Transform Your Presentation Slides into an Engaging Online Course

People transition presentations to online course with paper and laptops

You’re about to enter the wondrous world of eLearning and online training. You’ve picked your learning platform and are about to upload your trusty PowerPoint presentation.

But wait.

There’s something wrong.

Your fool-proof presentation slides just don’t work online in their current form.

PowerPoint presentations don’t scale neatly to work on all devices – modern learners expect to use a combination of their desktop computers, laptops, tablets and even their smartphones to complete their training. 

eLearning gives you the chance to tap into the realm of modern technology that slide decks just don’t allow. The catch is your learners are looking for the same visually engaging experience they get in their day-to-day online life.

An example of mobile friendly content vs presentation slide on mobile device

Here is CourseGenius’ guide to help you transition your content from a face-to-face presentation to online delivery.

Use your presentation to structure your online course

Your PowerPoint presentation has worked so far, so there is no need to reinvent the wheel completely! Use your existing presentation structure to help your course flow logically. Go through your presentation and see what topics you cover, then divide your slides into sections for each topic. A good rule of thumb is to use around 10 slides per section or topic.

Find the key learning points

As you structure your course, think about what knowledge you want people to walk away with. Look at each topic you cover and try to identify at least 1-2 key learning points for each one. Once you’ve identified these, you can create short quiz questions to add throughout your course. Questions help keep your learners engaged and ensure they are retaining the information they need.

Read our tips for creating great multiple choice questions here.

Explain detailed content

If your presentation contains detailed or complex content, chances are you would explain this verbally in a training course or lecture. As there’s no presenter in an online course, you need to find another way to explain complex content to your learners. Using case studies or practical examples is a great way to do this, as it provides learners with a concrete way of understanding more complicated material. Video is also an excellent tool  – more about this below! 

Keep it short

A wall of text is intimidating for your learners. That means you need to review your presentation and look for slides with lots of text on them. Split these slides out into multiple course pages, keeping each page’s word count to 200 words maximum. Limiting the amount of text on each page helps to make your course mobile-friendly, as well as making it easier for your learners to absorb the information. If you feel like your course is still too text heavy, consider whether you could use images or videos to liven up your content.

Think about images

Images are a great tool for adding colour and life to your online course. Think about the images you already use in your presentation. Are they detailed or simple? Do they easily relate to the course content? If you don’t currently use images, you should strongly consider adding some to improve learner engagement.

Different rules apply to selecting images in an online course than for face-to-face training. Here’s an idea of what to keep in mind when you’re picking your images:

Size and Detail. Images with lots of detail are easy to see on a full screen PowerPoint presentation, but will be difficult to view on mobile devices. If you’ve used detailed images in your presentation, you could split these into components and create a GIF or a short video. Another option is to swap complex images for stylised graphics or icons. All of these options will get your point across without confusing the learner with tiny text or lots of detail.

Demonstrating the effectiveness of graphics in elearning with comparison

Positioning. Changing up the position of images throughout your online course provides variety and helps your learners to stay engaged. You should also note: portrait images tend to look best when they are left or right aligned, whereas landscape images look good in any position.

Read our top 3 tips for using images in your online course here

Capture attention with video

You probably don’t use video in your PowerPoint presentation, but it can be a great way to engage learners in your online course. Video can add value to your course that an image or text can’t. Video provides a great way for you to introduce yourself to your learners, and let them get to know you, without being physically present. It can also help you to explain complicated concepts  with both visuals and voice over.

Video is ideal for mobile learners and is really easy to integrate into your course. The videos you use should be short, relevant and connected to your course content. You can create your own videos using software like Camtasia or free tools like Jing and Biteable. But if you don’t have the time and resources for this, why not tap into the almost unlimited library of content available on YouTube?

Read our tips for using YouTube videos in your online course here.

In brief: best practice tips

1. Start with your presentation to build your course structure

2. Identify 1-2 key learning points for each topic you cover

3. Create short quiz questions for each key learning point

4. Keep each course page to a maximum 200 words

5. Use examples and case studies to illustrate complex concepts

6. Use images, video, and questions to make your course more engaging.   

7. Be mindful of the size, detail and position of your images.

8. Use video to keep your learners engaged

Sign up for a free trial or demonstration of CourseGenius today to put these tips into practice.

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