The Rapid Elearning Blog

Archive for November, 2017


e-learning tools

Over the weekend, I was supposed to paint the house but was watching TV instead. My wife asked why I wasn’t painting and I told her I couldn’t because I lost the paint lid opener and couldn’t open the paint can. She handed me a screwdriver.

“No dice,” I said. “That’s for screws. I can only use a paint lid opener.”

Ridiculous, right?

E-Learning Tools from a Different Perspective

Here’s the deal, e-learning vendors make products and those products have a purpose. However, the products often do more than they’re designed to do. It’s just a matter of looking at the tools from a different perspective. I always tell people to look at the e-learning applications as a means to create multimedia content and not just to create e-learning courses.

For example, Articulate’s Quizmaker obviously is great for building quizzes. That’s why it’s called Quizmaker. However, if you step away from its title, the features allow it to create simple decision-making scenarios or pop-up videos. All of these are more than the quizzes promised by the software’s title.

The same with PowerPoint. It’s a great tool for presentations…and illustrations…and video production…and much more. In fact, years ago, I used to use PowerPoint to create posters that I’d print on large format printers. You just have to step away from PowerPoint as a presentation tool and see it as a means to create multimedia. And once you do that, you’ll get more out of the investment you’ve made in the software.

Here are few tips to help you get there:

  • Learn to use the tools. The more fluent you are, the more you’ll be able to leverage the features. We always promote the weekly e-learning challenges so that you can learn to see and use the tools in different ways. They’re also intended to push you a bit out of what you may do at work, especially since most work projects are the same ones over and over and over.
  • Understand the features and then think outside the box on how to use them. For example, years ago I came up with a simple formula for building interactive scenarios: the 3Cs…challenge, choice, and consequences. If there’s a place in the software where I can interact and expose content, there’s a place to create an interactive scenario. Common click and reveal interactions like tabs, accordions, markers, etc. become simple interactive scenarios. Are they labeled as interactive scenario features? No. But that’s what you can create with them.
  • Look at what other people build with the same tools. There are all sorts of great examples in the community, in the weekly round-ups, and in the challenge activities. Review what they did, deconstruct them, and try to build the same.
  • Find ideas outside of e-learning. Looks for any type of interactive content and ask if you can do the same with your software. You may not always be able to replicate what you find, but often you can and worst case, you still build something neat and learn a few new production tips that will help on your next e-learning project.

What do you do with your software that it wasn’t designed to do?

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.

 




e-learning font style favorite font

I build a lot of templates and shareable files, so I often use system fonts. I do this so I don’t need to worry about fonts not being installed on the other person’s computer. Most of the time I stick with Open Sans. It’s a nice clean font family that has plenty of options. And it’s one people usually have.

When it comes to working with fonts, I’m not a designer, so I like to keep it simple. I usually look for a title, body, and maybe an extra one for emphasis. So I may have a style guide that looks like this:

e-learning font style guide

However, sometimes system fonts can get a little boring. And besides, we all have certain fonts that we really like, that is until they’re overused…like papyrus. Here are (were) some of my favorite go-to fonts. They’re ones I actually know the names of and can locate on my computer.

  • I like Skippy Sharp for handwriting. But it has gotten a bit old and a lot of people use it now. They need to make a Skippier Sharper font.
  • I use Action Man for comic style modules. But I may go back to the retro Comic Sans which is like the Stranger Things of fonts.
  • I like the slab fonts for headlines. Rockwell is a nice one. But again, it’s starting to get overused.
  • I used to like Pacifico, until others found it, too. Now my fonts aren’t making me special. I’m an iPhone 7 in an iPhone X world.
  • Franklin Gothic is a nice clean font family. As is Helvetica and the many knockoffs.

Today, I was thinking about how many of us have our favorite fonts that we like to use. In fact, if I see a project from someone on our team, I can usually guess who build it by the fonts used in the module.

When I’m in a pinch, I always know I can go with Rockwell for a title, the Open Sans family for body/emphasis, and Skippy Sharp for an accent.

So I was wondering what you use:

  • What’s your favorite title font?
  • What’s your favorite font combination?
  • What’s your favorite handwritten font?
  • What do you do to add emphasis to the text? Do you use a new font, bold, or recolor?

Feel free to share what you use 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.

 




e-learning mars rover demo

I created a demo course in Rise for a workshop. One of my goals with the demo was to show off different ways to add content and how the various blocks work and look in a real-ish project. This produced a lot of questions in the community on how I built it.  So I’ll try to answer them here.

First, I’ll have to admit that I didn’t really do all that much because Rise did all of the heavy-lifting. There is one custom piece in lesson 6 where I inserted a Storyline interaction. But for the most part, I just opened Rise and added my content. Then Rise did the rest.

Of course, some of the assets are colorful and eye-catching, but I didn’t create those. I used the information from the NASA site (which by the way is pretty darn cool). Check out what’s in the works for Mars 2020.

[If you haven’t worked with Rise, here’s a good overview video.]

Visual Design

Like I mentioned earlier, the actual assets in this demo module are from NASA, so they get all of the credit. However, I will add that when you create e-learning projects, it is important to have consistency in image quality and the assets used in your courses.

Just because you can add content easily into the Rise courses, doesn’t mean you need to. Like any e-learning module, you want to be intentional and avoid the Frankencourse.

One thing that does really catch your eye in this particular demo is the animated .gif cover screen. I think it looks cool and gives the module some personality. That’s a key first step in engaging learners. You’ll also notice animated .gifs in some of the other lessons.

Lesson 1: The Mission

For this lesson, I opted for a full-width image. I think it anchors the content well. This works best with higher resolution images. By not having margins, it kind of forces your eyes down the page.

I also added a hyperlink to the text body.

Lesson 2: Learn More…

I wanted to show a way to create an easy branching structure to direct people to specific lessons. This feature could also be used for simple branched scenario interactions.

e-learning branching interaction

I also added a disclaimer using the Notes block. It’s a great way to draw attention to important points.

Lessons 1 and 2 are the pre-content. The lessons after those are broken into three distinct groups and you’ll notice I used Section Titles to show those groups.

Lesson 3: The Trip to Mars

I leveraged the image carousel and the captions to provide more information about the trip to Mars. This content could be presented in a number of ways, but I like to give the user a way to touch the screen and this is a good interaction type for that. I also increased the size of the caption text.

e-learning image carousel interaction

Lesson 4: Fun Facts & Trivia about Mars

This lesson includes a lot of features. There’s a clickable image gallery. Again, the animated .gifs look nice and pull you in. Click on the thumbnail to zoom in and see the entire image.

I attached some additional content and you can download a PDF.

The Mars Trivia section includes a couple of dividers. One just holds back information until the user is ready and clicks. And the other forces the user to complete the interaction before advancing.

e-learning lock navigation

The trivia section includes two different types of knowledge checks: traditional quiz question and one that requires watching a video before answering.

Lesson 5: Did You Know?

There are a few different ways to insert videos into a Rise lesson. This is the pre-built lesson block which is full width and contains no additional content.

If you want to add additional content like text to the video block, you’ll need to create a custom block and insert the video that way. That’s what I did in lesson 8.

Lesson 6: Explore the Rover

This is the lesson that generated the most questions (and will require an additional blog post and tutorial). One of my favorite features is the Storyline block in Rise. In this lesson, I create a single slide interaction in Storyline, the 3D Rover, and inserted it into Rise.

For the Storyline module, I created a transparent player and got rid of the player features so it sits in the block and looks like it’s part of the Rise lesson and not something inserted into it.

e-learning interactive Mars Rover

This block gives me the best of both worlds: fast and easy production in Rise coupled with custom interactivity from Storyline. I’ll do a more detailed write up on how I created the 3D Storyline interaction in an upcoming post.

Lesson 7: Access Mars – Virtual Reality

This only works in the Chrome browser.

This is a webpage inserted into Storyline as a web object. And then the Storyline slide is inserted into Rise. It lets you navigate Mars in virtual reality.

e-learning Mars rover virtual reality 360

For course developers, this means you can insert all sorts of interactive web content into your Rise courses using web objects and the Storyline block.

Pretty cool, huh?

Lesson 8: Rover POV – Five Years on Mars

This is a different way to insert a video. In lesson 5, I inserted the video as a video block. In this lesson, I inserted it using custom blocks. The advantage of the custom blocks is being able to combine more blocks with additional content, interactions, and knowledge checks.

Lesson 9: 3D Ride Along with Rover

This is yet another way to insert a video. In this case, the video comes from YouTube and it’s also 360 so you can move around the screen. This really opens up what you can do with your videos, especially as the 360 video production is becoming more affordable. Look at how inexpensive the cameras are currently.

e-learning insert Youtube Mars rover 360

I did notice that the 3D doesn’t work on my smartphone iPhone 6 (it did work on my Android Pixel 2XL), which is something to keep in mind when adding media content to your courses: be sure to test different devices.

Lessons 10: Free Posters

Just another image gallery. Secretly I just wanted to point to the free posters. They’re pretty cool. I did use an animated .gif for the title image.

Again, those animated .gifs just add a lot of pop to the course content.

Lessons 11-13: Inserted Web Sites

Adding resource links is pretty common. These lessons are are the URL/embed blocks. As you can see Rise pulls in the metadata from the site to make the link more interesting. You can turn that off if you want.

e-learning Mars training program ASU

So there you have it, a really quick run through of the Rise Rover demo module. From the Rise perspective, it’s super easy to build. It’s just a matter of collecting your content, determining the lesson structure, and then dropping it in. Just don’t tell your boss how easy it is.

What I think really wowed people was how nice the content looks. Part of that is the way Rise handles lessons and makes everything nice and clean. And the other part is that I had great assets from which to work.

I’ll do a followup post on the 3D rover interaction in Storyline. Let me know if you have any more questions about this module and go check out all of that great content on the Mars site.

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.