The last two years have shown many companies the necessity, but also the advantages of e-learning courses. In addition to the possibilities of imparting knowledge without physical presence, the flexibility in scheduling is particularly advantageous. Most of the content is available as PowerPoint. But how can companies design courses as e-learning with their own content from PowerPoint without breaking the budget and with e-learning courses that are appreciated by the employees and that help build up competences in the long term?
For generic, company-independent content such as safety at work, basics of MS Office or IT security, there is a wide range on the market, which can usually also be adapted to the corporate design.
In addition, there are many internal company contents that cannot simply be purchased. This includes, for example, product training for sales and customer service, but also the process instructions for the ERP tool. The content is often already available in PowerPoint format, couldn’t you just upload the existing ppt files and save yourself the trouble of creating an e-learning course, convert e-learning with your own training content from PowerPoint?
What distinguishes PowerPoint from an e-learning course
PowerPoint is primarily a presentation tool, not a read-through tool for self-study. A well-designed PowerPoint presentation thrives on the fact that the presenter or trainer only uses the presentation to support the actual lecture. This “soundtrack” is missing in a ppt file.
Although it is possible to record the speaker’s text in the notes on the slides, the training participants have to find the connection between the notes underneath the slide and the content of the slide themselves in self-study. Cognitively, this is not optimal. If the participants switch to presentation mode, the notes are even invisible. The audio track in face-to-face training also provides a temporal structure that is completely missing in self-study. Participants tend to read across, and as the number of slides increases, the time per slide decreases even further. The learning result is rather suboptimal. With a combination of visual content (the PowerPoint slide) and audio content (the voice-over), you address several channels of perception and achieve a better learning result.
Step 1: Create PowerPoint with voice-over
So what could be more obvious than asking the subject matter expert to record the presentation once? This is even possible with PowerPoint’s on-board tools, without any additional expert tools. However, the effort involved is often underestimated. The sound quality of the built-in microphone in the laptop is only mediocre, a telephone or the parcel carrier is ringing in the background and not every subject matter expert is a born speaker, especially if it is not your own native language.
With a few tips, you can at least achieve an acceptable result:
- Invest in a professional microphone
- Provide a quiet environment; an open-plan office or meeting room with a lot of reverberation is not very suitable.
- Look for voice talent in the company – these are usually not the subject matter experts themselves.
Step 2: Create voice-overs for PowerPoint with artificial voices
The effort to create voice-overs with your own voice talents is greater than you thought, the quality is not consistent, the English version has quite a strong German accent?
For some years now, artificial intelligence has offered the possibility of turning written text into speech (TTS – text-to-speech or speech synthesis). While the first versions still sounded quite artificial, the quality can now only be distinguished from a natural voice if you listen very closely. Even the sentence melody adapts to questions or statements. Commercial providers offer both male and female options with different voices; for English, for example, you can choose between British and American pronunciation. You can find some examples from our own range here.
Step 3: Automatically translate individual e-learning courses – in the language of your employees
You have taken the first steps towards self-created e-learning content. For your international subsidiaries you have created courses in English. Your sales manager in France is enthusiastic, but notes in passing that her sales team only understands part of the content – after all, they speak French with their customers and speak poor English themselves: “Couldn’t the e-learning be created in French?” Her colleagues from Italy, Brazil and China agree.
This is one of the advantages of e-learning compared to a face-to-face seminar: in a face-to-face seminar it is simply impossible to convey the content in several languages at the same time. In practice, trainings with international participants are usually conducted in (poor) English. Due to the non-perfect foreign language skills on both sides, a large part of the content is often “lost in translation”.
Similar to the creation of synthetic voices, artificial intelligence now offers very good solutions that allow existing content to be translated into the language of the employees with little effort and thus create individual language versions for the sales team from France, Italy, Brazil and China. Technical terms from your industry can be stored in glossaries and allow the use of automatic translations even in specialised fields.
You can see an example of the “product” Mars probe in German, English, Chinese and Italian here:
ai-torials specialises in the automated creation of multilingual e-learning courses from existing content in PowerPoint format. With e-learning courses from ai-torials, you make your company’s internal training content available to your employees: at any time, at any place, in the language of the employees – affordably.