Tom Kuhlmann is VP, Community for Articulate, where he manages the Articulate user community. He also writes the Rapid E-Learning Blog which is published weekly to over 80,000 readers. Tom has developed and managed e-learning courses for both large and small organizations. He’s passionate about learning technology and his core focus is on helping people succeed and grow. He is known throughout the industry for his practical, no-nonsense approaches to e-learning. He’s also a frequent speaker at ASTD and e-learning industry events. He has a Master’s in Education Technology from Pepperdine.
In this conversation, Tom discusses how PowerPoint users can start using Articulate tools to create e-learning content.
Geetesh: What exactly is e-learning, and how is the concept similar to the slide-based metaphor of programs such as PowerPoint?
Tom: E-learning can mean many things depending on the audience. For some, it’s anything that’s online and focused on learning. That’s a pretty broad definition and can range from authoring applications like Articulate’s Rapid Elearning Studio to collaborative social media applications like wikis and forums. In my part of the industry, it means more traditional type training courses that have transitioned from classroom content to online courses.
Years ago, authoring such a course required a host of people like instructional designers, graphic artists, and programmers. Then rapid elearning came to be. Now many of the tools use PowerPoint as the authoring platform. This allows non-programmers to fully leverage the fantastic authoring capabilities available in PowerPoint and then publish to Flash and create viable elearning courses usually much faster than in the past and at a better price.
Geetesh: How can PowerPoint users or those with a huge amount of PowerPoint content move up to e-learning using Articulate products?
Tom: Essentially tools like Articulate Presenter have put the power of course creation into the hands of those close to the expertise and knowledge. I like to think that we’ve democratized elearning. It creates opportunities for those who in the past didn’t have access to build courses because of the cost associated with custom Flash development. If you can work in PowerPoint, then you can build and publish elearning courses. Which gets us to the heart of what probably interests your readers most.
Articulate Presenter is going to convert what you create in PowerPoint to an interactive elearning course. The more you know about PowerPoint, the more successful you can be. This is exciting on a few levels. Anyone now has access to take their classroom content and convert that to elearning. And for those who are PowerPoint superstars, there’s a new industry looking for your skills.
One challenge with this easy authoring is that publishing courses isn’t the same as publishing good courses. Building a good course requires combining PowerPoint skills with sound instructional and visual design. Another challenge is that PowerPoint has a few constraints. The cool thing is that with the Articulate Rapid E-Learning Studio, we address them. We include additional applications to augment the development of interactive elearning. The studio includes Quizmaker for building quizzes and Engage to build learning interactions. They’re both form-based tools so you just need to add the content and the tools will build it out on publish.
The combination of combining PowerPoint with these other tools lets you build some pretty dynamic e-learning courses. Here are some links that show examples of PowerPoint-based e-learning: