In two short, but very busy months, I built two websites with Google Sites, created videos with Powtoon, Camtasia, Biteable, and Vyond and I developed interactive courses with Genial.ly, Rise, and Storyline. None of which I had known much about before. I had not even heard of Canva, Visme, or Snagit either, yet I was now effortlessly designing images for my assets.
I am not here to boast. My point is that if I could do that, anyone can and I am happy to share some tips.
FIND SOME TIME
I think the best way to learn any tech is to find some time to really learn it. Once you open the software, you start exploring all the options and you probably want to take the time to see what you can do.
JUST CREATE SOMETHING
You might have an idea of a project and you want to learn the tech to bring your vision to life. Or you might not. Many times when I wanted to explore some software, I had no concept or only a spark of it, but the templates gave me inspiration and a few hours later I had a project. Either way, the point is to JUST DO IT.
Many people prefer to watch tutorials, follow it along and take notes, but in my opinion, you don’t always need that. Most software is intuitive and once you work out the main functions and layout, you can work out how to do things. You learn by doing and it’s true for technology too.
OBSERVE THE MENU
You should start with observing the menu, the layout, the navigation panel, etc. This way you could get a sense of what’s available and how the functions are organised. Scroll to the top or the left, hover over things, and watch out for the ‘Home’ icon or the ‘Hamburger’ menu with the 3 lines or dots. When something doesn’t make sense, try double-clicking or left-clicking and see what comes up. Familiarise yourself with the options so that you could find hidden things or start creating things straight away.
We learn from our mistakes so you shouldn’t worry too much about messing things up.
For one, if you are editing an existing template, you can duplicate it. So even if you completely destroy it, there’s no panic; you can just throw it away and start again.
For two, we have CTR + Z. My poor keyboard; I wonder how those keys are still holding up. I use them all the time to undo mistakes and I feel comforted by the fact that I have that safety net.
If you’re still nervous about making mistakes, make sure you save your projects. Duplicate or save versions so that you can pick your work up from a previous copy.
GET HELP WHEN NEEDED
I promise it’s so much quicker to learn things on your own than watching tutorials. The only software I relied on tutorials was Camtasia and Storyline. Other than that, I didn’t want to waste my time. When I couldn’t work out something, that’s when I turned to Google or Youtube. It’s very likely that there are already a few videos on the issue you’re dealing with, so have a look around, but I recommend asking specific questions to find quick answers. Actually, sometimes finding out only the first step of the solution was enough to work out my next steps so that I could get back into the software and continue creating.
These steps helped me make quick progress and now I feel confident about any software. Follow this advice and start using the tools for what they’re designed to do and create assets fast for your portfolio!
Written by: Ivett Csordas
Ivett is a teacher turned Instructional Designer. She has over 8 years of experience in secondary schools and 5 years in EFL classrooms. As a life-long learner, she is passionate about sharing knowledge and creating meaningful learning experiences. Her niche is breaking concepts down and anticipating potential learning obstacles. Before the pandemic, she loved watching plays in the theatre and going on backpacking adventures. Connect with her on LinkedIn or check out her portfolio.