I've recently wrapped up work on my iSpring Suite 10: The Essentials step-by-step book. And as I created eLearning in the iSpring tool, I was struck with just how easy it is to take existing PowerPoint presentations to eLearning.
For those of you who aren't familiar with iSpring Suite, let me fill you in.
It’s likely that you’ve used Microsoft PowerPoint at least a few times. As far as I’m concerned, PowerPoint is an awesome program, and you can easily create visually stunning presentations with the tool. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the presentations created with PowerPoint are not very good. I’m betting that you have seen your fair share of presentations containing too many slides packed with as much text and clipart as possible. There’s often an obnoxious use of colors and fonts. The layouts are predictable and boring. Most of the slides have a main headline, a subhead, a bulleted list, clipart images, and copious amounts of animation (the bullets fly here, there, everywhere. There’s a name for those kinds of presentations: Death by PowerPoint.
When learners are threatened with Death by PowerPoint, most will either avoid the presentation or quickly click from one slide to the next to end the misery as soon as possible. There’s typically little interaction in those deadly presentations beyond clicking forward and back buttons.
Given how PowerPoint gets most of the blame when someone presents a Death by PowerPoint, it’s easy to be a PowerPoint hater. However, I am not a hater. I happen to think that in the hands of a creative person, PowerPoint can be used to develop great presentations. While I love PowerPoint, it cannot be used to create compelling, engaging eLearning—asynchronous training content is available online, 24-hours per day, 7 days per week.
Why can’t you create awesome eLearning with PowerPoint? First, PowerPoint does not feature the kind of interactive tools necessary to engage learners. I know, you can animate anything and everything, and you can add interactive buttons to a PowerPoint slide. But animations and/or forward and back buttons do not constitute a high level of learner engagement. In most PowerPoint presentations, there’s little to no opportunity to gauge learner comprehension of the content because most versions of PowerPoint do not include scoreable quizzes. Recent updates to PowerPoint do finally allow you to add quizzes via Forms, but the feature is limited.
When the time comes to deliver content created in PowerPoint to learners across the globe, there’s no HTML5 output to allow for seamless viewing over a web browser. Learners either need to have PowerPoint installed on their computers or download the PowerPoint player from Microsoft. And although you can upload a PowerPoint presentation into a Learning Management System (LMS) as a course asset, there is no way to make the presentation SCORM or AICC-compliant so that learner progress can be tracked by the LMS or administrators.
So what do you do when the boss tells you to use PowerPoint to create the company’s flagship eLearning course? You get yourself an eLearning development tool, and that’s where the iSpring Suite comes in. The suite is a collection of awesome tools that work with PowerPoint to help you create killer eLearning courses.
After installing the iSpring Suite on your computer and then starting PowerPoint, you’ll find that there’s a new tab on the PowerPoint Ribbon: iSpring Suite. The image below shows the iSpring Suite 10 tab, along with its specific set of eLearning tools.
At the far left of the iSpring Suite 10 tab, you’ll find recording tools for both audio and video. As you move right, you’ll see tools for adding interactions, characters, and more. You’ll learn to use most of the tools on the tab, along with some of the standard PowerPoint tools, as you move through the guided activities in my book.
Seriously, if you need to create eLearning and you've already got the PowerPoint content, iSpring Suite makes quick work out of the eLearning creation process. You've just got to check out this tool.