Monday, February 28, 2011

The Love at First Sight LOOK - Some Easy Tips to Design Your Course Template

Making the audience fall in love with the module at the first sight is probably every ID’s dream. Converting dry and dowdy text input to a flashy looking module is probably the biggest challenge for us. Let’s explore ways to add more fun to our courses -

Building a Thematic Template
If you are looking for innovative ways of building your module’s make over, you might want to consider a thematic template. A thematic template is a look and feel which complements the content of the module.

For instance, here is a dummy module page that I have created –
The module aims to discuss some eco-friendly ways of life, and this module is built on a `green trail’ theme.



I have given a site trail map at the onset to let the learner know the key learning objects and the approximate time that he/she will have to spend. This way, we get to avoid stereotyped and allergic terms like `Module Objective’, `Time Taken’, `Test’ and `Key areas for discussion’. The `Trail’ theme also sets an adventurous spirit for the module.

Rollicking Themes
If using a thematic color scheme is a clich├ęd idea, then just go for a fresh and good looking template. The advantage of a generic theme is that you may `pre-build’ them (whenever you get free time), and use them to build modules as quick as a wink.

Let’s say our challenge is to build a product demonstration course. I have experimented with a carnival theme to avoid the routine `website-like’ feel. So, the module `ELX Trade Fair’ is a fun filled carnival place to explore and learn the company ELX’s products.

Here is how the opening page looks like –



Each of the items will branch into their respective slides -



This way, our audience will find the experience more refreshing.
Here are four golden tips while building your template in a Power Point (I owe a great deal of gyan to Tom Kuhlman, my e learning guru) –
Rule No. 1 – Use the Slide Master
View > Slide Master
Bingo! Amateur IDs tend to copy paste the slides instead of using the slide master. Using a slide master considerably reduces your file size.

Rule No. 2 – Use Two PPTs
Do not use the power point where you `built’ the template as your project file. This will only add to your project size.
For instance, your `template building file’ will have all the objects as shapes –

Once you are done building it, now open another PPT, and copy the template items and then paste it into a fresh file, as a png image.
Step 1



Step 2 -

Rule No. 3 – Use Place Holders in your Slide Master
Using a place holder allows you to be flexible with the text part.
To insert a place holder, first go to View > Slide Master. Now, select the slide layout -


Now you can insert the place holder –


Rule No. 4 – Master Title Style
If you don’t intent to use a master title in your template, don’t delete it. Instead, move it above the visible area like this – This becomes useful when your project has complex branching scenarios and hyperlinks –

Creativity knows no bounds. We can go as far as we (and our learners) can challenge us. 
(If you would like to use the template for your e learning course, shoot an email to me (Poornima.Ramachandran@fci.com) and I will be glad to share it with you).