How to convert a boring PPT presentation into a rapid learning course

Hey everyone, I know I haven’t posted a lot those last weeks. I’ve been very busy with LMS duties and rapid learning design. So I’d like to share my work on this last part.

I spent a few weeks reviewing the existing training material we currently have in my company, and I found a lot of PPT presentation that was used during induction sessions, or also directly published on our LMS (so the learner only download a PPT and read it on his computer). One of my mission in my company is to ‘revamp’ the existing courses into nice and instructional rapid learning courses.

I’m talking about rapid learning and not e-learning because the courses I worked on are not complex enough to talk about an elaborated and complex e-learning course. Rapid learning is a kind of simple e-learning course, in general shorter than a classic e-learning course (5 to 10 minutes max). This kind of rapid learning course are, in general, ‘awareness’ training (sometimes close to information). Their goal is to present and introduce a topic, and to make you learn the basics of this topic. The more complex content can be included in another e-learning course, a bit longer and more complex, or sometimes in an attendance-based course.

But the difference with a basic PPT presentation is that we use instructional tools and activities to help the learner understand and remember the content. When you read a PPT presentation, in general it’s boring and you don’t remember the content a lot… in my opinion, PPT presentations can be good to provide information, but not to make you learn something.

In my rapid learning courses, I use:
a voice, for people who remember better what they hear than what they see
texts and pictures, for people who have a visual memory
animations to make text and pictures appear step by step (following the voice), to ensure even the ‘boring’ slides (i.e. without interaction) are captivating a minimum level of attention
quizzes, to make you think about the content – not to evaluate you, but to force you to think about the question, and try to guess the answer, depending on your current knowledge or good sense
activities like ‘complete the definition with the correct words’: same purpose than the quizzes
interactive slides where you have to click buttons or pictures to reveal more information before being able to continue in the course, so the learners don’t stay ‘passive’ in front of the screen

So, I will share a few slides I created with Storyline for a few courses. The slides are cut to keep only the content part, I removed all the ‘template’ part because its our internal template, and I also precise that I only show content about a legal topic (i.e. applicable for all US companies), so nothing confidential about our core business, of course.

An example with a course about the HIPAA law (which regulates the protected health information in the US):

Before: a single slide with a definition.

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After: a very simple activity where you have to complete the definition yourself. Here, you have to drag and drop the key words of the definition in the proper blank. Ad you can see, it’s absolutely not hard, and you even can guess the answer with the size of the labels and of the blanks. It’s OK: I just want the learner to spend a moment thinking, and not only reading.

Another slide with the correct sentence also appears just after the activity, to ensure everyone have the correct information + a voice to read the definition.

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Before: a simple slide with basic information.

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After: no more content, but instead of giving the information, I ask it in a question. Of course, the correct answer is given to everyone just after.

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Before: a slide with the list of penalties you risk if you don’t follow the law.

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After: same content, but with a ‘match’ quiz + the correct answer is given to everyone in the next slide.

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Before: 3 basic slides to detail what is ‘Protected Health Information’ topic by topic.

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After: only one slide with cards you have to click to reveal the details. Very simple to create with triggers which change the states of 3 first shapes (the one you click disappear) + triggers which change the state of 3 new shapes that appear when you click the previous ones + an animation when they appear, so it looks like we turn the cards.

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So, as you can see, it is very basic activities very simple to set in Storyline 2. It’s not complex, the graphic aspect is very limited, but for a very simple topic like introducing the HIPAA law to new HR people and new managers of your company, in my opinion it is enough, and it’s already much better than a PPT presentation! When I arrived in the US to work for my company, I remember my manager registered me to the HIPAA course. It was only the PPT version, and I remember I read it in a few minutes and that’s it. I’m sure I would have enjoyed having a rapid learning course with short quizzes, activities, and a voice to help me remember the content, and especially, to help me not sleep in front of my screen 🙂

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