DevLearn 2016: Day 2 Recap


DevLearn day 2 is upon us, and my body certainly hasn’t adjusted to the time change. I woke up at 430am, ran into a bunch of e-learning heavy hitters at 5am on my way to forage for coffee, and at 10:45am, I feel like I have to go back to bed.

I missed today’s keynote because I was preparing for my presentation, so I’m excited to read other people’s recap of that, but I’m here now, and I’m ready to absorb!

Session 1: Tim Slade – Designing with Animation

I love Tim. Whenever I attend a learning conference, I make it a point to seek him out and say hello, and attend his sessions. He’s a great speaker, and really knows his stuff! Today he’s teaching us all about designing with animation, something that jazzes up almost any e-learning…unless you’re using star wipe for anything and everything. His session is also being streamed on Facebook Live!

Animation is visual storytelling, which communicates movement. He takes us through a series of awful transitions and animations, but what he really wants to do is explain how to use animation to focus learner attention, identify how you can use animations to transition learners, and how you can communicate ideas/concepts instead of using text.

Directional Animation

  • Animations can distract you, and hold your attention, removing you from an actual learning experience. He provides the example of including ‘click the next button to continue’ text on each slide, but this is incredibly redundant. You can use animation to create a visual indicator to direct the learner’s attention.

Transitional Animations

  • Transitional animations are used to transition learners through changing content. You can easily create transition layers to provide additional context for the learner. The example he provides is an exploded view of an e-learning template that he had to animate in order to more clearly explain what he meant by the visual.

Instructional Animations

  • Instructional animations allow for non-verbal communication. These animations support the instruction being provided. For example, with the concept of the moon orbiting the earth, you can use animations to animate the moon orbiting the earth to emphasize the concept.

Tim’s 3 Tips When Working with Animation

  1. Use animations to help learners see what you’re explaining.
  2. Use animations with purpose and intention.
  3. When in doubt, fade in and fade out.

Session 2: Ashley Chiasson – BYOL: Using Variables in Articulate Storyline

Now, I won’t inundate you with a lengthy description of my session, because I’m going to be providing a formal write-up, with screencasts in a later blog post. I will say that this was an interesting experience because it was my first Bring Your Own Laptop (BYOL), so I was quite nervous.

The session was specifically using text, number, and true/false variables in Articulate Storyline to create a closed captioning effect and to create a simple progress meter, and it was really well attended (about 130 people). Having run into David Anderson, Kevin Thorn, and Alexander Salas at 5am that morning, I was told doing closed captioning and progress meters in a one our BYOL was ambitious, but I think we got through it.

There are things I will revise about the delivery when I provide this session in the future (and I will do this session again). With such a large audience, a job aid walkthrough of each step would be a good consideration for the future. A co-facilitator or peer in the audience would also be helpful to step in when folks were having questions or concerns. Luckily, Tim Slade and Owen Holt both attended and were able to help out post-session.

I still believe the session was a success, because despite a few fumbles, it went pretty smoothly and I got through both demonstrations. I also set my benchmark for epic failure as “if 75% of my audience gets up and leaves…”, so with only about 5-10 people leaving, I think I did pretty well. We’ll see when the session evaluations come in.

Day 2 wasn’t packed with many sessions, but I felt great focusing on the one I had to deliver.


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