How to Create Custom Layouts for Interactive Scenarios

interactive scenarios backgrounds

There’s a lot that goes into building interactive scenarios. Obviously content is king and critical to building a branched scenario that is both engaging and effective. One key part of the scenario construction is establishing context. The good thing is that a single image often suffices to establish the scenario context.

The free stock images I shared recently are perfect for building interactive scenarios and establishing visual context.

I’ve had a few questions on how to set up the slides using the scenario images, so I’ll show a couple of easy ways to use them.

Interactive Scenarios: Create Multiple Layouts

interactive scenarios

You can create as many layouts as you like in the master slide. Thus you can create a scenario slide with dozens of layouts and save it as a template. Anytime you want to build a scenario, start with the scenario template and it saves you from looking for the images and inserting them into the slides. Everything’s already there and ready to go.

Here’s a quick tutorial to show how that works.

Click to view the scenario tutorial.

Interactive Scenarios: Create Multiple States

interactive scenarios states

Another reusable option is to insert a background image and then establish a number of states for that image. You can set any state as the initial state and never have to access the other states. And if you want to be clever, you can use triggers to dynamically switch the background from one environment to another using a single image.

Here’s a quick tutorial that show how to set up the background states and dynamically change them with triggers.

Click to view the scenario tutorial.

There are advantages to each method:

  • Working from the master slide means that the background image can be applied universally to the layout and impact all of the slides that use the layout.
  • Working with image states on the slide level gives you more control over the background and how it’s used with triggers specific to that slide.
  • There’s no reason you couldn’t apply the image states to the layouts which would mean fewer layouts. The layouts can be swapped using triggers and variables.

Key Point: it’s easy to get lost in building complex scenarios which can consume a lot of production time. I always work from the perspective of keeping production simple and as reusable as possible. And with Storyline 360, you can share with your co-workers using the team slides feature.

Inserting the images into a file and saving it as a template will save you lots of time and means you won’t have to dig around looking for the images. They’ll always be right at your fingertips.

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5 Ways to Increase the Impact of Your Interactive Video Based Learning

Various organizations have been using videos as a part of their training deliveries for a long time now. Nowadays, interactive videos are becoming the trend and organizations are starting to opt for it. Video based learning strategies have always yielded positive results for businesses. They are seeing a wider acceleration in adoption because of a few other upcoming trends.

The change from traditional eLearning strategies to Mobile Learning strategies is seeing a prominent rise. Most of the formats for Mobile Learning strategies that are now being designed to be primarily consumed on smartphones make use of videos. Microlearning based techniques are also being used to both formal as well as informal learning. Microlearning used in combination with videos can be used as job aids or as Performance Support Tools.

Recent research indicates that an interactive video impacts learning 10 times more than a classic video.

The following are 5 ways you can use interactive video based learning strategies in your corporate training

As you have seen, the adoption of interactive video based learning strategies can create high-impact learning experiences. It appeals to all learner profiles, offers higher learner engagement quotient, provides better recall and retention, enables you to track the learner, enables you to check-point and assess learning, and can be used in combination with other techniques to amplify the impact.


The post 5 Ways to Increase the Impact of Your Interactive Video Based Learning appeared first on eLearning.

Research Article: Success factors for serious games to enhance learning: a systematic review

Karl Kapp zitiert zuerst das Abstract eines Forschungsberichts. Hier heißt es u.a.: „This article examines existing academic literature from 2000 to 2015, extracting shared serious game success factors that have had an encouraging impact on gameful learning experiences.“

Dann hält er einige Ergebnisse der Studie fest, die sich wie Handlungsempfehlungen für Serious Games-Entwickler lesen, zum Beispiel: „It seems that no matter how captivating the game, learners will not step away from a game with the desire to learn more about the subject matter. So, the designer must maintain situational interest and count on the in-game experience to drive the learning.“
Karl Kapp, Kapp Notes, 9. Oktober 2018

Machine Learning Applications in E-Learning: Bias, Risks and Mitigation

Stella Lee präsentiert eine gute, ausgewogene Darstellung der Vorteile und Herausforderungen, die mit den Entwicklungen in „adaptive e-learning, fueled by the advances of machine learning and artificial intelligence“ auf uns zukommen. Auf der Habenseite stehen die Möglichkeiten: Personalized learning paths, chatbots, performance indicators. Auf der anderen Seite die Herausforderungen: „prediction could be too prescriptive“, „adaptive learning is costly and time consuming to build“, „algorithm black box“, „trust“.

Sie wirft dann noch das Stichwort „explainable AI“ in die Runde: Nutzer sollten das Recht haben zu erfahren, wie zum Beispiel Algorithmen funktionieren und eingesetzt werden. Dazu passt eine Begegnung, die sie schildert: „One adaptive e-learning company I spoke to recently couldn’t tell me how many of their data scientists have a solid grasp of pedagogical principles; yet they are the people who make decisions on what and how we learn.“
Stella Lee, Chief Learning Officer, 12. September 2018

Bildquelle: Markus Spiske (Unsplash)

10 Trends for Digital Learning in 2018

Wer zum ersten Mal auf die Top Tools for Learning von Jane Hart schaut, zuckt vielleicht mit den Schultern. YouTube, PowerPoint, Google Search, Twitter, LinkedIn, usw. Nichts Ungewöhnliches, abgesehen von der Tatsache, dass man nicht alle Tools sofort mit „Learning“ verbindet. Dazu ist die Aufteilung der Listen in Personal & Professional Learning, Workplace Learning und Education auch für mich gewöhnungsbedürftig. Von daher ist diese Lesehilfe von Jane Hart hilfreich und interessant! Denn gerade in den „Bewegungen“ – in einzelnen Bereichen, von Jahr zu Jahr – stecken oft die Botschaften.

„1 – Web resources still dominate …
2 – Some social networks are up, some down. …
3 – Web courses are increasing in popularity. …
4 – There is a subtle shift from course development to content development. …
5 – Learning at work is becoming personal and continuous. …
6 – Team collaboration tools support the real social learning at work. …
7 – The Microsoft ecosystem is regaining its power. …
8 – OneNote is winning the digital notebook battle. …
9 – Video conferencing eclipses conference calls. …
10 – Audience engagement has become a big thing. …“

„There are some significant new trends in this year’s list. Could this be the tipping point for some real change in how (workplace) learning is perceived and supported?“
Jane Hart, Modern Workplace Learning Magazine, 24. September 2018

Bildquelle: geralt (pixabay, CC0)

One Thing Missing in Most E-learning Courses


Between the workshops I run, blog emails received, and helping in the community, I get to see hundreds of e-learning courses. A common issue for many courses is transitioning from sharing content to helping people use the content to make the appropriate decisions.

Many course developers focus on making the content interactive, which is good. But much of the interactivity is novel or exists at a very basic level. What tends to be missing is the more complex decision-making interactivity.

The challenge is how to move past rote facts and get to a place where the learners can practice making the kinds of decisions they’d  make in the real world.

Interactive E-Learning 101

There are some core building blocks for interactive e-learning:

  • provide relevant content that fits in context to their real world
  • instead of pushing content, getting them to pull it
  • create ways to explore the content
  • challenge them with decision-making activities or scenarios

We’ve discussed many of these things in previous blog posts.

“What If?” Scenarios

The one thing that could add to this pursuit is to provide more “what if” scenarios: “What happens if I do this? Or what happens if I choose this other option?”

I was thinking more about this the other day as we were presenting on variables in one of our webinars. Variables allow the learner to do something that we can track. And then use that information to provide feedback unique to what the learner’s experience. They’re perfect for creating this type of training.


  • Challenge the learner to analyze all of the available information and form some sort of hypothesis.
  • And then create the means for them to apply it and see what happens.
  • Provide the appropriate feedback based on the results.
  • Let them make adjustments and test it again.

The obvious reason why we don’t do more of this in our courses is that it takes more time to build. The reality is that most clients seem satisfied with basic click-and-read type content. And building more complex interactivity takes time, especially if we want to do it right. It also means more nuance to the way we package the course content. This wouldn’t work if all of the options are very obvious.

Another challenge is that we tend to be in this somewhat nonsensical tracking and quizzing mode where it seems we’re less concerned with the actual learning and more concerned with course completion. In that world, there’s little room for testing ideas. And once the course is completed, it’s usually locked down by the learning management system. Thus it’s not even a great resource for reviewing later.

Creating these types of “what if” scenarios won’t work for all courses and content. And they do take more time and skill to build. However, they can enhance the learning experience and make the courses more engaging.

What types of courses do you think lend themselves to this type of training? And how would you set up the scenarios and process to test ideas?

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

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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 Complete Guide On Blended Learning Solutions

In this article, I share a guide that you can use as you embark on the conversion of Instructor-Led Training (ILT) to blended learning solutions. These pointers will help you create high-impact blended learning programs and a positive ROI.

All About Blended Learning Solutions

Before I outline the step-by-step guide that you can use to convert your ILT programs to effective blended learning solutions, let me touch upon a few essentials.

What Are Blended Learning Solutions?

Blended learning solutions offer the optimal combination of a classic form of training (ILT) and self-paced online training (eLearning or mobile learning).

  • The degree of the blend is primarily decided by looking at the nature of the content and how learners respond to the mixed mode.
  • Additionally, you need to look at the readiness of technology and deployment.
  • Finally, you need to have adequate support measures to support the learners as well as the trainers through the transition of the facilitated mode to blended learning solutions.

What Is Triggering A Wider Adoption Of Blended Learning Solutions Over Instructor-Led Training Or ILT?

From an organizational perspective, we see the following triggers:

  1. Cost reduction
  2. Need to reach a wider audience in a shorter time with a consistent message
  3. Ability to update and redeploy training in a short time

From the learners’ perspective, the primary trigger is the flexibility that blended learning solutions offer (to take the training at their own pace, and when they want it).

What Are The Key Benefits That Learners And Organizations Gain If They Adopt A Blended Learning Solution Over A Traditional ILT?

Here is a summary of the key benefits:

Benefits For The Learners

  1. Blended learning solutions are learner-centric, and the online component provides control to the learners to set and manage their pace of learning.
  2. Learners have now access to online resources that they can refer to easily after the facilitated program is over.
  3. Research shows that learners show higher retention levels with blended learning solutions as compared to a fully facilitated session. This goes a long way in positively impacting ROI.
  4. The blended learning solutions are designed to offer continued interaction with trainers as well as peers, thereby keeping learning to be continuous.

Benefits For The Organizations

  1. Cost reduction and lesser seat time, compared to a fully facilitated training.
  2. Ability to reach a wider audience in a shorter time with a consistent message.
  3. Organizations can tap into more immersive online learning strategies (including mobile learning, microlearning, gamification, video-based learning, and social learning to name a few) that resonate well with learners and create a more sticky learning experience.
  4. Ability to update and redeploy training in a short time.
  5. Trainers can ascertain the progress quickly through online assessments and, if required, plan for tweaks or further interventions.

Are There Any Challenges That You Should Watch Out For As You Opt For A Blended Learning Solution?

While blended learning solutions offer several benefits as outlines, in our experience, the transition process throws up the following challenges:

  1. Not quite sure where to begin
  2. No buy-in from senior stakeholders
  3. Lack of adequate resources to manage the transition
  4. Trainers may have reservations on updating the curriculum from a fully facilitated mode to a blended learning mode
  5. Lack of complete understanding on the right degree of the blend to create an optimal blended learning solution

How Can Our Guide Assist You In Managing The Transformation From ILT To Creating Highly Effective Blended Learning Solutions?

At EI Design, our practice of blended training delivery is a mature one. We recognize that arriving at the solution that would work for a given program is both art and science. I share our practical, step-by-step guide that you can use when adopting blended training, particularly for the first time.

Step 1: Determine Why Blending Is Required

  • What are the triggers that prompt the need to transform the training format?
  • Are there any challenges in the existing delivery that must be offset in the new format?
  • What are the expected gains from the new format?

Step 2: Validate The Impact Of The New Approach (To Arrive At The Degree Of Blending)

  • Would learners align to the new delivery format?
  • Would learners get an enhanced value?
  • Would the program mandate be met?

Step 3: Identify The Required Support

  • Evaluate the options for delivery including:
    – The platform to offer VILT and LMS to offer online training
    – The instructor and learner support

Step 4: Identify The Support Required To Handle Change Management Effectively

Step 5: Review The Existing Content To Determine Its Suitability To Adapt To A Blended Delivery

  • You need to do an effective mapping of classroom-based activities and exercises to an online format.
  • You also need to assess the current assessment strategy and determine how it should be adapted to a blended delivery.

Step 6: Once These Aspects Are Covered, You Are Ready To Go

  • Create the blended training program design.
  • Create an approach plan to implement it as follows:
    – Plan for a pilot
    – Take feedback
    – Redeploy
  • Feedback and further improvement: After a suitable time, poll the learners and business units to determine its impact. Based on this feedback, determine if you need to re-calibrate the previous blend.

6 steps to transform your learning from ILT to blended learning solutions

I hope this article provides practical pointers that you can use as you move from a fully facilitated, ILT program to a blended learning solution.

If you have any specific queries, leave a comment below.


The post A Complete Guide On Blended Learning Solutions appeared first on eLearning.

Approaching E-Learning 3.0

„If you’re reading this, then this course is for you. You’ve demonstrated the main criterion: some degree of interest in the subject matter of the course.“ So kündigt Stephen Downes den Kurs an, der am 18. Oktober beginnt (… ja, ja, noch ein Kurs, ich weiß!) Es wird um „the next generation of learning technology“ gehen und die Stichworte, die er ins Rennen wirft, lauten: Data, Cloud, Graph, Community, Identity, Resources, Recognition, Experience und Agency. Versprochen wird, diese Begriffe aus technischer, didaktischer und philosophischer Perspektive zu betrachten und zu diskutieren.

Jede/r ist eingeladen, dem Kurs zu folgen. Man muss sich nicht einmal anmelden, und deshalb vermeidet Stephen Downes den Begriff „Massive Open Online Course“. Und er kündigt an: „But I will be learning about each of these topics along with everyone else.“ Trotzdem etwas für Fortgeschrittene.
Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, 18. September 2018

Bildquelle: Nick Youngson (Alpha Stock Images, CC BY-SA 3.0)

How to Make Animated Gifs from Video

how to create animated gif

Some people asked how I created the animated .gifs similar to the ones I gave away for free in this recent blog post. So today I’ll share a simple way to create them.

Start with Animated .Gif Software

There are a number of tools to create animated .gifs. I’m going to focus on just one for this post.

Screen2Gif is free and you don’t need to install it. Just run the .EXE file. It’s a great product and I use it all the time for quick demos or some of the animations I use in the blog.

I’m not going to do an exhaustive overview, so I recommend downloading the app and playing with it a bit. It’s intuitive and easy to figure out. As a side note, if you do use it, I encourage supporting the developer.

Understanding the Cover Image .Gifs

Cover images are mostly decorative. And because of the responsive nature of the Rise courses, the cover image gets cropped based on the screen’s aspect ratio. That means what you see in portrait won’t look the same in landscape.

animated .gif responsive design

The key is keep the cover images simple. Animated .gifs can become very large files. The more visual information on the screen, the larger the file size. And if the file is too large, it’ll take too long to download and ruin the effect and experience.

Stick with fewer colors. Solid backgrounds are good because you don’t get that blocky color striping that you get with pictures.

We’ll look at two ways to create the cover image animated .gifs. One way is by recording something onscreen and the other is to import a video.

Record Screen to Create Animated .Gif

The easiest thing it to play a video and record the screen. Then do some basic editing. Since the animated .gif is decorative, you just need something simple. The key is not to have a massive file. The more you record, the larger the file.

View the animated .gif tutorial on Youtube

Once you have a recording, figure out what you want and where to cut it. Again, I look for something simple that looks good looping. Subtle movements or repeating animations (like a spinning gear) work perfectly.

It does take some messing around. I usually do a basic edit and then save the file to see how large it is. Then I play around with more edits and image size to find the right balance between quality and file size.

You’ll have a lot more luck recording vector images that are solid versus photos. The less the screen has to change from one frame to the next, the better quality you’ll get and smaller file size.

For the .gifs where the quality doesn’t look as good, I set the cover images’s overlay color darker. This way the text really pops off the screen and the animation quality isn’t as much of an issue. That’s what I did in this example where there were so many colors it just didn’t look as good as I wanted.

Import a Video to Create Animated .Gif

Screen2Gif makes it really easy to import a video. It breaks down all the frames and from there it’s just a matter of editing it to what you want.

Just like above, play around with different settings to see what gives you the right balance between file size and quality. And keep in mind, they’re header images so subtle movement is fine. For this overhead desk video, I just focused on the pencil moving and cut out hundreds of frames.

View the animated .gif tutorial on Youtube

Bonus tips:

  • You won’t get crisp images because the file size needs to be manageable. I try not to go over 1.5 MB. That’s why you have to play around with settings that strike the right balance.
  • You need to test different dimensions, but I generally keep the images somewhere between a 16:9 and 2:1 aspect ratio. There’s no golden rule. It’s mostly based on what you are showing. The image is going to crop based on the screen, anyway. I make different versions and modify the image size to see what I get for file size and quality.

animated gifs from vector videos

  • Solid and/or fewer colors is best. There are a lot of free or inexpensive ways to create simple vector-based animation videos. That’s what I did to create these two headers above which you can see in these two examples: Call Center and Team Meeting. I inserted some animated characters and published a video. Then I made the .gif from the video. Because I’m not building a big animated explainer video, this only took a few minutes to do and looks decent.

Animated .gifs add some flavor and visual novelty to your courses. And as you can see, they’re easy to create.

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.