How to Play the eLearning File Size Game Without Losing Quality

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Have you ever had to play the File Size Game? It can be hard to play if you’ve never played before. The game we play is when we decrease course file sizes to load faster for your learners without losing quality. In most cases, images take the longest to load. Just imagine if your learners are waiting for the page to load, (that could get annoying quick). You might want to have a file size game plan.

File Size Game Strategy

A good idea is to have a game plan or strategy to prioritize which medias you want to reduce over another. Let’s make a hypothetical situation. If you had a course with video, audio, and images. If your course are loading slowly, what media files are you going to downsize first? You might be tempted to downsize the video because it may be a bigger file. What I would do is start with your images first, here is why: Images are easier to compress (assuming you are working with the original image files). Also, slow load time in an eLearning course, we’ve found, is from large images. I think of the file size game like so:

  • First, reduce image files
  • Second, reduce video files
  • Third, reduce audio files

Of course, you can always choose to lower video or audio first. Again, we’ve just found it easier to start with images since they are the easiest to bring down in file size without losing noticeable quality.

A good idea when doing this strategy is to create a test course with all of your course images reduced to the lowest possible setting, then test the output of the course. How does it look? How do the images look?  If you are not happy with the level of quality, go up a level of image quality. Continue doing this until your reach your preferred level of quality.

Decrease File Size in Photoshop

As I mentioned earlier, it is easier to compress images mainly because Photoshop makes things so easy. You can preview images in the Save for Web option in Photoshop. You can click File > Save for Web. The quick key for this save option is one of my most used save options, ALT + SHIFT + CTRL + S.  The reason the Save for Web option is so powerful is you can see your images before you export. The preview button is at the bottom left of the window. You can also see how much space your saved using the 2-UP tab. Now, I can see my image quality before I put the image into a course. Then, I test the quality of output in my course. It is a basic tip but should help you have quicker loading courses and a better process for making quality media.

 

Extra eLearning Bonus: Batch Export

I would hate to see anyone in eLearning downsizing photos one by one. That would be long and tedious. Unless, you know how to record “an action” and do the “automated batch process” to decrease the file size. For this tip to work, go to the actions tab and create a new action. You will then record the action doing the exact steps in the decrease file size tip. Then stop the recording. Once the action is successfully recorded, you’ll be ready to batch your images, which is the next step. If you need more information on recording an Action, watch this video on Record Actions by Adobe Photoshop.

The last step is to go to File > Automate > Batch. All your photos will be saved in the file location of your choice. For more information on how to batch, go to the Adobe Photoshop Help page.

Let me know in the comments section below if you have any other useful tips to make your courses work faster. We’d love to hear from you.

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