A Simple Way to Track Courses without an LMS

no LMS

Generally, delivering e-learning courses is a two-step process: 1) create the course in your favorite e-learning software and 2) host the course in a learning management system.

There are many small organizations that don’t use formal learning management systems; however they want simple tracking of the courses. I had someone ask how they could track people in their organization who have taken a compliance course. He didn’t have a lot of learners and wanted something simple.

Here are two quick solutions that work well. They don’t require a lot of work to set up and they’re mostly free.

This solution assumes that the user gets a URL that links to the course. We have no identifying information so we need a simple way to collect who they are and track their completion.

Create a Form

Create a form using a hosted service. In these examples I am using Google Forms and Jot Form. However, you can use a different service if you want (or create your own form on a server). It doesn’t matter. The main thing is you have a way for the person to share info and send it your way.

form no LMS

Embed the Form

Once you have the form, you’ll embed it into the course. In these examples we’re using Rise’s embed block. If you use Storyline, the web object works perfectly for this.

Embed form no LMS

Create a Gate to the Form

The goal is to only expose the form when the course is complete. There are many ways to do this. For these demos, I’ll show two ways. In the first, I use a continue block that is locked until the learner affirms completion of the course and agreement with the content. In the second example, I use a quiz to serve as the gate.

no LMS two options

Examples of Embedded Forms

These are simple examples to show how the form looks embedded in the course and how you could create a gate to get to the form.

  • Jot Form Example: the course has free navigation and user affirms completion to unlock the the gate
  • Google Form Example: the course is locked and passing the final quiz unlocks the certificate of completion

Jot Form offers a bit more control and looks more integrated with the course. I colorized the block to match the form’s color.

JotForm example no LMS

On the other hand, Google Forms has that enormous header space and scrollbar. I removed the header image and filled it with white to avoid the Frankenform look but it still looks like something pasted into the course. It would be nice to have more control over the look, but it still works fine for what we need and it’s free. Also, the integration with Google Sheets saves a few steps later.

Google fomr example no LMS

Upload the Course

Since we’re not using an LMS, we need a place to upload the course. I use Amazon S3 which I showed how to set up in a previous post; but it could also be Google Storage. But it can be any web server.

no LMS Amazon S3 free

Track Course Completion

The form collects the data and sends it to the service. Jot Form displays a table with the option to download. Google Form sends the data to a Google Sheet.

Google Sheet no LMS

Of course, there are many other ways to do something similar to avoid using an LMS, especially if you have programming skills.

At a previous place, we used the course URL to drop a cookie on the person’s computer. At the end of the course, we inserted an .ASP file via a web object. The .ASP file collected the info from the cookie and sent it to the database. Thus we knew who took the course, when they completed it, and their minimum passing score.

Do you have any other ways you use to track the course without using an LMS or paid service? Please share in the comments.


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How I Built This Interactive Scenario

interactive scenarios

What happens when you convert an old PowerPoint course into a Rise course?

The other day I found an older interactive scenario that was built in PowerPoint. I wanted to see what it would take to rebuild something similar in Rise. This isn’t an uncommon situation for those who are trying to convert and update older courses with new technology.

Today, I’ll show what I did to convert the course and a few production tips that helped me.

The Original Interactive Scenario

Back in the day, this was a pretty cool example of what you could do with PowerPoint to create interactive scenarios. By design, PowerPoint is a linear presentation tool. However, with some creativity, one can create interactive content. And that’s exactly what Jeanette did.

interactive scenario demo 1

Click here to view the interactive scenario.

With that said, PowerPoint’s not the best authoring tool if you want to create interactive content. Once you add the interactive capabilities the slide count goes up quite a bit and it becomes a mess to manage. I highlighted this in the post on why PowerPoint isn’t the right tool for interactive e-learning.

The New & Improved Interactive Scenario

We looked at different types of authoring tools in this post. PowerPoint and Rise offer two different types of authoring. PowerPoint is freeform with a blank screen that allows placement of objects. Whereas, Rise is form-based where you assemble content blocks and build the course that way. Freeform gives you more freedom in where you place content, but a tool like Rise offers a better mobile experience because it’s fully responsive. And as you see, it’s a lot easier to work with, as well.

interactive scenario demo 2

Click here to view the interactive scenario.

Production Tips to Build the Interactive Scenario

I had three goals with this conversion:

  • How long would it take to move content from PowerPoint to Rise?
  • What are some production considerations?
  • How to work around constraints?

Design the Interaction

The first thing is to determine how you want to design the interaction. When it comes to interactive scenarios, I always follow my 3C model of challenge, choice, and consequence. If I can click on something, then I can make it part of a 3C interaction.

In this case, I used the Flashcards block as a way to show choices and consequences. The user is presented with a challenge and clicks on a card to get feedback. Since I’m not grading it, I can keep the other options available so that the learner can see what is shared if they had clicked something else. This gives them more control over the learning experience.

  • Mission: identify the different interactive blocks that allow for 3C type interactivity. For starters, there are tabs and accordions. But those are obvious choices. Look for other interactive elements.

Build a Branched Scenario

Branched scenarios are possible in Rise with some considerations. Here are a few production tips:

  • Build your branched interaction with the Button Stack block. The button stack lets you jumps from lesson to lesson.
  • Don’t let them see what’s under the hood. Turn off the Sidebar view so that users don’t see the menu and how the course jumps around between lessons.

interactive scenario tip 1

  • Create a faux navigational cul-de-sac. Since Rise is designed to follow a lesson-to-lesson flow I want to prevent the learner from advancing past the end of a scenario or the button stack. To do so, I added a lot of padding on the bottom and an extra Spacer block as a buffer.

interactive scenario tip 2

  • Create duplicate menus to deal with revisits. The introductory lesson has some initial content and below it are the choices to view the scenarios. When they complete a scenario and come back to the other choices, I didn’t want all of that introductory content visible. I just want them to go to a list of other buttons. So I made a duplicate menu lesson with just the button menu. That’s where they end up after they complete a lesson. They never go back to the original introductory lesson.

interactive scenario tip 3

  • Control how much they see. This makes the content smaller to consume. You don’t need to show everything at once. Keep people from scrolling by adding an interactive Continue button. This holds all the content below it until the learner clicks on the button. In a sense, they are affirming that they are ready and when they click, they get more info.

interactive scenario tip 4

  • Play around with the imagery. Rise courses don’t need to look the same. You can insert images in all sorts of ways. An image doesn’t need to be a picture. It could be a white box that fills in an area to create more white space. Be creative in how you use the blocks. Also, don’t stick with the defaults. Play around with filling the blocks with color. The key is to learn to see them in a different way.

interactive scenario tip 5

How long did it take?

Once I planned how to build the interaction, it only took about 15 minutes to copy and paste the content from PowerPoint to Rise.  I used different images, so I had to create those. And I had to play around with ideas to see what worked best. All-in-all it took about 2 hours to build the module as it is.

The nice thing is that once I build an interactive lesson, I can save it as a template an re-use it again. And to add additional modules is just a matter of duplicating a single lesson. To do so in PowerPoint would require another 20+ slides per module.

As you can see, working with Rise is so much easier than working with PowerPoint.


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Here’s Another Free Way to Share Courses Online

Google storage share courses online free

I get a lot of questions about free ways to share courses and portfolios. In previous posts, I shared tips on managing an e-learning portfolio and I also shared a few ways to share courses online for free.

Another way to get free storage to share your courses and files is via Google’s Storage Platform. It’s pretty easy to set up.

Tutorials on How to Share Courses Online

I created a tutorial on YouTube so you can see the steps, which may be easier. I also created a second tutorial on how to set up Cloudberry Explorer for Google. You can upload the files via the browser, but you may find using Cloudberry is a little easier.

Share Courses Online: Setting Up a Google Storage Account

  • You’ll need to sign up. Just follow the directions for adding your contact info.
  • You do need to provide a credit card number. However, the cost of storage is nominal and I believe Google gives you a 5 GB/month allowance for free. Odds are that anything you save and share will be much smaller. Even if you do pay for storage, my guess is that it’ll only be a few dollars per year.
  • Once your account is established, you’ll create a bucket to hold your files. Inside the bucket, you can add other folders.

Google Storage share courses online free create bucket

Share Courses Online: Make Your Google Storage Files Public

  • Set the permissions for the bucket to allow public access to view.
  • Go to the bucket in the browser. To the right, you’ll see three dots. Click that and select “edit bucket permissions.”
  • Add “allUsers” as members.
  • Give them a role to be a “storage object viewer.” This allows them access to the files to view.

Google Storage share courses online free create permissions

Share Courses Online: Add Content to Your Google Storage Account

  • Adding content is easy. There’s an option to upload files and/or folders.
  • Once you’ve added the course folder, to the right of the index.html (or whatever you click on for the course) you’ll see a “public link.”
  • Share the public link.

Google Storage share courses online free share files and folders

The process is straightforward. Obviously, there’s a lot more to learn, but these simple steps will let you upload and share your e-learning courses and portfolio for free (or close to it).


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The New & Improved Rapid E-Learning

next generation rapid e-learning

Ten years ago, the e-learning industry was still mostly Flash-based. That meant organizations either had to buy e-learning courses, have them custom-built, or hire a Flash programmer to build them. The cost for doing so meant most organizations didn’t have access to the world of online training.

That all changed when the PowerPoint-to-Flash tools like Articulate Studio, emerged. It democratized the world of online training because it put e-learning into the hands of anyone who wanted to build a course. If you came from that world where building Flash courses took more time and cost more, everything was rapid. Thus, the term, rapid e-learning.

The Evolution of Rapid E-learning

Flash required special skills which made authoring in PowerPoint so attractive. With some creativity, one could build engaging and interactive e-learning courses in PowerPoint. However, the reality is that PowerPoint has a ceiling and doesn’t offer all of the interactive capabilities required for many e-learning courses. I outlined that in this post on why PowerPoint isn’t the right choice for interactive e-learning.

PowerPoint isn't the best for interactive rapid e-learning

  • Interactivity is mostly limited to click-and-reveal.
  • It requires a lot of redundant production which gets exponentially more complex.
  • You can’t use variables to create adaptive training or branched interactions.

When Storyline came out in 2012 it really changed the rapid e-learning industry. For the first time, one could build highly interactive content with PowerPoint comfort and without a background in programming. That was an exciting time for first-generation rapid e-learning developers.

Second Generation Rapid E-Learning

I’m often asked where is the rapid part of rapid e-learning? For those who are entering the industry today, it’s a bit different.

Storyline is still a killer application. However, there is an opportunity for those who want a new type of authoring, or what could be called rapid(er) e-learning. Welcome to the world of Rise.

In a sense, Rise is to Storyline what PowerPoint was to Flash. It offers even easier authoring that allows for quick development and delivery. It’s fully responsive and works great on mobile devices.

Comparing Rise to Storyline

Rise courses are constructed using pre-determined blocks. Choose a block, add content, and publish. Whereas, Storyline is a freeform slide that requires a bit more work.

new rapid e-learning example insert tabs interaction Rise

A great way to see the difference is by looking at how to insert a tabs interaction (one of the most common interaction types). In Rise, select a tabs interaction block and insert the content. That’s it.

In Storyline, it’s relatively easy to build a tabs interaction, but it requires more steps. Decide how it will look and work. And then from there build custom tabs, add layers, and then connect triggers.

As you can see, Rise is a whole lot faster and easier. It’s the new and improved rapid e-learning.

Combining Rise and Storyline for Powerful Rapid E-Learning

The cool thing is that when you want some custom interactions, build them in Storyline and add them to the Rise course. Thus you get the best of both worlds: fast, easy authoring in Rise combined with custom interactivity of Storyline.

rapid e-learning Articulate Rise example

Click here to view the Rise demo.

Above is a quick demo where I modified one of the Storyline templates in Content Library to work in Rise as a simple interaction.

Other Examples of Rapid E-Learning Courses in Rise

And for those wondering what you can do, here are few Rise demos:

other rapid e-learning examples in Rise

If you haven’t tried Rise, give it a go. Let me know what you think. Eventually, this e-learning stuff will get so easy we’ll just be sitting at home watching Netflix and eating bonbons.


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

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2018
 

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

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How to Create Interactive Videos with 3D Models in Storyline

interactive video

This is part two of the series on working with 3D models and interactive video. In the previous post, we looked at how to create a video using 3D models in PowerPoint. Today, we’ll discover how to use them to create interactive videos in Storyline. And then of course, once you have an interaction you can also insert it into a Rise course, which is what I did in this Rise lesson.

Create the Interactive Videos in PowerPoint using 3D Models

If you want to create a different kind of interactive video, you can apply what you learn here. The process is similar. For this demo, make sure you understand how the video is created and how it plays all the way through because we’re going to add a trigger to pause it before it completes.

For this demo, I created a video where the object rotates in and then rotates back out. It was built using a three-slide PowerPoint file and exported as a video.

Tutorial: how to create a three-slide video using 3D models in PowerPoint.

A Teardown of the 3D Model Interactive Videos

There are a few nuanced steps in this process. Let’s review what happens and then we can look at how to create it in Storyline:

Interactive video in Storyline using 3D models in PowerPoint

  • User clicks on the side tab which shows a layer.
  • The layer plays the video we created in PowerPoint.
  • Since the 3D object in the video rotates in and out, we set the video to pause when the object is rotated in.
  • Then we add a trigger to resume the timeline (with a hotspot or button) which continues to play the video and shows the object rotate out as the video completes.
  • The completion of the media (the video) triggers the layer to hide which takes us back to the base slide with the side tabs.

Create the Interactive Videos in Storyline

The video I create in PowerPoint is the exact same aspect ratio as the Storyline file. For the most part, 16×9 is fine. But if you change the aspect ratio of your .story file make sure you do the same on the PowerPoint slide.

  • Go to slide 1 in PowerPoint and save it as a .PNG image. This image will be what the user sees on the base slide in Storyline and perfectly aligns with the videos that will be on the layers.
  • In the Storyline slide, insert the slide image from PowerPoint.
  • Create the appropriate number of layers based on how many interactive elements you have.
  • On each layer add the appropriate video. Each video should play automatically. I also recommend putting a hotspot over the video so the user can’t click on the video to start/stop it.
  • On the video layer, add a trigger to pause the video when it reaches either a certain time or cue point. I like to add cue points so I can nudge them without modifying the trigger. The video should pause at the apex of the object rotation.
  • Add a trigger to unpause the video. It could be a simple button or perhaps a hotspot.
  • Add a trigger to hide the layer when the media completes. This should take you back to the base slide.

Click here to view the tutorial on creating an interactive video.

That’s basically it. Of course, there’s a lot more you can do to decorate the layer or add additional content. It just depends on your needs. Practice the technique first and once you have it set, see what you can do.

If you do create something, please share it with us so we can see it.


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

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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.

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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.


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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.

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.

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.

Let Amazon S3 Do Your Text-to-Speech for Free

free text-to-speech narration

Previously we looked at how to create free text-to-speech narration using a free application. The audio quality is decent enough for those who need the text-to-speech audio. Today we’ll look at a free (or inexpensive) way to create your text-to-speech narration that’s just as easy and hardly costs anything, if at all.

Earlier I showed how to create an Amazon S3 account as a way to share your courses. The first 5 GB is free and after that, it’s very inexpensive. If you use a site like Wix for your e-learning portfolio, Amazon S3 is an easy way to add URL links to your courses since those sites don’t allow uploading course content.

Once you have an Amazon S3 account, you have access to Polly, a service where you can create free text-to-speech narration. And the voice quality is very good, much better than the default SAPI voices you get with your computer.

Here’s an example of a few narration files I downloaded from Polly.

text-to-speech Amazon S3 Polly demo

Click here to view the text-to-speech examples.

As you can hear, the audio quality is decent and makes the robot voices tolerable. And odds are you won’t go past the initial free allocation.

How to Create Free Text-to-Speech Narration in Amazon S3 Polly

Creating the narration is really simple. First, you’ll need an Amazon S3 account. Here’s a link that shows how to get one.

Don’t worry about the prices, they’re nominal. You get a cushion of free space and after that, you pay $4.00 per million characters. That’s about 23 hours of audio. To put it in perspective, if you narrated “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, it would cost about 66 cents.

demo os Amazon S3 Polly text-to-speech

Basic Steps

  • From the Amazon S3 console, select Polly.
  • Insert your narration script.
  • Select a language.
  • Select a voice.
  • Preview and download the audio file.

It’s all pretty simple. Once you have the audio file, you can do some post-production editing (if necessary) and then insert into your course. Easy as that.

So there you have it, one free application where you can create text-to-speech narration and this inexpensive (or free) solution via Amazon that should meet most of your free text-to-speech needs.

If you use Polly, feel free to share your feedback.


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.