Giving Thanks for Built-in Templates
If you have never used activity and game templates before, you might think that having templates available in your course authoring tool might make things “a little bit better”—but in reality, the net effect can be transformational both for you and for your students. Our international course production team typically creates thousands of hours of training per year. What is one of the top things they are thankful for this year? Fabulous templates. In all training, but particularly in online courses, you as an author need to interact regularly with your learners to help keep them alert, focused, and actively exploring your content during the online training. Although most systems allow you to incorporate activities and games created outside of the course-building tool, production is much faster and more efficient when you have templates built directly into the tool. Consider the advantages:
Great for you
- No experience required: Top teachers crave interactive elements in their courses—but may not have the graphic design or programming experience needed to efficiently bring those to life. With easy-to-use built-in tools, that barrier no longer exists.
- Quicker, more flexible course development: With built-in activity and game templates, you can design great interactions pretty much as fast as you can think and type. All your attention can go toward creating great content that supports learning. Even better, once developed, if you put your interaction in front of a focus group and find that it does not quite have the impact you wanted, it’s just as easy to revise it, or replace it with something different. Templates offer plentiful opportunity for fast, low risk, low cost experimentation—allowing you to deliver an optimal experience to your learners while still meeting deadlines and budgets.
- Faster time to market: Sometimes the course creation work you do needs to be accomplished “at the speed of light” to address an immediate problem in the organization, or to latch on to a market opportunity. That does not mean the work has to be flat and PowerPoint-esque. Use templates to achieve instructional goals while optimizing time to market.
- Rapid revisions: There are times when you need to revise your course content—sometimes very quickly if a rule or law changes. With templates, you can do it yourself, immediately—no need to reassemble teams and start up whole processes. Just access the course builder, type the revision, save, and republish. Problem solved.
- Consistent look and feel: Visual consistency can help make your course feel professional and polished. Templates are a great way to quickly achieve this.
- More efficient quality assurance cycles: Built-in e-learning templates can also help minimize the time spent reviewing a course to make sure it is ready for students. Since the template’s interactions have already been thoroughly tested, all you have to review is the content itself.
Great for your students
- Supports Learning: Keeping learners actively engaged in the learning process is critical for their success. As a general benchmark, try to work in an activity every 3-5 slides (5-8 minutes of content). Scaffold up the difficulty of activities as learners progress through the materials and gain mastery. Allow learners to challenge themselves and explore side cases through the meaningful interactions you create.
- Adds Variety: Page after page of the same type of content—even excellent quality content—can begin to lull the learner. Activity templates can help you easily change the pace and alternate periods of passive absorption of information with periods of greater activity during which the learner gets to take concepts out for a spin.
- Prevents Cognitive Overload: People need breaks and the opportunity to allow new ideas and knowledge to soak in. With templates in your course-building toolbox, it is super easy to break content into meaningful chunks, and create opportunities for practice related to those chunks.
With 360training’s free and freemium course creation tools (LCMS), not only can you author great online courses for next to nothing, but can access easy-to-use built-in activity and game templates. Check out our authoring program FAQ page for more information about becoming an author and providing courses to your internal team, selling courses yourself, or selling courses through 360training.com and our network of resellers. Online templates can have you and your team giving thanks—but more importantly, it can help you create engaging, active learning that carries that thankfulness to every student your courses touch. —Shazia Wajid and the 360 Authoring Team