How to create a training module using Microsoft PowerPoint
While taking a training course or watching a tutorial, do you wonder how it was created? Learning a new skill or technology can be enjoyable if taught well. A knowledgeable instructor complemented by a well-written learning module goes a long way.
Many expensive software like Articulate, RoboHelp, or Adobe Captivate can help you create professional training modules. However, if you are a small organization or a small team and do not have access to these software, you can create an e-learning module using Microsoft PowerPoint.
Let’s look at the elements of a good tutorial and how to create one.
1. Components of a learning module
Each learning module generally has three elements:
Goal: Clearly defined objectives define the module’s expectations. By reading this slide the learner should understand what to expect after completing the module. Add a relevant image to the goal slide.
- Main body: This includes conceptual information and activities such as quizzes or multiple choice questions to check learner comprehension. This section does the majority of the module. Concepts should be well structured on several slides.
Summary: This is the last slide that concludes the module. It should align with the goals and be easy to remember. You don’t need to add an image to this slide.
2. Create a mind map for the learning module
A mind map helps you think through ideas and clarify your thoughts, and it can help you visualize the whole learning module. Depending on the complexity of the modules, you can use mind mapping apps such as Miro, Figma or pen and paper. Alternatively, you can create the mind map in PPT.
To create a mind map for a learning module, do the following:
Create the top-level headers, name, and purpose of the module.
Add child elements such as unit names, their goals, and components. This exercise helps you structure the entire module in a PowerPoint.
In PPT, create slides corresponding to the headers of the mind map.
If you are working in a team, assign 3 to 4 slides to each member.
Add detailed content on each slide.
3. Define a theme for the learning module
Applying a consistent color scheme and adding the company logo to all slides is essential for a professional looking module.
You can ask the company you are designing the module for to provide the color, theme, and logo. Otherwise, you can select a custom color scheme. To apply the theme to your module:
Open Microsoft PowerPoint and select New> Blank presentation.
Click on Seen > Slide master.
Select color, font, themes from the drop-down menu.
To add placeholder content, a table, or a chart, select the Slide master > Insert a placeholder option in the menu.
To place a logo or any other image, click Insert> Image. Choose the media and place it on the header.
Click on Close main view.
Apply the same font to the whole learning module by clicking on Home> Replace> Replace Fonts. In the With drop-down list, select the desired font.
All slides will have the same color and logo, and you don’t need to edit individual slides.
4. Content formatting
It is good to apply uniform formatting to the slides. So when a learner watches the output in slideshow mode or you record the presentation, the transitions are smooth. Break the concept down into bullets so that it is easy to understand.
Insert relevant images to complement the content. They allow you to break the monotony of the text and quickly understand the most complex tasks. You can also use any of the many PPT features, such as smart art, shapes or animation, to convey complex information.
Here are some ways to format the content.
A SmartArt is a graphic that helps you visually present your information. You can click Insert> SmartArt and choose the layout that best conveys the content. Double click on the art and add your points.
Microsoft offers ready-made shapes like squares, circles, arrows which can be useful in visualizing your message. For example, you can use a combination of shapes to explain a formula on one slide and the use case on the next slide.
You can apply animation or transition effects to the text of a slide by selecting the appropriate option from the menu bar. For example, you can incorporate one concept at a time to help the reader focus on it. Click it Animation pane to preview the effects.
Each learning module has a quiz or multiple choice question activity to test the learner’s knowledge. You can apply the Click to reveal style using animation. You can also display the question and choices on a slide, duplicate it, and change the color of the correct answer.
A learning module should have a balance between different formatting options. Exaggerating any effect can distract the reader from the actual learning. If possible, refer to the company’s branding or style guide.
5. Add a voiceover
Few people enjoy reading training material, however creative it may be. To make the learning experience enjoyable, add a voiceover to the slides.
There are many ways to record PPT audio. So, choose the method according to your audience and the objective of the module:
In the menu, click Recordings> Record slideshow> Record from start. The whole module is presented as a slideshow and you can add voice and video in the background.
If you want to record the audio of a specific slide, go to the slide and click audio > Record sound. This option gives you the freedom to explain the content at your own pace.
Give the recording a name and click on the button Red button.
Stop recording by clicking on the Stop button. The recording icon appears on the slide.
Click on Export to video to save the presentation as a video file.
Characteristics of a good voiceover
One of the essential aspects of recording a voiceover is not to play the content as it is, as this does not add value. You should summarize the information as much as possible. Here are some things to remember when recording the voiceover.
Synchronize your voiceover with transition or animation effects.
Take a break after posting the question in a quiz and read all the answers.
Make learning a pleasant experience
Microsoft PPT comes with various features and there is a learning curve associated with it. If you prefer a plug-n-play model, paid software like Articulate or Docebo are better options. You can add the content and convert it to an interactive module without worrying about the design aspect.
Whether you’re in a classroom or taking a class from the comfort of your home, a good tutorial can enhance the learning experience. So get creative and design your first training module.
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