In the last blog we took a brief look at the history and importance of eLearning. While this interactive learning is a valuable resource for training and education, these platforms can be challenging to create. Thankfully, there are various workarounds for those who don’t have the coding skills to build a video game or website from scratch.

Interactive Learning: Battle for Supremacy: PDF vs PPT

PDF (portable document format) became the standard for sharing digital documents and over time designers figured out ways to make these seemingly static documents digital experiences. This included basic transitions such as fade, push, wipe, uncover, and blinds – all similar to PowerPoint.

Using PDFs, designers could also include other features such as forcing the document to open in full screen mode, the inclusion of JavaScript for interactive navigation controls, and hyperlinks to internal or external locations. Interactive PDFs can also be used to gather information through features such as check boxes, radio buttons, and text fields for sending info via email. You can also easily embed video and audio files into a PDF.

However, one key drawback to PDFs as a standard is that there never was a standard for PDF readers. Adobe Acrobat aimed to become the universal reader, but a host of alternatives have since popped up, creating a disconnect when people share, view, and edit these files. Another hindrance to creating interactive PDFs is the necessity for flash support.

With these shortcomings in mind, designers needed to create a standard format for creating interactive documents that could be used for eLearning. Enter PowerPoint.

Glowing up from slideshow to eLearning tool

Aside from the ubiquity of PowerPoint as reader software, it has the ability to easily convert slideshows in HTML. This means sharing, editing, and viewing these files can be consistent across stakeholders with differing software.

Creating eLearning/ interactive learning resources on PowerPoint means focusing on key elements such as user experience, accessibility, legibility, and responsiveness. Thankfully, it’s easy to include all navigation tools such as menus and mapping. Furthermore, the use of master slides ensures consistency in design aesthetic.

Aside from interactive learning, another important feature of eLearning is the use of media-rich content – all of which is easily integrated/embedded in PowerPoint. By using a variety of multimedia such as audio and video, you can create a holistic approach to teaching that helps reinforce retention. Unlike interactive PDFs, no flash is necessary for supporting animation.

The ease and ability to animate on PowerPoint has been explored by us in detail previously. Animation helps explanation by creating a sense of movement. Movement is a language that is far more emotive and engaging compared to static text, which is why it’s so powerful when used in eLearning.

When building an interactive learning experience, it’s important to remember your basic design principles and marry these lessons with notions of user experience – since interactivity transforms audiences into participants. PowerPoint allows you to create interactive training exercises and quizzes complete with feedback, which means those involved can learn at their own pace while engaging directly with the material while those teaching can gauge the effectiveness of each learning module or method.

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