The Rapid Elearning Blog

Archive for April, 2017


e-learning portfolio

Having a portfolio is really important, especially in today’s world of digital technology. It’s a great way to document your skills, experience, and qualifications.

Recently, I gave a presentation on why you should maintain a work portfolio, here’s part of the presentation where we’ll focus on your personal development.

What is a Portfolio?

what is a portfolio

A portfolio does three main things:

  • It showcases your skills
  • Documents your experience
  • Demonstrates your qualifications

Whenever I hire an instructional designer, I’m more inclined to review their portfolio rather than a resume that documents their experience and education. An instructional design degree is great (maybe) but to me, the proof is in the pudding. And without a portfolio how can you show your work and skills?

Common Objections for Not Maintaining a Portfolio

common objections to not having a portfolio

For most people, the big challenge is finding or making the time. It’s easy to know you need a portfolio but not as easy to actually sit down and get one pulled together.

Another big concern is what to do when your work projects are all proprietary and can’t be shown. Three suggestions that may work:

  • Replace all proprietary content with lorem ipsum or placeholder content
  • Capture a few discrete screenshots and explain what you did rather
  • Rebuild the interesting part of the course and use your own content

How to Document Your Learning with Your Portfolio

maintain a portfolio to document your learning

Most likely you’re reading blog posts, articles, and books. Perhaps you’re taking some classes online or watching self-learning videos on YouTube.

Portfolios are a great way to document what you learn and collect your experiences. I recommend adding a blog to your portfolio and then doing a quick write up of your learning experiences.

  • Watched a great video? What made it great? “Five Things I Learned Watching XYZ.”
  • Reading an e-learning book? Write a few thoughts at the end of each chapter. Same thing when you read an article or blog post. “Recently I read this article by Tom Kuhlmann and he said…Here are three things I think about that.”

You’re not writing for others, just for yourself. But you should use a voice as if you’re explaining it to others. Over time, those little blog posts add up and they add heft to your portfolio when you are ready to show it.

Use Your Portfolio to Build Skills

use a portfolio to build your skills

Don’t get stuck in a rut. You may build a hundred courses at work, but odds are you’re building one course a hundred times, rather than a hundred different courses. This is true for many of the people I meet.

Use your portfolio as a way to practice. We run the weekly e-learning challenges to help you practice new things or play around with ideas you don’t get to try on real projects. Make it a goal to take on one of those challenges.

  • Start small, maybe do one a quarter.
  • Share what you created.
  • Solicit feedback.
  • Write about what you did and learned.

Use a Portfolio to Match Your Skills to Industry Needs

Create_portfolio_06

Align your skills with industry needs. If you build e-learning courses then there are all sorts of skills required:

  • Project management
  • Instructional design
  • Visual and graphic design
  • Authoring skills in software like Storyline

How are you documenting your current skills and those that need refinement?

Years ago I decided to transition to from media production to training. I went online and reviewed all of the training-related job postings and then I created a two-column list. On one side, I listed all desired qualifications and on the other, my corresponding experience. Needless to say, there was a big gap between what companies wanted and the skills I had.

So I went out and acquired the skills by volunteering or participating in projects. Then I created a portfolio to document what I was learning and the types of projects on which I worked.

This was a great way to guide my personal development and when it did come time to look for work, I had line item descriptions that I could quickly paste into my resume.

Managing a portfolio takes time, but the benefits are tremendous. I’ve found that it keeps me engaged in my work and the industry that is changing rapidly. Now’s a good time to start one.

Keep it simple and focus on just yourself. Don’t worry about getting likes or views. The main thing is to develop a process and habit to nudge your personal development and use your portfolio to document it.

Do you maintain a portfolio? Share your thoughts and link in the comments.

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.

 




hotspot drag drop interactions

In an earlier post, we looked at three ways to use hotspots in your e-learning courses. In most cases, hotspots are used as invisible buttons for interactive e-learning. But today we’ll look at ways to use the hotspot feature in your drag and drop interactions where the hotspot isn’t a button.

Drag and Drop Basics

Generally, there are two main components to drag and drop interactions:

  • an object that is dragged
  • a target to accept the dragged object

I covered this in more detail when we looked at how to create drag and drop interactions.

Use the Hotspot as a Catch-all Target

Usually, there’s an obvious correct or incorrect target for drag and drop interactions. But what happens when the object is dropped outside of one of the target choices? In most cases, the object gets kicked back to the starting point as in the image below.

Dropped object snaps back to starting point when dropped outside of the target.

drag and drop

In the above example, the dragged object can only be dropped on one of the targets. If it’s dropped outside of the target, it bounces back to the starting point. This is usually the default setting and most common in drag and drop interactions.

Dropped object triggers an “oops” layer when dropped outside of the target on the catch-all hotspot.

However, the hotspot feature can serve as a catch-all target to provide feedback when objects are dragged and dropped outside of the desired target. When an object is dropped on the catch-all target it triggers the appropriate feedback. In the example below, the catch-all target triggers an “oops, try again” layer.

dragdrop-2

If you create a catch-all hotspot there are two things to do:

  • Put the hotspot underneath all of the other targets. Otherwise, it covers the drop targets and the interaction won’t work.
  • Determine how the dropped object responds. By default the object snaps to the center of the target; and since the target covers the entire screen, it looked weird sitting on top of the guy who’s in the center of the screen. In the example above I let it remain where it was dropped.

drag and drop interaction

Use the Hotspot to Expand and Control the Drop Target

Another great use of the hotspot feature is to better manage the drop target area. Since the hotspot is transparent it can sit on top of other object and be sort of a surrogate drop target. Instead of dropping on what looks like the target, they’re actually dropping on the target hotspot.

By doing this, you can determine where the dropped object is displayed. Here are before and after examples.

Dropped objects align based on the target image and display outside of the box.

drag and drop interaction target free

The objects are dragged to the box. By making the box image the drop target and tiling the objects, you can see that the objects actually align at the top of the box image.

Dropped objects align based on the hotspot target and align inside of the box.

drag and drop interaction drop target hotspot

In the example above, the box image isn’t the drop target. Instead, there’s a hotspot placed on top of the box image and centered over the opened box. This allows control of the alignment of the dropped objects to create the desired visual effect.

drag and drop interaction hotspot target

The hotspot is a great feature for creating interactive content. Most of the times it’s used as an invisible button. However, because it’s an easy-to-see green box (for production) and invisible to the end user, it’s a great feature to create large, catch-all targets. And it also works well for controlling how the dropped objects align and display.

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.

 




free stock images for e-learning

Apparently, the internet can’t get enough of free stock images as it seems there are new sites popping up every day. Truth be told, many of the sites aren’t very good and most of the images probably don’t have a good context for e-learning design.

Free Stock Images for E-Learning Resources

I’ve already shared some resources for free stock images in previous posts, as well as a few sites that seem to curate most of the free stock images. This saves a bunch of time because you don’t need to visit every single free stock image site.

And of course, if you have Articulate 360, then there’s already an assortment of e-learning templates, character packs, and all sorts of stock images, illustrations, icons, and videos.

Articulate Storyline 360 stock images

More Free Stock Images for E-Learning

But if you need more free stock images for e-learning courses, here’s another new resource and the image quality is really great. The images are part of the Burst site, courtesy of Stopify and under Creative Commons Zero, which means you can do with them what you want and they don’t require attribution for commercial projects. But, it’s still good form to credit the source of the content and give them their props, if you can.

free stock images for e-learning

To make things a bit easier and less time consuming for you, I curated the office, business, and computer stock images. This should save you having to go through all of the images yourself. You can download the free stock images here. And of course, you can go to the source site and check out all of the other available images.

I always like the images of people meeting and working on computers. Which images do you like best? Feel free to share your thoughts via the comments.

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.

 




subject matter expert e-learning

Subject matter experts play a key role in the success of our courses. This is part three of the series on how to work with subject matter experts based on tips shared by your peers.

First, we discussed how to set expectations and then we looked at how to manage the relationship with your subject matter experts. Today we’ll explore how to get them to help you build great e-learning courses.

Working with Their Subject Matter

  • Ask the subject matter experts to explain things to you in layman terms, as if you have no knowledge about the subject.
  • During the information gathering phase – everything is in. Never say “no” at this stage.
  • Listen and gather as much information as you can before stating what you can or cannot do in the course. You don’t want them to self-edit and possibly neglect critical information.
  • Keep content within the confines of the training objectives.
  • Don’t enter into design, theme, look-and-feel discussions until the raw content is decided upon as it distracts subject matter expert from giving you the information you require.
  • Don’t rely on your subject matter experts giving you the information you need – ask the right questions. Later compose answers and then let them review and make edits.
  • Separate “need to know” versus “nice to know” information and performance-based tasks.
  • If you work with several subject matter expert on the same subject, but with different expertise, let them review and structure each other’s work. That way, they look from a distance at the content, and the overlap between their comments will highlight the most important content.
  • Ask subject matter expert to separate what’s essentials from stuff that can be found elsewhere via other resources. Those can be referenced in the course.
  • If you’re the subject matter expert and the developer, be prepared to be creative, start afresh and don’t be too protective of your course material.
  • If the list of content requirements from your subject matter expert is unwieldy, ask them for the top 3 or 4 things they want the learner to take away from the course. It can help focus on the most important stuff.
  • Don’t expect them to change their content the first time you see it. Take it. Go away. Read it and make notes. Then come back with questions that help them think about the learning experience.

convert PowerPoint into e-elearning subject matter experts

Help Them Think Like an Instructional Designer

  • Help the subject matter expert understand the basics of instructional design. There’s no need to share a firehose of info when all they need is a small sip. Share a few e-learning examples and perhaps a few simple articles on how to build good e-learning.
  • New learners don’t need to know everything that the subject matter expert knows.  A subject matter expert expertise comes from years of industry experience, but the average 20-minute e-learning course is not intended to provide an encyclopedic knowledge of the subject.
  • Offer ideas to show how to transform their knowledge into great interactive content.
  • Help the “expert” to identify the key intentions of the learning activity with the goal of getting them to strip their material down to the bare essentials. And then build up.
  • Keep the end learner in mind. If you don’t understand it, they won’t.
  • Get them to focus on performance goals and not course information. What are people supposed to do?  Use their knowledge to discover work-based scenarios to bring the key learning points to life.
  • Bounce off the information you get from your subject matter expert with your potential learner group.
  • Ask subject matter expert to put themselves in the learner’s shoes (to help them recognize that you might not need to cram all that detail into the course).
  • Remind the subject matter expert to focus on actions – instead of telling us what new learners should know, tell us what actions they should be able to take.

How do you work with your subject matter experts to make sure you get the right content? Share your comments here.

Storyline 0

David Charney does a great job showing his original copy of Storyline 0 from the early 80’s which is great to compare to the newly released Storyline 3.

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.