4 Principles of Painless Presentation Design

“I’m just not creative!” I often hear this when I sit down with a client to work on presentation design. It reflects a common belief that design is solely about aesthetics. Aesthetics is definitely a component of design (and is one of Rams’ principles of good design). But good design is not restricted to those with artistic talent. Good design can be achieved by most of us, simply by following well-established, objective design principles.

When we use good design in presentations (or documents, brochures, and other materials), we make it easier for our audience to comprehend our message. So good design is really important!  Read more

Tips for Great Elearning Audio

This blog post was originally created for an elearning challenge on the Articulate community site that asked designers to share information on creating audio for elearning courses.

Have you ever taken an online training course and the audio was terrible? If so, you probably realize that bad sound is not only annoying, but gets in the way of learning. It’s hard to keep attention focused when there are long pauses, background noises, and other audio problems.

When creating online training, it’s a challenge to do audio well. People make entire careers out of doing voiceover work! For this reason, in my earlier days of elearning development I tended to keep things text-based and excluded narration. However, we know from research in cognition that audio narration and animation together lead to better learning (see Richard Mayer’s work on multimedia learning). So, I started to wade into creating voiceovers for elearning projects myself.

Here are some tips based on my experience to date. Read more

A Model to Support Self-Directed Learning Online

More and more, organizations are looking for online alternatives to training courses for staff. Online courses exist in a variety of professions. Online conferences and webinar series are widely available.

The Good and the Bad of Self-Directed Learning Online

There are well-known advantages to self-directed online learning. These include:

  • reduced travel cost and time
  • can be taken most any time and any place with an Internet-connected device
  • cost effective! Courses are often reasonably priced relative to real-time training
  • learners can work at their own pace, and repeat content as needed
  • learners have the freedom to explore and to fail without a roomful of peers and an instructor watching

These advantages are compelling and can lead organizations to readily adopt self-directed online learning for staff. But there are downsides worth considering. The big ones include: Read more