One of the best platforms for teaching right now is the internet. You can both learn from it and also share what you have learned on it. Furthermore, the demand for online courses is on the rise.
The reasons behind the rise are quite logical as well. You can access the course anytime, the payment method, if there is any is quite straightforward, and you can choose from many different courses. If you are a teacher, you should know how to conduct a course online just to make the best use of your knowledge.
Luckily, it is not very difficult to conduct a course online either. In fact, you can make the necessary content for your course online on PowerPoint. If you have used PowerPoint already it should be easier for you.
If you haven’t you just have to add a few more features in it to publish the course online. So, this guide is for both people who have used PowerPoint and those who just want to know how to use it for online courses. Let’s get to know how you can make the best content for an online course through PowerPoint!
Creating Online Courses with PowerPoint: The Steps
1. Make a Plan
The very first thing you have to do when you are creating slides for your online course is to make a plan for your whole course. How many lessons or separate slides will you publish? What will be the topic of each of these slides? In what sequence will you arrange them?
What will you put on each topic? You have to determine all these beforehand not only to help yourself but to help your students as well. In fact, this is how you can decide what you will work on and your students can know what they will learn from the course.
You will have to make this plan in the form of the course outline and maybe each slide outline as well. Life may not always work according to plans but courses surely do. So, do not underestimate the power of a planned course in this case.
2. Create the base
Now it is time for you to get to work, it is time for you to bring your course outline to life. However, you do not have to start with grand gestures like animations right away. The first thing you have to do is choose your template. You will find many online and you can even choose to create your own template by using the tools PowerPoint already provides you with.
The main focus right now for you will be to put what you want to say in the slides. Just add the texts and pictures that will explain what you want to explain.
If there are slides with just videos and audios, fill those slides up with just the heading of the content. This will act as a guideline for you when you are editing further to make the lessons interesting and simple.
Now, you have the base ready, you just have to improve them.
3. Time to make it interesting
So, you have put the texts in the slides and you know what to put in the empty ones as well. Now, you have to decide what presents the content is the best way. It could be an audio explanation or a video or even a downloadable PDF file. So, choose the form of content.
You can easily insert the file in the slide through the ‘Insert’ option in PowerPoint. It is very simple. Let’s check out the various forms of content in the slides.
As complex as it may sound, unless you are recording a video and attach it, it won’t be the least bit complex. Moreover, the complexity won’t be provided by PowerPoint. All you have to do is either add the video to the slide or provide a link to a site that has the video. Both are quite easy to do.
If you wish to create and edit a video without the company’s watermark on it, you can use any of these free video editors.
Even adding audios is not a hard task on PowerPoint, recording it might be. You also get to arrange the audio in a way that it synchronizes with what is being shown on the slide. Therefore, you can arrange the audio with the slide just the way you want to.
Sometimes images are the most concise way of getting the message through. All you have to do is find a structure, draw a picture, and put some texts in to explain. You can create such mages using graphics. In fact, graphic design is more popular than ever right now. And, such images will surely add value to your slides.
PDF or more
Slides are only meant to give a fast and clear idea about a topic. If you want to go in-depth, it may be better to read from a book or an article. As a teacher, you should provide your students with reading materials. And, it is so easy to do on the digital devices. Just find the pdf of a book and attach it to the slide. Or, you can just include the part you want the students to read to understand that particular topic.
There are certain things that are quite basic and not everyone wants to see. So, if you want to explain about the topic further but in short, you can include pop-ups. All you have to do is choose the desired shape, including the information, and put it last for it to pop up by adding animations.
When adding a pop-up you will get to choose from a number of options. For example, you can determine which clicks will trigger the pop-up to pop up. Then, you can also determine when the pop-up will close, or which click will make it close. You have to create the triggers yourself. For example, a “Learn More” box or a ‘Close’ sign.
4. Add Animations
This is an excellent feature you get on PowerPoint. You can make the lesson more understandable by adding animations. Animations can range from simply deciding the sequence of the arrival of a point to the way it arrives.
You can select a line or image and select the time for it to arrive. In fact, you can even make them arrive as per clicks. This will make the presentation very interesting. The animation pane on PowerPoint will make it very simple for you to understand. It is, in fact, quite self-explanatory and you get very creative with it.
You can make arrows come out of fruits from a tree to explain the various results of an activity. Likewise, with animated slides, you can make your lessons very interesting.
5. Grab and keep attention
You can add all the necessary information in the slide but you may not be able to hold the reader’s attention. This is a natural characteristic of the human brain and you cannot just condemn it but you have to find ways to get around it. Think of yourself as the student- will you find the information you are providing useful and interesting?
Then, there are general guidelines that make the slides very interesting. For example, you should divide your slide into three equal sections of various colors. This way the reader knows that there are three pieces of information on the slide that he needs to learn. It is better at keeping the attention because it is so well-organized.
You should also keep a maximum of six bullet points in your slide. Why? Because the human brain gets intimidated when there is too much information to take in. If it is already tired, it would rather skip points than read them all. Also, it is easier to remember fewer points.
There is another fact that human beings cannot hold their attention on a certain thing for more than twenty minutes. So, if you are converting your slide into a video then it is best if you keep it short. Do not add very long audios with the slides.
Even though people love learning through videos and audios, they do not like it for long if the length is unreasonably long.
So, keep in mind such things that will help you both grab and keep the attention of your readers.
6. Make the presentation interactive
When you use an authoring tool to create your online course, you will get many interactive features like gamification, quizzes, and more. However, you cannot do it so easily on PowerPoint, but you can still do it! You will have to get a bit creative with the animations here or at least the pop-ups.
For example, if you are posing multiple-choice questions for the student to be interactive, you add pop-ups to the various options to guide them to the right one. In fact, you can even include the correct answer and the method you do to it with the pop-up.
Therefore, even with PowerPoint, you can get very interactive with your students.
Now that was how you create a course on PPT but you have to do more to upload it.
Apparently, just a ppt. The file is not enough for an online course. The question is why? It has everything, right? Yes, it does but it may be of a size too big for everyone to access.
Most people take these courses while they are on the way to somewhere. So, they are viewing the course on their phone. However, a PowerPoint file too big will either not be supported in their phones or they will be reluctant to view it.
Therefore, you have to allow the student to access the file online. You can convert it to a video but that would take out the animations that you included in the video. Likewise, many such problems will occur when you try to upload just the PowerPoint file on the online course.
This is why you sometimes have to use some authoring tools or you can convert your PowerPoint file to SCORM.
1. Use a Learning Management System (LMS)
You have to upload your PowerPoint slides to a suitable platform. This way you can not only reach your desired audience but also present your content in the best way. A Learning Management System (LMS) will help you arrange the course and also fit them to a usable size. See more here about elearning platforms.
Furthermore, all the features you add to the PowerPoint slide will stay in it. If you want more interactive activities in your course, then you can add it through the LMS for your students.
2. Convert the PowerPoint slides to an LMS compatible format
You do not want to lose the animations in the slides by converting it to a video. This is why you can consider converting the slides to a SCORM, AICC or Tin Can API format. Apparently, this will allow you to keep the animations and other interactive features in the slides and also offer you a few more benefits.
For example, the file will be compatible with most of the websites and LMS. You can add more interesting things like quizzes, surveys, and more. Furthermore, you can also make it impossible for the students to move on to the next module without completing the previous one. This way you are regulating their activities on your course.
You can also keep track of how long they take to complete a course.
3. Save it in the form of HTML5, Flash, or both
One of the reasons students take online courses is because they want easy access to it. In order to make your course more attractive, you should make it compatible with most devices. Your students should be able to play it on both phones and computers. Furthermore, they should be able to get access to all the interactive sections as well.
This is why you should either save your PowerPoint file in the HTML5 format or Flash format. Or, you can do it in both formats so that anyone can have access to it from anywhere.
You see, the way you upload your PowerPoint file plays a huge role in how the receivers get to access it. So, make sure that you make the file user-friendly.
Use of Authoring Tools
An authoring tool will let you design your course in the easiest possible way and also help you provide it to the right platform. It will help you build the course outline and you won’t have to think much about the technical aspect of things either. Because the authoring tool will guide you through it.
You will have to choose the right authoring tool as per your needs and it isn’t a very difficult thing to do. Apart from that, the tool will take care of all the difficult things.
What skill do you need to work on PowerPoint?
All you need to know about is the lessons you want to give. In fact, you can just spend around thirty minutes checking out PowerPoint and you will simply know what to do. Because PowerPoint is a very user-friendly and easy thing to use.
As long as you have a laptop or smartphone, you will be able to work on PowerPoint. Now, you need to have some knowledge when uploading the content you produce on PowerPoint. As mentioned, not all formats will be suitable for all platforms.
In order to make your course and content easily accessible, you will have to do a number of things after you create the presentation. Like converting the file to the correct format for the presentation. You will have to consider all kinds of things that will make your course easy to use for the user.
So, in other words, you do not need a lot of skills, just the basic computer knowledge will help you make great content. But, in order to really retain readers and students, you will have to use some psychological knowledge as well.
The availability of everything online surely has made life easier. People are gaining knowledge more easily than ever before. However, this is also increasing competition.
If you want to enter the competition or just want to share your knowledge, you should definitely enter the online arena. However, in order to actually thrive in it, you will have to create great content, include great course materials, and also supply it in a very easy fashion.
You have to make the users feel like they are actually taking something away from your course. Therefore, quite often you will have to wear the shoes of the receivers and design your course in such a manner that you feel interested in taking it.
It is not just PowerPoint that you will have to work on but other authoring tools and platforms will help you as well. You have to utilize all the benefits you get together to create something that is worthwhile. Finally, you will hopefully be glad about the response you get. But, be open to changing things as you learn more and grow.