Creating Better Materials for Distance Learning and Professional Development

By Aili Olichney | September 09th, 2020 | 3 Comments

christin-hume-Hcfwew744z4-unsplash-cropped-minPhoto by Christin Hume on Unsplash

This back-to-school season is throwing all sorts of curve balls, and no matter how much preparation has been done for the year, sometimes it still feels like anything could happen. Time is of the essence, and there seems to be so little of it. When choosing what’s most important it’s easy for teachers to forget about themselves, but educators have professional goals too, and seeing their own progress is vital to their success and happiness in and beyond the classroom.

Whether your goal is to grow into a new position at your current school, to shift career directions by moving to eLearning, work within an educational organization or even the corporate world, or to develop your ICT skills to use technology purposely with your students, it’s worth prioritizing your own professional development

The last several months have left the world on a fast track towards digital communication, with a boom in distance learning and working models, and the ability to create effective digital content—from classroom materials to personal portfolios and professional visuals—is more important than ever for educators who are looking to grow professionally. 

In this post, I’ll share what effective digital content looks like as well as practical tips on how to use this content in your classroom or career advancement. I’ll also point you towards a few resources that can help you get started with creating professional content from digital classroom materials to personal branding and work outside of schools.


The Three Keys To Outstanding Digital Content

Let me start by stressing that digital content should be:

  1. Professional
  2. Varied
  3. Interactive

Rather than merely writing about the power of visual content, I’d like to show you what I mean with this interactive image. Click on the buttons to learn more about each point.


Beats reading a worksheet, right? So now that we know what this looks like, what tools can help us make impactful, visual material?


How Can I Create Professional-Level Digital Material?

I started working on my own digital content about 4 years ago. My search for tools that could help me make digital materials that were professional-quality, varied in type and interactive ultimately led me to Genially

Genially is a free, all-in-one tool for content creation that allows you to make presentations, infographics, interactive images, games, CVs, quizzes, guides, didactic units and more and then add interactivity and animation effects to them. Best yet, it covers my three points; I could make professional-level material within the first week of using the tool by starting with one of their 1000+ templates, I could create any kind of creation with the same tool, and interactivity is one of Genially’s main advantages.

Here’s an example of a math maze made with Genially:


And here’s a guide, a great format for exploring dense material:


The tool also offers the Genially Academy, filled with full courses and microtutorials called “learning pills” where you can learn the ins and outs of creating professional material for the classroom and beyond. Learn about graphic design and online instruction with courses on Learning Landscapes, Integrating Audio, Interactivity and more. For answers to quick questions, go to Genially’s Help Center.


Using This Material To Improve Your Teaching And Professional Prospects

Let’s take a look at how to use this material with your students (whether online or in person), for personal branding, and more widely for diverse applications including ones within an organization or corporate setting.


Digital or In-Person Classroom

Let every educator speak for themself but my students are tired of powerpoints, and I was tired of showing up with them. Apart from sprucing up your presentations with added interactive and animated effects, consider taking the time to learn how to create gamified activities and digital escape rooms for your students. You may also want to think about activity options that allow more room for student choice and student-driven learning. Change things up by trying a choice board or choose-your-own-adventure type assignment.


Personal Branding

Educators are increasingly recognizing the advantages that come with building a personal brand. It can help you build a reputation as a creative and invested educator. Frankly, if you’re reading this post to begin with, the chances are that you truly are a creative educator invested in growing personally and professionally, so why not show it? By growing a personal brand, you’ll be creating a platform from which to share your own experience as a teacher, parent and any other space you have expertise in as well as a space to connect with other professionals.

You can work on your personal brand by investing time in your social media platforms and creating a blog. Both will be helped enormously by the inclusion of impactful visuals and well-designed materials


Organizations and Companies

Are you considering an additional career? Both educational and other organizations and companies are looking for individuals who have great ideas and know how to implement them. Start with an interactive resume to get your application noticed, and once you’re hired implement your new material creation skills when creating pitches, presentations, infographics with organization data and reports for your boss. 


With this quick tour through the world of digital content creation under your belt, I hope you feel ready to dive into the adventure of learning how to make materials like the ones you saw here. It’s easier than you think, and the payoff is better teaching and more professional options.


We’d like to thank Genially for writing this guest post! As you explore ways to create engaging learning content and support your professional development during a school year unlike any other, we hope these tips and strategies help you create materials that you’re excited to use and share. You can also check out our Distance Learning Toolkit for more inspiration.

About the Author: Aili Olichney


Community Content Creator at Genially