What You Love and Hate About E-Learning

It’s important to know your target audience before you get started on every e-learning project. Different audiences will have individual reactions to course interactions, tone, pace, etc. so catering the course content specifically to their needs is essential. Articulate recently posted an info graphic on what the majority of their learners love and hate about […]

Challenging Yourself to Be a Better Course Developer

It’s easy to fall into the lull of routine, creating multiple courses that deliver different information in the same way. It makes sense, you created a course that worked well once, so why wouldn’t the same formula continue to be effective, right? Unfortunately, falling into this trap of monotony is dangerous to both your own professional growth as well as that of your learners.

When you create courses that are very similar to those you have created in the past, you aren’t growing as a trainer, you’re simply knocking out one project to move on to the next. It’s important to challenge yourself each time you create a new course to do something you haven’t tried before in order to improve your own skills, as well as enhance the course itself. It’s also important to switch up the formula in order to keep the learner engaged. If a learner takes multiple courses that you’ve designed on different topics and they all have the same layout, the same interactions, and the same progression, they’re bound to start finding the courses monotonous and predictable.

So, how do you actually go about innovating your course interactions and diversifying your training skills? By challenging yourself to do new things. There are a variety of ways to do this such as following tutorials, reading relevant blog posts, or even just getting into your e-learning authoring tool of choice and playing around. One excellent resource is a regularly updated series of e-learning design challenges from one of Articulate’s bloggers, David Anderson. The challenges are posted once a week in his blog and range in topics from creating tabbed interactions in Storyline to recording e-learning podcasts. With such a large diversity in the topics covered, you’re bound to find something that will teach you some new techniques.

So what’re you waiting for? Click here to check out David’s weekly e-learning challenges and start growing as an e-learning expert.

Looking for more e-learning resources? We’d be happy to send some your way, just let us know!

Writing Better Scripts

Tips for Writing Better Course Scripts

This past week I was lucky enough to attend the Learning Solutions Conference held here in Orlando, FL. Hundreds of e-learning gurus and service providers from around the world attended to showcase their software and speak about a variety of training related topics. Unfortunately due to the overlapping schedule of many of the sessions, I couldn’t hit all of the ones I would have liked, but luckily many of the presenters made their slide decks available online to check out after the fact.

One of the better slide decks I came across was from Cammy Bean’s ‘Top Tips for Writing Better ELearning Scripts’ session. The presentation covers some important topics to keep in mind when writing content for your courses, be sure to check it out to get some pointers for your next project.


Need help writing the perfect script for your course? Get in touch!

Tips for Recording the Perfect Voice Over

Recording voice overs to correspond with your e-learning course can appear to be a daunting task. From setting up the audio software, to prepping the equipment, to editing the sound clips, there can be a lot of steps that go into getting the perfect voice over. To make things a bit easier, we’ve put together a quintessential list of tips that are sure to make your next recording session a breeze.


Know Your Software

One of the most important steps to take in order to make the recording process smoother is to get comfortable with the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) that you’ll be using during your session. Whether you’re using a professional audio program like Adobe’s Audition or a simple built-in recording software, it’s important to be familiar with the interface as well as the program’s features. Can you record the script on separate tracks or will you have to save them out individually? Does the program offer advanced background noise reduction or will you need complete silence in order to record? It’s important to know the answers to questions like these before the recording session to avoid any hiccups.

Set Up and Test

Another important step is to get set up well ahead of time and make sure all of your equipment is working as intended. Find the best direction to aim the mic in order to avoid background noise (or find a new location if it’s too noisy!), set preliminary audio levels for the expected speaking volume, and make sure the equipment is communicating with the software. Nothing is worse than having the talent show up only to run into technical difficulties that could have been solved beforehand.

Practice Makes Perfect

Having the talent (or yourself, if you’re recording your own voice overs) run through the script a few times before they even get to the recording session can make a huge difference. It will make them more comfortable with the cadence, the points of emphasis (make sure to clearly outline any important areas), and will help them add meaning to the script. This will also give them a chance to contact you with any questions they have about the text before they are reading it live, which can save a lot of time during the recording process.

Mic Check

Before having the talent take a stab at a perfect run through, have them read the script a couple of times into the mic to make sure the audio levels are set correctly. Make sure that there isn’t any peaking (when the audio levels hit 0db) and that it sounds natural without any drop-offs or pops (a pop filter can be very helpful with this). Keep in mind that you may need to account for the fact that people tend to get a bit louder when reading the script ‘for real’.

The More the Merrier

It’s always better to have more options to choose from when it comes to sound clips, so don’t be afraid to have your talent do a few takes for each part of the script. Even when you’ve done your best to secure a perfect recording location and the take sounded perfect, you’ll often discover a pop, an untimely background noise, or a mispronunciation once you get the audio into your DAW. Because of this, having a couple of extra takes to pull from makes the editing process that much easier, and circumvents the issue of making your talent come in to do a re-take down the road.

Need help getting the perfect voice over? We’re here to help!

Tips for Creating Quality Content

While great design and slick animations can add a lot to a user’s experience with a learning course, content will always reign supreme. Even the most well-designed courses will fall flat if the content doesn’t deliver the key learning points in a way that’s easy for the user to understand. Keeping this focus on high-quality content in mind, here are a few tips that will greatly increase your course’s success:


Focus on Substance

It’s great when you’re able to get on a roll when creating content, furiously covering a multitude of topics in seemingly no time at all. Although, when this happens it’s easy to lose focus of the true goal of the content, which may lead to inconsistencies. Have you made any unsupported assertions? Are there any gaps in the content’s logic? Is the copy relating back to the course objectives that you’ve previously established? It’s essential to ask yourself questions like these during the content creation phase to make sure the copy is substantive and cohesive.

Keep It Simple

Learners place a high premium on their time, and nothing will aggravate them more than taking a course that they feel is wasting it. Content should be simple and broken up into small bits of information that are easy for the learner to digest. Avoid long, run-on sentences and huge walls of text that the learner will feel are a burden to read and remember. The goal is to get your point across in the simplest way possible and your learners will thank you for it.

Back Up Your Facts

It’s often easy to find facts that correlate to the point you’re trying to make in your content, but it’s necessary to ensure that the data is accurate. Using incorrect metrics that are taken from disreputable sources, skewed studies, or worst of all, are not cited at all, can completely ruin your credibility. It’s important to fact check all measurable statements made in your content, and cite your sources when possible.

Spell Check, Spell Check, Spell Check

For a lot of learners, there’s nothing more jarring than finding an obvious spelling mistake or grammatical error in the middle of a course. The presence of grammatical errors will lead users to believe that the course was put together hastily and often discredits the content itself. If you didn’t take the time to spell check the content, why should the learner take the time to read it?

Utilize Multiple Sets of Eyes

They say two heads are better than one, so once you’ve proofread your own content multiple times and you’re sure that there are no issues, get another set of eyes to look through it for you. Odds are good that no matter how perfect you think the it is, your editor will find at least a few errors within the content. Even the most polished writers tend to suffer from content fatigue (where they’ve worked with the copy for so long that they start to miss small details), so it’s always a good idea to have a co-worker take a look before sending off the final version.

The Bottom Line

Content is king, so you want to make sure that yours is always substantive, simple, and free of errors. Keeping these tips in mind the next time you’re creating copy for your course is sure to lead to higher learner satisfaction and a higher retention rate.

Looking for guidance on creating quality content? We’re here to help!

Top 10 E-Learning Statistics for 2013

E-learning has been a hot topic over the past several years, with what seems like exponential growth on an annual basis. With 2013 already almost a week behind us, we wanted to take a moment to have a retrospective look at the e-learning industry over the past year. Here are the top 10 e-learning statistics from 2013, taken from the eLearning – Online Training Software blog:


  1. 77% of American Corporations use some form of online learning. (Certifyme.net)
  2. Corporate training alone is a $200 billion industry. eLearning represents $56.2 billion of this, and will grow to $107 billion by 2015. (Global Industry Analysis)
  3. The US and Europe account for over 70% of the global eLearning industry. However, the fastest growing markets are Vietnam and Malaysia. (Certifyme.net)
  4. eLearning participants learn nearly 5X more material without increasing time spent training. (The Information Daily)
  5. eLearning can help companies boost productivity by 50%. Every $1 spent in eLearning results in $30 of productivity. (IBM)
  6. eLearning is proven to increase knowledge retention by 25% to 60%. (Certifyme.net)
  7. Main business driver for eLearning: 85% of every dollar spent on classroom training is spent delivering it (instructor time, travel, etc). (Shift eLearning)
  8. Nearly 23% of all employees leave their job because there simply aren’t enough training or learning opportunities. However, companies who do offer eLearning and on-the-job training generate about 26% more revenue per employee. (Training Industry)
  9. By 2019 half of all college courses will be taught online. Currently, more than 4.6 million college students are taking at least one course online. (Certifyme.net)
  10. 10. Corporations save 50-70% when they replace instructor-based training with eLearning. (Certifyme.net)

We’re excited to be a part of this growth and hope to see the trend continue within AAA in 2014!

Ready to start your training off on the right foot in 2014? Get in touch to see what we can do for you.

Articulate Replay Free for Storyline Users

As you’ve probably noticed, we’re big advocates of Articulate’s line of rapid e-learning authoring tools. Needless to say, we were pretty pumped when we got wind that they were giving away their newest program, Articulate Replay, to Storyline users for FREE. We’ve gotten to play around with the new program a bit and we’ve discovered that it’s a great and simple way to create training videos.



Articulate Replay is extremely intuitive and allows just about anyone to jump right in and start creating videos with some basic editing tools, animated lower thirds, and picture-in-picture support for your webcam. That said, Replay is a dumbed down video editing program by most standards and will leave more seasoned video editors wanting for features, but for people looking to create some simple training videos quickly, it’s a great tool. Oh, and did we mention they’re giving it away for free?

All you have to do is input some quick info and your Storyline serial code, and Articulate will send you the download link in a matter of seconds. Click here to get your copy.

Have questions about Articulate? Need help with your next training video? Drop us a line!


Presentations – How to Break the Monotony

I’m sure we’ve all sat through our fair share of presentations (for some of us, maybe an unfair share), which are infamous for being a set of show-and-tell PowerPoint slides presented by someone reading the bullet points aloud. While these kinds of presentations can be executed in an interesting and engaging way, more often than not they miss out on the true potential of the content by being too monotonous to get their point across. If the content is a bit bland, the speaker isn’t particularly passionate, or the slides aren’t slickly designed, many people quickly tune out and take a mental vacation to their happy place, only to snap out of it just in time for a forced golf-clap upon the completion of the presentation.

You obviously believe that your content is pretty important if you’re taking the time to present it to a group of people, so how do you set yourself apart from the other umpteen presentations your audience has sat through in their lifetime? You have to break the monotony. You have to close PowerPoint, you have to engage the audience, and you have to make them relate by tapping into their emotions. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.

One way to break this presentation monotony we recently utilized ourselves is through the use of video. We were tasked with creating a presentation for a leadership summit regarding executive presence (basically, the ‘it factor’ that great leaders possess), but we didn’t want people to tune out by presenting them with yet another set of PowerPoint slides. That’s when we decided to put together a video that would grab the audience’s attention, educate them, engage their emotions, and leave a lasting impression.



To do this we kept the content short and sweet, broken up into easily digestible tidbits that hit home with our audience. We also utilized powerful quotes from respected leaders throughout the video (because who has more executive presence than Steve Jobs and Muhammad Ali?). And finally we told a story that everyone can relate to, working through adversity to achieve their dreams, represented metaphorically by a man running up a hill throughout the video.

We feel that all of these aspects came together to create a presentation that not only captivated the audience’s attention by breaking the monotony, but also to provided them with information that they will actually remember and utilize.

Want to talk about some ways to innovate your next presentation? Get in touch!

Job Aids – Learning on Demand

First, let me say that we love e-learning courses. They can be extremely effective and convenient for learners and trainers alike, but sometimes a full-fledged e-learning course isn’t a viable method of teaching something. Sometimes your learners need the info right then-and-there; they need training at their fingertips. This is when it’s ideal to implement the use of job aids.

‘Job aid’ is a wide-ranging term which refers to a supplemental piece of learning that can be accessed on demand, such as while out in the field or while executing a work-related task. These aids can be extremely powerful as their information is only accessed when the user needs it (rather than a user being told they need to know something) and they are generally very ‘to-the-point’. This means learners can get exactly what they need, when they need it, as many times as it takes to retain the information.

Taking the idea of ‘training at your fingertips’ quite literally, we recently designed some hot key stickers for our D3 call centers that are placed on the top of our call handlers’ keyboards. These job aids give call handlers instant access to all of their most-used keyboard hot keys whenever they need them. Over time, seeing and using the hot keys repeatedly will lead to a high retention of the ones which are most important, and if the call handler ever forgets a key combination, the aid is right there to fill in the blanks.

We could have taken more time and developed an extensive ‘Important D3 Hot Keys’ course, presenting all of the necessary hot keys with interactions, diagrams, and quizzes, but it didn’t make sense for our application. We didn’t want this to be something our call handlers looked through once, completed, and forgot. And we knew that due to the fast-paced environment call handlers work in, that opening a large e-learning course and fumbling through slides to find the hot key they needed was out of the question. Thus, in our case, developing a simple, to-the-point job aid was the most effective method of training for both our learners and our budget.

So, the next time you’re gearing up for a full-fledged e-learning course, ask yourself if a full course is necessary, or if the material might be better presented in the form of a job aid. You might just save yourself some time, and your learners some frustration, in the process.

Have an idea for a job aid you want to flesh out? Feel free get in touch to bounce your ideas off us.