What Are Your Favorite Go-To Fonts?

e-learning font style favorite font

I build a lot of templates and shareable files, so I often use system fonts. I do this so I don’t need to worry about fonts not being installed on the other person’s computer. Most of the time I stick with Open Sans. It’s a nice clean font family that has plenty of options. And it’s one people usually have.

When it comes to working with fonts, I’m not a designer, so I like to keep it simple. I usually look for a title, body, and maybe an extra one for emphasis. So I may have a style guide that looks like this:

e-learning font style guide

However, sometimes system fonts can get a little boring. And besides, we all have certain fonts that we really like, that is until they’re overused…like papyrus. Here are (were) some of my favorite go-to fonts. They’re ones I actually know the names of and can locate on my computer.

  • I like Skippy Sharp for handwriting. But it has gotten a bit old and a lot of people use it now. They need to make a Skippier Sharper font.
  • I use Action Man for comic style modules. But I may go back to the retro Comic Sans which is like the Stranger Things of fonts.
  • I like the slab fonts for headlines. Rockwell is a nice one. But again, it’s starting to get overused.
  • I used to like Pacifico, until others found it, too. Now my fonts aren’t making me special. I’m an iPhone 7 in an iPhone X world.
  • Franklin Gothic is a nice clean font family. As is Helvetica and the many knockoffs.

Today, I was thinking about how many of us have our favorite fonts that we like to use. In fact, if I see a project from someone on our team, I can usually guess who build it by the fonts used in the module.

When I’m in a pinch, I always know I can go with Rockwell for a title, the Open Sans family for body/emphasis, and Skippy Sharp for an accent.

So I was wondering what you use:

  • What’s your favorite title font?
  • What’s your favorite font combination?
  • What’s your favorite handwritten font?
  • What do you do to add emphasis to the text? Do you use a new font, bold, or recolor?

Feel free to share what you use in the comments.


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

e-learning workshop

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • Antwerp: Nov 7. Articulate User Day 2017.
  • Utrecht: Nov 9 & 10. Articulate User Day 2017. Register here.
  • London: November 13 & 14. Articulate Community Roadshow. Register here.
  • Manchester: November 16 & 17. Articulate Community Roadshow. Sold Out. Register here.
  • Webinar (University of California Irvine): December 13. How to Build a Professional E-Learning Portfolio. Register here.
2018
 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

How I Created This Interactive E-Learning Course

e-learning mars rover demo

I created a demo course in Rise for a workshop. One of my goals with the demo was to show off different ways to add content and how the various blocks work and look in a real-ish project. This produced a lot of questions in the community on how I built it.  So I’ll try to answer them here.

First, I’ll have to admit that I didn’t really do all that much because Rise did all of the heavy-lifting. There is one custom piece in lesson 6 where I inserted a Storyline interaction. But for the most part, I just opened Rise and added my content. Then Rise did the rest.

Of course, some of the assets are colorful and eye-catching, but I didn’t create those. I used the information from the NASA site (which by the way is pretty darn cool). Check out what’s in the works for Mars 2020.

[If you haven’t worked with Rise, here’s a good overview video.]

Visual Design

Like I mentioned earlier, the actual assets in this demo module are from NASA, so they get all of the credit. However, I will add that when you create e-learning projects, it is important to have consistency in image quality and the assets used in your courses.

Just because you can add content easily into the Rise courses, doesn’t mean you need to. Like any e-learning module, you want to be intentional and avoid the Frankencourse.

One thing that does really catch your eye in this particular demo is the animated .gif cover screen. I think it looks cool and gives the module some personality. That’s a key first step in engaging learners. You’ll also notice animated .gifs in some of the other lessons.

Lesson 1: The Mission

For this lesson, I opted for a full-width image. I think it anchors the content well. This works best with higher resolution images. By not having margins, it kind of forces your eyes down the page.

I also added a hyperlink to the text body.

Lesson 2: Learn More…

I wanted to show a way to create an easy branching structure to direct people to specific lessons. This feature could also be used for simple branched scenario interactions.

e-learning branching interaction

I also added a disclaimer using the Notes block. It’s a great way to draw attention to important points.

Lessons 1 and 2 are the pre-content. The lessons after those are broken into three distinct groups and you’ll notice I used Section Titles to show those groups.

Lesson 3: The Trip to Mars

I leveraged the image carousel and the captions to provide more information about the trip to Mars. This content could be presented in a number of ways, but I like to give the user a way to touch the screen and this is a good interaction type for that. I also increased the size of the caption text.

e-learning image carousel interaction

Lesson 4: Fun Facts & Trivia about Mars

This lesson includes a lot of features. There’s a clickable image gallery. Again, the animated .gifs look nice and pull you in. Click on the thumbnail to zoom in and see the entire image.

I attached some additional content and you can download a PDF.

The Mars Trivia section includes a couple of dividers. One just holds back information until the user is ready and clicks. And the other forces the user to complete the interaction before advancing.

e-learning lock navigation

The trivia section includes two different types of knowledge checks: traditional quiz question and one that requires watching a video before answering.

Lesson 5: Did You Know?

There are a few different ways to insert videos into a Rise lesson. This is the pre-built lesson block which is full width and contains no additional content.

If you want to add additional content like text to the video block, you’ll need to create a custom block and insert the video that way. That’s what I did in lesson 8.

Lesson 6: Explore the Rover

This is the lesson that generated the most questions (and will require an additional blog post and tutorial). One of my favorite features is the Storyline block in Rise. In this lesson, I create a single slide interaction in Storyline, the 3D Rover, and inserted it into Rise.

For the Storyline module, I created a transparent player and got rid of the player features so it sits in the block and looks like it’s part of the Rise lesson and not something inserted into it.

e-learning interactive Mars Rover

This block gives me the best of both worlds: fast and easy production in Rise coupled with custom interactivity from Storyline. I’ll do a more detailed write up on how I created the 3D Storyline interaction in an upcoming post.

Lesson 7: Access Mars – Virtual Reality

This only works in the Chrome browser.

This is a webpage inserted into Storyline as a web object. And then the Storyline slide is inserted into Rise. It lets you navigate Mars in virtual reality.

e-learning Mars rover virtual reality 360

For course developers, this means you can insert all sorts of interactive web content into your Rise courses using web objects and the Storyline block.

Pretty cool, huh?

Lesson 8: Rover POV – Five Years on Mars

This is a different way to insert a video. In lesson 5, I inserted the video as a video block. In this lesson, I inserted it using custom blocks. The advantage of the custom blocks is being able to combine more blocks with additional content, interactions, and knowledge checks.

Lesson 9: 3D Ride Along with Rover

This is yet another way to insert a video. In this case, the video comes from YouTube and it’s also 360 so you can move around the screen. This really opens up what you can do with your videos, especially as the 360 video production is becoming more affordable. Look at how inexpensive the cameras are.

e-learning insert Youtube Mars rover 360

I did notice that the 3D doesn’t work on my smartphone iPhone 6 (it did work on my Android Pixel 2XL), which is something to keep in mind when adding media content to your courses: be sure to test different devices.

Lessons 10: Free Posters

Just another image gallery. Secretly I just wanted to point to the free posters. They’re pretty cool. I did use an animated .gif for the title image.

Again, those animated .gifs just add a lot of pop to the course content.

Lessons 11-13: Inserted Web Sites

Adding resource links is pretty common. These lessons are are the URL/embed blocks. As you can see Rise pulls in the metadata from the site to make the link more interesting. You can turn that off if you want.

e-learning Mars training program ASU

So there you have it, a really quick run through of the Rise Rover demo module. From the Rise perspective, it’s super easy to build. It’s just a matter of collecting your content, determining the lesson structure, and then dropping it in. Just don’t tell your boss how easy it is.

What I think really wowed people was how nice the content looks. Part of that is the way Rise handles lessons and makes everything nice and clean. And the other part is that I had great assets from which to work.

I’ll do a followup post on the 3D rover interaction in Storyline. Let me know if you have any more questions about this module and go check out all of that great content on the Mars site.


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

e-learning workshop

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • Antwerp: Nov 7. Articulate User Day 2017. Register here.
  • Utrecht: Nov 9 & 10. Articulate User Day 2017. Register here.
  • London: November 13 & 14. Articulate Community Roadshow. Register here.
  • Manchester: November 16 & 17. Articulate Community Roadshow. Sold Out. Register here.
  • Webinar (University of California Irvine): December 13. How to Build a Professional E-Learning Portfolio. Register here.
2018
 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

5 Ways to Kickstart Your E-learning Career

kickstart e-learning career

I once had a manager who told me everything I report to him should be presented as five things on a notecard. He didn’t want all of the detail or nitty gritty. He just wanted a quick overview of the five most essentials points.

I get a lot of emails from people who want to transition from their current jobs into e-learning development. They want to know what they need to do (or know) to get moving in that direction. So here are my five things if you want to start a career in e-learning.

Learn About Learning

Sure, a formal instructional design degree helps, maybe. But today it’s not as critical, assuming you can prove that you really know what you learned. There are all sorts of ways to learn:

  • Go to school and get a degree. Another less costly way is to get a certificate (especially if you already have a formal degree). Certificate programs take less time, seem to be more project-focused, and are a bit more pragmatic when it comes to applying what you’re learning. Here’s a list of programs recommended by the community.
  • Read and learn on your own. There are plenty of good books and I’ve written about the few I’d start with. We also have a great e-learning 101 series to learn more. You can sign up here and get it delivered via email. We also offer a ton of free e-books that cover a broad range of e-learning topics.

Build These Types of Courses

You’ll need practical experience. There are all sorts of things you can do to get it. Volunteer to build courses for NGOs, churches, hospitals, or anywhere else that has limited funds and would welcome some free training.

You don’t want to build the same course over and over again. Instead get experience building diverse modules and types of training. Here’s a good list to get started:

  • Assessments. Create a few different types of assessments. The default, blocky type quizzes are fine, but the more custom you can make them, the better.
  • Scenarios. They are always popular and they show how to build situational training that closely mirrors real-world interactions.
  • Interactions. There are three main ways to interact with the screen: click, hover, and drag. Build some modules that demonstrate your skills creating different types of interactions. Lean more on dragging than clicking.
  • Software Training. Most organizations do some sort of software training. Show your skills with screencasts and software simulations.
  • Make it interesting. Most e-learning isn’t very good and usually very boring. Convert one of those types of courses into something interesting. Make it look good and make it interactive.

Learn to Use E-Learning Software

Your success hinges less on your academic credentials and more on demonstrable skills and fluency with e-learning software. There’s a lot of e-learning software out there. You can’t learn everything. I’ll give my plug for the Articulate tools for two main reasons:

  • Do a job search and most organizations are looking for Articulate course developers. You can’t go wrong getting the skills that potential employers desire.
  • All of the demo modules I mentioned above can be quickly built in both Storyline and Rise. You’ll be able to build a professional portfolio using those tools especially if you take advantage of the community resources and the Content Library that comes with Articulate 360.

Build an E-Learning Portfolio

Whenever I hire an instructional designer, I’m more inclined to review their portfolio rather than a resume that documents their experience and education. An instructional design degree is great but to me, the proof is in the pudding. And without a portfolio how can you SHOW your work and skills?

The portfolio highlights your skills and experience.

  • Keep it short. Find a few interesting (and interactive) parts of the course and show those. Or build some modules from the weekly e-learning challenges. They’re short and relatively easy to build. And perfect for a portfolio project.
  • Looks matter more than instructional design. It is a visual medium so make your visuals strong. Stay away from defaults and add some custom elements. Add some novel interactivity to catch their attention.
  • Identify common types of courses (as noted above) and build some modules for your portfolio. This will give you a diversity of projects and showcase different skills.

Learn More About These Topics

There’s a lot that goes into building an effective e-learning course. Here are some additional topics and skills you’ll need to understand to be a good course designer. You don’t need to be a pro at everything but you should be able to speak to them when needed.

There’s obviously a lot more you need to know to be successful transitioning into an e-learning job. What are the five things you’d recommend to that person? Feel free to share them in the comments.


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

e-learning workshop

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • Antwerp: Nov 7. Articulate User Day 2017. Register here.
  • Utrecht: Nov 9 & 10. Articulate User Day 2017. Register here.
  • London: November 13 & 14. Articulate Community Roadshow. Register here.
  • Manchester: November 16 & 17. Articulate Community Roadshow. One ticket left. Register here.
  • Webinar (University of California Irvine): December 13. How to Build a Professional E-Learning Portfolio. Register here.
2018
 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

5 Ways to Kickstart Your E-learning Career

kickstart e-learning career

I once had a manager who told me everything I report to him should be presented as five things on a notecard. He didn’t want all of the detail or nitty gritty. He just wanted a quick overview of the five most essentials points.

I get a lot of emails from people who want to transition from their current jobs into e-learning development. They want to know what they need to do (or know) to get moving in that direction. So here are my five things if you want to start a career in e-learning.

Learn About Learning

Sure, a formal instructional design degree helps, maybe. But today it’s not as critical, assuming you can prove that you really know what you learned. There are all sorts of ways to learn:

  • Go to school and get a degree. Another less costly way is to get a certificate (especially if you already have a formal degree). Certificate programs take less time, seem to be more project-focused, and are a bit more pragmatic when it comes to applying what you’re learning. Here’s a list of programs recommended by the community.
  • Read and learn on your own. There are plenty of good books and I’ve written about the few I’d start with. We also have a great e-learning 101 series to learn more. You can sign up here and get it delivered via email. We also offer a ton of free e-books that cover a broad range of e-learning topics.

Build These Types of Courses

You’ll need practical experience. There are all sorts of things you can do to get it. Volunteer to build courses for NGOs, churches, hospitals, or anywhere else that has limited funds and would welcome some free training.

You don’t want to build the same course over and over again. Instead get experience building diverse modules and types of training. Here’s a good list to get started:

  • Assessments. Create a few different types of assessments. The default, blocky type quizzes are fine, but the more custom you can make them, the better.
  • Scenarios. They are always popular and they show how to build situational training that closely mirrors real-world interactions.
  • Interactions. There are three main ways to interact with the screen: click, hover, and drag. Build some modules that demonstrate your skills creating different types of interactions. Lean more on dragging than clicking.
  • Software Training. Most organizations do some sort of software training. Show your skills with screencasts and software simulations.
  • Make it interesting. Most e-learning isn’t very good and usually very boring. Convert one of those types of courses into something interesting. Make it look good and make it interactive.

Learn to Use E-Learning Software

Your success hinges less on your academic credentials and more on demonstrable skills and fluency with e-learning software. There’s a lot of e-learning software out there. You can’t learn everything. I’ll give my plug for the Articulate tools for two main reasons:

  • Do a job search and most organizations are looking for Articulate course developers. You can’t go wrong getting the skills that potential employers desire.
  • All of the demo modules I mentioned above can be quickly built in both Storyline and Rise. You’ll be able to build a professional portfolio using those tools especially if you take advantage of the community resources and the Content Library that comes with Articulate 360.

Build an E-Learning Portfolio

Whenever I hire an instructional designer, I’m more inclined to review their portfolio rather than a resume that documents their experience and education. An instructional design degree is great but to me, the proof is in the pudding. And without a portfolio how can you SHOW your work and skills?

The portfolio highlights your skills and experience.

  • Keep it short. Find a few interesting (and interactive) parts of the course and show those. Or build some modules from the weekly e-learning challenges. They’re short and relatively easy to build. And perfect for a portfolio project.
  • Looks matter more than instructional design. It is a visual medium so make your visuals strong. Stay away from defaults and add some custom elements. Add some novel interactivity to catch their attention.
  • Identify common types of courses (as noted above) and build some modules for your portfolio. This will give you a diversity of projects and showcase different skills.

Learn More About These Topics

There’s a lot that goes into building an effective e-learning course. Here are some additional topics and skills you’ll need to understand to be a good course designer. You don’t need to be a pro at everything but you should be able to speak to them when needed.

There’s obviously a lot more you need to know to be successful transitioning into an e-learning job. What are the five things you’d recommend to that person? Feel free to share them in the comments.


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

e-learning workshop

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • Antwerp: Nov 7. Articulate User Day 2017. Register here.
  • Utrecht: Nov 9 & 10. Articulate User Day 2017. Register here.
  • London: November 13 & 14. Articulate Community Roadshow. Register here.
  • Manchester: November 16 & 17. Articulate Community Roadshow. One ticket left. Register here.
  • Webinar (University of California Irvine): December 13. How to Build a Professional E-Learning Portfolio. Register here.
2018
 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

The Power of Functional Prototypes for E-Learning

e-learning prototypes

Many e-learning developers spend too much time building courses that are almost complete before they solicit feedback about the course. This could be a waste of resources because by that time, they’ve invested a lot of resources and it’s a real challenge to get things changed that late in the game, especially if the changes are significant.

A better solution is to quickly prototype the course, get some feedback and make adjustments. This is even more critical if you have a lot of interactive content. The good thing is that this is really easy to do in Storyline (or event PowerPoint).

Here are a few tips on how to approach the prototyping.

E-Learning Prototype: Start Backwards

What is the objective of the course and what does the client expect the learner to do? Slapping a bunch of information together over a series of screens is probably not going to meet your objectives. 

It’s all about the action, boss.

It doesn’t take much effort to prototype a bullet point screen. That’s not where you want to put your effort when you prototype. Instead, focus on the actions and prototype the activities that let the learners practice and demonstrate understanding.

What do they need to do and what interaction can you build that allows them to do that?

E-Learning Prototype: Build Something that Works

One of the many things I like about Storyline is how easy it is to prototype all sorts of interactions. In fact, someone told me that she was in a meeting with a potential client who shared their course requirements and what they hoped to get out of the course.

While the potential client was talking, the e-learning developer opened Storyline and built a quick mock-up of how the course could work with some simple interactions and decision-making scenarios. The client intended to send her away to build something to pitch later. Instead, the e-learning developer showed her the interactive prototype right there in the meeting and got the job on the spot. All because she was able to focus on the desired activity and build a working model. 

E-Learning Prototype: Don’t Worry About Looks

At our workshops, we like to present a few challenge activities. This lets people workout ideas and build quick interactive modules. However, there are always a few attendees who end up spending all their time on the visual design and never end up building a working interactive prototype.

It’s an easy trap to fall into because we tend to lean on the visuals first. They help us think about the project. However, it’s a trap that wastes time. Don’t worry about the way the module looks, worry about the functionality and the desired output. 

Of course, you do want it to be visually organized. If not, the customer will still focus on the way it looks. But you don’t need to make it visually rich. A good cheat though, is to start with the content library templates and then work from there.

To sum it all up, building quick prototypes is a better option for course development than building almost complete courses and then soliciting feedback, especially since you’ll probably have to make a bunch of changes anyway.

How do you build your prototypes? Do you start with a storyboard? Or do you jump right into the software and start building?


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

e-learning workshop

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • Austin: September 12 & 13. Articulate Community Roadshow.
  • San Francisco: October 10 & 11. Articulate Community Roadshow. Seats limited for this event.
  • Antwerp: Nov 7. Articulate User Day 2017. Register here.
  • Utrecht: Nov 9 & 10. Articulate User Day 2017. Register here.
  • London: November 13 & 14. Articulate Community Roadshow. Register here.
  • Manchester: November 16 & 17. Articulate Community Roadshow. Seats are limited. SOLD OUT!
  • Webinar (University of California Irvine): December 13. How to Build a Professional E-Learning Portfolio. Register here.

 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

Here’s What Needs to be in Your E-Learning Portfolio

e-learning porfolio

I get questions all the time about work portfolios. One of the most frequent questions is “what types of courses need to be in the portfolio?”

Why Have a E-Learning Portfolio?

The portfolio is your proof of skills. It shows that you have more than a resume list of skills or just education. It documents some of your projects and also shows your specific skills.

The challenge for many is that the work we do is proprietary and we can’t show what we know. That’s OK. If that’s the case, you want to create a few sample modules that demonstrate your skills and get the attention of the person reviewing your portfolio. And let’s face it, some of the project that we get stuck on at work aren’t things we want to show anyway.

Here’s What Should be in Your E-Learning Portfolio

Here are the five things you need to showcase in your e-learning portfolio.

  • Assessments. Quizzes are the most common element in e-learning courses. Create a few different types of assessments. The default, blocky type quizzes are fine, but you want to show more than copy and paste skills. Make the quiz look different and modify the default settings. The more custom you can make them, the better.
  • Scenarios. Interactive scenarios are always popular. They’re more fun than click-and-read content and they show how to build situational training that closely mirrors real-world interactions.
  • Interactions. No one wants to look at 60 slides of the same content. Instead showcase mini interactions, or pull some of the interactions out of the 60 slide course. There are three main ways to interact with the screen: click, hover, and drag. Build some modules that demonstrate your skills creating different types of interactions. Lean more on dragging than clicking because it’s novel and people like to move things on the screen.
  • Software Training. Most organizations do some sort of software training. Show your skills building software training. Add a short screencast video as well as an interactive software simulation.
  • Make it interesting. Most e-learning isn’t very good and usually very boring. Convert one of those types of courses into something interesting. Make it look good and make it interactive. Show a before and after version of your course/module.

Here’s a bonus tip: people are drawn to the visual design more so than they are to the instructional design. You want your portfolio to look good.

If you’re trying to figure out how to build those demos or what types to do, check out the weekly e-learning challenges. There’s a lot of variety and plenty of ideas. Any one of them would make a good module to include in your portfolio.

Do you have an e-learning portfolio? If so, what type of content do you have in yours?


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

e-learning workshop

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • Austin: September 12 & 13. Articulate Community Roadshow.
  • San Francisco: October 10 & 11. Articulate Community Roadshow. Seats limited for this event. Register here. Last US roadshow for 2017.
  • Antwerp: Nov 7. Articulate User Day 2017. Register here.
  • Utrecht: Nov 9 & 10. Articulate User Day 2017. Register here.
  • London: November 13 & 14. Articulate Community Roadshow. Register here.
  • Manchester: November 16 & 17. Articulate Community Roadshow. Seats are limited. Register here.
  • Webinar (University of California Irvine): December 13. How to Build a Professional E-Learning Portfolio. Register here.

 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

What’s in Your E-Learning Pre-Flight Checklist

e-learning checklist

On a recent flight, I watched the flight crew go through a pre-flight checklist. This is a series of things that need to happen prior to taking off. While watching them I wondered what we’d consider being part of an e-learning pre-flight checklist. So I jotted a few quick notes in my Rocketbook (my latest gadget).

  • Information vs Performance. I like to put courses in one of two buckets: performance or information. Performance-based courses seek to change behaviors and have people learn and do something new or different. Information-based courses are more about awareness of certification. Knowing which bucket to place the course,, helps me know what type of resources to commit to it.
  • What are the objectives of the course? Some objectives are to change performance or teach new skills. And some objectives are more like certification and awareness. Knowing the objectives helps you determine the proper metrics to evaluate success.
  • Who is the final approver of the project? This is one of the first questions I ask. It’s important to know who the final decision-maker is. Often you’ll work on a course and then right before launch someone higher up in the food chain gets involved and wants to make changes. Find out who this person is before you get too involved in the project and be sure to keep them in the loop throughout. And most of all, make sure you get approval at various milestones in the project. As David likes to say, “When things go right, the managers take credit. But when things go wrong, it’s all on the trainers.”
  • Is there a budget? I’ve worked for larger organizations with large projects and rarely did we get a budget to build the courses. I was always told I was the budget. It’s a good idea to initiate the conversation about having a budget. Perhaps you start small and say you need $500-$1000. Even if you don’t need the money, it’s a good idea to build the expectation that you need a budget to go with your training project.
  • What expectations does the client have? This goes back up to understanding the type of course that is being commissioned and determining the objectives. Often, the client has a default position that their goals or problems are solved by training. This isn’t a good starting point. It’s important to do some performance consulting to better understand the client’s needs and if training will help. Doing that sets clear expectations.
  • What expectations do the learners have? Let’s face it, the bulk of most e-learning courses are compliance training or annual updates with little impact on the person’s day-to-day responsibilities. Thus, for many, the expectations are very low. We can’t always control the content and client objectives, but there are things we can do to make the experience better and more interactive.
  • What do you know about the audience? Ideally, the course is designed in a real-world context. To do that requires an understanding of the audience’s real world.
  • What resources are available? The most important resource is access to the subject matter experts. Other resources are existing content, technology, media, and the numerous assets required to build good courses. Of course, with services like Content Library, some of that is mitigated and not as big of an issue as in the past.
  • How will you evaluate it? If you define clear objectives you can define metrics to determine if they’ve been met. Thus one part of the evaluation is having measurable objectives. The other part is knowing how you’ll collect and process them. That’s not as easy and probably why most organizations don’t bother evaluating their training properly.
  • What’s the implementation plan? Once the course is loaded into the learning management system, what’s next? How do the learners know there’s a course for them to take? How do managers know? What marketing strategies do you have for the course launch?
  • Does it need to be mobile? Personally, this is somewhat moot. Modern e-learning courses work on mobile devices. However, there are some considerations when it comes to mobile and how you construct the course. Ideally, you use something like Rise where all of the design considerations are already made. If you use Storyline, you’ll need to think about the interface and how things are laid out and how they work on the smaller screens.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start. What would you add to your e-learning pre-flight checklist? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

e-learning workshop

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • Austin: September 12 & 13. Articulate Community Roadshow.
  • San Francisco: October 10 & 11. Articulate Community Roadshow. Seats limited for this event. Register here. Last US roadshow for 2017.
  • Antwerp: Nov 7. Articulate User Day 2017. Register here.
  • Utrecht: Nov 9 & 10. Articulate User Day 2017. Register here.
  • London: November 13 & 14. Articulate Community Roadshow. Register here.
  • Manchester: November 16 & 17. Articulate Community Roadshow. Seats are limited. Register here.
  • Webinar (University of California Irvine): December 13. How to Build a Professional E-Learning Portfolio. Register here.

 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

8 E-Learning Production Tips for Your Next Gamified Course

gamified e-learning

The other day I got one of those marketing emails that I tend to delete without looking over. However, this one featured some ideas on gamification. And what got me most interested was looking at their examples. As we all know, gamification is a hot topic and it’s always neat to see how different groups build the gamified elements in their courses.

Ingenuiti put together a portfolio page with three different gamified examples. They use three micro games to teach and demonstrate some core gamification concepts.

I reviewed their modules and want to highlight a few production tips that not only work for gamified e-learning courses, but are just as useful in other contexts. For today’s post, I’ll focus on the first micro game.

Here’s a link to the video tutorial series.

Gamification Micro Game #1

gamified e-learning example

The first micro game focuses on three types of learning activities:

  • Simple Game: challenge the learners understanding in a common game format. It’s a great way to rehearse and recall information and do it in a fun way that is familiar to most people.
  • Explore Activity: have the learner explore the environment and collect information or rewards. I always consider exploration to be one of the core building blocks for interactive learning. Given the right context, exploration is a great way to engage and inspire critical thinking.
  • Simple Scenario: the learner observes an interaction, reflects on it, and then offers constructive input. Mimicking real-world type interactions is a good way to reinforce the learning experience. They do some clever things with the commenting, liking, and bookmarking.

There’s a lot going on in their modules. I isolated a few things that they did so that I can show some production tips and nuances of the software. Keep in mind, there’s always a few ways to do the same thing in software. So if you have different or even better ideas, feel free to share them in the comments.

Here are some videos that offer some real quick tutorials on how you can create similar effects and interactions in your own e-learning courses. I’m using Storyline because it’s easy to use, but you’re free to use the software of your choice, especially if you have plenty of time on your hands and not rushed to get things done. 			</div><!-- .entry-content -->
	    
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Here’s an Easy Way to Share Your E-Learning Courses

share your e-learning courses header

This is a tip I stumbled upon this week and thought I’d share it because one of the most frequent questions I get from people trying to manage a work portfolio is how to quickly share e-learning courses.

Let’s quickly review some of the options that we’ve mentioned in the past:

Today, we’ll look at another option. It’s not free, but it’s inexpensive and comes with other benefits.

Share Your E-Learning Courses with pCloud

I subscribe to AppSumo because they often have good deals on multimedia-related apps or graphics. I really like when they present offers with lifetime access. This week, AppSumo had a great deal for lifetime access to pCloud for $49.

I won’t bore you with all the details and benefits regarding pCloud because you can learn that on your own. To keep it simple, it’s a cloud-based storage service similar to Google Drive and Dropbox. What I like that’s different is that it works like a virtual drive so I don’t need to have all of the files on my computers like I do with Dropbox.

Examples of E-Learning Courses 

Anyway, I was testing out their public folder and loaded a few published Storyline courses to see if they work and guess what, they do. Here are three demos:

As you can see, the courses play fine. Thus making it a simple solution for those who want to easily share their courses.

Steps to Share Your E-Learning Courses

Here are a few general steps to share your courses using pCloud.

share your e-learning courses public folder

  • Create a folder inside of your Public Folder to share courses.
  • Copy your published course to that folder. pCloud looks like a drive on your computer so you just need to move the files to the pCloud drive.
  • The files are uploaded to pCloud.
  • Go to your my.pCloud.com site and access the folder where you saved your published course.

share your e-learning courses link

  • Locate the story.html and click on Share>Get Link. That creates a link to the HTML file which loads the course. You don’t want to share the HTML file itself because the user will only be able to see the HTML file and not see the course load and play.
  • Here’s a quick video tutorial that walks through the steps.

I did notice that when accessing the files from the mobile app, you can only share the file and not a link, so it looks like you can only use the share link from the desktop app.

I find pCloud to be a good solution for my online storage needs, especially since I don’t need to have all of the files on my computers like I do if I want to access them in Dropbox. I also like the upload folder option for people who want to share their files at workshops. The current pCloud deal is a good price, but I’ve seen similar deals at other sites. So if the AppSumo deal is gone, you can probably wait for another if you don’t want to pay the regular price.

If you’ve tried pCloud to share your courses, I’d love to hear about your experience. Share your thoughts in the comments.


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

e-learning workshop

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • Austin: September 12 & 13. Articulate Community Roadshow.
  • San Francisco: October 10 & 11. Articulate Community Roadshow. Seats limited for this event. Register here. Last US roadshow for 2017.
  • Antwerp: Nov 7. Articulate User Day 2017. Register here.
  • Utrecht: Nov 9 & 10. Articulate User Day 2017. Register here.
  • London: November 13 & 14. Articulate Community Roadshow. Register here.
  • Manchester: November 16 & 17. Articulate Community Roadshow. Seats are limited. Register here.

 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

How to Add Closed Captions to Your E-Learning Courses

closed captions

We’ve discussed closed captions in a previous post. We looked at how to create them with free software or online tools. And we also explored how to build closed captions using a single text variable.

Today, we’ll look at how the closed captions feature works in Articulate Storyline 360. You’ll find it a lot easier to use.

How to Create & Edit Closed Caption Text

Here’s how to add captions to audio narration or videos in your course. You can do it right inside of the authoring tool.

  • Insert the video (or audio) file.
  • From the toolbar, select Add Captions.
  • Storyline opens a caption editor where it analyzes the audio track and creates several placeholder caption boxes for you to insert text.
  • Select a caption box and start typing. Hit the return key to restart the caption box until you’re done. Hit the tab key to move to the next box.
  • Easy as that.

closed captions editor

Editing your captions is fairly straightforward. When you open the Closed Captions Editor, you see a timeline with the audio track and caption boxes.

  • You can extend or decrease the time of the caption.
  • Edit text.
  • Click and move the caption boxes.
  • Export the closed captions as a .VTT file, which is standard.

Watch the quick tutorial to learn about creating and editing closed captions in Storyline 360.

How to Import Closed Caption Text

Many people like to create their closed caption text in separate applications, export the .VTT (or another format), and import the text file into the authoring tool. That makes sense, especially if you have really long audio or video tracks.

Personally, I like to use Youtube to create my captions for long videos. I upload the video to Youtube and make sure it’s not public. Then, I take my text script and paste it into the field. Youtube does the rest. When it’s done, I can download a .VTT file to use in my e-learning course.

Here’s how it works in Storyline 360.

  • Insert a video or audio file into the slide.
  • Click on the video and in the ribbon, select Import to access your .VTT file.
  • Preview the slide and select the Captions button on the player.

closed captions example

Watch the quick tutorial to learn about importing closed captions.

How to Create a Closed Captions Button

By default, the course player has a captions button. To view captions during the course, click the captions button. That works great if you have the player and captions button enabled. However, some people prefer to diminish the player and want their own captions button on the slide to control when the captions display.

Here’s how to create a custom captions button:

  • Insert a button.
  • Add a trigger to the button to adjust the Player.Display.Captions variable.
  • The variable is like a True/False variable that can be either one or the other when clicked. Set the operator to =NOT Assignment.
  • When the button is clicked it toggles the variable value to what is not assigned to. Thus, clicking the button turns the captions or off.

closed captions variable

Watch the quick tutorial to learn about creating a custom closed captions button.

And that’s how you add closed captions to your e-learning courses. Pretty simple, huh?


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

e-learning workshop

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • Austin: September 12 & 13. Articulate Community Roadshow.
  • San Francisco: October 10 & 11. Articulate Community Roadshow. Seats limited for this event. Register here. Last US roadshow for 2017.
  • Antwerp: Nov 7. Articulate User Day 2017. Register here.
  • Utrecht: Nov 9 & 10. Articulate User Day 2017. Register here.
  • London: November 13 & 14. Articulate Community Roadshow. Register here.
  • Manchester: November 16 & 17. Articulate Community Roadshow. Seats are limited. Register here.

 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.