Elearning today is suffering from standards of the past, from instructional design principles to the tools we use to create the courses.
For years, Articulate has been a juggernaut in the rapid elearning development space. They have nearly perfected their offering making easy (and intuitive) for instructional designers to jump into course creation without having to learn complex systems or technology.
However, as great as Articulate is, sometimes courses created in the program have a negative perception of rehashed PowerPoint presentations.
On many of my consulting arrangements, I was asked to develop elearning using one of two programs: Articulate or Captivate. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but the clients generally preferred Articulate for one reason: it plays nice with Microsoft PowerPoint.
While this is one of Articulate’s greatest strengths, it is also what is holding back creative elearning development.
PowerPoint’s linear progression, slide title design, and bullet points have been way overdone. Simply transposing a PowerPoint format into an online course player isn’t really maximizing the potential of elearning.
To be fair, Articulate Storyline doesn’t necessarily rely upon PowerPoint. There are plenty of options in this tool to help designers create non-PowerPoint looking programs. Still, much of the program does resemble their previous flagship product Articulate Studio.
Ultimately, this tempts instructional designers to revert back to their PowerPoint ways. Not because they are incapable of producing the courses in another fashion, they just don’t have any real reason to. This concept is often perpetuated when companies request that you leverage their previous assets for course development – much of these assets in the form of PowerPoint.
The industry is in desperate need of a new standard. PowerPoint was a fantastic stepping stone – a great way to add familiarity to a relatively new learning medium. However, we are now in a new era, an era where elearning is vastly accepted and utilized by the largest educational and for profit organizations around the globe.
The onus is on us as instructional designers, but also on the companies that create the tools we use to take elearning to version “2.0”, one that builds upon the PowerPoint foundation and pushes us beyond the slide design & progression format.