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“It’s so simple to use, which means I can produce more content, faster.”
Anyone who has taught in a classroom setting before understands how important it is to keep students engaged throughout the lesson.
Boring lessons can cause eyes to easily glaze over, resulting in a lack of retention of the course material. Using bright visuals and presentations can help grab student attention and encourage more thorough understanding of the material.
This is especially important for online courses and elearning formats. Learning virtually can make it even more difficult to grasp complex course information, so putting together interactive course content and educational infographics is essential.
And this is exactly what James Brack, instructional technologist, does in his position. Previously working at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, he spent his day creating engaging and interactive content for online courses.
“I started my career at ERAU as an Instructional Designer. In that role, I had a specific set of courses that were assigned to me to work on. But, being that my background is in graphic design, I was trying to push the limits of what my courses looked like and also make them more interactive.”
You can get a good idea of the type of interactivity James adds into his online courses with this infographic below.
James first discovered Visme when he was looking for a way to create an interactive Venn diagram while still following essential accessibility guidelines.
“When creating online courses, it’s important to follow Section 508 guidelines for accessibility, so finding a tool that leaves text that is screen-readable is very important.”
Previously, James would use programs like PowerPoint to create the content he needed to use for classes, but the results were inconsistent and often problematic.
“The slides or images which had previously been deleted would mysteriously show up, formatting would consistently break, audio wouldn’t play. All of these things can be detrimental to a course.”
The ease of creating and sharing interactive content with Visme has been a game changer for James in his position.
Not only can he create better interactive content, but in his role as instructional technologist, he helps to support the instructional designers in using Visme to create their own interactive course content, like this interactive course menu below.
In his work, James typically sticks to both interactive presentations and infographics, creating pop-ups or hover effects in his projects.
“Most of the infographics have some sort of interactivity (such as a pop-up or links that go to another page within the asset).”
Using presentations in Visme, like the one below, often works well for his needs as he can create links between the various slides.
James works together with a team of subject matter experts and instructional designers to ensure that the content is accurate and engaging for each course they create.
Here’s a bit about the process in James’s words:
“We work in teams consisting of an instructional designer, a subject matter expert, and an instructional technologist. The subject matter expert provides the content to the instructional designer. The instructional designer then finesses the content to make sure it is academically sound and organized in a way that is appropriate for learning. At the same time, we identify ways to make the content more digestible by creating interactivity and engaging multimedia, which is where I come in.”
Each course has a template set up with the content already in place. Each instructor is then able to customize the content to fit their lesson.
There are many different ways to make interactive content with Visme. In James’s work, they’re most often using the hover option or linking between slides.
In the Visme editor, you can easily link objects within your design to another object for it to appear on click or on hover, or to another slide in your presentation.
When the project is completed and published, this creates an engaging, interactive effect that really brings course content to life.
Visme projects are able to be easily embedded, making the look and feel of the interactive content almost seamless to students who are viewing the content through their own learning management system (LMS).
“The ease of using Visme facilitated the process of adding interactivity to the courses.”
James often starts his projects from scratch, although will occasionally use our presentation themes to kick off the design process.
He also takes advantage of several other features Visme offers to help save design time and create a cohesive look and feel.
“I do have some elements related to university branding that I have stored in the Content Blocks, as well as colors set up in My Brand, to facilitate keeping consistency of the brand.”
Content blocks allow James to save designs he’s created previously, like a header or footer, and add them into any new design he wants to create. This helps keep content branded without taking the time to design reusable pieces each time.
“Some of the features I enjoy most are the ability to put the assets directly in our courses with iFrames – giving an aesthetically pleasing view of the content and the ease of updating content.”
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