One of the quickest ways to get from PowerPoint to e-learning is to use Adobe Presenter. This PowerPoint add-on enables designers to add e-learning features to a PowerPoint deck, and then publish it as e-learning. The resulting content will work well with your learning management system (LMS), and you also can publish your creations as PDFs or as HTML5 modules accessible by mobile devices. 

Here is a run-down of the e-learning features you can create with Presenter. 

First, you can record and edit a voiceover narrative for your project. Although it is not the equivalent of a full-service audio editing program, Presenter does allow you to record your voiceover, delete unwanted segments or sounds, cover stray sounds or noises with silence, adjust the volume, and add specific amounts of silence to adjust the timing of your audio. 

What I really like about Presenter’s audio capability is its nifty tool for synchronizing a voiceover with PowerPoint transitions and builds. Although it is best to create a separate voiceover recording for each slide, you can quite easily use one recording across multiple slides, perfectly synchronizing the voiceover with the slide transitions. 

What has become even more important for me, though, is the ability to synchronize a voiceover with slide builds—having the correct text or image appear on the slide just as the voiceover mentions it. Now, I know bullet points are currently frowned upon, but I think having synchronized audio helps minimize the negative effects of the occasional bulleted slide. 

Even if you have a well-designed PowerPoint deck, e-learning touches, such as background scenes that are office- or industry-specific, can improve its look. Adding a screen character to conduct the lesson can also add engagement—a key component in improving learner retention of e-learning content. Presenter gives you a selection of backgrounds and characters to enhance your lessons. 

Having clickable objects that your learner can explore at their own pace is another e-learning element that Presenter can add. “Interactions,” as Adobe calls them, allow you to convey a lot more data on a screen without the impression of an overwhelming amount of text. They also serve as another antidote to “death by PowerPoint” bullets. 

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The “skin” of an e-learning lesson—a sidebar with a table of contents, titling and other identifying information, and the ability to insert a video of the presenter—really take your project out of the realm of PowerPoint and into the world of e-learning. You also can embed training videos and graphics or SWFs of software demonstrations created in Adobe Captivate into your slides. 

Add a quiz with different question types that go beyond multiple choice and true or false, such as drag-and-drop matching and sequencing questions, and you have capped off the transformation of a dry and “deadly” PowerPoint deck into effective and worthwhile e-learning. 

Despite a little quirkiness in its functioning (for example, to access a functional PDF lesson, it requires your learner to have the latest Flash player installed), Adobe Presenter is an effective tool for quickly taking your training content from PowerPoint into the world of e-learning. 

To learn more insider design tips, join me for the Adobe Presenter Certificate program, starting online December 3, 2014.