12 Tips from the Best Minds in E-learning

Here is a brief overview of learning content management and other tips for success from some of the notable eLearning leaders who share tools and industry insights.

1. Flowcharts and Key Questions.

Cathy Moore, a trainer and speaker who has worked with Microsoft and Pfizer, suggests that trainers follow a flowchart to focus on key questions that can save considerable time in the long run. As she says in a recent blog post: “The time that we don’t spend on creating unnecessary training becomes time we can invest on designing much higher quality activities.”

2. Use Action Mapping.

Moore also has long advocated “action mapping,” a tool that offers discipline while helping participants concentrate on the business purposes of projects. It ensures that extraneous information doesn’t get in the way.

3. Access Top Tools.

Jane Hart, founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies, recently updated her Practical Guide to the Top 100 Tools for Learning. It covers spreadsheet, movie making, private collaboration and many other tools, including some that help with learning content management.

4. Keep PowerPoints to 10 Minutes (at least build in a break).

Carmine Gallo, a communications consultant for top brands, advocates keeping PowerPoint presentations to no more than 10 minutes before offering the audience a break. He recently noted that Steve Jobs only needed 10 minutes to explain iTunes at a product launch. But if a presentation must be longer, break it up with such options as a video or interacting with the audience.

5. Pick the Right Social Media Options.

Christopher Pappas, Founder, The eLearning Industry web sites, says it’s best to plan early. When shaping a new course, he says, take the time to understand the students to pin down their preferences and get a feel for which social media they embrace the most.

6. Be Sensitive to How Adults Learn.

Pappas recently outlined the traits of adult learners who he says are results-oriented. “Adult learners are usually practical, resent theory, need information that can be immediately applicable to their professional needs, and generally prefer practical knowledge that will improve their skills, facilitate their work and boost their confidence.”

7. Use a Subtractive Design.

Although there are different options with visual design, the subtractive design process provides the type of focus you may need, according to Connie Malamed, an eLearning, information and visual designer.

Since each eLearning slide or screen should have a singular purpose, a subtractive design strategy often makes sense because it helps keep the message clear and removes distracting elements.

8. Build A Toolbox for Graphic Design.

Malamed suggests taking the time to create a handy toolbox for graphic design projects. In a recent post, she outlines everything from Axure for wireframing to GIMP, a free image editor.

9. Embrace Mobile Learning.

RJ Jacquez, mobile learning analyst and consultant, calls mobile learning (or mLearning) the “biggest computing revolution to date.”  If you’re new to mLearning, he says, you need to spend time with an iPhone or an Android smartphone and interact with the apps and the different user interfaces. Get the details in a post at the E-Learning Council.

10. Don’t Limit Mobile Learning.

Jacquez also said people should keep an open mind about the possibilities of mLearning, which shouldn’t be confined to specific uses like performance support and job aids.

11. Expect More from Authoring Tools.


Craig Weiss, an e-learning analyst and speaker, says it’s surprising that companies within the authoring tool industry often haven’t included some key features, such as screen capturing and recording. But that’s changing and will likely improve among more products.

12. Count on LMS’s to be Flexible

Joe DiDonato, editor-at-large for the Elearning! Magazine Group, says more LMS’s will likely be able to adapt and accommodate companies that decide to move in a new direction. “Adding functionality, changing branding, and the like are now becoming easier.”

The experts’ suggestions can help educators and trainers sort through their many eLearning opportunities and challenges, including how to fully leverage learning content management.