactivities you wish to include in the course.
One way to engage learners in eLearning courses is to include interactivities such as games and puzzles. Additionally, simple click-on tabs, hotspots and slideshows that are usually provided in most rapid authoring tools, would ensure that learners are not passive receptors of information but eager participants who get to interact with the course. One who has mastery over the tools will be able to explore the myriad options inbuilt in them to create amazing interactivities.
Step 5: Create Assessments to evaluate learning outcomes based on learning objectives.
Assessments help learners to review the subject matter that has been shared in the course and evaluate their understanding. It is good to have formative assessments at the end of every topic and a summative assessment at the end of the entire course. Assessments can be designed in the form of multiple choices, drag and drop, fill in the blanks or match the following. Most rapid authoring tools do provide some ready made templates to create them. All you have to do is frame the questions and the answers. However, you should not forget to include a feedback for every right as well as wrong answer. This enables learners to understand the subject matter better.
These simple 5-Step guidelines could ensure that you PowerPoint slides are transformed into an active learning online course. However, what is of paramount importance in making instructionally sound eLearning courses, is the knowledge of learning design principles and the ability to use the tool to the best possible extent. In this context, can this be a one-man show? How successful would an individual be in pulling this off?