Recently Digilogue web development had the opportunity to work with PDST on their anti-bullying for irish Primary and Post-Primary schools. We were presented with a task of creating an online course / presentation on the topic which would complement the face-to-face presentations happening nationwide in various education centres. The 4 presentations were variations on the same theme - one Primary, one Post-Primary and two translations as Gaeilge for each.
Here at Digilogue, we are very passionate about education and we are always looking for ways of making learning a more enjoyable but more importantly a more meaningful and engaging experience. With years of instructional design and classroom experience - Digilogue understand that it's not the content or its presentation - it's the learning experience that matters.
From a purely presentational point of view, if you've ever had to sit through a dull presentation, you'll know what we were trying to avoid! Below are a number of principles by which we try to design the presentation aspects of our elearning.
Pick your color scheme and stick to it. Don’t overdo it with color and complexity. The slide headers are supposed to be a consistent, informational but unobtrusive element of your slides. Also, be consistent with your fonts, colors and sizes.
For these presentations we went with a simple grey header bar, combined with color coded section numbers. Two font faces with 3 color variations: black, blue and green. All in good contrast with their backgrounds and consistent with PDST branding.
Make sure your sides are either providing context for what you are communicating or summarising your message. If the content of your slide is the same as your audio, your audience will lose interest in both the slides and the spoken message. People read much faster than the spoken word, so reading ahead is a natural urge - but by then, the reader has lost the train of thought for the audio. Prompts, challenges, intros and changes of tone in the audio help to supplement the video/text presentation.
This might sound like a cheap trick, but it works. To keep your viewer engaged, make sure some of your slides look different from their predecessors. The moment the slide changes, you want your audience to notice. That way you’ll keep them focused and stimulated. Changes in visual cues can also signal a change of topic - we all like variety!
Even when dealing with apparently dull blocks of text, you can still achieve this effect with few simple tricks. Take a look at couple of Anti-bullying presentation slides with similar bullet-pointed content. Without the photos, different layouts and backgrounds, many of these would appear as dull blocks of text with little change from slide to slide. Keep this in mind when creating a presentation of your own.
These days we are not restricted to one medium. Images, animation, audio and video can and should be combined to make an engaging presentation.
For the Anti-bullying campaign online presentation we worked with PDST to record full audio commentary. These were accompanied by supplementary text and imagery designed to animate into the slides at appropriate moment in the audio commentary.
In addition, to create a human relationship, we opened and closed the presentation with video - and included additional clips at strategic points throughout..
This point refers specifically to publishing your presentations online. If your presentation requires a download of any plugins, additional software or the presentation itself - you are not being universally accessible and are excluding a percentage of your potential audience. With the current state of HTML5 development there’s no excuses. Your users should have access anywhere and on any device they want without any additional hassle. Smartphones, iPads, tablets, desktop - technology should not be a barrier.
The PDST Anti-bullying presentations use a hybrid Flash and HTML5 approach - similar to Google's YouTube. They primarily use flash technology (as it's the most superior for online multimedia delivery), but if/when it detects no Flash - it falls back onto HTML5 without the viewer even noticing. Thus, it’s viewable on all devices and fully scalable.
The presentation is wrapped in a easy to navigate player with a full content index. The player has a PDST’s dark blue as it’s primary background to create a high contrast between itself and the presentation, keeping your focus on the slides.
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