SHIFT's eLearning Blog

Strike the Right Tone for Maximum Impact in eLearning

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Thu, Mar 26, 2015 @ 12:28 PM

Do you talk to your audience or talk down to them? What does your eLearning courses read like? Like a text book that makes your audience doze off or an interesting story that they can't wait to read through? Do you come across as friendly, knowledgeable, and convincing in your courses or is there something about the way you talk that puts your audience off?

The tone you adopt for an eLearning course isn't about what you say but HOW you say it and the effect it has on your learners. Learners may not see their instructors face-to-face but that doesn’t mean they won’t notice your approach. On the contrary, words have to work harder than ever if you don't want to lose your learners. In eLearning, text and audio are the only way to show emotions, personality, and training intentions. Besides, man is a social animal, and he likes to talk to other human beings. An advertisement from a "brand" or a list of instructions from a "business" is not as convincing as an endorsement from a friend or advice from someone trusted. The courses you create should read or sound like the kind and wise words from some such friendly and knowledgeable person who wants to help the audience. You should write in a human tone.

Need some inspiration? Check out these articles:

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Topics: writing for eLearning

Are You Writing Rockin’ Course Objectives? 7 Do’s and Don’ts

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Mar 24, 2015 @ 12:12 PM

What do you want your learners to think or care about? What do you expect them to accomplish? Can you answer these questions? You should! They'll help you define clear and sound course objetives without wasting time and energy. 

However, a bunch of phrases that are put together and doesn’t clearly relate what the learners should be able to achieve at the end of the course is of no use. The objectives need to be written in a way that the learners can relate to their need for taking the training and visualize the end result or the learning outcome.

Before writing objectives, you always have to think from the learner’s perspective. You should step into their shoes to understand their needs and aspirations. Also consider the demands of their jobs, so you know exactly what skills they need to excel in their professional duties.

Being an integral part of the instructional design process, you can't deny the importance of knowing how to write rockin' course objectives

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WANTED: Creative Instructional Designers. Are You One?

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Thu, Mar 19, 2015 @ 12:14 PM

If you scour Craigslist and LinkedIn regularly, you will often come across this ad:

Creative instructional designers wanted.


  • Strong writing and storyboarding skills
  • Ability to write engagingly for many different audiences
  • Ability to convert "raw content" into crisp eLearning scripts
  • Ability to explain complex concepts lucidly
  • Ability to bring alive dull technical topics
  • Excellent grammar, spelling and formatting
  • Desire to improve skills by attending eLearning Webinars and joining Instructional Design groups


It is evident that companies are on the lookout for instructional designers who can do more than just put together a bullet list of tips. They want people who can create evocative prose that touches the audience's hearts, appeals to their logic, and rouses them to action. They want creative writers and out-of-the-box thinkers.

Especially, companies are looking for good writing skills. The ability to write well, they say, reflects the ability to think well. 

Your learners are crunched for time and have short attention spans. You have to create scenarios that are as riveting as a whodunit, dialogs that sound natural, and characters that seem as real as the average man on the street. However, you have to also ensure your script delivers the learning lucidly.

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Topics: writing for eLearning

How To Find Design Inspiration for eLearning

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Mar 17, 2015 @ 12:37 PM

As an eLearning designer, you are expected to create courses that are quirky and engaging besides being informative. Normally, this wouldn't be a tall order for a creative individual like you. But what bugs you is that inspiration doesn't strike you on all days. What is even more nerve-wracking is that you are expected to create wow courses from dull and drab content—systems application training, HR policies, health and safety measures, and the like. These are critical knowledge, and you have to ensure the learners remain hooked to your course.

If your creative muse is not around, here are some tips to help you find inspiration.

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Topics: eLearning inspiration

What You Need to Know About Choosing and Using Photos in Your eLearning

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Thu, Mar 12, 2015 @ 12:36 PM

What is the first thing that attracts a learner to your course? In most cases, it is a photo or a graphic. No points for guessing it right!

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Topics: images for eLearning,, graphic design

4 Proven Ways to Make Your eLearning Courses Wow-Worthy

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Mar 10, 2015 @ 11:57 AM

Remember those whodunits or the comic books from your school days that you stayed up late to finish? Or those old movies that stirred you so much that you still can't stifle a sob or resist a chuckle when you think about them? Was that an autobiography, a piece of news item, or a meeting that inspired you to ditch a bad habit or take up a cause for life? We all have memories of such stories that touched our hearts and changed our lives. Don't you wish your eLearning courses would touch people's lives in the same way?

Blame it on tight deadlines, stringent budgets, boring (read: technical) content, or dictatorial managers, but most amongst us have created ho-hum courses that have managed to put many learners to sleep. We ourselves cringe when we remember these courses!

So how can you create eLearning courses that wow  learners even when the constraints remain in place? How do you create courses that change minds? Here are four proven ways:

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Topics: eLearning tips, creativity

Create Life-Long Learners with Experiential eLearning

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Thu, Mar 05, 2015 @ 12:22 PM

Knowledge vs Experience

You may be a wizard with numbers, but what good is your knowledge if you cannot number-crunch your way through the mortgage documents? What good is any knowledge if you cannot apply it to solve novel problems that the training courses didn't teach you about?

Courses developed in the traditional manner only worry more about filling heads with knowledge. They are loaded with definitions and concepts and are probably accompanied by a list of scenarios or situations where these can be applied. The learners are expected to learn these by heart. But do business crises always turn out the way management books portray them? Can the chef never run out of ingredients when he is about to cook? Can you expect the opposing team to play the same way in every game? Do sales people deal with the same types of customers every day? 

NO! Your learners are expected to "perform" at the workplace after they have taken your course, NOT blurt out facts or theories that they have memorized. 

This image from Buffer's Blog makes the point clear: 

As you can see in the image, knowledge is only useful if learners can make connections between what they know. Without experience, there will never be true knowledge. 


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Topics: eLearning tips

How to Make Infographics Work for eLearning Courses (Tips and Tricks)

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Mar 03, 2015 @ 12:17 PM

If you had not been living under the rock (read: away from the Internet), you know infographics are everywhere. They are on websites. They show up on whitepapers. They are in the ads. They are splashed all over newspapers. But of course, there are plenty of good reasons why content creators use infographics. These stunners are also excellent learning tools. Most human beings are visual learners. As eLearning designers, you too should tap into the immense instructional potential of infographics.

But before you blindly jump on the infographics bandwagon and splatter your course with these visuals, make sure that you stock up on information about how they work and when to use them. Badly-designed infographics or placing them out of context can increase the cognitive load of a course. So here's the lowdown on infographics.

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Topics: eLearning design, eLearning infographics

Alignment Should Always Be Our Watchword in eLearning

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 @ 11:37 AM

“The instructional decisions we make will increase the probability that our students will learn”—Anonymous. 

How do you dress? For the occasion, of course. How do you choose your accessories? So they match the dress. You take care to turn out in a well-coordinated outfit. Then why shouldn't the eLearning courses you create show such harmony? The watchword here is alignment. The most effective eLearning courses are perfectly aligned, but most often this objective gets the miss when the course is being planned. At other times, eLearning designers are clueless about the concept, so they naturally do not realize their courses are all over the place but not going where they are supposed to head to.a

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Topics: eLearning design

A Do-Not-Do List for eLearning Designers

Posted by Karla Gutierrez on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 @ 12:27 PM

You have a Moleskin for your to-do lists. Or maybe you prefer an app. You probably get all (or most of) the items ticked off in the list. But what about the ones that you shouldn't be doing? It is as important not to do the wrong things—the ones that sap your energy needlessly or the time-wasters—as it is to do the right things. That is why, productivity champs ask you to take the Start/Stop/Continue road. 

You know what to do; start doing them. Figure out what you are doing right; continue with it. But most importantly, STOP doing what is not serving you any purpose. 

Here's a do-not-do list to help every eLearning professional become more productive:

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Topics: productivity

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