E-Learning Heroes Community Roadshow: Toronto 2016 – Day 1 Recap

Session 1

The Articulate E-Learning Heroes Community Roadshows are one of my favourite e-learning events to attend! The folks at Articulate are lovely (and many of them share my affinity for a good pint), supportive people, and always put on a great event.

Day 1 kicks off with Tom Kuhlmann showing us how to create our own assets for use in e-learning, working in PowerPoint – you don’t have to be a graphic designer! If you follow Tom’s blog in the ELH community, you’ll recognize the reference to many of these concepts, but the demo really emphasizes how easily you can create your own media assets. The posts he references include:

Session 2 

Next up, Nicole shared E-Learning Odds and Ends, and there were so many good tips in this session!

First, Button Sets were talked about – these are one of my favourite features in Articulate Storyline. They make life so much easier! Button sets allow only one (of multiple buttons) to have a selected state at a time. Nicole illustrated this using characters, and shared some quick tips (e.g. When adding a new state, just type in the first letter of the state (e.g. Hover/Selected), and then hitting enter, and when using multiple characters on one slide, with the same state, create one character, add the states, and then copy/paste the first character, and then change the character in the Character Design tabs).

There’s always a lot of ground to cover in these interactive/bring your own laptop sessions, so participants are always racing to keep up – it keeps us on our toes!

Next, Nicole showed folks how to use cue points to sync animations in Storyline. This example involved using cue points, animations, and triggers, and is a very practical method that can create a really slick looking slide.

Finally, Nicole showed everyone how to create an invisible player. This is a great way of creating a custom interface, and really goes a long way at convincing your clients their courses will look nothing like their competitor’s courses. Invisible players are a more modern design approach, so get with it folks!

Session 3

Sean O’Brien from the Toronto Police provided a case study, sharing how the Toronto Police are using Storyline to develop internal training content. Motion graphics were used to create an aesthetic appeal.

E-Learning was used as a solution for being unable to physically train 5,000 people at the same time. Makes sense! This case study has functionality to allow police officers to change roles at certain points in the e-learning. Each case study is followed by assessment pieces to reinforce the learning.

There was a lot of video production throughout the modules, and Sean spoke about some of the services they used to produce those videos. For example, filming at local colleges with large campuses, and used college students as actors.

Sean mentioned that students are not allowed to skip questions, and pass marks are set at 100%. The content learners are being assessed on will always be available within the e-learning module. He also stated that developers will often toss something very engaging (e.g. graphic homicide scenes in a module on homicide), deep in the module to grab their attention and bring it back to the learning experience.

Session 4

For session 4, David Anderson began to show everyone course makeover tips to fix common mistakes, a super relatable concept for anyone who works on a very disorganized development team (many hands in the pot is not always a good thing).

He hits on some key concepts such as design elements: typography, contrast, hierarchy, and chats about the 5-point makeover:

  • Type
  • Background
  • Graphics
  • Layout
  • Colours

David then jumped deeper into the trenches of designing course elements, recommending handy applications as he saw appropriate (check out Adobe Kuler). He took us through tangible (and awful/assaulting) examples and then walked us through how to create a better version of those examples.

Session 6

One of my favourite ladies from the ELH community, Linda Lorenzetti, presented on five production tips she learned through doing ELH challenges (she’s racked up a TON of submissions, because she’s bananas and incredibly talented – seriously – check her out).

Linda shared a Storyline project that she created for a ELH Challenge # 51 – Font Games and Interactions for E-Learning Designers. She ended up finding a game online, I Shot the Serif, and decided she wanted to replicate elements from that game, and shared insight into how she created that interaction.

Her interaction used variables to keep track of errors, time, and remaining items. Each object uses states (crosshairs and check or x marks).

Things she learned:

  • If she added the audio to the shot state, it worked each time. Whereas, outside of the state the sound was unreliable.
  • She built all of the fonts in a square so they would have a large area to click on.
  • For the countdown timer, she created the effect by having each number as a text box that lasts for one second each.
  • Alternatively, she found that if she added a shape to the slide with a motion path (which defaults to two second) and changed the time to 1 second, she then added a trigger to move the shape when the timeline starts, and another trigger that once the previous animation completes, move the shape on the motion path. Then, she had the variable adjust the time variable to subtract 1 when the animation completes. Then, move the shape and motion path off the slide.
  • After all of that, she found a handy JavaScript countdown script in the ELH Community.

Session 7

Session 7 was all me. Today I’m presenting on Five Things to Consider Before You Begin Development, which has a ton of super helpful information, but might lull people into REM sleep near the end of the day. We’ll see. Here’s the presentation!

Session 8 

Tom finished up the day by teaching us about an Instructional Design model for soft skills and principle-based courses. First things first, interaction instructions! Explain to the audience how they will interact with the course, and this may enhance user engagement.

When building interactive e-learning, there are always three parts:

  • What content needs to be in the course?
  • What will the course look like?
  • What do you want the user to do?

Follow these building blocks to build out Instructional Design models:

  • Create relevant content
  • Push versus Pull – Give the audience a reason to explore and collect information
  • Three Cs: Challenge the learner, give them Choice, and define the Consequence

Discussed Model:

  • SAID (situation, advice, interpret, decide)
    • Easy mnemonic, principle-based, allows users to synthesize multiple perspectives
    • Questions to consider:
      • What are some good situations?
      • Who would be able to advise and provide input?
      • Which tools are required for interpretation?
      • What happens when a decision is made?


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