I’ve seen a lot of eLearning templates floating around lately. Some are good, some are bad, and some are ugly. As I dig into various templates that I run across, I start to ask myself questions to gauge if that template is worth using. Let’s take a look at five questions so we can answer, what makes a “good” eLearning template?
1. Could I really use this template in a project?
Could this template be used in multiple ways? Is it scalable? Let’s say that I find a nice template that has various drag and drop areas. Can I quickly increase it to have more areas? If the template is “stuck” as a certain number of content areas then it quickly becomes useless to me. I need to be able to expand the template and add more content when needed.
The other part is that is must be a useful template. For example, could I really use a Thanksgiving themed template in a corporate training course? Probably not. It might be a “cute” template but “cute” isn’t helpful. Users need corporate themed templates that work with real projects.
2. Do I have enough of the source files to customize as needed?
Source files are key to a good template. What good is a template if you can’t tear it apart and customize as needed? One of the huge benefits of using a template is to save time. Basically, don’t start from scratch if you don’t need to. So when possible a template should be built in the tool that it is targeting. For example, if you create an Articulate Storyline template then you should build as much as possible in Storyline. Yes, even the graphics. A good graphic designer can do a lot of the visual design in the target software thus making is easier for the end user to make edits. At a minimum the template should come with the Illustrator and/or Photoshop files that were used.
3. Are the graphics at a high enough standard to use?
There are too many ugly templates on the market. There is no reason that you’d ever use a snowflake, candy cane, or cat themed template in corporate training. Some of the templates are starting to look like clip-art from the early PowerPoint libraries. Online training content needs to look amazing. A fresh, professional look is a quick way to add credibility to your courses and to make an outstanding impression. Yes, I’ll admit that it’s not all about the “look”. However, an awesome looking course will sure entice a lot of people to pay more attention. Bottom line, a professional eLearning template should have a top-notch look.
4. Does the template have instructions and make sense?
What good is a template if you can’t figure out how to use it? Templates must have logic behind the design. Layers should be named, variables should make sense, and instructions should be provided. It takes a lot of thought to approach template design. You must think about the user and determine what would be the easiest way to edit and use the template. Decisions such as, “Should I use layers on one slide or multiple slides to create this interaction?” Or “Should I use custom coding or stay within the authoring tool’s basic functions?” Once logic is applied to a template then it should be used on all other similar templates. This helps the user become acquainted with the approach.
5. Is the template useful or solve a problem/pain?
Templates should give us a reason to use them. Such as, save development time, do something I didn’t know how to do previously, add visual pizazz, etc. A template is only useful if it helps us. Most people are looking for ways to make their training be more engaging, interactive, and inspiring. So with that in mind, does the template help?
As with anything, there are many different levels of quality and sophistication within eLearning Templates. A good template will look amazing, make sense, be fully customizable, and be useful.
At eLearning Brothers we’ve spent years building awesome eLearning templates. We now have the most extensive template library that covers many different tools. Templates include tutorials, source files, and variety. Our mission is to help you create eLearning AWESOMENESS!
You may also be interested in this post on why using templates makes sense.