The Rapid Elearning Blog

Archive for March, 2018


interactive scenarios

What happens when you convert an old PowerPoint course into a Rise course?

The other day I found an older interactive scenario that was built in PowerPoint. I wanted to see what it would take to rebuild something similar in Rise. This isn’t an uncommon situation for those who are trying to convert and update older courses with new technology.

Today, I’ll show what I did to convert the course and a few production tips that helped me.

The Original Interactive Scenario

Back in the day, this was a pretty cool example of what you could do with PowerPoint to create interactive scenarios. By design, PowerPoint is a linear presentation tool. However, with some creativity, one can create interactive content. And that’s exactly what Jeanette did.

interactive scenario demo 1

Click here to view the interactive scenario.

With that said, PowerPoint’s not the best authoring tool if you want to create interactive content. Once you add the interactive capabilities the slide count goes up quite a bit and it becomes a mess to manage. I highlighted this in the post on why PowerPoint isn’t the right tool for interactive e-learning.

The New & Improved Interactive Scenario

We looked at different types of authoring tools in this post. PowerPoint and Rise offer two different types of authoring. PowerPoint is freeform with a blank screen that allows placement of objects. Whereas, Rise is form-based where you assemble content blocks and build the course that way. Freeform gives you more freedom in where you place content, but a tool like Rise offers a better mobile experience because it’s fully responsive. And as you see, it’s a lot easier to work with, as well.

interactive scenario demo 2

Click here to view the interactive scenario.

Production Tips to Build the Interactive Scenario

I had three goals with this conversion:

  • How long would it take to move content from PowerPoint to Rise?
  • What are some production considerations?
  • How to work around constraints?

Design the Interaction

The first thing is to determine how you want to design the interaction. When it comes to interactive scenarios, I always follow my 3C model of challenge, choice, and consequence. If I can click on something, then I can make it part of a 3C interaction.

In this case, I used the Flashcards block as a way to show choices and consequences. The user is presented with a challenge and clicks on a card to get feedback. Since I’m not grading it, I can keep the other options available so that the learner can see what is shared if they had clicked something else. This gives them more control over the learning experience.

  • Mission: identify the different interactive blocks that allow for 3C type interactivity. For starters, there are tabs and accordions. But those are obvious choices. Look for other interactive elements.

Build a Branched Scenario

Branched scenarios are possible in Rise with some considerations. Here are a few production tips:

  • Build your branched interaction with the Button Stack block. The button stack lets you jumps from lesson to lesson.
  • Don’t let them see what’s under the hood. Turn off the Sidebar view so that users don’t see the menu and how the course jumps around between lessons.

interactive scenario tip 1

  • Create a faux navigational cul-de-sac. Since Rise is designed to follow a lesson-to-lesson flow I want to prevent the learner from advancing past the end of a scenario or the button stack. To do so, I added a lot of padding on the bottom and an extra Spacer block as a buffer.

interactive scenario tip 2

  • Create duplicate menus to deal with revisits. The introductory lesson has some initial content and below it are the choices to view the scenarios. When they complete a scenario and come back to the other choices, I didn’t want all of that introductory content visible. I just want them to go to a list of other buttons. So I made a duplicate menu lesson with just the button menu. That’s where they end up after they complete a lesson. They never go back to the original introductory lesson.

interactive scenario tip 3

  • Control how much they see. This makes the content smaller to consume. You don’t need to show everything at once. Keep people from scrolling by adding an interactive Continue button. This holds all the content below it until the learner clicks on the button. In a sense, they are affirming that they are ready and when they click, they get more info.

interactive scenario tip 4

  • Play around with the imagery. Rise courses don’t need to look the same. You can insert images in all sorts of ways. An image doesn’t need to be a picture. It could be a white box that fills in an area to create more white space. Be creative in how you use the blocks. Also, don’t stick with the defaults. Play around with filling the blocks with color. The key is to learn to see them in a different way.

interactive scenario tip 5

How long did it take?

Once I planned how to build the interaction, it only took about 15 minutes to copy and paste the content from PowerPoint to Rise.  I used different images, so I had to create those. And I had to play around with ideas to see what worked best. All-in-all it took about 2 hours to build the module as it is.

The nice thing is that once I build an interactive lesson, I can save it as a template an re-use it again. And to add additional modules is just a matter of duplicating a single lesson. To do so in PowerPoint would require another 20+ slides per module.

As you can see, working with Rise is so much easier than working with PowerPoint.

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.

 




training

Whenever an organization needs to re-organize or make cuts to its staff, the training people are usually the first on the chopping block. There are a lot of arguments as to why that’s the case but it’s a reality for anyone who’s been in the training industry for a while.

The good thing is that e-learning is still a hot part of the training industry, thus far many of us have been spared. But as the tools become more efficient and others are empowered to build their own training content, there will be a reckoning and we’ll have to continue to show our value.

Here are a few common reasons why training gets the boot and what you can do today to avoid being the one booted.

Training Creates Value

Training is supposed to create value. In an ideal world, training is aligned with the organization’s goals and all training efforts contribute to meeting those goals. But the reality is that not all courses (or what are called courses) focus on performance. And that’s probably why it’s easy to gut training departments when times get tough.

Training Aligns with Business Initiatives.

Often the training department lags behind everyone else and tends to react to what the business is doing. Because of this, plans are made without your input.

When you know that the organization is pushing an agenda, your first thought should be where can I contribute? Then figure out how to make it happen. Learn more about the projects and their objectives. Connect with decision-makers. You’ll be seen as a valuable partner when you’re proactive in helping the organization meet its goals.

Training Connects with Metrics

Training impact should be measurable. However, what’s being measured needs to be meaningful. Years ago I learned that lesson when I shared some metrics with one of our directors. While the metrics were great, they were completely irrelevant to what he needed to make decisions.

Get connected with the numbers people. There’s someone in the organization who tracks performance metrics. Find out who that is and learn more about how they track the metrics. You want to know that your courses are aligned with what’s measured. Often you’ll find that your training focuses on one area but the metrics and incentives tied to them focus on different areas. A financial specialist can help you see that.

Trainers Are Assertive

Training groups tend to be passive and react to the organization’s needs. Instead, the teams should be aligned with the organization’s goals and offer proactive solutions. Sometimes this is out of your hands because you don’t have a seat at the table. However, that can change.

Consider the two previous points above:

  • Understand the organization’s goals and push back to ensure your projects are aligned. Worst case you’ll get a better understanding of why you’re doing what you do. However, you may help steer your team towards more productive work.
  • Take the initiative to be part of the knowledge network. Most people don’t leverage this resource and kind of go with the flow. That flow may not go where you want it to.

Ideally, you want your work to be aligned with the organization’s critical path. The more you to do assert that goal, the more apt you are to be where you need to be and have your contributions valued.

Don’t remain an order taker. Connect to the organization’s goals and get involved to help influence when training needs to be created. This makes you a better partner focused on productive training courses that help move the organization forward.

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 myths

I came into rapid e-learning from the world of Authorware and Flash where building courses took a lot of time and cost a lot more money. But I saw the light in the early 2000s when I started using Articulate Presenter. Initially, I only used it to storyboard my course content and interactions in PowerPoint. That made it easier to share my ideas with our Flash developers.

However, I quickly realized I could build most of what we needed in PowerPoint. So why were we wasting money on expensive Flash development?

As soon as I asked that question, I heard all of the bellyaching from our Flash developers and most of the custom e-learning vendors we hired. They felt threatened and raised all sorts of concerns about the future of the industry and the fate of e-learning.

This blog addressed their concerns a decade ago in the 5 Myths of Rapid E-Learning series. A lot has changed over the past ten years, so I think it’s a good time to revisit some of those issues and see where we stand.

Myth 1: Rapid E-Learning Is Crapid E-Learning!

This was the key point ten years ago, and it’s still true today: rapid doesn’t mean crapid! You are in control and can determine the quality of what you produce.

Ten years later, there’s still a lot of bad e-learning. A lot of it is pointless compliance training and the organizations choose to make the least investment possible.

In addition, e-learning will always be ineffective when there are no clear performance goals. Without those goals, it’s a challenge to create measurable objectives and build effective courses.

The original post: Myth 1: Rapid E-Learning Is Crapid E-Learning!

Myth 2: Rapid E-Learning Is A Second Class Product!

Today, most authoring solutions fall into the rapid e-learning bucket. That’s definitely a big change from ten years ago. I don’t know many people who still build custom-programmed courseware outside of a few specialty markets or emerging technologies like augmented and virtual reality.

So I’d say the authoring tools that were maligned ten years ago are now the tools of choice.

The argument used to be that the tools were too simple and because of that, they produced simple courses. I’m not sure that was ever the case. The tools are just tools and how they’re used is determined by the author. Of course some tools have more features and complexity than others, but with creativity, you can use most tools to build what you want. And if not, choose the right tool for the job. If you want gamified e-learning you’re not going to have much success with PowerPoint.

The original post: Myth 2: Rapid E-Learning Is A Second Class Product!

Myth 3: A Rapid E-Learning Tool In The Hands Of Subject Matter Experts Is Not Good!

I still hear this quite a bit. We act as if somehow our instructional design degrees have allowed us to corner the market on good course design. I’ll go out on the limb and say there is a lot more bad e-learning designed by us pros than subject matter experts with access to authoring software.

I’ve done hundreds of workshops and can tell you that there is no lack of creativity when it comes to designing good e-learning. If there’s something lacking, it’s usually that the organization doesn’t fully support what’s required to build good courses and many people are left to make do with what they have.

The tools have made building courses a lot easier than it was ten years ago. And there are so many more resources to learn to build good e-learning, not mention a generous and helpful community.

The original post: Myth 3: A Rapid E-Learning Tool In The Hands Of Subject Matter Experts Is Not Good!

Myth 4: Since Anybody Can Now Build Training, I Am Going To Lose My Job!

The reality is that over the past ten years, the industry prospered and with e-learning being accessible it created new opportunities for everyone. A lot of developers have gone on to better careers with many starting their own companies. E-learning vendors have reduced the cost of production and with so much more bad e-learning, they can leverage that to sell their expertise. The industry is hotter today than it was ten years ago. And that’s not going to change anytime soon.

With that said, since all it takes is a computer and the software to start a business, there is a lot of pressure to prove your skills. Learn as much as you can, stay on top of what’s emerging, and create a public profile.

The original post: Myth 4: Since Anybody Can Now Build Training, I Am Going To Lose My Job!

Myth 5: Rapid E-Learning Takes The Creativity Out Of The Learning Process!

This has always been completely wrong. If anything, having the ability to create without being a programmer opens the doors to opportunity and creativity. And in those circumstances where there are constraints, they force us to think outside of the box and learn new ways to work with the tools.

If you do run into a creative block, check out some of the weekly e-learning challenges. I’m always encouraged by the ideas people have and how they approach their challenges.

The authoring tools have definitely evolved over the years. And of course, they have different features where some work better than others. But the tools should never be a hindrance to instructional design.

Pick the right tool for the right type of training. If it’s a quick, information-based module, something like Rise is perfect. If it requires more complex scenarios with variables and adaptive learning paths, then choose Storyline. On top of that, equip the course author to succeed. The authoring tools are only part of the course design process. Knowing how to build good instruction is critical. So it’s important to ensure that those who can build courses with the software also learn to build effective courses.

The original post: Myth 5: Rapid E-Learning Takes The Creativity Out Of The Learning Process!

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.

 




Google storage share courses online free

I get a lot of questions about free ways to share courses and portfolios. In previous posts, I shared tips on managing an e-learning portfolio and I also shared a few ways to share courses online for free.

Another way to get free storage to share your courses and files is via Google’s Storage Platform. It’s pretty easy to set up.

Tutorials on How to Share Courses Online

I created a tutorial on YouTube so you can see the steps, which may be easier. I also created a second tutorial on how to set up Cloudberry Explorer for Google. You can upload the files via the browser, but you may find using Cloudberry is a little easier.

Share Courses Online: Setting Up a Google Storage Account

  • You’ll need to sign up. Just follow the directions for adding your contact info.
  • You do need to provide a credit card number. However, the cost of storage is nominal and I believe Google gives you a 5 GB/month allowance for free. Odds are that anything you save and share will be much smaller. Even if you do pay for storage, my guess is that it’ll only be a few dollars per year.
  • Once your account is established, you’ll create a bucket to hold your files. Inside the bucket, you can add other folders.

Google Storage share courses online free create bucket

Share Courses Online: Make Your Google Storage Files Public

  • Set the permissions for the bucket to allow public access to view.
  • Go to the bucket in the browser. To the right, you’ll see three dots. Click that and select “edit bucket permissions.”
  • Add “allUsers” as members.
  • Give them a role to be a “storage object viewer.” This allows them access to the files to view.

Google Storage share courses online free create permissions

Share Courses Online: Add Content to Your Google Storage Account

  • Adding content is easy. There’s an option to upload files and/or folders.
  • Once you’ve added the course folder, to the right of the index.html (or whatever you click on for the course) you’ll see a “public link.”
  • Share the public link.

Google Storage share courses online free share files and folders

The process is straightforward. Obviously, there’s a lot more to learn, but these simple steps will let you upload and share your e-learning courses and portfolio for free (or close to it).

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.