I’m a doodler. It helps me think. When I present or talk to people I like to use a whiteboard. I feel like I’m better able to get my ideas across as I map them out visually. Not only does this help me express my ideas, it kind of forces me to lay them out in a manner that’s easier to understand.
Dan Roam talks about this in his book The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures. He shares his ideas on how to tell your story visually. I heard him once summarize his book as “the ability to have someone else grasp what we see in our own minds, in their minds.”
In many ways that’s what we do when we build our elearning courses. We take information that’s in our minds and then try to package it so that the learner can “see” and use the information.
I get to review a lot of elearning courses and what strikes me is how often the courses are information heavy. They can get the information out, but many fail at effectively getting the information in. A lot of that has to do with not knowing how to represent the content visually.
Applying Roam’s ideas to your elearning courses helps you structure the content and makes it more visually effective. To learn more about his ideas, read the book or check out this video of a presentation he gave at the Commonwealth Club. Of course it would have helped had the videographer actually shot video of what Roam was drawing. [Note: There’s a future blog post in there.]
Fortunately, Microsoft also invited him to speak at MIX09 and they did capture his audio and presentation. As you can see if you watch both, the information makes much more sense when you see it explained visually. 🙂
That’s what I’d like to do. However, I want to take Roam’s ideas one step further and instead of creating the visuals as static images, make them part of a presentation on a whiteboard and include them in my rapid elearning course.
LectureScribe was developed by Brian C. Dean at Clemson University. It’s a simple tool that lets you write and capture your whiteboard lectures. I’d also like to add that the tool is FREE.
If you’re interested, Brian has a tutorial on his site that gives you a good overview of how to use the tool’s features. LectureScribe outputs to Flash (SWF) so that means you can easily add it to a web site or insert it into your own elearning course.
I put together a quick demo where I explain a little more about it. This lets you see it in action. In this case, you see the lecture inserted on a slide and I included a couple others and inserted them in a different elearning tool so you can see how they work.
This is pretty cool application and can be used in a number of ways. If you teach subjects like math or chemistry, this tool comes in handy. At a recent conference, I was talking to an engineer who was looking for a way to do something like this and then add the Flash files to an Engage process interaction. This would work for him.
Since it’s free, it’s also a great tool to give to your learners. For example, I had my children use it to explain something they learned. Watching them do that helps me assess their understanding more so than having them take a test. The cool thing is that if you were a teacher, you could take all of those SWF files from the students and then bring them into your rapid elearning course as a portfolio. It’s a great way to show parents (or bosses) how well people are learning.
So if you need a whiteboard to share your information and build elearning courses, then LectureScribe is a good way to go. If you use LectureScribe, I’d love to see some examples. Also, if you have some ideas of how you could be using this, feel free to share them in the comments section.
Upcoming E-Learning Events
- We'll be adding events for 2017 soon. If you'd like to see one of our workshops in your area just let me know.
- Mar 20 (Orlando). Want to learn to build courses with the right look & feel? Join David Anderson at his all day workshop on Graphic Design Essentials for Non-Graphic eLearning Designers.
- Mar 22-23 (Orlando). Come by the booth at Learning Solutions and say hello.
- April 13 (Minneapolis). Variables Made Easy with Articulate Storyline. Limited seats, so sign up now.
- April 13 (Minneapolis). Articulate User Meet Up. Details coming soon.
- April 14 (Minneapolis). PACT Meeting: Facing Today's Instructional Design Challenges.
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 elearning, instructional design, and training jobs
Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills
Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.