Formatting eLearning Documents: Picture This

Images are a great way to add a little life to your document. Microsoft Word makes it especially easy to insert images into a document. But, with great power comes great responsibility, and you should stick with some basic principles when inserting images. If not, they can be overwhelming, hard to see, and difficult for a reader to interpret the relationship of the image to the text.

So, in this post, we’ll explore the basics of inserting and formatting an image and some little extras, like adding alt text to improve the accessibility of your documents.

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Facilitating an online course: Five ways for getting it right

The first online course I developed and facilitated was Fundamentals of Speech. I was determined to get it right, because I had graduated from an online program and understood first-hand the pitfalls and frustrations students go through with a weak facilitator. In the very first week of the course I realized that it takes a lot of work to facilitate well! The second thing I realized was that it was so worth it—and so rewarding.

Since then, I’ve developed and facilitated many online courses, and enjoy being the eLearning certification trainer for new online and blended faculty at Spring Arbor University.

Continue reading “Facilitating an online course: Five ways for getting it right”

Choosing Meaningful Names for your eLearning

Ever save a file with a random name, only to not be able to find it later? If only you’d named it something meaningful! The same can be said for naming your eLearning materials.

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eLearning Feedback: Make it Relevant and Relational

In my series on Keller’s ARCS Model for Motivation, I discussed the important role satisfaction plays in increasing and maintaining a student’s motivation to learn.

Students are satisfied and motivated to improve when teachers provide clear, constructive feedback and affirm and encourage them, both verbally and nonverbally. As classroom environments become more digital and asynchronous, we must find ways to improve instructor and student communication, especially feedback.

In this series, I’ll share practical tips for instructor to learner feedback and learner to learner feedback. We’ll look at tools to help you improve and enhance the feedback experience in online courses. Today we’ll begin with why you should provide constructive feedback.   

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Collaborating on an eLearning Parallel Development

Our university delivers courses in multiple modalities: traditional face-to-face classrooms, online, and also in blended (sometimes called hybrid) learning environments. Some students prefer the structure of meeting in class each week, while others need the flexibility online courses provide. Each modality provides students a way to achieve learning outcomes while addressing different learning needs.

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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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Dear Instructor—Take This Test

The next time you sit down to write a test, to place a quiz in your online course, or send off a test key to your instructional designer, ask YOURSELF some questions:

  • Will the quiz motivate your students?
  • Can you explain why each question is on the test?
  • Are you using your test to promote learning?

Punitive to Positive

Which of those words has a better ring to it? Consider making the quiz a vehicle for delivering a sense of purpose and motivating your students.

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Abandoning Dead End Ideas

A few members of our team (myself included) are preparing to present at the Symposium on Universal Design for Instruction and Learning. We’ve also got course starts, a project list as long as my arm, and new assessment tools we’re implementing in our LMS. And with the holidays fast approaching, needless to say, it’s just a teeny bit busy around here.

Then I discovered I had to write a blog post. Continue reading “Abandoning Dead End Ideas”

Formatting eLearning Documents: Give Me a Break

Let’s continue our Formatting eLearning Documents series with a little discussion on another area that interacts with the Table of Contents (ToC). The ToC depends on Continue reading “Formatting eLearning Documents: Give Me a Break”

5 Things I do when I need Inspiration

Last week, Dave talked about a few strategies for beating design slumps. I thought I’d build on that and chime in with a few specifics—namely some of my favorite places to go for inspiration when I’m stuck. Continue reading “5 Things I do when I need Inspiration”