If you make a living creating e-Learning and Instructor-led courses, then you need to know about these four tricks and tools that will bolster any learning development initiative. Don’t get me wrong, I know that the real effectiveness of training comes from the “meat” – the planning, content, flow, and so forth… but there’s nothing wrong with a little “seasoning”, and these little gems are sure to do the trick, whether you are creating training for the web or for a workshop.
Resource #1: Royalty Free Pictures at http://SXC.hu
Okay, the URL for this website is pretty strange (I’m not even sure what country “.hu” is for), and in all honesty, I thought this was a scam site when I first saw it in my Google search. But rest assured, it is legit. Stop using the same old images in your training. This site contains a HUGE library of royalty free pictures on pretty much everything. The only catch is that you have to have a free account, but it only takes a couple of seconds to sign-up. After which, you can search for the exact pictures that you want, download them, and insert them into your courses.
Resource #2: Text Message Polling using PollEverywhere.com
This one is great, especially if you are doing live training or workshops. Everyone in your training event has a phone, and everyone grumbles when you ask them to turn it off. Well, this service may make you think twice about having them turn off their phones. Instead of polling the audience by show of hands, you can have them text their response to a special number. During a break, pull up the results and share with the group. It’s a great way to encourage interaction, and participants will love an excuse to use their phone.
Resource #3: QR Code Generator at http://qrcode.kaywa.com/
While we’re on the topic of phones, the third resource is all about QR Codes. You can do a lot of cool things with QR codes (both on the web and in live training). For example, you can insert a QR code during your web based training that pulls up a specific web page, job aid, or whatever your heart desires. Same goes for live training. In the participant manuals, print out a QR code that links to Frequently Asked Questions, or perhaps the Key Takeaways from the training. Now participants will actually physically carry the key takeaways in their pockets 😉
Resource #4: Presentations with http://prezi.com
Let’s be honest, PowerPoint is a little played out and overused. Yes it can be effective, but it has also become the symbol of boring, dry training. This is where Prezi comes into play. Prezi enables you to create visually dynamic presentations without the linear format forced by PowerPoint. It is like candy for the eyes. Your participants will light up when they see your presentation. Prezi doesn’t take a long time to figure out, and you can even import your existing PowerPoint presentations if you’re too afraid to make the complete switch… it doesn’t get much easier than that.
These four resources will go a long way in spicing up your training, but remember to never rely on glittery gimmicks, participants will see right through it. If you have developed a solid storyboard and content, then interjecting some of these resources will just make your training that much more memorable.