Please, Don’t Make Powerpoints for eLearning Software

This three-part series is all about maximizing your business’ elearning software. In Part 1, we’ll chat about online courses, in Part 2 we’ll discuss the downfalls of powerpoints, and then we’ll conclude in Part 3 by talking more holistically about learning solutions. It’s time for better elearning—let’s get to it!

Powerpoint as we know it was first offered as a part of the Microsoft Office suite in 1989. That makes it 30 years old and only getting older. Microsoft does a great job of keeping it updated, relevant, and useful (in fact, millions of college students have their theses to show for it). But there are still too many businesses mistaking Powerpoint slides for a proper elearning course for their organization and teams. If you want to take employee empowerment seriously and promote deep learning, it’s time to upgrade to something built specifically for hosting learning content.

Interactivity with learners is low

At its core, Powerpoint is a slide software that people use for presentation of information. Usually, people will stand in front of those slides and read word-for-word the text on the slide behind them. Creating interactive learning experiences through Powerpoint is difficult because there is such a disconnect between learner and learning content. There is no further context or articulate storyline to be understood, just a long list of slides with words (and sometimes videos) on them.

Compare that with some of the more modern solutions to come out of the elearning industry and the difference in interactivity is striking. Learners can engage with quizzes, flip-cards, and in some cases, video practice tools that allow them to submit answers by recording themselves for managers to offer feedback. A modern learning software makes it easy for creating interactive learning content like this to deeply engage their learners instead of just present to them.

Lacking in responsive design

Powerpoint has a famously rigid design. Rectangle-shaped slides can be customized as far as colors, typefaces, and images, but they all react in the same way. Content is shown in a linear fashion by clicking through a predescribed itinerary. The content does not change itself to look better on whichever screen you are interacting with it. Everything is static, which does not bode well for learning solutions.

Most modern elearning software has taken the leap to responsive design, which means it changes its format to fit the device that it’s being accessed on. Instructional designers of elearning projects today can easily design multiple paths for lessons depending on the responsive design. If the lesson is being accessed on a smartphone or smaller screen, the amount of content text can be cut down and spaced out so it can be more easily understood by the learner. (By the way, Lessonly makes creating responsive learning simple for any teammate—no instructional designer required!)

No cloud-based functionality

Outside of being able to store a Powerpoint presentation in the cloud, there isn’t much functionality there to really impact learners. When compared to a dedicated, cloud-based elearning software, the differences become much more pronounced. Modern learning management systems are built to encourage learning and everything that comes with it. When learners finish a quiz, that score is immediately uploaded to a server where administrators can grade it against other test scores to see how the overall team is doing. When instructional designers make changes to the questions and information inside of learning content, that is automatically updated for every learner who has access to the information. There’s no need to make sure that each version is updated. The cloud-based nature of learning systems in the elearning industry today shows just how far away Powerpoint is from being a tool for modern learning.

Hard to make information contextual

Another area where Powerpoint really fails learners is making the information contextual. Since its beginning, the only way to add more context to information in Powerpoint is to add more slides. The deeper you get into a topic, the longer the entire presentation will be, and the higher the chance that learners will mentally check out.

Learning content in modern elearning software is much more contextual, with much less mental stress on learners. Tools and functionalities like learning paths and interactive quizzes are available for elearning courses that want to flesh out a subject with more information. The authoring tools of most forward-thinking learning platforms have been updated to encourage creators to include this type of contextual information as well.

Powerpoint is great at what it does, but it does not function well as an elearning software. The needs of modern learners have grown beyond what Powerpoint can offer, and creating interactive, responsive, cloud-based content full of context is better served by one of the great new tools coming out of the elearning industry.

Upgrade your learning with Lessonly

Take an honest look at the Powerpoints in your life. Are they really serving the purpose you need them to? Isn’t it about time your learners got an experience that is made to help them learn? Take the first step toward better learning with a free demo of Lessonly.

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