How to Create Interactive Study Guides & Job Aids Using OneNote


I’m big on using OneNote! I use it for all my projects to do things like – create checklists, take meeting notes, annotate slides, save important information that would usually get lost in my inbox forever, etc.  For every project I’ve worked on….I’ve managed to get everyone on the project hooked on using OneOnote.  It’s a great collaboration tool.  However, you can do so much more with OneNote. (If you’ve never used it I urge you to give it a try).

As an Instructional Designer, I’m always looking for ways to innovate and find creative uses for the tools I have readily available. Enter OneNote! Now before I get started, OneNote is not the only game in town – EverNote is the other big player and I use them both. My notes are synced between both applications but, I’ll focus on OneNote for this post.

A few months ago, I worked on a short project where I was granted creative freedom. The client had no established templates or guidelines. They needed a job aid that their employees could use for different processes. Since I use OneNote for all my projects, I created a Notebook for this particular project and shared it with my client.  As the project evolved, I started organizing all my ideas in OneNote.  What started out as a project notebook, soon turned into an interactive job aid.

I had shared with the client all the benefits of OneNote and its sharing capabilities. I compiled some of my key notes which included typed notes, scribbles, audio clips, and videos into a new OneNote document.  I organized the note page so whoever was reading it could read a chunk of info on the process, then listen to a clip about the info just presented. They could also watch a short two-minute clip on the specific process. They could also see some scribbled diagrams associated with the process.  I also included a poll to gather feedback. In short, the client loved it.

Their original vision of the job aids was transformed. All the job aids could reside in one location – a OneNote Notebook, and they could be updated with ease on the fly and everyone who has access to the notebook would see the updates immediately.

Here’s an example of how it might look when put together. I created a Dummy Notebook in OneNote and added an audio recording, I recorded a video of myself, I doodled on-screen and I inserted an MP4 video file.


There are some quirks to all of this:

  1. As of right now, you are not able to embed a Youtube or other web-based video file. You need to download the file and insert it as an attachment. The video will then play in the computer’s default player.
  2. OneNote for Windows and Mac have the ability to record Audio and Video.  Videos are captured using your computers webcam – it won’t capture your desktop.
  3. Although icons will appear for your videos and audio clips – you should still insert a “Call to Action” for your learners so they know they need to click on something to watch  or listen.

All in all not bad. OneNote has so much potential.

Here’a s link to my Sample OneNote Page. You’ll need to open it in OneNote. 

Before I leave you I have a question –

HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT MICROSOFT SWAY? If not, now worries, I’ll be writing a post on how to use Sway to create engaging content.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear how you’ve used Microsoft OneNote as a learning tool.




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