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6 time-saving tricks to create interactive e-learning
May 26, 2021
30 minutes
Tessa Razafindrakoto
Senior Onboarding Specialist

Tessa 0:03 — All right. So, welcome, everyone, to today’s session. My name is Tessa. I’m an onboarding specialist at Easygenerator. Now, this may not be the first time you hear me say that. So, for those of you who have joined an onboarding session of mine — or other webinars — then welcome back, and so those of you who are new, welcome. Today, I’m going to share some tips to allow you to share knowledge really, really quickly. So how to create an interactive e-learning course when you actually don’t have the time. Now, I think this is something that all of us have, unfortunately, faced. So, I’m going to give you some tips on how to best do this as quickly as possible.  


Now, this session is being recorded, and the recording will be sent out before the end of the week. So, if you do have to drop off for any reason, bear in mind that you will be receiving the recording. If you have any questions as we go, then please feel free to use the Q&A, I know that many of you are using the chat. That’s totally fine if you want to chat to one another or if you want to chat to me. But if you have any questions that you want answered, please use the Q&A. My colleagues that you can also see, Meghan and Vera, are going to answer questions in the Q&A. So please feel free to use that for any questions.  


Right. So, I’m going to go ahead and get started, this session will be only 30 minutes. And these are the six tips that I’m going to share today to help you share knowledge quickly without having to sacrifice quality: 


  1. Before you start 
  2. Consider using resources 
  3. Start with a template 
  4. Add your content last 
  5. Curate content 
  6. Collaborate with colleagues 


Quality is key here, I’ll explain ways that this can be maintained, even when you create an e-learning course very quickly. And in the end, I’ll collect any additional tips that you all have. So, feel free to start thinking of some of the tips you may have for others in this webinar. I see that already 241 of you have joined. So of course, I’m sure we can also learn from one another today.  

1. Before you start

So, let’s go ahead and kick off with the first tip of the day, and it has to do with before you even start. Actually, the biggest time saving tip is to ask yourself the two following questions before you even start.  


The first question is: is the training really necessary for this learning need? Now, not all learning needs actually require a full training. Sometimes, we may get drawn into creating trainings for everything and anything. Oftentimes, the lack of time that we have will naturally determine our priorities, and thereby, what becomes a training and what becomes simple communication. But it’s important to proactively think about this. Is the e-learning need — or is the learning need, I should say — one that can be satisfied by a short call or communication for now? Then it then it might not be worth the time investment of creating a training at all. Right? So that’s an important question to ask yourself before you even start creating trainings for everything, which is going to be relatively time-consuming.  


Now, if you answered yes to the first question, and the training is really necessary for the learning need, then ask yourself: does this training already exist? Ask around to the other knowledge sharers in your organization or in your department before you start from scratch. Of course, depending on the size of your company, you may have maybe a group chat with the other Easygenerator users, or you can ask in a community platform if this exists within your organization. It can also be via direct messages. Ask around if others have already created the training or have created similar ones. And you may be able to reuse that training, or simply just reuse some parts of it without having to create it all yourself. Right? So those are two important questions to ask yourself that can already save a whole lot of time.  

2. Consider using resources

Now, assuming that the training is really necessary — and let’s say you’re unlucky this time, it doesn’t already exist — now you need to create the training. So, we’re going to move on to the next tip that are going to help you actually create the training for yourself. But hold on before you go and create an e-learning course immediately, there’s actually another question that you should ask yourself. And that question is: what is it that you should be creating? Is it an e-learning course or is it a resource? So, before you even start creating, these are the things that you have to think about. 


Tessa 4:36 — Now some of you may be familiar with the difference between an e-learning course and a resource, and some of you may not be. So, I’d like to just briefly explain.  


An e-learning course is a training that typically covers a broader topic, and oftentimes, a relatively steep learning curve. So, actually, it’s suited to slightly more formal phase of learning. So, for example, you can have an e-learning for onboarding purposes or an induction course for a new starter. Basically, an e-learning can cover a lot of knowledge. If there’s a lot of new things to learn, an e-learning is very well suited for that. Resources, on the other hand, are short, bite-sized learning support one-pagers that are typically used on the job and not so much in the training phase. So, like an instruction, on how to use a printer, or a checklist to ensure that employees are executing all the steps required to have a successful sales call. Something like that.  


So, it’s important to decide for yourself what the learning need can best be satisfied with — an e-learning course or a resource.  


Now, here are a few rules of thumb just as a brief guideline, I would say: Typically, if you would like to teach a new knowledge or skill, e-learning courses are best, unless it’s a relatively basic new skill or knowledge. So, for example, setting up your home office. Now, maybe this is something that’s new, but it’s relatively basic, so maybe a resource will suffice. For explaining really specific processes or tasks, on the other hand, resources are best, because they can provide concise instructions or lists that can literally be used during the execution of that process or that task.  


Now, to support changes, issues or applications, resources are also best. In these situations, the person using that checklist or that or that guide, already has quite a lot of prior knowledge, so they are just in need of that support. So oftentimes, e-learning is great in training phases, whereas resources are great for on-the-job support. So, this should help you decide when to create an e-learning course versus when to create a resource. And bear in mind, usually resources are much quicker to create. So, if there are some situations where a resource can be used, it’s probably going to be much less time-consuming to do than to create a full e-learning course that is typically going to be longer.  


So, here’s an example. The topic is the use of a CRM tool — customer relationship management tool — just as an example. Now, an e-learning course would actually be perfect to explain how the tool works for someone who doesn’t know about the tool yet. So maybe it will cover what the dashboard shows, it will explain how to create customer profiles, but also how to create actions on those customer profiles. So, it covers a pretty broad topic. 


Tessa 8:06 — A resource is more of an instruction or a guideline on how to do a specific process. So maybe how to close an opportunity. Maybe someone already knows about the CRM tool and has used it before, but not for this specific process, or maybe they need to make sure that they do it correctly each time. So sometimes an e-learning course or resource can be used for the same topic. But as you can see, here, it has a bit of a different focus. And as I mentioned, resources are often much quicker to create.  


Now to create a resource, for those of you who haven’t yet done so — I think most of you have created courses in Easygenerator, maybe some of you haven’t yet created a resource — you can find that option at the very top. So instead of going to ‘courses,’ you go to ‘resources.’ And this is an example of what a checklist looks like here, you’ve got the three steps. And in that first step, you start adding an introduction, which is typically when and why this resource can be used. And then you start adding your checklist items, or your step-by-step instructions.  


Now, this is really a quick way for you to share your knowledge or your expertise or share instructions with employees. And you can build a resource, depending on the topic and how extensive it is, you can really build a resource within just minutes. Alright, so that’s the second tip, think about whether you should create an e-learning course or a resource. 

3. Start with a template

Now the third tip here, regardless of what you’ve chosen to create — whether it’s an e-learning course or whether it’s a resource — either way, you can start with a template. We have plenty of templates that help you get started. So, if you find the topic of your training or for your checklist or for your how-to guide, then all you have to do is just edit it. So, we’re actually continuously adding more templates, by the way. So, this list of templates does get more and more complete. By the way, if you do have any requests for templates from us, then feel free to add it to the Q&A as well, so that we can consider those requests.  


Now just want to show you what it actually looks like, when you start with a template, for those of you who have never done this before. What happens — or maybe I can explain first how you do it. You still go over to ‘new course’ or to ‘new checklist’ or ‘new how-to,’ but instead of clicking start from scratch, you go and look for the templates that you have in mind. We have a few different sections, so feel free to just browse and select the template you’d like to use. Now everything will be in there — course introduction, sections — and all you have to do is edit. You can add your own images, you can change the text to your own text, and you can even remove some elements, add your own elements. You can keep as much or as little as you’d like. And then that will save you a whole lot of time if there’s a topic here that’s relevant.  


Now, in addition to the templates that we have in the tool (the ones that I’ve shown you earlier), you can actually also use your own course as a template. You can always duplicate your first e-learning course and use it as a template for your second. So that’s also a really quick way to save time. If you’ve already created one, and you like the structure that you have in there — maybe you’ve got a similar course to create with maybe a different audience or a slightly different perspective — just duplicate it and use your own course as a template.  


Now, you can also use somebody else’s course as a template I mentioned in the very first tip, the question: does the course already exist? Or does the training already exist? This would be a way to reuse either the whole training that already exists that’s been created by someone else, or just to reuse some bits and pieces from it. Now, to use a colleague’s course as a template, you will need to ask them to share it with you. So just ask them, “hey, can you share this course with me, I’ve heard that you’ve created it,” they will share it with you. You can duplicate it and use the copy as your template. So there’s, there are actually three different templates:  


  • Our templates 
  • Your own courses as a template 
  • A colleague’s course as a template.
4. Add your content last

Now the next tip: if you are creating a course — this is not as relevant for those of you creating resources at this stage — but if you’re creating a course, oftentimes, the main reason why it takes a lot of time is because you choose to add a lot of content. And the more content you add, the more time you will spend on doing it. So actually, the reason why most people do add quite a lot of content is because it’s often most intuitive to start with adding content directly in the course. But if you do this, it’s going to lead to adding a lot of content. Especially if you are the expert, of course you have a lot of knowledge to share, you have a lot of expertise to share, and it can quickly lead to you adding a whole lot of content.  


Now that’s not in anyone’s best interest. Because, just like you probably, your learners also don’t have a whole lot of time to spend on the training. So, it’s in everyone’s best interest that the course is actually a little bit shorter. So, to create courses that are shorter and to create them more quickly, what we advise is to first start off by identifying the goal and the learning objectives. Once you’ve done that, then add questions that assess the learning objective. Those questions can be, for example, multiple choice questions, true-or-false questions, ranking questions — we have 10 question types in Easygenerator that you can use for this.  


Maybe there’s a slide missing. So, the third step after you have added those questions that assess the learning objectives, then add the content and focus only on adding the content that the learners need to answer those questions. Right? Then you will switch the order around. So of course, for your learners, they will go through the content, and then they will have to answer the questions — that makes the most amount of sense. But from a creation perspective, adding the questions before you add the content gives you more direction. And that means that your courses will be approximately 40 to 60% shorter than if you had started by adding your content first.  


Now, the end result is that you will have a shorter e-learning course, which means that the learner won’t have to spend as much time on it. But it will also be much quicker for you to create. So, you will also spend less time on it. So it’s really a win-win here. 

5. Curate content

Tessa 15:50 — Next tip is to curate your content. So, in fact, once you reach the step of having to add content, you don’t always need to create all that content yourself. In a lot of cases, the information that we are trying to share, it’s already out there. It often already exists. Not always, but in a lot of circumstances, when you want to share your knowledge, it’s knowledge that already exists.  


Now, you don’t want to reinvent the wheel. So, you can curate your content instead. Find the information that already exists —which, as the expert, you are the best person to know where that is — then bring them together in one place and contextualize. So what you’re doing when you’re curating is that you are searching and sorting through existing content and presenting it in a meaningful way according to a theme or a category or a goal, in the case of e-learning courses, mostly. Right? So, you’re creating a space and the context for a topic and you’re pointing people toward the right direction.  


So, for example, in my case, let’s say I want to teach my fellow educators on the blended learning approach. I’m not going to write everything in my own words: what is the blended approach? Why should we implement the blended approach? I’m not going to reinvent the wheel, because these things actually already exist. So, what I’m going to do is I’m going to look for that information, the high-quality resources that do already exists on the topic. And I am going to present them in a meaningful way for my audience. Now, you can always build on the content that you curate. So, you can add your own annotations, your own examples, your own experiences as the expert in the field. That is really where you add value. When you curate. 


Once again, you can also curate your own content. So, this has to do a little bit with using your own courses as a template, or ones from colleagues, by the way. Once you do start to develop courses, you can always cherry pick parts of an existing course to use in another course. So, for example, let’s say I’ve created a data and security course, which covers maybe four topics of data and security. And then maybe I’m creating an onboarding course. And in that onboarding course, I do want to explain a little bit about data and security but it’s not necessary for me to go in-depth with everything. So, actually, my new employees, they don’t need to go through the whole data and security course. But I do want them to know the basics.  


So, what I can do is I can just reuse one of the sections from my data and security course and place it in my onboarding course. I don’t need to recreate anything. So I’m really saving time here. Now if you’re wondering how to do this, there’s an option within Easygenerator where you can reuse existing sections. Oftentimes, when you create an e-learning course, you will use new sections, especially if it’s your first time. You drag in a new section, you add a title, you add an icon, and you start filling it up with content and questions. If you’re curating either your own contents or maybe a colleague’s, you click on ‘existing sections,’ then you can search for that existing section, which in this case, is fire. So, a fire extinguisher in use, for example. You look for the section, you just drag it into your new course that you’re creating, and then you’ve got it in that course. So, in just a few seconds, you’re really just cherry picking some bits and pieces from other courses that either you have created, or others have created.  


Just bear in mind, when you do reuse existing sections, they remain connected. So, if you make edits in one, they will also change in the other and that makes it really easy to update all at the same time. If anything becomes out of date in this section that’s been reused in several other courses, you can just edit it in one, and it will edit everywhere. So once again, that saves time.

6. Collaborate with colleagues

And that brings us to the last tip. And that last tip is to collaborate with colleagues. Now, of course, you can create e-learning courses, or checklists or how-to guides all on your own. That is, of course possible. But if you would like to save time, you can easily ask someone to join you.  


So, let’s say you’ve created section one because you had resources that were relevant for that section and it’s actually your main expertise, but maybe section two is better for someone else to complete. You can always ask a colleague to join you inside your course, as a co-author. A co-author is basically someone who can help create with you. So, you just type out their email and add them as a co-author. You can then also add comments here to just make sure that everyone is on the same page of how you’re creating this course. You can even work at the same time. So, I can work on section one and perhaps my colleague can work on section two. We can work on different pages, perhaps at the same time, and this is also going to speed things up. 

Quick summary

Tessa 21:35 — So that was the sixth tip, and the last tip. So just as a quick summary: First tip is before you even start, think first about whether that training is necessary, and also, whether it already exists. Then before you start once again, consider whether the learning need is best satisfied with an e-learning course or with a resource, keeping in mind that resources are often much quicker to create. Then start with a template, either a template that is created from Easygenerator, or created from one of your own previously created courses, or using a template of a colleague’s course. Next, make sure that you don’t add all your contents first, because you run the risk of adding a lot of content. And adding a lot of content to means that you spend a lot of time doing this. Then, if you’re creating a course about a topic, where a lot of information already exists, either internally within your organization or online, then consider curating your content and building on that. And lastly, collaborate with colleagues, ask them to join you in your course work together at the same time or at different moments.  


And that brings us to the end of the session a little bit early. So, I’m happy to save some of your time as well. The last question I would just like to ask you is: what are your time-saving tips. As I said, there are almost 260 of us here in today’s call. If you do have time saving tips for the rest of the audience, then please share them with us, and we will summarize them to re communicate back over to you together with the recording of the training. I’m really a big believer that the users of Easygenerator can actually provide maybe the best tips for one another. So please feel free to share some of your tips with the rest of the group. And we will compile them and share them back with you. 

Live Q&A

That being said, just want to check in with Meghan. Meghan, are there any outstanding questions that we should address live? 


Meghan 24:06 — The only question I saw a few times come in was on the resources and the different publication options there. And the kind of the difference in either embedding it in an Easygenerator course it’s already existing, and then publishing it separately. So maybe if you want to just touch on the different publication options, that would be great.

Tessa 24:25 — So yeah, indeed, for the publication methods, there are a few. One of them is indeed to embed them within an e-learning course. So, if you do have a course, you can embed a resource inside it. To do that, you would under the publication methods, you would choose the ‘embed’ option and that gives you a link. And that link, you would add inside your e-learning course using the HTML block. So, you go to content, interactive content, and then you drag in the HTML block. And then you copy and paste the embed link from the publishing bit of the checklist and paste it inside there. And then you’ve got your checklist or your guide inside of your e-learning course.  


So that way, you could combine the two. If on the other hand, you wanted to publish your checklist on its own, that’s also possible. You can also just send a link of your checklist or your guide to someone directly and they just click on it, and then they’ve got the checklist open immediately. They don’t need to identify themselves. They also wouldn’t need to log in or anything. They just click and they have it open.  


Now for those of you who do use a Learning Management System (LMS), that would be an option as well. So, you can actually use the embed link as well to make it available there. If you do have a lot of checklists created, you could create sort of your own library of checklists, just as an open library for your employees and explain when or in which scenarios each resource or each checklist can be used. So, if you’d like to create sort of a library of resources, that’s a possibility as well. Then you would probably be using the links. 


Meghan 26:30 — Yes, great. Yeah, we’re also getting a few tips from individuals as well in the chat. So interested to read through those but with other questions, I don’t believe there’s anything else outstanding. 


Tessa 26:43 — Okay. Alright, then I think we can close it off in that case. So, I would say again, thanks, everyone for joining. As I mentioned, you will receive the recording before the end of the week. Best of luck saving time creating your courses. And thanks for joining. Have a good rest of your day.