Info and tips for creating effective multimedia training materials

If you need help getting your content into appropriate presentation shape, we have a staff of content professionals to help. Depending upon your needs, we can guide you to be able to create your own content, or we can take your materials and transform them for you.

NOTE: While the information in this section of our site is geared to help you format your materials for the AnywhereEducation publishing and training platform, you'll find that the information here can be helpful to anyone creating a multimedia training presentation.  We encourage you to use this information, and if you find it helpful, please link or point other people here for the resources.


We'll start out with a concise guide that's perfect as a roadmap:

"Guide to Creating Basic Multimedia E-Learning Content"
This FREE download guide you through identifying the various training materials you currently have, and the necessary steps to take to publish your topic as e-learning material.

You'll find helpful TIPS that take you from simple Word documents, to PowerPoint presentations, to finished e-learning movies.

You can download this free guide HERE


TIP: Add personality and authenticity to your training materials.

Consider adding a short, personal, face to face introduction from a spokesperson, model, or the narrator of the materials.
This can be especially powerful if the narrator is the subject matter expert - it personalizes the connection to the training materials.

Even a short 10 to 30 second face to face introduction before diving into hours of intense, focused training can help an audience "connect" to the information source.  Even after such a brief intro, users will be better able to connect to the presenter, and their message.

You can do this inexpensively now with very little equipment.  Many point and shoot cameras now support shooting HD video and are a breeze to operate.  Even an iPhone 4S can now produce a great simple video. 

2 keys to effectively using a small portable camera or phone:

1) Use an external microphone like the AudioTechnica ATR 3350 (note: an inexpensive adapter like this one is required for use on an iPhone) for acceptable audio.

2) Use a tripod to ensure a steady shot - tripod adapters for iPhone are available in the $10-$50 range.  The steady shot will add a lot of professionalism.

With the use of an external microphone and a tripod, viewers will be hard pressed to detect that the video was produced using an iphone or portable camera unit.

Another important consideration here is to keep a clean, simple background environment - don't let your surroundings be more interesting than you as the subject.  If you don't have an appropriately clutter-free space to film in, create your video with a solid green backdrop (even a green bedding sheet or large piece of material tacked up behind you will work)  you can then easily replace the green background with a PowerPoint or Keynote slide or other image using software like Camtasia for Mac.  LINK.

Here is a link to a short and helpful YouTube video with more helpful tips for creating a personal introduction video segment.  LINK

 


TIP: Keynote or PowerPoint as a simple movie authoring tool...

Keynote - Apple's answer to Microsoft PowerPoint, is recognized as a very powerful presentation tool. 
Less known however is that built into Keynote is rather robust support to enable making your presentation directly into a movie.

We recommend that anyone planning to use keynote extensively for training materials take the time to view the Keynote Essentials lessons on Lynda.com

Here is a quick run-through:
Of course there are lots of things you can change, and MANY other ways of making movies from keynote but we'll focus first on the most straight forward method.

1) Prepare your keynote presentation as though it will be used for a live presentation.
    We've found it helpful to have each bullet point one each page appear separately during presentation.
    Apply a transition to each page, even if it is a simple "dissolve" to add professionalism to the presentation.
2) Do a dry-run through the presentation, narrating as you go. 
    This often catches last minute typos and content issues that may throw you off during final presentation.
3) Hook up a quality external microphone to your computer to capture your narration.
4) Next we choose File/Record - this not only records the audio of your narration, it also "remembers" when you tap through each bullet and screen.
5) Finally, we can choose File/Export and choose "QuickTime" (see inset on the right)  and choose to use "recorded timing"
    Also be sure to click the box to "include the slideshow recording" -that will be your narration.

With that, you've created a simple, complete, narrated e-learning movie from your keynote presentation.
Similar functionality with different steps is available in Microsoft's PowerPoint.


TIP: Use "Snagit" to collect and edit compelling images

Snagit from Techsmith is available for both PC and Mac users. LINK
Using this versatile tool, you can "snag" images from the web, and quickly add text "callouts" or arrows, or highlight items, or "blur" out sensitive or irrelivant information. 

Below are two simple samples of Snagit handiwork that illustrate how you can visually make your point clear using the software. 

Each sample here would take under a minute or two to create - even though there are multiple effects in use on each.
(Click the image thumbnail to see full sized)


You can see how clear the annotations are, compared to simple text descriptions.

You'll quickly add a lot of polish and professionalism to your presentations by integrating images captured and marked up in Snagit.


TIP: Record a webinar or online training session
Services like Gotomeeting.com and Webex.com make it very easy to give an online training lesson.  Did you know that you can capture the whole training session and save it as a standard video recording.  You can even edit the sessions to change the length, fix mistakes, or make clarifications.

This can be an excellent way to build valuable video content for your training library very quickly. 

If your company already gives online presentations, or perhaps even sells access to webinars, consider publishing the recorded content in AnywhereEducation for an additional revenue stream from your existing content - your customers will love the ease of purchase, delivery,  and consumption.

NOTE: WebEx and most other web conference providers also  have recording capability.  Be sure to check with each about how they store their recordings and what formats you can export them as.  Most use their own proprietary format.  This can sometimes require several extra steps before you can re-use the content.  if you are already using one of these as a conference or webinar provider there is probably no reason to switch, you should just be aware that you may need to convert the stored files one or more times to get the movie into a standard format before it can be reused.
 


TIP: Use a consistent theme throughout your videos
Keeping a theme throughout a series of training videos is helpful to keep your audience oriented.  Viewers know what to expect, know where to look for certain information, and the whole package "feels" like it belongs together.   This is especially important when more than one person is creating or contributing to content.

Elements to consider matching for a more professional overall effect:

  • Most important items to keep the same:
    • Background image and any logos
    • Intro sequence - the first few seconds of each lesson
    • Font face, font color, font sizes
    • Intro or background music (if used)
    • The format of your lessons... for example: outline what we will learn, give the lesson, then recap what was learned etc.
  • Other elements to consider:
    • Pick a single transition style or a small set of a couple transitions
    • Use a consistent color for text callouts and annotations like boxes and arrows.