Creating a high-quality elearning course is a complex job that requires not only a lot of time but also a considerable level of computer skills. One of the key points is to achieve an effective visual concept, which may require the talent of an illustrator.
In some cases, a pre-made template created specifically for your subject can be the best way. These assets can offer engaging solutions to create visual metaphors or animated diagrams without too much budget.
However, like any other digital tool, elearning templates have some drawbacks and are not suitable for all instructional designers. Let’s take a closer look at the main pros and cons of using elearning templates for your online courses.
3 Key Benefits of Using Templates in Elearning
1. Less Development Work
In case of a timeline about to end, you get an efficient and quick solution. You will also see how those interactions are inside, which will make it easy to modify colors and backgrounds, add animations or replace objects. By reusing the modified components of the elearning templates, you will reduce your production costs in future projects.
2. You can Focus on Creating Learning Content
Elearning templates will free up a lot of time that you can use to create unique content for your audience. Making your content more sustained and engaging should be at the core of using your time as instructional designer.
3. Your Own Library of Assets for Courses
You will expand your collection of easy-to-configure layouts such as quizzes, timelines, interactive scenarios, processes, and more. Your future courses will benefit from the combinations you can make with all your educational interactions.
3 Cons of Template-Based Interactions
1. You Need Time to Learn a New Software
Elearning templates are always for specific software, so you need to download that software first. If you’ve never used Adobe Captivate, Storyline, Rise or Lectora, be prepared to spend some time studying the basic features of these tools. Beginners often find it difficult to modify the correct elements within a Storyline template.
2. Could my Courses Look Like Others?
Despite the wide variety of themes and designs, there is a chance that another author may have chosen the same elearning template. You should make a few variations to use it in your project. On the other hand, only course creators think that way. Real users focus on the big picture, understanding concepts and solving activities.
3. I Will Have to Modify the Templates Anyway
Probably yes. You can always turn an image gallery into a process, or an ordered list. The question is how long it will take you to do it. If the components are poorly organized or their nomenclatures are not clear, it will take you a while to find everything to adapt that elearning template to your project. If everything is clear and orderly, you will do it quickly.
The Wow Factor
We all want our courses to look well designed and provide a great learning experience. As the author of a web course, you feel good with comments like: “You are a genius”, “You have synthesized it visually in an excellent way”, “The activities you have proposed are excellent”, etc. Those kinds of comments improve your ratings in the industry and grow your bank account.
How to achieve that visual synthesis that is seen in other web courses? There is a good practice for cinema that applies perfectly to elearning creators: invest more in the key scenes of your story. Not necessarily in the whole movie (course), but certainly in the key moments.
But, what exactly is a key scene in an online course?
Perhaps these are the critical concept moments, the moments that illustrate the main concepts of your themes. These slides have to stand out for their visual synthesis.
You’ve probably seen a visual metaphor that explains an abstract idea better than thousands of words. It could be an interactive infographic or an activity to be solved, but they are scenes that connect your audience to a key concept or wake them from lethargy.
Suscriptions, yes or not?
The subscription business model is becoming popular in many digital markets. For providers, the value of subscriptions lies in the ability to predict recurring revenue. Subscriptions appear to reduce customer churn rate and significantly increase customer retention.
For users, annual subscriptions simplify the business process. They don’t have to renew their orders every month, and once subscribed, they get instant access to all the downloadable files.
Vendors constantly update the library with new material, and customers get access to new templates and characters for free as long as their subscription is active.
Is this model the most suitable for elearning templates?
Of course, all vendors have the best learning templates. You subscribe paying $$$/year and receive hundreds of slides. You’ll then use a few of those and save the rest for other projects. And you’ll probably never even consider using those slides again.
Why? Because not all those templates will be useful for your course style or your interaction ideas.
So what prompted you to spend all that money at once? Surely very few or no vendors offered a $ per slide model. This offer comes from a different perspective: you don’t need a complete “collection”, just one interactive slide to solve your problem. Surely you will make some edits -you can do it perfectly, and that’s it.
Usually a single finished template is very cheap and customizable. It does not seem to make sense to make annual payments of $$$, perhaps the real solutions are more like combinations between ready-made templates and a little manual work, always keeping in mind the needs of each project.
Beyond the wow factor mentioned before, it’s worth saying that you shouldn’t use elearning templates just to impress your audience.
You should use visual templates for the elearning course if:
- You have a good writing level but not the necessary skills to create graphics.
- You have the software and you know how to modify the templates.
- Your schedule is ending or you need to publish a course with specific interactions.
- You value your work in $/hour and you prefer to deal with projects already done.
Elearning courses are not traditional educational courses, for neither their pros nor their cons. You can make the elearning process an exciting experience or an irrelevant to do list for your students.
Even if you have a remarkable graphic talent, do not forget that your main goal is to create educational content. Elearning templates can only give you, like any teacher, a set of tools to achieve your educational goals.
Thanks for reading.
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PS: if you have a specific idea for a learning template and you can’t find it, you can request it in this form. All of our learning templates are inspired by messages from our users. Feel free to send us your ideas and we will add them to our store!