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.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Subject Matter Experts But Was Afraid to Ask

subject matter experts

Subject matter experts play a key role in the success of your e-learning courses. The challenge is learning to use their skills and knowledge in a way that works best. Today’s post is a curated list of free resources with essential tips and tricks so that you are successful building your courses.

Free Downloads

Here is a list of free downloads available to you.

Rapid E-Learning Blog Resources

Here is a list of relevant blog posts.

E-Learning Heroes Community Resources

Here is a list of community discussions, tips, and resources.


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

e-learning Articulate workshops

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • Austin: September 12 & 13. Articulate Community Roadshow. Early bird rate expires August 28. Register here.
  • San Francisco: October 10 & 11. Articulate Community Roadshow. Early bird rate expires September 15. Seats limited for this event. Register here.
  • 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.

Everything You Need to Know About Drag & Drop Interactions

drag and drop interaction essentials

There are three main ways to interact with the course: click, mouseover, and drag. While click-based interactions are the most prominent, a good drag and drop interaction is usually more engaging. In fact, anytime I feature a drag-based interaction in a blog post, I’m always asked how it was created.

Drag and drops are engaging, they let the user “touch the screen” or lean into the course a bit, and they’re novel because they’re not used as often as the other types. With that said, here is everything you need to know about drag & drop interactions from previous posts:

essentials of drag and drop interaction

So there you have it, everything you need to know to get started building effective and engaging drag and drop interactions for e-learning. And if you want to learn to build them, check out these tutorials and take part in these drag and drop challenge activities: challenge #16 and challenge #21.

Is there anything you’d suggest when building drag and drop interactions?


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

e-learning Articulate workshops

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • Articulate Roadshows. Join us for one or two days of e-learning goodness. Day 1 focuses on more general e-learning topics and Day 2 is centered on learning to build some nice, reusable interactions. They're great activities to help you learn more about the tools. Sign up using the links below. Seats are limited for the events. If you're interested in presenting at one of the roadshows, let me know.
  • Toronto: August 9 & 10. Early bird rate expires July 21. Register here.
  • Seattle: August 21 & 22. Early bird rate expires August 7. Register here.
  • Austin: September 12 & 13. Early bird rate expires August 28. Register here.
  • San Francisco: October 10 & 11. Early bird rate expires September 15. Seats limited for this event. Register here.
  • London: November 13 & 14. Details coming soon.
  • Manchester: November 16 & 17. Seats will be limited. Details coming soon.
  • There are a couple of other events planned. Once we get all of the bookings confirmed, we'll add the registration page and info.

 

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.

A Three-Step Process to Build Your Skills the Right Way

e-learning portfolio

Recently, I’ve seen dozens of portfolios and work samples that are verbatim copies of the work of others. This isn’t a good thing, especially if you represent it as your own work. There’s a difference between being inspired by others and plagiarism. And not knowing this can hurt your career.

To protect the innocent I won’t mention the names of individuals (or companies) that have ripped off the work of others and represented it as their own. I’m sure some of it is intentional, but I suspect that most are just not aware that what they’re doing isn’t in their best interests.

Today I’ll share a few ways to find inspiration from others and use it build YOUR skills the right way. And then use those skills to show off what you can do. The end point should not be an exact copy of the source material. Instead, it should be a derivative work inspired by the source.

Step 1: Find a source of inspiration

Look for ways to be inspired. I focus on visuals and interactivity. E-learning is mostly visual, so it’s always good to learn more about graphics and UX design. And another main point of focus is learning to transition from static content to engaging interactions.

Keep an ideas folder or bookmarks for later reference. Here are some places I like to look for ideas:

  • Design sites like Dribbble where you can see what people are doing. Many will even share free assets.
  • Presentation sites like Slideshare where you can see how people are presenting their content. They also have an easy way to do screengrabs.
  • Mobile apps are a good source of inspiration. I regularly download different apps just to look at how they work and how users interact with them to get content. This gives me ideas for course design. Especially when I want some novel ideas on how to navigate a course.
  • Multimedia presentations are also valuable. News sites tend to build simple interactive multimedia demos for the hot news. Unfortunately, today it seems they spend more on the interactions and less on real journalism, but that’s a blog post for another day.
  • Template sites like Template Monster and Theme Forest are great to see different types of layouts and get ideas for screens and colors.

What are some sources of inspiration for you?

Step 2: Deconstruct your source of inspiration

One of the best ways to learn is by deconstructing things that interest you. Since I work mostly with Storyline, my initial thought is whether or not I can create what I see in Storyline.  Sometimes I can and sometimes I can’t. The goal is to play around with the idea as well as the software.

  • I deconstruct the source of inspiration and try to figure out what’s happening and why the creator may have chosen that approach versus something else. I make notes of what I like and what I may change.
  • I try to build a functional prototype. Sometimes the source content is an interaction I like and sometimes it may be a visual design idea. In either case, I try to replicate it in the software to learn what I can do. One side benefit is that I often discover some new production techniques.

At this point, the concern isn’t a final showcase product. It’s more about building a matching prototype.

Step 3: Apply what you learned to something original

Inspiration should lead to iteration. The goal isn’t to build copycat modules. It’s a small industry and people know when you cribbed an idea from another developer. Instead, the goal is practice and then apply what you learned to something original.

If there’s an animation you found interesting, how would you apply it to your own content? Are there layouts you can build into reusable templates? Can you make the interaction work the same way but in a different context?

A few things to keep in mind:

  • If you do borrow an idea from someone else and share it publicly, give them props. It’s good form and builds goodwill. It also alleviates any accusations when your work looks similar to someone else’s.
  • Share what you build. If you’re going to show off what you built (and it’s not proprietary) it’s a good idea to give something away. Share the source file, a how-to tutorial, or maybe a free template. This helps build your personal brand and expertise.
  • If you see something that looks like your work, understand that people will steal your work. It’s the basis of a popular book. Consider it a form of flattery. Also, people often have similar ideas at the same time. There have been few times I’ve had a blog post in the queue only to have someone in the industry release a similar post before mine’s been released. It shows that a lot of common ideas percolate and often we come to them at similar times. It’s just the way it is.

The end goal in this step is to use the deconstruction as a source of inspiration. And then create a derivative work that is uniquely yours.

Continue to practice and learn your craft. Find sources of inspiration and then apply what you learn to your own projects. And then show off what you can do in your portfolio.


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

e-learning Articulate workshops

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • Articulate Roadshows. Join us for one or two days of e-learning goodness. Day 1 focuses on more general e-learning topics and Day 2 is centered on learning to build some nice, reusable interactions. They're great activities to help you learn more about the tools. Sign up using the links below. Seats are limited for the events. If you're interested in presenting at one of the roadshows, let me know.
  • Boston: July 18 & 19. Early bird rate expires July 7. Register here.
  • Toronto: August 9 & 10. Early bird rate expires July 21. Register here.
  • Seattle: August 21 & 22. Early bird rate expires August 7. Register here.
  • Austin: September 12 & 13. Early bird rate expires August 28. Register here.
  • San Francisco: October 10 & 11. Early bird rate expires September 15. Seats limited for this event. Register here.
  • London: November 13 & 14. Details coming soon.
  • Manchester: November 16 & 17. Seats will be limited. Details coming soon.
  • There are a couple of other events planned. Once we get all of the bookings confirmed, we'll add the registration page and info.

 

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 Convert Static Slides into Interactive E-Learning

convert slides into interactive e-learning

A lot of e-learning content starts with existing PowerPoint slides. And a common challenge is converting all of that PowerPoint training into interactive and engaging e-learning. Today we’ll look at a few considerations that will help make the conversion to interactive e-learning successful.

Understand Why the E-Learning Course Needs to Be Interactive

Generally speaking, there are two components to interactive content. We’ve covered this in a previous post, but here’s a quick overview:

interactive e-learning

  • Interact with the screen. The goal is to get them to lean in and have them do things onscreen like dragging objects and opening and closing various elements. Create novel onscreen interactions. The focus isn’t on the learning as much as it is the experience of “touching” the screen.
  • Interact with the content. As far as interacting with the content, the general idea is getting them to access the content in a manner consistent with real-world activities and making the types of decisions they need to make after they exit the course.

Understand How We Interact with the E-Learning Course

There are three main ways to interact with the screen: click, hover, or drag. Most interactions tend to be click-based. A good practice activity is to convert what would have been a click-based interaction into something else. How would it work if it was changed to a drag and drop for example?

interactive e-learning

Understand Why We Interact with the E-Learning Course

While going through the course, most interactions happen because of one of three reasons:

interactive e-learning

  • Course Navigation: the user navigates around the course and the course content.
  • Content Exploration: the user explores what’s available in the course.
  • Decision Making: the user makes decisions and gets feedback.

These usually overlap. For example, as a user is challenged to make a decision, she may have to explore the content and determine what she needs to make the best decision.

Combine Building Blocks to Create Interactive E-Learning

There are a few core building blocks that help convert static information into interactive e-learning.

The 3C Model is a Simple Way to Understand Interactive Scenarios

Assuming the content and activities are framed in a meaningful context, here’s a simple way to structure interactive scenarios:

3C model interactive e-learning

  • Challenge. You want to expose their level of understanding. Get them to make decisions.
  • Choices. Provide choices based on the decision-making challenges.
  • Consequences. Each choice produces a consequence. It can be immediate feedback, another challenge, or compounded feedback presented at one time.

This is a simple way to remember the interactive process. What types of decisions does the learner need to make? What choices will you present? And then what are the consequences of those choices?

When you review your static content or existing PowerPoint slides, look for ways to make it interactive. Understnad how they’ll use the content in the real world and build decisions around that. Then find ways for them to lean-in and interactive with the screen.

What do you do to convert your PowerPoint training into interactive e-learning?


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

e-learning Articulate workshops

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • Articulate Roadshows. Join us for one or two days of e-learning goodness. Day 1 focuses on more general e-learning topics and Day 2 is centered on learning to build some nice, reusable interactions. They're great activities to help you learn more about the tools. Sign up using the links below. Seats are limited for the events. If you're interested in presenting at one of the roadshows, let me know.
  • Boston: July 18 & 19. Early bird rate expires July 7. Register here.
  • Toronto: August 9 & 10. Early bird rate expires July 21. Register here.
  • Seattle: August 21 & 22. Early bird rate expires August 7. Register here.
  • Austin: September 12 & 13. Early bird rate expires August 28. Register here.
  • San Francisco: October 10 & 11. Early bird rate expires September 15. Seats limited for this event. Register here.
  • London: November 13 & 14. Details coming soon.
  • Manchester: November 16 & 17. Seats will be limited. Details coming soon.
  • There are a couple of other events planned. Once we get all of the bookings confirmed, we'll add the registration page and info.

 

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.

Essentials of Interactive E-Learning

 

essentials of interactive e-learning

At a recent workshop, we reviewed some of the essentials of interactive e-learning. Here are some of the highlights from the presentation. They focus on what the course participant should DO and not what information they need to SEE.

Basic Course Design

essentials of interactive e-learning 3 considerations

 

We discussed this in the post on what every new instructional designer should know. When building courses there are three main considerations:

  • What content needs to be in the course?
  • What’s the right look and feel for the course?
  • What will the users do in the course?

This last point is where we consider how the user interacts in the course. One of the challenges many e-learning developers have is that they don’t properly identify the performance objectives for the course and without that, they can’t build meaningful interactions.

The first thing is to understand the performance expectations and then from there build the interactions and activities that teach how to meet those expectations.

Objectives for Interactive E-Learning

essentials of interactive e-learning how to

It’s important to step away from info-centric design and step towards learner-centric design. A course focused on the learner frames the content so that it’s relevant to the learner’s needs and meaningful to the types of decisions they need to make in the real world.

  • Identify who’s taking the course.
  • In what situations would they need the course content?
  • After the course, what should they be able to do?
  • How do they prove they can do it during the course?

Use a Backward Design Strategy to Focus On Meaningful Interactions

essentials of interactive e-learning backward bull's eye design

Training specialists always fret over the return-on-investment (ROI) for e-learning. That’s usually the case when they’re not properly aligned to the organization’s goals and end up building a lot of information-based e-learning with very little focus on real performance improvement. It’s like they shoot a bunch of arrows during the year; then at the end of the year draw bull’s eyes around them to show the organization how well they’ve done.

  • The real bull’s eye is identifying what the learner needs to do.
  • Then determine how they can prove that they can do it.
  • Training is built around how to prove their understanding.
  • Focus on the activities. What do they need to do and what do they need to know to do it.

If you focus on the activities and not the information, you’ll most likely built more effective, engaging, and interactive e-learning.

Good books to learn more:

When it all comes down to it, effective interactive e-learning is built around meaningful activities that are relevant to the learner and aligned with the organization’s goals. The mistake a lot of course designers make is to not properly define the performance objectives and from there build meaningless or no interactivity.


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

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • June 20-21 (San Diego). FocusOn Learning conference.
  • Articulate Roadshows. Join us for one or two days of e-learning goodness. Day 1 focuses on more general type e-learning topics and Day 2 is centered on learning to build some nice, reusable interactions. Learn more and sign up using the links below. Seats are limited for the events. If you're interested in presenting at one of the roadshows, let me know.
  • There are a couple of other events planned. Once we get all of the bookings confirmed, we'll add the registration page and info.

 

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 an Easy Way to Manage E-Learning Projects

e-elearning project management

Managing all of the to-do lists and activities for your e-learning projects can be really time time-consuming and a pain. I’ve worked in organizations where it seemed we spent more time managing the bureaucracy related to the project than we actually spent on it.

Someone asked what I use to manage projects. Personally, I prefer a simple process with the least amount of friction as possible. I started using Sortd with my email account and that has really saved me some time. I may do a blog post on that down the road. But for my project management, I use Trello. It’s easy to use and free.

I’ve been using Trello for a few years and what I like best is that it keeps me focused on the actionable items and makes it easy to see the progress I’m making on projects.

Today, I’ll show a few simple tips. This isn’t a comprehensive overview but I’ll show a few of the basic things you can do. And you can take it from there.

Manage E-Learning Projects with Boards, Lists, and Cards

trello-board

  • BOARDS: start by creating a project board for your course. Give it a name and you’re all set.
  • LISTS: inside the board, you create lists. I usually use lists to represent either clear milestones in the project or places where I need to hand tasks off to others.
  • CARDS: each list contains cards. Cards are great to house individual tasks. They contain checklists and details specific to the tasks. As you move through your project, you move cards from one list to another.
  • MENU: lets you see the activity and other settings within the board.

Here’s a video overview of using Trello to manage your e-learning projects to go with the instructions above.

Click to view the video on how to use Trello.

Some Bonus Tips

  • Combine Trello with Articulate Review and you have a really powerful way to not only manage projects but also manage the review cycle with your clients and subject matter experts.
  • Come up with a system that works and use it consistently. Initially, I found that I was a bit helter-skelter in my approach. This was fine when I only managed a couple of projects, but as I added more, it became less fun and more time-consuming.
  • Project management requires management. It’s not set and forget. Develop a routine to check on the progress of your projects. You can invite people as teams and assign cards to them, but you still need to stay on top of things.
  • It’s easy to get overwhelmed with your boards, cards, and lists. That’s why it’s important to come up with a process. Also, Trello is a great product as long as you keep it simple. But it can quickly get a bit complicated, especially if you have a lot of boards and cards. I know people who have boards to manage boards. To me, that’s too much. I love Trello for the simplicity and that’s the key: keep it simple.
  • Take advantage of the power-ups. The free plan gives you one power-up. If you’re a freelancer explore the options you have to append your Trello boards. For the most part, the free option should be fine.
  • Trello has a good guide that offers some instruction and help. If you want to learn more, check it out.

e-learning project management

 Also, check out this free e-book on how to manage e-learning projects. If you already use Trello, feel free to share your own tips and suggestions in the comments. If you use a similar low-cost or free solution, let me know.


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

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • May 22-24 (Atlanta). ATD International Conference & Expo. We'll be in booth 738.
  • June 20-21 (San Diego). FocusOn Learning conference.
  • Articulate Roadshows. Join us for one or two days of e-learning goodness. Day 1 focuses on more general type e-learning topics and Day 2 is centered on learning to build some nice, reusable interactions. Learn more and sign up using the links below. Seats are limited for the events. If you're interested in presenting at one of the roadshows, let me know.
  • There are a couple of other events planned. Once we get all of the bookings confirmed, we'll add the registration page and info.

 

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 Use Hotspots in Drag and Drop Interactions

hotspot drag drop interactions

In an earlier post, we looked at three ways to use hotspots in your e-learning courses. In most cases, hotspots are used as invisible buttons for interactive e-learning. But today we’ll look at ways to use the hotspot feature in your drag and drop interactions where the hotspot isn’t a button.

Drag and Drop Basics

Generally, there are two main components to drag and drop interactions:

  • an object that is dragged
  • a target to accept the dragged object

I covered this in more detail when we looked at how to create drag and drop interactions.

Use the Hotspot as a Catch-all Target

Usually, there’s an obvious correct or incorrect target for drag and drop interactions. But what happens when the object is dropped outside of one of the target choices? In most cases, the object gets kicked back to the starting point as in the image below.

Dropped object snaps back to starting point when dropped outside of the target.

drag and drop

In the above example, the dragged object can only be dropped on one of the targets. If it’s dropped outside of the target, it bounces back to the starting point. This is usually the default setting and most common in drag and drop interactions.

Dropped object triggers an “oops” layer when dropped outside of the target on the catch-all hotspot.

However, the hotspot feature can serve as a catch-all target to provide feedback when objects are dragged and dropped outside of the desired target. When an object is dropped on the catch-all target it triggers the appropriate feedback. In the example below, the catch-all target triggers an “oops, try again” layer.

dragdrop-2

If you create a catch-all hotspot there are two things to do:

  • Put the hotspot underneath all of the other targets. Otherwise, it covers the drop targets and the interaction won’t work.
  • Determine how the dropped object responds. By default the object snaps to the center of the target; and since the target covers the entire screen, it looked weird sitting on top of the guy who’s in the center of the screen. In the example above I let it remain where it was dropped.

drag and drop interaction

Use the Hotspot to Expand and Control the Drop Target

Another great use of the hotspot feature is to better manage the drop target area. Since the hotspot is transparent it can sit on top of other object and be sort of a surrogate drop target. Instead of dropping on what looks like the target, they’re actually dropping on the target hotspot.

By doing this, you can determine where the dropped object is displayed. Here are before and after examples.

Dropped objects align based on the target image and display outside of the box.

drag and drop interaction target free

The objects are dragged to the box. By making the box image the drop target and tiling the objects, you can see that the objects actually align at the top of the box image.

Dropped objects align based on the hotspot target and align inside of the box.

drag and drop interaction drop target hotspot

In the example above, the box image isn’t the drop target. Instead, there’s a hotspot placed on top of the box image and centered over the opened box. This allows control of the alignment of the dropped objects to create the desired visual effect.

drag and drop interaction hotspot target

The hotspot is a great feature for creating interactive content. Most of the times it’s used as an invisible button. However, because it’s an easy-to-see green box (for production) and invisible to the end user, it’s a great feature to create large, catch-all targets. And it also works well for controlling how the dropped objects align and display.


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

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • May 22-24 (Atlanta). ATD International Conference & Expo. We'll be in booth 738. Swing by to chat.
  • June 20-21 (San Diego). FocusOn Learning conference.
  • July 18 & 19 (Boston). Articulate Roadshow. Details coming soon.
  • August 9 & 10 (Toronto). Articulate Roadshow. Details coming soon.
  • August 21 & 22 (Seattle). Articulate Roadshow. Details coming soon.
  • September 12 & 13 (Austin). Articulate Roadshow. Details coming soon.
  • November (London & Manchester). Articulate Roadshow. Dates and details coming soon.
  • There are a couple of other events planned. Once we get all of the bookings confirmed, we'll add the registration page and info. If you're interested in presenting at one of the roadshows, let me know.

 

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 How Subject Matter Experts Help Build Great Courses

subject matter experts help build better e-learning

Subject matter experts play a key role in the success of our courses. This is part three of the series on how to work with subject matter experts based on tips shared by your peers.

First, we discussed how to set expectations and then we looked at how to manage the relationship with your subject matter experts. Today we’ll explore how to get them to help you build great e-learning courses.

Working with Their Subject Matter

  • Ask the subject matter experts to explain things to you in layman terms, as if you have no knowledge about the subject.
  • During the information gathering phase – everything is in. Never say “no” at this stage.
  • Listen and gather as much information as you can before stating what you can or cannot do in the course. You don’t want them to self-edit and possibly neglect critical information.
  • Keep content within the confines of the training objectives.
  • Don’t enter into design, theme, look-and-feel discussions until the raw content is decided upon as it distracts subject matter expert from giving you the information you require.
  • Don’t rely on your subject matter experts giving you the information you need – ask the right questions. Later compose answers and then let them review and make edits.
  • Separate “need to know” versus “nice to know” information and performance-based tasks.
  • If you work with several subject matter expert on the same subject, but with different expertise, let them review and structure each other’s work. That way, they look from a distance at the content, and the overlap between their comments will highlight the most important content.
  • Ask subject matter expert to separate what’s essentials from stuff that can be found elsewhere via other resources. Those can be referenced in the course.
  • If you’re the subject matter expert and the developer, be prepared to be creative, start afresh and don’t be too protective of your course material.
  • If the list of content requirements from your subject matter expert is unwieldy, ask them for the top 3 or 4 things they want the learner to take away from the course. It can help focus on the most important stuff.
  • Don’t expect them to change their content the first time you see it. Take it. Go away. Read it and make notes. Then come back with questions that help them think about the learning experience.

convert PowerPoint into e-elearning subject matter experts

Help Them Think Like an Instructional Designer

  • Help the subject matter expert understand the basics of instructional design. There’s no need to share a firehose of info when all they need is a small sip. Share a few e-learning examples and perhaps a few simple articles on how to build good e-learning.
  • New learners don’t need to know everything that the subject matter expert knows.  A subject matter expert expertise comes from years of industry experience, but the average 20-minute e-learning course is not intended to provide an encyclopedic knowledge of the subject.
  • Offer ideas to show how to transform their knowledge into great interactive content.
  • Help the “expert” to identify the key intentions of the learning activity with the goal of getting them to strip their material down to the bare essentials. And then build up.
  • Keep the end learner in mind. If you don’t understand it, they won’t.
  • Get them to focus on performance goals and not course information. What are people supposed to do?  Use their knowledge to discover work-based scenarios to bring the key learning points to life.
  • Bounce off the information you get from your subject matter expert with your potential learner group.
  • Ask subject matter expert to put themselves in the learner’s shoes (to help them recognize that you might not need to cram all that detail into the course).
  • Remind the subject matter expert to focus on actions – instead of telling us what new learners should know, tell us what actions they should be able to take.

How do you work with your subject matter experts to make sure you get the right content? Share your comments here.


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

Upcoming E-Learning Events


 

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 Do You Need to Know to Gamify Your E-Learning

gamified e-learning gamification

I hear a lot of people ask about gamifying their e-learning courses. And the examples they show are usually simple games modeled after shows like Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune. Those are fine and have their places in e-learning, especially for quick knowledge checks. But they’re not the same as gamification.

In today’s post, I’ll share a few simple things to help get your brain muscles going.

What Do You Need to Know?

When it comes to building the courses in an authoring tool, you basically need to know how to use variables. Variables allow you to track and evaluate the user to provide relevant feedback, scoring, tokens, and all the other things that make up gamified e-learning courses. And once you know how to work with variables, you can build all sorts of things.

gamified e-learning

Here are some resources to learn more about variables:

On April 19, I’m also hosting a workshop where we learn about variables in the context of building a few common gamified elements. It’s a great way to learn more.

Learn More About Gamification

You can do a search and read all sorts about gamification especially now that it’s also a buzzword. Essentially you are taking game concepts and applying them to a non-game context. As you play games, ask what about the game is compelling and what similar element could work in your next e-learning course.

I think the greater challenge in building gamified courses is less in constructing the mechanics and more in building a narrative that integrates gaming psychology. Building things in the authoring tools is relatively easy compared to understanding what to build.

Here are three good books on gamification.

gamification books

What Can You Build in Your E-Learning Course?

When it comes to authoring the courses outside of a management system where you can track multiple users and build things like leaderboards, you’re confined to simple game elements such as:

  • Timers
  • Personalization
  • Progress meters
  • Tokens
  • Rewards management
  • Scoring
  • Autonomous navigation

You can make some very compelling courses that instructive and engaging. However, there’s a lot more to gamification than these simple elements above. How do you motivate learners and create the right tension between boredom and failure? Make sure you invest the right resources and develop a good strategy. Otherwise, your gamified course will transform from game to gimmick.

If you’re not quite sure where to get started, check out some of the cool examples in the community. They’ll give an idea of some of what you can do with the authoring tools. Here are three nice examples:

gamification example 1

Click here to view gamified e-learning course.

gamification-example-2

Click here to view gamified e-learning course.

gamification example 3

Click here to view gamified e-learning course.

And there’s nothing wrong with starting simple. If all you need is a Jeopardy-style quiz, then download this free file. It’s a great way to work with a context you know. But make a commitment to learn more about variables and start to add some of those gaming elements above to your courses. And if you can, join us in the April 19 workshop to learn more about variables.

Have you built any gamified e-learning? If so, share a link in the comments.


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

Upcoming E-Learning Events


 

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.