Creating Accessible Learning Materials – Microsoft PowerPoint

Welcome back! In Creating Accessible Learning Materials – Microsoft Word, I outlined some ways you can format your Microsoft Word documents to be more accessible. By maintaining the alt text, color contrast, and using the accessibility checker, your document should be accessible to anyone who needs it.

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Creating Accessible Learning Materials – Microsoft Word

Our team has been infusing accessibility into our process for a while. In the blog series, “Formatting eLearning Documents,” former team member Wendy detailed how to effectively format documents in Microsoft Word and take full advantage of its features. I intend to add to that resource with my own article series, with a specific focus on accessibility. 

In “Creating Accessible Learning Materials,” I’ll explore a few ways accessibility practices can be implemented when creating content in Microsoft Office. Today, I’ll focus on Word and briefly cover some useful tips to improve the documents you share. 

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Looking Through a Learning Tool

There is a spectrum of opinion about online learning, inclusive of two polar opposite sides in the discussion: it’s either new and exciting and every course should be online, or it is a scary new technology that destroys the personal communication essential for a “good class”. As I consider this debate, something that both groups should realize is that it’s easy to fall into the trap of defining instruction through the use of a tool, rather than realizing there is an inherent separation between the instruction and the tool. Today I’ll explore the differences and how this separation impacts our design. 

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Engage Learners with Instructional GIFs

You can’t really go anywhere on the internet without running into the ubiquitous animated GIF (graphical interchange format). Originating in 1987, GIFs shaped—and grew—with the internet in the following 30+ years (for those who missed the 90s or want to reminisce, the Internet Archive created a search for early GIFs).

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What Makes a Good Informational Video?

As instructional designers, we try to use the best tool for the task when communicating with a learner. Video is a great format for conveying information, but how do you know if it’s done well?

This week, we’ll hear from our summer student worker, Kyle Winchell. Kyle is a Digital Media Broadcasting major and editor of Spring Arbor University’s weekly chapel video, Almost Chapel. After graduation he plans to fill various roles for local film productions, specifically in the roles of director of photography and production assistant.

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Managing your Digital Toolbox

In the past I’ve talked about how it’s important to not let efficiency get in the way of trying to master a new skill or tool. Today, I want to expand on that a little bit and argue that sometimes, leaning too much into monetary efficiency is bad.

Yeah. Sometimes you just gotta spend money.

I’m not saying be frivolous. But rather try not to get locked into design patters solely by financial concerns. Let me explain.

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Why Deep Learning Will Change Instructional Design

If you’re like me, you may not have noticed the quantum leaps in technology over the past four years. Technology is so omnipresent in our lives we’re often not aware of some of the profound changes going on around us—until something draws our attention to it.

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Formatting eLearning Documents: Table That Thought

We have a love/hate relationship with tables. On the one hand, tables organize information, especially when you need to make a side-by-side comparison or display data. On the other hand, it’s easy to get a little table-slap-happy, creating a choppy document that is difficult to view or read and is especially difficult for a screen reader. And let’s not even talk about the potential accessibility nightmare.

A table is a good option if you need to display dates, lists, or side-by-side information. Tables help us avoid using the Tab button, which can cause screen reader navigation problems. However, too much information or too many columns and rows are difficult to view and read in a table. So, it is best to revise your content or find a way to avoid using a table.

There are times when a table is the cleanest way to present the information, but a poorly formatted table is also difficult to distinguish visually. So, let me share some best practices for formatting tables in eLearning.

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Staying Relevant with Tech Trends While Meeting the Needs of Future Students

June 2018 marked my seventh year in the eLearning/Instructional Design field. In September 2018 I became a full time Instructional Designer. You would think that after seven years, I’d have all the knowledge, skills, and tools I need to do my job well.

Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’m still learning.

Recently, I’ve been exploring and learning about the next generation of learners: Generation (Gen) Z.

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Choosing the Right Tool to Design Interactive Scenarios

Have you ever had an idea you knew was good but didn’t truly understand the work involved until you began laboring to make it a reality?

This happened to me when I started changing one of the assignments in my history class into a branching scenario. Continue reading “Choosing the Right Tool to Design Interactive Scenarios”