Terminology Tuesday: Stock Photos


Stock photos can easily become the bane of your existence.

What Are These Stock Photos You Speak of?

Stock photos are photographs taken and sold using royalty-free licensing, or creative commons distribution rights. Outside of these provisions, stock photos are typically licensed under specific usage rights. You can usually find a stock photo to suit any need within your e-learning. However, the stock photos you may be most familiar with are awful ones, like “woman smiling while eating salad”:

Click for a google image search

Within e-learning, you may have clients who provide you with stock photo options, or you may be asked to source stock photos. In the past, I’ve done this for many photography needs, such as: construction vehicles, stop signs, 18-wheeleers, businessmen and women in varying contexts (one the phone, in an office with a client, etc.).

There are many pay-for stock photo sites, but there are also some really great free ones. Whatever you chose to use, make sure your clients are on board ahead of investing in a subscription.



Screencast Monday: Using Variables to Personalize Courses in Storyline

This week, I’m showing you just how easily you can personalize courses in Articulate Storyline by using the data entry field and variables. It’s a quick screencast, but it can help take the learning experience of your courses to the next level!

E-Learning Challenge #139 – Give These Top E-Learning Templates a Fresh Makeover


This e-learning challenge was to take the Articulate Storyline 1 top interaction templates and give them a fresh makeover.


To do this, I imported the existing Storyline 1 templates, added a new scene, and chose which interactions I would makeover. The interactions I chose were:

  • Sorting Drag and Drop
  • Two-Person Scenario
  • Tabs Interaction

Once I chose the interactions I wanted to makeover, I selected a colour palette. Using this colour palette and basic shapes, I rebuilt these interactions into simple, but more modern/fresh interactions. For the sorting drag and drop, I added custom correct/incorrect layers, and for the two-person scenario, I used photographic images. Within all of the interactions, I reused the text provided in the Storyline 1 interactions.



To view the full interactions, Click Here.

Terminology Tuesday: Voice Over (VO)


Preparing a script for voice over, I thought to myself “have I ever talked about voice over on the blog?” – a quick search indicated no.

What is Voice Over?

Voice Over (VO) is a script-read and audio recorded narration that is often built into a project during or post-production. In e-learning, it is often referred to as audio narration. My stance on VO is almost exclusively “I hate it.”, but that’s because I don’t learn as effectively when I’m trying to read or pay attention to something onscreen while also listening to audio. I get overloaded. However, there are many examples of good VO in e-learning, and it is important to note that not everyone learns the same. Some people may learn better listening to audio. Some people won’t. For this reason, I like to give people options such as a mute button and/or an audio transcript.

VO is also often required to ensure ADA or 508 compliance, so it’s often a necessary evil.

E-Learning VO Tips

  • For the love of all things holy, do not use robo-voice (e.g. the text to speech type of audio) in final e-learning projects. Your learners will want to kill you. Using it for scratch audio is fine in the interim, but not for final projects.
  • Receive stakeholder sign-off ahead of sending VO scripts for recording – this will save you a lot of money in the event that the reviewers make considerable changes to the script during review. It will also streamline your production.
  • Please, please, please, do not duplicate onscreen text and VO for the same slide content. It’s painful and unnecessary.
  • Maintain the same voice throughout your script (e.g. active/passive, etc.) to ensure consistency.
  • Include prompts to your narration, where necessary. For example, “Click each button to learn more.”
  • Aim for brief and concise VO scripts per slide. No one wants to listen to 1-5 minutes of audio. Keep it simple and to the point, and supplement with onscreen text. Not the other way around.
  • For complicated content, or content heavy in the acronym department: include a pronunciation table. Everyone pronounces things differently, and your VO artist will likely be unable to read your mind…because they’re humans too.
  • For courses containing multiple modules, use the same VO artist for consistency.
  • When you receive audio recordings from your VO artist, proof the recordings to ensure accuracy…because again, the VO artist is only human and humans make mistakes from time to time.