The Rapid Elearning Blog

Archive for June, 2014


In a previous post I showed an easy way to convert your linear course to an interactive story. The essence of it is to reframe your content so that the information is aligned to a relevant scenario and then find the images to represent key points in the scenario.

The images are the visual cues; and the learner clicks on an image as a means to get the information. From there you can make it as simple or complex as you like from basic information to elaborate scenario.

Here’s the demo I used in the post.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning - how to create an interactive story template & free PowerPoint template

Click here to view the demo.

How I Created the Interactive Story

I received a lot of questions on how I built the demo used in the blog post. So I created a series of tutorials that walk through the steps. I also cleaned out the PowerPoint file and created a template for you to use if you like.

You can view the tutorial below and download the free PowerPoint template here.

Click here to view the interactive story tutorial.

How to Create Your Own Interactive Story

You’re free to use the free PowerPoint template above if you want. However, the images may not work for you so you’ll need to acquire your own to use in the collage. In that case you can do one of two things.

  • Create your own photo collage. Select some photos and stich them together to create a collage. There are some products on the market that will create a collage for you based on a selection of photos. Or you can add them to a PowerPoint screen and make it look like a collage.
  • Create a collage frame and add your content inside the frame. This is more like a comic style layout. You create the framework and then add the images to it.

I prefer the frame structure because it’s easier and once you have the frame built you can use it on other projects.

Take up the Challenge to Create an Interactive Story

David did a follow up elearning challenge in the community to go with the original blog post. The challenge activity is a great way to practice building this type of interaction and get some ideas from others. Here are some examples created by your peers.

You’ll notice that while the post may have centered on the photo collage, the participants in the challenge came up with a number of useful treatments that go beyond the challenge. I’m sure there’s something you can glean from them.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning - examples of interactive story templates and elearning examples and samples

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • October 6: Amsterdam. 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges by David Anderson. Register here.
  • October 21: Sydney. 3-Hour Articulate Virtual Event: 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges, Creating Engaging Software Training in Rise 360, and more. Register here.
  • October 29: ATD Nashville. Here's Why You Need an E-Learning Portfolio.

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

 




Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - flip the course design

You’re the site safety manager and arrive at company headquarters to find the workplace in disarray. Tables are knocked over, the place is littered with documents, and your cubicle is covered in slime. And you can’t find anyone in the building.

Footage from the security cameras reveal that the site’s been overrun by aliens and all of the staff has been abducted. What do you do? How does the company’s disaster recovery plan handle alien abductions?

Create a Flipped Perspective

Goofy scenario? Perhaps. But here’s something to consider. Course content that is too close to the learner’s world may hamper the learning experience. Sometimes it makes sense to use a flipped perspective and create something novel that puts the learner in a situation different than the world in which they reside?

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - create a flipped course

It’s important that the courses we build are relevant and meaningful. Often I’ll use real-world content to build out interactive scenarios. However, there are times when people get so caught up in the real-world training content that they lose sight of the course objectives. For example, I used to have a fake CPR demo to teach some software features and production tips. But every time I’d show the demo, I’d get complaints about the content in the CPR training (even after I said it’s just filler content and not a real course).

The objective wasn’t to teach CPR. That was just content I could use to teach course design. But because the CPR content was so similar to what they already knew, it interfered with the learning process.

And that’s the key point: if the situational content is too close to the real-world they may not be able to see past the content and focus on the real learning objectives. A flipped perspective gets the learner away from the details of their day-to-day routines. They aren’t distracted by those things they know and you can get them focused on learning what it is they need to know.

Tips on Flipped Perspective

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - tips on how to create a flipped course

If you do change the content around, here are a few basic considerations:

  • Changing perspective exposes different opportunities. We tend to be myopic so seeing things from a different angle helps us move past our routines or presuppositions. This opens the doors to creative approaches we may not have considered with real-world content.
  • Make sure the tasks are relevant. The content or environment may be flipped, but the application of the learning should still be relevant and transferrable to what they need to do in real life. In the example above, alien abduction is a form of disaster, but the process for responding to a disaster is the same whether abduction, earthquake, or hurricane.
  • Create a clear way to assess their mastery of the desired skills and their level of understanding. Again, be clear about the learning objectives so that they are the focal point and you can measure them effectively.
  • Add a humorous or interesting perspective to the activities. In some of my workshops we train people how to shoplift as an approach to designing a course on how to prevent shoplifting. A novel approach like this allows for fun activities and great discussion. All of that makes the learning experience engaging. It’s also a way to get some nice watches from the local stores.

Alien abductions may not happen (or maybe they do); but if they did the process for disaster recovery is probably similar to that of other incidents. But what makes the abduction narrative work is that it’s different and forces the learner to think through the same content in a slightly different way.

So in your next course, look for ways to flip the perspective. Find a way to put the learning content in a world that’s different than the learners’. This gets them to think through the same tasks in a new way.

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • October 6: Amsterdam. 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges by David Anderson. Register here.
  • October 21: Sydney. 3-Hour Articulate Virtual Event: 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges, Creating Engaging Software Training in Rise 360, and more. Register here.
  • October 29: ATD Nashville. Here's Why You Need an E-Learning Portfolio.

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

 




Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - summer reading for online training book

It’s almost summer time and what’s better than laying in a hammock reading a book on how to build online training? Not much, I’m sure.

I’m always asked about books to read to get better at building online training courses. Here are a few books I’ve mentioned at recent workshops and below that a list of books I’ve mentioned in previous posts.

New Online Training Book Recommendations

Here are a few books I haven’t mentioned before that I think work for those just getting started:

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - online training book recommendations

Online Training Books: Getting Started

The links to Amazon books may produce a slight commission.

Learning the Articulate Software

Blog Posts with Online Training Book Recommendations

I’ve mentioned a few books in previous posts. They cover a broad range of topics because today’s course designer needs to understand instructional, visual, and interaction design.

Online Training Book Recommendations

Here’s a list of the books mentioned above in case you don’t want to go digging through the previous posts:

Course & Instructional Design

Working on Projects with Clients

Visual & Presentation Design

User Design

PowerPoint

You can also finds a pretty long list of other books in the elearning community. Enjoy your summer reading!

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • October 6: Amsterdam. 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges by David Anderson. Register here.
  • October 21: Sydney. 3-Hour Articulate Virtual Event: 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges, Creating Engaging Software Training in Rise 360, and more. Register here.
  • October 29: ATD Nashville. Here's Why You Need an E-Learning Portfolio.

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

 




Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - secret to becoming an elearning pro

I get a lot of questions asking how to become an elearning pro. The obvious answer is to acquire some knowledge and then practice applying what you learned. Doing that gives you experience and with each experience you get feedback and learn to improve your craft.

The other question is how to actually do all of that.

I’m glad you asked. Today I’d like to feature some of the people I’ve gotten to know through the elearning community who are perfect examples of how to gain the type of experience and exposure to become an elearning pro.

What they do is practice their craft, build working examples, and then share what they learned or how they built their examples.

E-Learning Pros Practice Their Craft

As many of you know, each week we offer an elearning challenge. The goal is to carve out a little bit of time each week to practice something new. As I’ve mentioned before, you may get to build a lot of courses, but often it’s the same course over and over.

The elearning challenge is a way to try something different. You’ll learn some production techniques and get to see some cool ideas from others. All of those things can be used in future courses.

Here’s a list of ten recent challenges. As you can see they offer opportunities to do something a little different than you might do normally at work and they’re not big time commitments.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - examples of elearning courses and demos

E-Learning Pros Show Examples of Their Work

When I starting out I was always looking for examples of what others were doing. I wanted to see the really good stuff that won awards, but I also wanted to see what others like me were doing. This helped me get a sense of where my skills were.

The award winners are really slick, but they are usually created by elearning vendors who have access to resources that we usually don’t. Many of us don’t get big budgets or have graphic designers to help with our courses. While I enjoyed finding inspiration in the award winning work, I found a lot more comfort looking at good courses done by people who faced the same constraints I did. One thing I’ve learned is that people can be very creative when constrained.

Elearning pros show their work. It’s another reason why I like the weekly challenges because there are some neat ideas shared. Some of them are simple prototypes and some more complete. In either case, the other elearning developers willfully share what they do so that we can all learn from them.

Dan Sweigert recently shared this funny prototype of a Family Feud style game and a blog post on how he created it. I loved the goofy voices (reminds me that humor can be a way to engage learners) and the demo made me think through how I’d disable previously selected characters and show the selected answers on the scoreboard.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - example of simple elearning game

Click here to view the elearning example.

Sharing files is also a great way to get feedback. Just the other day someone shared a tabs interaction template. He did a great job. But there were a few ways to cut down some of the production. But here’s the deal: we only know what we know. His approach was right. But sometimes there are more efficient ways to do things. But unless someone shows them, we may never know.

It kind of goes to my point from last week about becoming efficient in course development. Efficiency comes with practice and in this case it comes from sharing your work, having others learn from it, and receiving feedback.

E-Learning Pros Share What They Do & Learn

This is the part that I think is most important yet usually the piece often neglected. Elearning pros share what they’re learning and how they do what they do.

Sharing what they do opens the doors to those just getting started. Over the years the software has gotten a lot easier to use. But learning to use the software and building good courses requires some help. And often, the people who use the rapid authoring tools are also the ones who tend to get the least support at work. Thus anything they can get to help them is great.

Experts who share what they do also helps them cement their own learning. The more we explain how to do what we do the more we build our own skills. It also helps those who share build their reputations and expertise in the community. I am sure that there are many voices to affirm that notion.

I know my involvement with Articulate started with me sharing in the community. Cammy Bean has shared a lot about how she got started. Tim Slade’s another one who’s built his business and profile by sharing and helping others.

The point is that sharing is a great way to cement your expertise and build credibility in the industry. I’d also add that I’d rather see someone’s simple tabs interaction explained than read bl
og posts from industry experts on what’s wrong with elearning. The tabs interaction is going to help me get my work done.

There are a lot of people in the community who regularly share what they do, but here is a list of some that I’ve come to know and appreciate because not only do they share their examples and source files, but they also regularly write about how they did what they did. And that is pure elearning gold for those who want to learn more.

Jackie Van Nice

Blog post: Context-Challenge-Activity-Feedback model.

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - example of elearning theory

Click here to view the elearning example.

Gemma Henderson

Blog post: What do elearning designer’s do?

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - who to elearning designers do

Click here to view the elearning example.

Michael Hinze

Blog post: Interactive operation manual

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - example of elearning course

Click here to view the elearning example.

Paul Alders

Blog post: Shares his interpretation of a tabs interaction

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - elearning interaction

Click here to view the elearning example.

Ashley Chiasson

Blog post: Interactive information graphic

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - elearning infographic

Click here to view the elearning example.

Allison Nederveld

Blog post: Fun way to practice building learning objectives

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - another elearning interaction

Click here to view the elearning example.

Ian McConnell

Blog post: Cool branched decision making interaction

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - elearning interactive scenario

Click here to view the elearning example.

May need to hit CTRL + – to decrease the screen size.

Rachel Barnum

Blog: 10 Ways to Engage Learners

Click here to view the elearning example.

 

Nick Russell

Blog: Example of an interactive portfolio page

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - elearning portfolio

Click here to view the elearning example.

Diane Hope

Blog post: Interactive explanation of the SCARF model

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - elearning instructional design theory

Click here to view the elearning example.

Lucia Salters

Blog post: Interactive explanation of the food web

Articulate Rapid E-Learning Blog - interactive elearning module

Click here to view the elearning example.

Honestly, I’m not sure why more people don’t do this. It’s a simple way to build your business and profile in the industry.

The other thing cool about this list of your peers is that it’s an international list. Some of the countries represented are Canada, South Africa, Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, and of course the United States.

So here’s the deal. You want to get better at elearning? Take the time to do little practice activities like the weekly challenges. Start a blog and then share what you’re learning. Don’t worry about everything being pro quality; that comes with time. The main point is that you’re doing something new, sharing, and getting feedback.

What have you done
to improve your skills and standing in the industry?

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • October 6: Amsterdam. 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges by David Anderson. Register here.
  • October 21: Sydney. 3-Hour Articulate Virtual Event: 10 Production Tips from the E-Learning Challenges, Creating Engaging Software Training in Rise 360, and more. Register here.
  • October 29: ATD Nashville. Here's Why You Need an E-Learning Portfolio.

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.