eLearning Beginner’s Guide to Templates & Stock Graphics

If you want to shortcut the design process and upgrade your content look and feel without having to become a professional graphic artist, then consider stock graphics and templates. The following are common resources you can find available for free or at very reasonable prices:

  • Graphics: There are many different pre-created visuals you can purchase and use to mix and match as you like.
    • Knockout, Cut Out People: These are images of people that have the background cut out so all you see are the images of the people. Models often are smiling, performing hand gestures, pointing, etc. You can layer images like these on top of or next to other graphics.
    • Speech Bubbles: The use of creatively designed speech bubbles in conjunction with your knockout people makes it look like they are talking to your audience.
    • Illustrated, Cartoon People: These are images of people that look hand or computer drawn. Character styles can range from cartoonish and bean people to photo realistic.
    • Background Images, Stock Photography: You can license images of various settings such as offices, interior spaces, landscapes, objects, etc., and use them to fill out the entire background for your content.
    • Paper, Notebooks, and Display Images: These are images of various paper products such as tablets, sticky notes, notebooks, white boards, cork boards, and other common office supplies. Use these images to present your content in a more interesting fashion than simple bullet lists on a screen.
    • Icons and other Graphics: Authoring tools often include smart art or other drawing tools for creating arrows, buttons, icons, and other items. You can also find many great looking ancillary graphics like these on various stock art and template sites.
  • Authoring Tool Templates: You can find many pre-made resources designed for specific authoring tools such as Captivate, Storyline, iSpring, Brainshark, PowerPoint, Lectora, and more.
    • Players/Skins: The eLearning player is what makes navigating an eLearning course possible. The player includes the course index, next/back buttons, pause/play controls, etc. There are pre-designed templates with custom colors, buttons, etc.
    • Layouts: There are infinite ways you can present your content. From placing text on an image of a whiteboard to placing sticky notes on a corkboard with push pins, you are not limited to simple bullet lists with headers. Pre-created eLearning layouts are available already inserted into your favorite authoring tool. Start with a pre-created layout and modify it however you like.
  • Interactivities: You can find interactivities designed specifically for your authoring tool or designed in Flash, HTML, or via some other industry-standard method that you can integrate into your course.
    • Quiz: A quiz is generally a multi-part test that is graded and includes items such as true/false, multiple choice, multiple correct, and fill-in-the-blank. Templates exist that have custom looking designs so you are not limited to the out-of-the-box format that comes with your software.
    • Interactions: Interactions are any items with which a learner can interact. An interaction can be a quiz-type item such as a drag and drop, hot spot, sequencing, etc.  Content Interactions are items that users interact with to reveal or obtain additional content rather than just reading simple text.  For example, roll over the icon to see more information is an interaction called a rollover. Similarly, Click (or tap) the button to see what happens is known as a click to reveal activity type.
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