This guest blog post was written by Articulate Community Manager Jeanette Brooks.
What happens when a passionate educator teams up with a talented multimedia designer, and both have a flair for using Articulate software to build compelling e-learning? You get eVision Design, an award-winning multimedia services company.
Darla Wigginton and Diana Jaffee are the Managing Producers at eVision. They have a lot in common: strong visual design skills, a theater background, keen business sense — not to mention a noticeable synergy with one another. Maybe that’s partly because they’re sisters. “Having known each other all our lives,” says Diana, “we have a like-minded work ethic and the ability to finish each other’s thoughts and sentences!”
Their company’s based in the tech-savvy San Francisco Bay Area, where they’ve put together a rich pool of talented e-learning team members. They also manage a team of 10 project-based contractors around the U.S.
The Articulate Guru Competition: “One of the Best Things for Marketing Our Services”
A big turning point in eVision’s growth was when they participated in last year’s Articulate Guru Awards. Their OSHA Training Course earned them an honorable mention and a spot in the prestigious Articulate Community Showcase — which has generated lots of interest from potential clients.
“It’s one of the best things we’ve done to market our services,” says Darla. “Though we have many years in developing e-learning, we often can’t share our work with potential clients because it’s proprietary. The Guru Awards gave us an excellent opportunity to showcase our work, and that opened so many doors for us. We’ve received many inquiries as a result, several of which led to projects with new clients.”
The LINGOs Award: “We Wanted to Make a Difference”
Their experience with the Guru competition was so positive that when they heard about LINGOs‘ eLearning Global Giveback Competition last winter, they knew they wanted to enter that, too. They reached out to ChildFund International, one of LINGOs’ member organizations, and offered to create e-learning for ChildFund’s ATLAS program, which seeks to improve the effectiveness of Tanzanian schools.
“We’ve been very fortunate in our own lives, and we wanted to make a difference,” said Diana. “We’re also passionate about teaching and learning. ChildFund’s mission statement, ’empowering children not just to survive but to thrive,’ really spoke to us.”
In mid-February, ChildFund selected Darla and Diana for the project, along with Ioanna Fergadioutou, an instructional designer from Power.Learning.Paths in Athens, Greece. The trio got right to work, using Articulate Studio to design, build, and submit the first section of the course in just three weeks. In March, the course was honored as one of the top five winners in the individual/group category of the competition. Darla, Diana, and Ioanna continued volunteering their expertise and completed the entire e-learning program (five sections in all) in a three-month period.
Here’s what Diana said about their award-winning course:
“It truly was a global project. We collaborated not just with Ioanna in Athens, but also SMEs in Africa and the ChildFund headquarters in Virginia. Working this way isn’t new to us — we don’t have a physical office location, so we’re used to working digitally, even across time zones. But it was pretty eye-opening to experience the challenges that ChildFund faces in Africa. One of the prerequisites of the course was CD delivery, because so many teachers there have limited or no internet access.
“A significant benefit of the competition was the exposure. Marketing can be an overwhelming component of running a business. Competitions like these offer a nice opportunity to build some great e-learning that we can also share with potential clients.“
Because of their ChildFund course, Diana, Darla, and Ioanna were invited to the ATLAS launch in Washington, DC earlier this year:
“It was an honor to be among so many people who are involved in delivering education around the globe. So many of the attendees were excited about the potential for rapid e-learning. For instance, we met a woman from Iran who was very excited to know that she could develop courses for Iranian women who struggle with having a safe place to learn.”
Why Articulate? “Because You Get a Custom Flash Look, Without Coding”
I asked Diana why eVision chose Articulate software, and this is what she had to say:
“The Studio ’09 suite made us passionate converts to Articulate. We recommend it for all our clients because we find it so easy to use — plus it makes us look great! We like to create high-level, high-quality design, and we need to create it quickly. We want our results to look like custom Flash, but we don’t want to code. Articulate gives us a way to do that.
“We’ve successfully used Articulate software for everything from marketing presentations to construction training, sales employee trainings, health-care compliance, and company demos.
“Beyond just the software, another benefit of using Articulate is the community. We can honestly say that the community resources have helped us take our e-learning development to a new level.”
eVision has given back to the Articulate community, too. Inspired by one of Tom Kuhlmann’s blog posts on ungrouping and customizing clip art, they came up with their own unique way to animate e-learning characters. Darla created a tutorial showing how, so that other designers could use the technique too:
eVision’s Future: Stretch the Tools, Serve More Clients, and Enter the 2010 Articulate Guru Competition!
So what’s on the horizon for eVision?
“As we grow to learn more about Articulate, we’re unwrapping so many facets that the tools offer, such as web objects, new & interesting ways to create interactions, incorporating custom Flash, inserting Screenr videos, and customizing the skins. We always try to stretch our products to their fullest potential, and the Articulate community has been great for helping us to do that.
“One market we’re involved in is with large companies who have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars developing custom Flash-based training and are now re-purposing those modules with Articulate so that development & maintenance will be quicker, easier, and less expensive. We see this as a huge market for us.
“We plan to continue to raise the bar for developing fresh ideas and development. We feel we’ve only scratched the surface of the many ways e-learning can be used in dynamic and interesting ways. And we’re excited about entering not just one course but two courses in this year’s Guru competition!“
Congrats to Diana, Darla, and the rest of the eVision team for their success! We look forward to seeing the innovative courses they continue to build.