Patti Shank has been prolific through the years in terms of sharing ideas on how to rapidly create self-paced eLearning with a focus on strong instructional design. With the second edition of her book, The Online Learning Idea Book, Volume Two: 95 Ways to Enhance Technology-Based and Blended Learning, she has once again successfully aggregated actionable ideas from a variety of eLearning colleagues. Although many contributions refer to PowerPoint plug-in tools, there are also good ideas for authors of higher education courses who utilize an LMS.

Here are my top 9 favorite ideas:

  1. Frustration Check List – This is a practical check list that will encourage your development team and instructor experts to do a quick evaluation of courses under development.  Hopefully viewed as a continuous improvement exercise.
  2. My Personal Learning Network – Use Twitter’s Favorites feature to bookmark tweets by eLearning pundits.
  3. Online Classroom Clickers – What a great idea.  Use third party software to embed instant polls.  Suggested free software:, or  Also (my comment) some LMS questionnaire modules can also act as “classroom clickers”.
  4. YouTube You Talk – Create a video and post on YouTube as a learning activity.  The instructor on video presents a problem or idea.  Learners can post answers or insights in the comment box.
  5. Branched Scenarios with Three Cs – This is a template system to help with the writing and design of branched scenarios for self-paced modules.
  6. Reduce OnScreen Text – Lists several ways to reduce onscreen text.  Got it; use fewer words, animate graphics. Long live self-paced page turners!
  7. Easy Video – Apparently allows for easy creation of video and upload to YouTube and Facebook.
  8. Easy Mobile Learning Content: PowerPoint to MP4 – Rapid eLearning for the smart phone!  Screen capture technology i.e. to turn PPT into MP4
  9. Pre-work Verification – A simple form that helps instructors confirm that students completed the required pre-workshop material.

Check out the book on Amazon.

Full disclosure: I have contributed two ideas to the book, “Idea Title: Complexity Analysis” and “Better Collaboration with Your Subject-Matter Experts.” In Complexity Analysis, I discuss how knowing what level of complexity is needed and desired up-front helps all stakeholders understand the cost/time/resource implications of more complex projects. In my section on SMEs, I explain how two-way communication and expertise sharing with SMEs improve the quality of the final deliverable.