Newbie... a dilema

Feb 13, 2012

Hi everyone!

I am looking to bring on a new employee in my organization who is new to the world of elearning.

My dilemma is that I have been doing it for so long that I'm not sure what things I should be doing to bring them up to speed as quickly as possible so I can have him creating courses in no time.  *insert old man voice* In my day we only had PowerPoint.

What suggestions do you have for bring a new person into the filed up to speed quickly? I'm looking for them to take their traditional teaching experience, and channel that into elearning.

Any help is appreciate!

9 Replies
Kristen Hull

This might not be what you had in mind, but here's what helped me.

First, a little book learnin'. I enrolled in a certificate program, and while that might not be practical for this employee, maybe they could read a book or two on the subject. Something like "e-Learning and the Science of Instruction" by Richard E. Mayer,by Ruth C. Clark-- it was an easy read and very helpful (I am a classroom trainer, so I needed to understand how eLearning is different).

Secondly, I think having the employee look at some examples would be really helpful. I bookmark examples that are mentioned in these forums (and I could gather a list if you need them). They show me what is possible and get me excited to create my own stuff.

Third, I would have the employee learn how to use the eLearning software. Articulate, I assume? We use Captivate, and I used a handy workbook by Iconlogic that got me up to speed on the product (I didn't have anyone at my company who could show me). At that point, I started to create my own stuff.

Of course, make sure the employee subscribes to Tom's blog and reads it every week!

Natalia Mueller

Corey- An EXCELLENT resource I recommended to newcomers on our team is available right here and FREE. Articulate staff member, David Anderson created a series called Building Better Courses.

The series includes source files for download and takes the learner through all of the major steps of elearning development. Since the source files are included, you are able to practice and execute each step. (Far more effective than just watching a tutorial IMO) 

The series also incorporates current methodologies, ppt tools and, of course, the interactive properties of Articulate studio. 

I notice this is your first post to the Articulate Forums. Are you familiar with all of the resources available here? If not, you will soon discover that you are in the middle of an elearning gold mine.

david stokes

Natalia Spurgin said:

I notice this is your first post to the Articulate Forums. Are you familiar with all of the resources available here? If not, you will soon discover that you are in the middle of an elearning gold mine.

Ditto Natalia's comment above

And as Kristen suggested, I'd suggest showing your colleague as many examples of eLearning content as possible (including the examples here), to raise awareness of what can (and cant) be done.  If you have articulate available, give them some gentle coaching with Engage and they will soon be applying their teaching practices to create content. Possibly reinforce this with a few guidelines of what is and isnt good e-design practice?

Poornima Ramachandran

Hi Corey,

That's a point that all of us ponder. Yes, exploring the Articulate community tops my prescription.

Apart from that, it is also essential that the person is very comfortable with PPT, epecially the stuff that we IDs need to know. I have a list of things that I ask the new comers who join my team to go through. But this is just a tip of the ice berg, but some concrete point for the person to start on...


ü  Getting Started

o   Basic Shapes

o   Color gradient, pattern

o   Flow chart

o   Master slide, Template

o   Align / Distribute

o   Illustration

§  Any work sample

ü  Objects

o   Grouping / ungrouping

o   Microsoft clipart

o   Illustration

§  Objects

ü  Exercise

o   Make a one slide PPT with a creative template. Create a simple flowchart depicting any process flow.

ü  Custom animations

o   Effects available

o   Frequently Used effects

§  Fade

§  Wipe

§  Motion path

o   Slide transition

o   Diagrams

o   Image quality enhancing techniques

o   Illustration

§  Your Samples

o   Hyperlinks

o   Embedding objects

o   Illustration

§  Your Samples

ü  Exercise

o   Create a dynamic yet professional slide, by employing custom animation effects. 

Eric Nalian

I would create some practical exercises.  Give them some small or minor projects and have them rethink how they would normally create the presentation.

For me, the biggest thing that I had to unlearn was that an online course is not a presentation.  With traditional classroom learning, PowerPoint is great for presentations. I had to break my thinking habit of  PowerPoint = Presentations.

Try to make it into a fun game - Create a course that does not have any bulleted lists, or give them other random rules to force them to think differently about how they create presentations.

Melanie Sobie

Hi Corey,

Great question for the community – here’s some thoughts from a newbie.

1.) Transitioning from Classroom Training to ELearning:

I agree wholeheartedly with Kristin's book recommendation: E-Learning and the Science of Instruction by Clark/Mayer.  I read that book last year and loved it. The book was a fabulous e-learning resource for me. In fact it is still on my desk and I’m trying to figure out when I have time to re-read it!  Classroom trainers know about the tools they can use to keep learners engaged while they are in-person in a classroom setting, and this book teaches you about good use of multimedia principles to engage the learner's minds in an online setting.

Another great resource for newbies is the Learning Solutions Magazine website. There are lots of wonderful articles that are specifically written for beginners.

2.) PowerPoint Skills:

Poornima's comments about PowerPoint are very important. You have to start from where you are and then build from there. Does your new staff member have advanced PowerPoint skills? Most of us here take advanced PPT skills for granted. I was speaking to a classroom trainer last year once about how easy it was to take a basic clip art, like a blank sign, and place your own text box over it to create your own customized clip art (which I learned about here of course), and the classroom trainer said to me "What's a text box?". So the things on Poornima's list like how to change a gradient, fill a shape with a picture, be consistent with your use of pictures or clip art throughout a module, or even how to decide when to fill a slide with a photo or not, are important basics you need to make sure the person has before they get too far into developing courses.

When I came into this, I felt I had advanced PPT skills, but yet I still didn't know about master slides. It was only after I built my first course, which ended up to be huge and bloated, that I finally made myself take the time to learn about master slides, understand why they are so important, and put those skills to good use. Up to that point I had only taken time to learn the "fun" stuff!

Animations - be sure to refer a newbie to the list of supported and unsupported PPT animations, and also that slide transitions are not supported. If you come into this knowing and using all these PPT features, you get really confused and waste a lot of time as a newbie trying to figure out why they aren't working in Articulate.

3.) Articulate Basics:

Newbies should learn about the importance of Articulate file organization. How and where Articulate files are saved and not to Save As or move them!

I also recommend these forums and tutorials - but frankly for me - they were very overwhelming when I first got started. Where do you begin?!  Way too much information!  I think I wasted a lot of time in the beginning looking at all the cool stuff I wanted to learn how to do, but not really learning what I should have as a newbie.

I recommend a book called E-Learning Uncovered: Articulate Studio 09, by Tanya Coomes, Diane Elkins & Desiree Ward. It is fabulous! Very organized, very easy and gets you up to speed quickly using the Articulate software features.

Michael Sellers

I would agree with all the above suggestions. That said, I am fairly new to the game and having mentored an intern this year, I would add you need to get them familiar with:

  • Articulate file structures
  • YOUR file structure (pictures here, documents there, naming conventions)
  • Time tables associated with different projects

These sould pretty basic, but if they are not worrying about "am I going to lose this", "where does this go" or "why didn't that save/update", they can relax. It also helps you help them edit without the frustration of looking for "the right" folder or file.

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