Thursday, June 19, 2008

How to Use Elluminate's New Program To Fast-Track Branded Online Course Creation

This is an expansion of an earlier post on how to fast-track the creation of online courses using recorded webinars. I’m applying the concepts to Elluminate’s new new product, Publish!, designed to help users do all the things in my May 2008 "wish list" post, and more. In my post, I discussed how archived webinars (using Elluminate, Adobe Connect, Neulio, LearnHub, etc.) can be saved and then used as the core instructional content for web-based courses and/or hybrid courses. Here's the article again, which has been updated to reflect Elluminate's new product, which is called Publish! (

Recorded and archived webinars can have very high value as instructional material for online, hybrid, and web-enabled face-to-face courses. Further, well-designed and executed webinars can create an outstanding library of useful information.

The key to success is good planning. It is important to make sure that the following items are covered in the webinar:

1.The objectives of the webinar are clearly stated.
A bullet point list of topics, goals, and desired learning outcomes can help guide the participant.

2. The content is organized in a clear sequence, with a logical flow.
Powerpoints should be clear and not distracting. Avoid too many all-text powerpoints, and use engaging and meaningful graphics when possible.

3. Audience participation is encouraged (even when recorded, seeing audience participation is engaging) with use of polls, surveys, and interaction.
Pace the insertion of polls and audience participation so that they are presented in regular intervals.

4. Audio should be spontaneous, conversational, and related to the content.
Avoid reading the powerpoints. Respond to questions from participants in a clear, relevant, and respectful way. Encourage individuals to use their audio. If they text message their question, be sure to read their question aloud in order to record and capture it for the archived webinar.

5. Use high-impact images that reinforce the objectives of the webinar.
In addition to powerpoints, it is possible to incorporate video, maps, graphics, tables, and other high-impact media. Make sure that you are making the connection between the course goals and the presentation.

Discussion of virtual world library resources.

6. Encourage participants to respond, not just with text messages, but also with audio questions.
You may also wish participants to send links to their own sites and to information that others will find helpful.

7. Content is of high quality and relevant to the objectives of the webinar.
It is a good idea to go through an prune material that does not directly bear on the goals and objectives of the webinar. A distraction or a dash off into the wrong direction can be devastatingly time-consuming in a synchronous webinar format. It’s even worse if the webinar is being archived for future use. Editing out the digressions later can be a real headache.

8. Content is aligned with the level and needs of the participants.
Before you start do the webinar, get an idea of the participants. Who are they? What is their background? Why are they attending? Be sure to gather the information and keep it in mind as you prepare the material.

9. Quizzes, questionnaires, and other interactive elements are included.
Again, don’t overwhelm, and pace them well.

10. If the webinar is a part of a series or a sequence, the place in the sequence should be clearly marked.

Screen shot from an Elluminate webinar

A number of webinar providers have targeted the education market and have made their products effective for classroom learning. However, Elluminate is leading the pack at this point with a number of useful attributes:

Attributes of the most Elluminate’s Vrooms include:

1. Interactivity with multiple participants;

2. Interactivity includes polling, questionnaires, surveys, and quick quizzes;

3. Individuals can write, draw, doodle in whiteboard area;

4. Participants can chat with the group;

5. Participants can send messages to other participants;

6. The interface supports audio and video demos;

7. The interface allows the presenter to move graphics and slides at own pace;

8. A log of presenters with contact information can be made available;

9. The interface allows for orderly interactivity (raise hands function, mute, etc.)

10. A moderator / administrator can archive the webinar.

When utilizing the archived webinars, it is very important to not simply create a "wraparound" shell to house the content. Instead, it is important to create a lesson plan that incorporates effective flow, and has learning objectives as well as clear outcomes assessment. Follow the steps outlined above, and you’ll have high-quality instructional material that will form the foundation of an excellent course that is unique to your organization, and which builds your brand.

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posted by susan

Useful book that will help you develop effective online and hybrid courses using archived webinars:

just for fun - new book for teens stresses social responsibility:

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