Less = More: Customizing the Articulate Player

When you’re creating courses using Articulate Studio or Storyline you’ve got a very effective and highly customizable pre-built player available. It allows you to adapt the color scheme to your specific needs, to turn on and off every possible player feature from menu, to volume button, from glossary to previous and next button.  This allows you to create the exact look you need.

But what if you want to go that extra mile? What if you want to give your course that fully custom look? In that case you’ll need to make a few extra adjustments.

Turn off all Player features

The first thing you want to do is turn off all the player items. You’ll do this in the Features section of the Player Settings. Turn of everything, the menu, the title, the seekbar , all player tabs like glossary and notes… everything!

Make the Player fully transparent

As I just mentioned you can customize the color scheme of the player to create your own unique look and feel. You can do this by going into the Colors & Effects section of the Player settings. Here you’ll find the option Show advanced color editing. Next to selecting a specific color for every conceivable element of the player there is also a transparency setting. This is where you’ll do your magic.

colorediting

When you select the Show advanced color editing option the label will change into Hide advanced color editing as you can see in the image above.

When you select Edit item: a menu will fold out with all player elements, don’t worry you don’t have to set them all to 100% transparency. All you need to focus on is the Base section. The base section contains seven items and you need to set all of these to 100% transparency to make your player fully transparent.

That’s it for the player, it’s now fully transparent. To make it easy on yourself you’ll want to save this as a custom player setting. You can do that by selecting Current Player in the ribbon. This will open a pull down menu were you can save your adjustments. Select Save as… and save it. For easy reference I suggest you call it ‘Transparent’.

Remove the Previous / Next Button

So now you’ve made the player fully transparent there are still a couple of things to change. Unfortunately we cannot turn off the Previous and Next button in the player settings. This is a setting that needs to be adjusted at page level.

The easy way to do this is by selecting all slides in your scene when you are in Story view. Just select the first slide and press CTRL-A. Now uncheck the Prev and Next buttons in the Slide Properties section in the right-hand corner below the Triggers panel.

slideproperties

Note that when you turn off these navigation buttons it’s up to you make sure users can navigate from slide to slide.

So that’s really it for the Player… Well, almost.

Changing the Feedback Slide Master

One of last things that needs to get customized it the Feedback Slide Master. By default this has the standard design for the basic feedback windows that get shown when you use quiz slides. You can create a new generic look and feel that could match any of your projects or a specific one for this course. Either way, you’ll want to get rid of the default look.

feedbackmaster

And that’s it! Adjust these screens and you’re course will look as unique as it possibly can.

Note: There are some default screens we cannot alter that have that default feedback look. This applies for the popup that asks you if you want to continue where you left off and the screen that will popup when you haven’t selected an answer on a quiz slide. These popups are colored according the default color scheme and if you want to adjust these you need to go back into the advanced color editing section of the Player settings.

Like this post or have any questions or concerns? Let me know in the comments below. I love to read your feedback.

 

 

Increase your visual thinking capability and presentation skills… by drawing.

The past month I’ve been participating in a twitter draw-a-thon organized by Blair Rorani. Every day, for 15 days, Blair gave an assignment to draw something, a boy, a dog etc. He did this as a pre-launch event for his book Everybody Draw Now, in which he explains how to capture, clarify and communicate information and ideas using drawings.

Basically he shows you; why drawing pictures is such a good idea, how to listen, read and decide what to draw and how to turn your words into pictures.

It’s really been a lot of fun and in those 15 days I really learned to look differently at the way I communicate . For this challenge I picked up a €6 stylus at the local super market and downloaded a couple of apps for my tablet and started playing around with them. In the end I went with the free Adobe Draw to create most of my entries. Even now that the 15 day draw-a-thon is over I still create a random drawing each day to hone my skills.

What truly amazed me is how fast I was able to draw and how easy it is to turn a presentation slide into a picture, or set of pictures in just 15 days of practice. I’ll be presenting at the Articulate Community event in Zurich on April 17th and for this purpose I’ve completely overhauled my slide deck. No more bulleted lists, just a drawing and a tag line. This way, when I’m presenting the focus will be on what I’ll be sharing with the group, empowered by the illustrations behind me.

Check out the presentation I’ve created using drawings below or on speakerdeck.

So here’s a big THANK YOU! for Blair Rorani and if you’ve missed the draw-a-thon not to worry, you can always catch up and start drawing. I can recommend it!

Jeff

 

 

The Rise of Corporate Mobile Learning

Check the demoDownload the SL2 fileCheck the How To... Video

Mobile learning is not new. It’s been around for years now but only recently we’ve seen it maturing into something that you can use for more advanced forms of training. A big part of this is due to the technology that is all around us. Smart phones and tablets can be found in almost any house-hold making delivery to a mobile device easier than ever before. E-learning authoring tools, video recording tools and mobile learning apps are available for free or at very reasonable prices. These advancements will make that the development of mobile learning for corporate organizations will become accessible and affordable. Let’s take a look at what corporate Learning and development professionals will need to consider when going mobile.

Select a delivery platform 

Most organizations have had a Learning management system (LMS) for quite some time now and traditionally these have not been state of the art. If you’re lucky you are partnered with a vendor that has a larger vision then just making money out of its client’s pockets and actually has been proactively listening to the industry and implementing new features and along the way keeping their platform ready for the present (and hopefully, the future). If this is not the case for your organization you might be looking to acquire a new LMS or to be putting a mobile ready learning portal in front of your ancient LMS. Whichever may be the case you need to make sure the employees can access, search and launch your organizations training just as easy as they can access any application from their mobile devices. A couple of things to take into account are:

  • Available via an open internet connection or accessible via the company network (guess what’s more user friendly)
  • Search-ability is key. Often not all your content part of the LMS. You’ll have 3rd parties supplying content or content located on the intranet or other platforms. Ideally your delivery platform will have all relevant training available via the search feature
  • Usability should be on the top of your list (then why is it the 3rd bullet point?)

Make it accessible for Mobile devices 

When getting ready for mobile learning you’ll come to a point where you need to make a decision. “Will I define which mobile devices I’ll support or will I make it available to all devices (and there are a gazillion of them)”. Unfortunately each device is unique. Like computers they’ll have different processing power, video capabilities, storage capability, operating system(s), browser types and versions… the list goes on.

You need to consider your security policies and perhaps make some amendments to make them more current.

You also need to realize that most of the current offering probably isn’t ready to run on a mobile device. True, some of the really old courses in your catalog is probably built in DHTML (the preHTML5 stuff) but most will be running on Flash and that won’t work on your devices. This means you need to review your current course catalog but I’ll talk about that a bit more later.

Make it available via the internet

Now that you’ve selected your delivery platform (LMS) and you’ve made some decisions regarding the device(s) you’ll be supporting it’s time for another challenge; making your courses available via the internet. If you’re looking for a truly successful mobile strategy you need to allow users to launch your courses directly from their devices (even if it’s a laptop) without the needs to log into the corporate network. You really don’t need that hurdle. In the real world we’ll connect to everything without the need to do so and we’re doing more important things than following some training program.

Select an authoring tool(s)

As I mentioned earlier most of your catalog is probably not mobile ready. It may be that you’ve got training programs that are still completely classroom based, have e-learning materials that date from a not so mobile era and have fairly new stuff that isn’t mobile ready simply because it never was a requirement. That means everything that you have created (purchased or licensed) from now on needs that requirement. All the existing materials need to be reviewed and rebuild. To make sure this happens as smoothly as it possibly can (hey, you’re working with technology, there’s always something bound to surprise you) you need to find one or more authoring tools and make them the standard for the organization. This will help you by knowing the capabilities and restrictions of the tools you’re working with and help you select which tool suits which learning solution best.

When you’ve implemented these standard tools you’ll also have the benefit of doing your own maintenance. Make sure the project source files are part of the projects deliverables and you’ll never have to be depended on a specific supplier again.

Review your course catalog

The task of reviewing your current course catalog may be daunting but it is absolutely necessary. There is no easier way to lose your credibility than have your employees go online, have them search for a course and it turns out it doesn’t work. You might get away with it once but after a second time you’ve lost them. They’re gone and won’t be coming back any time soon.

What NEEDS to be mobile?

Obviously you cannot just convert everything and anything. You need to go through the current catalog(s) and mark which courses absolutely need to be available for mobile learners. You could also mark those courses that might need to be available but use separate marks for easy reviewing and to have something that you’re going to work at when you’ve completed all the need-to-have’s.

Prioritize!

Once you have finished marking the need-to-have’s from the nice-to-have’s and the not-going-to-happen’s you need to start prioritizing. Like any other new project a rebuild (and probably redesign) will take time and money. You probably need to jump to quite some hoops before you get the time, the budget and resources you need. Having your priorities straight, and checked with your internal stakeholders, will help you make the right decisions straight from the start.

Rebuild or Rebuild, Update and Rebrand?

Rebuilding existing content is actually a great opportunity. Where possible don’t just start rebuilding the exact thing in your new authoring tool but take the time to learn from what you already know about this course. How has it been doing the time it was available? Does it actually achieve what it sets out to do? Is the issue being addressed still an issue? What has been the actual business impact of this course or program? What do users think about the format and more importantly, the relevance of the content? Take advantage make sure you improve where possible. That might mean your rebuild becomes a totally new course to replace the current version. Again, taking this kind of assessment will help your company’s bottom line as that is where the effect of your corporate training should be measured.

Identifying the quick-wins from the bigger projects allows you to set up two development tracks making sure you keep making progress while creating new courses along with the ones that ‘simply’ need a brand and content update and some basic mobile accessibility updates.

Relaunch!

Now that you’re working on rebuilding and rebranding your corporate learning portfolio you shouldn’t forget to do the marketing that is o so important. People need to know what you are working on and what you have achieved for them. Upwards and downwards in the organization people need to be informed and inspired and should be eager to take the time to check out these new and updated training programs and courses. Make sure you tailor your message to your audience and keep at it!

If you build it, they will come!

I’d love to hear your thoughts or comments! Leave them below

As you may have seen I’ve added nice Articulate Storyline 2 freebie. Check out the Mobile menu and download the file to adjust and use in your own projects!