Why SSC Was Bestowed Bronze in 2009 Articulate Guru Awards

Apr32009
Written by Gabe Anderson Director, Customer Advocacy — Posted in Guru Awards

This is the third in a series of entries spotlighting winners and honorable mentions in the 2009 Articulate Guru Awards. In this post, we’ll examine the first of three Bronze winners, SSC.

Guru 2009 Bronze Winner: SSC’s HIPAA Compliance Course

Let’s begin by taking a look at the course:

View the SSC HIPAA Course

Analysis of the HIPAA Course

The Guru Awards courses were judged based on design criteria that highlight the features of Articulate Studio ’09. The underlying content for all submitted courses was not judged for content accuracy.

With that said, let’s review this course’s features more closely.

Custom Articulate Player
The first thing we notice about this course is that it doesn’t look like most other courses created in Articulate Presenter ’09. Why? It has a custom Articulate Player, designed by Articulate UK partner Kineo. The player gives the course a fresh look, and also provides some unique functionality, such as the “help” and “resources” links at the bottom.

Navigating the Course Interaction
A common question we get in Articulate Support is this: “How do I explain to my users how to interact with my course?” SSC answers this question right up front with an effectively implemented Engage slide interaction that walks the user through the different course navigation controls using a Labaled Graphic interaction. It looks like a course within the course, and it does a good job orienting the user to the various player controls:

Always-Accessible Glossary Interaction
Making the most of its custom player, SSC added an Engage Glossary interaction to the toolbar at the bottom of the course, making important terms referenced in the course available throughout. This is good practice when building a course, especially one with such dense subject matter:

Making it Real & Adding Humor
Telling a story that connects with your audience is a proven method for effectively conveying learning material to your users — a common theme taught by many of the presenters at Articulate Live ’09. This course had the potential to be pretty dry — after all, the subject matter is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act — but by adding people, telling a story, and even making it funny — there’s a reference to a “a near-fatal nose-picking incident or something like that” — the course does a good job educating its users while keeping it light.

Unique Quiz Integration
This HIPAA course does a great job incorporating a uniquely designed quiz that leverages Quizmaker ’09′s Hotspot question type. The quiz looks just like the rest of the course and doesn’t feel like a quiz:

Creative Use of Video
Throughout the HIPAA course you’ll notice a number of videos that are nicely integrated into the look and feel of the slide. This is a really good example of how you can blend together the different elements of your course to make them complement one another — in other words, your video doesn’t always have to be the only content on a slide… try to make it a piece of the slide, as SSC has so creatively done here:

For thinking outside the usual Articulate Player box, its use of a wide range of Studio ’09 features — the Engage interactions, the slide video, and its success at telling a story that connects with its audience — this HIPAA course was bestowed Bronze in the 2009 Articulate Guru Awards.

Interview with SSC

Tim Buteyn of SSC shared his thoughts about using Articulate Studio ’09 to create this course. Read on for the Q&A.

What are your favorite Studio ’09 features?

I love how the diverse functionality all fits together for such a flexible and easy-to-create end product. The 4 products in Studio ’09 allowed me to design and create all the content myself, from interactions to narrations. And syncing the audio with the animation couldn’t be easier. This course also shows the extensibility of the interface. I partnered with Kineo, who used the Articulate SDK to create a custom navigation skin that looks great and represents our company’s look and feel. Whether sticking with Articulate’s built-in navigation, or leveraging a Flash developer (like the people at Kineo), Articulate provides tremendous flexibility in the output.

Why do you use Articulate products?

I’m a big proponent of doing whatever it takes to keep people engaged. Someone can’t learn if they aren’t even paying attention. To do this, I like to constantly change the modality used in the lesson, which Articulate allows you to do seamlessly. Employees here paid one of the greatest compliments I could hope to hear about a compliance course (which historically no employee is overly excited about taking). They said, “I couldn’t wait to see what was coming next.” Studio ’09 made creating this sense of anticipation fast and easy.

Tim Buteyn at Articulate Live ’09 in Orlando, FL after accepting the Guru Awards Bronze

Could you please share some insight on your approach to designing your award-winning course?

Draw in your audience. The opening of any course is critical. People will make judgments and set their motivation level within the first minute. If you can show them something relevant (and even better if it’s memorable or humorous) right away, you’ll win them over. Stumble out of the gate and there’s almost no getting them back. Hopefully you are teaching them this material for a reason, so turn that reason into a realistic scenario that they can easily place themselves into. From there they’ll be able to relate the material back to their situation, rather than wonder why they’re taking the course in the first place.

What are your tips for people getting started with Articulate products?

Just get in and start playing around. Literally, while I have been designing elearning for quite a while, this was the 1st course I had ever created with Articulate. Don’t take everything at face value and thus don’t feel confined to only use features in their “intended” ways. A great example is something like the Engage Timeline interaction. It can be used in many ways other than for an actual timeline [see the 2007 Guru Gold winner course for another good example of this -Editor]. As you generate more ideas, the same goes for how you create your content in PowerPoint. Get creative.

Any final comments?

On the surface nay-sayers will try to write off Articulate as merely a PowerPoint conversion tool, but that really sells it short. Sure, it uses PowerPoint as the basis for much of the authoring, but its possibilities are so much more than that. Treating PowerPoint as a blank slate provides almost endless possibilities, but for those just getting into it, Engage can help provide a lot of inspiration for adding interactivity to otherwise static content. And as displayed in the course, using Quizmaker’s slide view can create fun interactions that really don’t resemble a typical quiz.

Congratulations once again to Tim and SSC!

1 response to “Why SSC Was Bestowed Bronze in 2009 Articulate Guru Awards”

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[...] From Word of Mouth Blog Guru Award Winner http://www.articulate.com/blog/why-ssc-was-bestowed-bronze-in-2009-articulate-guru-awards/ [...]

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