So many tools, so little time!
The Training, Learning, and Development Community (TLDC) hosted an eLearning Tools Summit last week to showcase different eLearning tools. All 12 sessions were packed with tips and tricks to enhance successful learning experiences.
Some themes throughout the summit were to:
- know your learners
- know the learning objectives
- ensure that the design supports learner success
Let’s dive into an overview of the sessions, which centered around effectively using tools to enhance learning.
Jayne Davids started the summit off with a fabulous session on what Camtasia has to offer when making video tutorials. She explained using Camtasia for screen captures, software tutorials, and marketing videos. Camtasia is a wonderful resource for breaking down and editing webinars into manageable bite-sized pieces using markers with a table of contents. Jayne showed her time-saving tricks for themes and templates. Once these are set up, the fun of editing can begin.
Joseph Suarez showed us how OBS Studio can be used for screen recording and live streaming for trainings. The software does have a learning curve, but it could enhance virtual trainings by adding content and live streaming chats right in the presentation. He demonstrated how to use it in Zoom, and it was very impressive. The tool is free and can be used with other virtual platforms as well.
Joseph suggested an overview step-by-step tutorial by Kevin Stratvert to get started with OBS.
Learning Vyond is next on my list of tools. Chrisanna Paxton McMillin provided her five favorite tips and tricks to save time and effort. She walked us through how to organize assets and customize characters and templates. Once all these are in place, adding them to the project is super simple. For example, Chrisanna showed how holding the shift key can adjust images quickly.
After the characters and the overall theme of the video are in place, all the fun starts with creating the animations. One of the biggest takeaways was being able to add your own images, audio, fonts, and other videos.
Tools for Scenario and Game Development
Jonathon Rock shared his gaming courses created for refresher compliance trainings. He shared that gaming is great for reinforcing skills already taught, refreshing knowledge, and making information memorable. Jonathon showed us how to use a slider for the character to move throughout a scene in Articulate Storyline. He explained using the states, triggers, and variables for the interactions. If you’d like to learn how to use gaming for your eLearning courses, this session is a must.
Have you thought about using rule-based Chatbots in a course? A rule-based Chatbot is when the user picks from available options rather than entering open-ended text. Christy Tucker showed us another fabulous way to use Twine. Together, we created an interactive tax prep scenario Chatbot.
Joe Ganci discussed why and how to use branching scenarios for an adventure game. Branching scenarios get the learner involved in making real-life decisions. This can have a stronger impact on the learning experience. While Christy uses Twine to map out eLearning scenarios, Joe explained how he uses mind-mapping tools to lay it all out. Joe used MindMeister during the session; however, he shared resources for more options.
Have you ever thought about using Articulate Rise for a presentation instead of your traditional PowerPoint? Lisa Crockett used a Rise course for her presentation and explained how to use innovative content blocks to get the learners involved and engaged. She had the participants actively working in the Rise course with interactive polls using StrawPoll and answering questions with Padlet. She shared many resources on adding color, gifs, and videos. Lisa’s session was very impressive with resources provided for taking Rise to the next level.
Nic Floro presented some amazing apps to enhance the learning experience. All I can say is WOW! This is one session you will not want to miss. In fact, I already rewatched it. Nic explained how he uses his tablet, a green screen, and apps during presentations and virtual meetings. Some of the tools are free while others have monthly or yearly subscriptions. Nic provided a link with all the resources.
How organized are you? After watching this session, I realized I needed a better way to organize my projects and all the articles I want to read. If this sounds like you, Bublup is the organization tool you need. Leigh Ann Morgan described herself as an “organizational nerd” and needed a tool to keep everything together. She said Bublup is like having Evernote, Pinterest, and Dropbox all in one. It can be linked to your phone, so when you find a cool article to read later, you can add it to one of the folders. Leigh Ann walked us through setting up a project demo, explaining the features Bublup has to offer. Oh, by the way, it’s free!
I wish I would have known about Canva years ago. Devin Torres took us on her journey using Canva. She explained using it for graphing and how it integrates with Google Sheets. Another feature is how you can collaborate and share projects with others. Devin truly loves how Canva can be used on the go with her phone. She demonstrated creating a quick reference sheet in the matter of minutes. Canva is free too!
The last session for the two days was Bridget Manley showing how to use PowerPoint for job aids and videos. She walked us through how to customize colors, fonts, and templates. Bridget highly recommended the keyboard shortcuts and basic photo editing. She also gave tips for saving PowerPoint as a video. The session was an eye-opener for me to see how PowerPoint can be used differently.
Why should we use microlearning? When should we use microlearning? These are two questions Jason Gulya answered during his session. Microlearning breaks content into smaller chunks so learners can retain the information better. It’s short and to the point. If you haven’t built microlearning yet, 7Taps is an easy, fun, and creative way to get started. Jason walked us through how to create a 7Taps course with magic links.
A recurring theme was using a mixture of eLearning tools to develop blended learning. The sessions were examples of taking the different tools and blending them together for a unique learner experience.
I am still on information overload from this inspiring summit. Being a new instructional designer, I want to learn it all. I highly recommend watching (and in some cases, rewatching) these sessions.
If you registered for the eLearning Tools Summit, you already have access to the replays through your unique event link. But if you missed it, don’t worry. This post will be updated when the recordings are available on TLDC’s website.
After attending any conference, I always take one or two new things and try them out. I downloaded and started using Bublup immediately. My second takeaway is to create a Vyond video. I encourage you to explore the list of eLearning tools below and choose two of them to try out!
The following resources were shared throughout the summit.
- 7Taps: Microlearning development tool (free version available)
- Articulate Rise: Responsive eLearning authoring tool (part of Articulate 360; free trial available)
- Articulate Storyline: eLearning authoring tool (part of Articulate 360; free trial available)
- Bublup: Organization, creativity, and productivity app (free version available)
- Camtasia: Video production and editing tool (free trial available)
- Canva: Easy design tool (free version available)
- GIMP: Image editor (free and open source)
- MindMeister: Collaborative mind mapping tool (free version available)
- OBS Studio: Video recording and live streaming software (free and open source)
- Open Game Art: Artwork for games (free, but check license terms)
- Padlet: Productivity and collaboration app (free version available)
- PowerPoint: Presentation software
- Presenter Media: PowerPoint templates and media
- Removebg: Tool for removing backgrounds from images (free)
- StrawPoll: Polling tool (free)
- Twine: Tool for creating branching scenarios and other interactive, nonlinear stories (free and open source)
- Vyond: Online animation software (free trial available)
- 7Taps Course Example from Jason Gulya
- Apps & Resources from Nic Floro
- Building a Branching Scenario or Adventure Game slides from Joe Ganci’s presentation
- How I Build a Chat Simulation in 2 Hours by Christy Tucker
- How to Use OBS for Screen Recording or Streaming: Beginner Tutorial by Kevin Stratvert
- Humble games, ebooks, software, and other digital content
- Rise—Thinking Outside the “Block” resources from Lisa Crockett