Is your e-learning looking a little pale or colorless?
Give it a dose of vitamin ELH! Even just a few minutes a day in E-Learning Heroes (ELH) can give your projects a healthy glow and boost its immunity to affective content and interactivity disorders.
Worried about overexposure? The key ingredients in ELH—expert advice, graphics, templates, storyboards, and job aids—shield your projects from painful e-learning burns while allowing the healing effects of feedback, insights, and shared learning to pass through.
So grab your shades and check out all the bright ideas below.
Headed to mLearnCon?
Join us at booth #309 to see how Articulate is delivering on the promise of mobile learning. Demo our easy-to-use authoring tools to see how easy it is to let learners experience innovative, interactive courses on mobile devices. On Wednesday (6/19) join Community Manager Mike Enders for his session on location-specific performance support.
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Imagine that you’re a small, nimble e-learning development shop and your client wants 30 interactive online courses—14 of them ASAP. Huge opportunity, right? It’s also a monumental challenge. How do you ramp your development time by a factor of 2 or 3?
When Performance Impact faced this challenge with its longtime client, the Center for Leadership Studies (CLS), the company immediately went into problem-solving mode. “We’d developed in-person Train the Trainer workshops for CLS, so expanding the curriculum for its online e-certification program wasn’t a problem,” says Lisa Van Damme, an instructional designer at Performance Impact. “But we knew that creating so many online courses in short order would really stretch us.”
Storyline Speeds Online Courses
Already ardent users of Articulate Studio, Performance Impact’s instructional designers had started hearing buzz about Articulate Storyline. Even though Storyline had just hit the market, they suspected Storyline would dramatically cut development time on the CLS modules. And when they started playing around with the software, the team immediately realized that Storyline would help them build powerful interactivity faster than ever. Lisa notes, “It was clear from the start that Storyline was the optimal authoring tool for creating these online courses.”
There was just one problem: they’d have to learn Storyline while they worked on the project. For that, the team leaned on E-Learning Heroes. “The rich community that surrounds Articulate helped sell us on Storyline,” Lisa says. “Anytime we need support, Articulate and friends are always there for us.”
Despite the team’s familiarity with E-Learning Heroes, they were blown away by the community response to their Storyline questions. “Every time I tried a particular effect or feature, I searched Heroes for a tutorial and found an answer immediately. I learned how and when to use lightboxes, scenes, variables, and slide layers on E-Learning Heroes.” Lisa laughs, “I LOVE Heroes!”
Rather than diving into each workshop individually, the creative team first looked at the entire series of courses and developed strategies for speeding up design. For example, they set up slide templates and character sets for all the online courses. As a result, they not only shaved critical design and setup time, they created a uniform look and feel across all workshops.
Mind Mapping Wows
With an efficient design strategy in place for the series, the team began tackling each individual course. For one course on facilitation, lead designer Lisa and her team used a “mind map” approach to brainstorm key points. “The mind map helped us visualize all the various topics related to facilitation skills and group them logically,” she says. “When I showed the PDF to the customer review team, they liked it so much they decided to use it as the actual design.”
The team’s next challenge was to build out the mind map design so that learners could view and drill down on topics in any order. They created layout shapes on the main menu and applied triggers to display submenu slides for each section. Then, they used variables and states to make check marks appear after a learner views a particular section. “Storyline let us build in so much rich interactivity,” Lisa explains. “We used variables, triggers, states, and slide layers to remind learners to visit each section, keep track of their progress, and then jump them to the concluding scene when they were done.”
Storyline Delivers Real Business Results
Performance Impact’s team completed eight highly interactive online courses in the first six months—and that’s starting from ground zero in Storyline and without tapping into their advanced Flash programmer’s time. Since then, the team has rapidly rolled out six more online courses, and will tackle the remaining 16 e-certifications once the corresponding in-person workshops are finished. Lisa says, “Not only can our instructional designers create anything we dream up right in Storyline, but we’ve also freed up resources to focus on developing rich, engaging content.”
Performance Impact’s efforts have paid off big-time with CLS. Sam Shriver, the managing director of sales and marketing at CLS, recalls, “The mind map approach to the design was pure genius. From the start, the learner is in control and everything ties together. I could not be happier with it!”
Lisa concludes, “Storyline let us do interactive and visually interesting things we couldn’t do before without getting a programmer involved. It saves us time and helps us wow clients. For all new client e-learning projects our choice is clear: Storyline.”
Well-synchronized audio and animation can give learners that smooth flow you want in your course. To synchronize them perfectly, try the cue points feature in Articulate Storyline. Let’s take a look at how easy it is to use cue points to deliver a seamless multimedia experience to your learners.
What are cue points?
Cue points are markers that you insert at precise points on the timeline. They help you visually define when objects should appear and disappear.
Adding cue points
To add a cue point, right-click in the timeline where you want the cue point to appear. From the drop-down menu, select Create Cue Point at Playhead.
If you’re working on a slide where you need to sync multiple objects and animations, you can quickly set multiple cue points while you listen to your slide’s audio. Simply click the Play button in the lower left corner of your timeline and press your C key each time you want to insert a cue point.
Once the cue point is set, you can click and drag the cue point to change its position.
Aligning objects to cue points
Once you’ve set one or more cue points, you can use them to line up the timing for your objects. Simply drag either the left or right edge of the object to align with the cue point in the timeline.
Need a more precise method? No problem. Right-click an object in the timeline and select Align to Cue Point from the drop-down menu. If you have multiple cue points, you can select a specific cue point for your object.
Deleting cue points
Let’s say your client sends you an updated audio file that requires you to resync your animations. If the audio changes are small, you can easily click and drag the cue points along the timeline to update their position.
On the other hand, if the updated audio requires a full resync, it might be easier to start from scratch. To delete all your existing cue points, right-click anywhere in the timeline and select Delete All Cue Points.
Are you using cue points for more than syncing animations? Tell us about it! Use the comments section below, or start a new post in E-Learning Heroes.
Formative vs. summative? Pedagogy vs. andragogy? Formal vs. informal? Flipped classrooms? Bloom vs. Gagne vs. Werner? Huh?!?
When you’re first getting started in e-learning, it’s easy to be confused — and daunted — by the terms floating around the online training industry. It’s hard to sift through the theories, styles, and expert opinions to get to the heart of what you really need to know.
Really, though, there are some e-learning basics everyone should learn, regardless of the type of e-learning you need to create. That’s where your E-Learning Heroes can help.
Day in and day out, your fellow community members share practical tips for building better e-learning courses. Every Monday, we highlight the Articulate community’s best tutorials, conversations, blog posts and bits shared on Twitter.
We just released Articulate Storyline Update 3. The update includes includes bug fixes, performance enhancements, and output enhancements for HTML5 and Articulate Mobile Player.
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