As part of the ongoing Articulate e-Learning Heroes challenges David Anderson asked to record a Podcast or Vodcast explaining how we we get things done. He provided a nice list of interview questions and the result of my very first Vodcast (video podcast) can be seen below.
Last year we faced a horrible Ebola outbreak. The Articulate community responded with an awesome challenge: Design a learning interaction around the Ebola outbreak. You don’t have to create a full course on the Ebola virus. Instead, focus on something short and quick to address one area of the virus.
For my entry I chose to transform an infographic and create a simple, Articulate Studio based, e-learning interaction that could actually be used in the field if necessary.
- Is 100% PowerPoint built for easy translation into multiple languages by anyone that understands PowerPoint
- features a linear single button navigation to make sure all content is delivered to the trainee
- Uses basic animation and transition effects to create a dynamic feel to the course
- When Track and Tracing of progress is required, just publish with Articulate Studio and upload to your Learning Management System
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!
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.
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.
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!
Today I bumped into a featured Articulate Storyline2 template that Nicole Legault created. It’s a really nice and simple way so share do’s and dont’s with your learning but could also be used presenting them with bold statements and asking how these feel (e.g. statements managers could make regarding sick employees: “Reporting in sick is a choice!”). You basically could turn any bulleted list into something like this (just don’t overdo it).
I loved the simplicity of this template so much I quickly decided to create an Articulate Studio version for it in PowerPoint.
The template features:
- 4 slides, including a start and finish slide
- Easily adaptable color scheme, font’s etc.
- A background in the PowerPoint slide master
- Works for all versions of Articulate Studio
If you want to add additional slides just copy the last one and duplicate the ‘card’ shape. Rotate it in a different position so the cards in the deck keep stacking up at slightly different angles. When you’ve created all additional slides make sure you’ve got your next buttons in place (just copy them from the existing slides, by default they’ve got a hyperlink to the next slide). Voila, you’re done!
So many kudos again for Nicole for designing and developing the Storyline template. She Rocks!
If you like this PowerPoint/Articulate Studio template or have any questions please let me know in the comments below!
How to increase the traffic to my personal blog? That was the question that had me going for quite some time. I was struggling really, after starting a blog in 2013, with too little time to write for it (or at least I felt so) while I was also sharing information in other places like the Articulate Community, Twitter and LinkedIn. Since only some of the articles I wrote got some feedback I felt maybe a personal blog wasn’t the way to go.
With that in mind I started to focus more on the other areas I mentioned. Twitter has always been a favorite of mine so I looked into social media tools that would help me bring the most out of my tweets and got better at it. Unfortunately there is only so much you can say in 140 characters and sometimes you just want to give a bit more back story. Plus Twitter in itself only allows us to reach a select group.
After some thought, I decided to use the Articulate community to write my posts and share those on twitter. They had just launched their brand new e-learning heroes site and after getting a little used to the new look and feel I started adding my articles there, as I mostly write about Articulate related stuff. Again, while doing so I got better at writing the short stories and improved the way I made my demo’s and source files accessible and how using strong visuals would draw people into my posts. Cool! The only thing with the community site was that there where so many people in the discussion forums that I felt my post were gone down the massive stream of other requests, articles and so on, never to be seen again. I was getting some positive feedback though, so I was happy.
I was now tweeting, and posting in the community in a more unified way but I also wanted to let my professional network know what I was up to. So I turned to LinkedIn. Now that is a different animal completely (at least to me). With dozens of groups that ‘could’ be interesting but seemed less alive I wasn’t sure how to use LinkedIn to its full potential. So I started out using it the exact same way I use twitter, posting short status updates to my own content and that of others that I deemed worthwhile. Now that seemed to work ok. Clearly there is a difference in how people deal with the status updates on LinkedIn compared to Twitter. I check my twitter stream multiple times a day but when it comes to LinkedIn I tend to sit down and scroll through the updates at least once every two days… I got some additional comments and likes doing this so it seemed to be working.
…so what to do about my personal blog? Should I leave it there because of the posts I had written earlier? If people clicked a link in the Articulate community, on Twitter or LinkedIn and it wasn’t there anymore how would that look? Besides that, I still thought those posts were good. I did not want to lose them… Maybe I should try picking it up again? Do I have the energy for it if no one notices it?
At about that time LinkedIn presented a new feature… writing blog posts. At first it took me a little while to figure out where to find it (Did you spot that little pen icon in your status update box? I didn’t) but then I started writing my first couple of articles… and they were being noticed… and liked… and commented upon! Wow!
Since I had no clue what my actual traffic was on my personal blog, the Articulate community posts and my twitter posts I felt I had found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. This was just the boost I needed to actually keep going. But it did present me with a new challenge. With all these different places to create content… I was getting confused and felt I had less time than before since I had to post content in so many places. And what about those that follow me? How confusing will it be for them to find all these same articles in different spots? I felt lost…
After a little while the answer was staring me right in the face. Start a personal blog. And instead of reposting all the same content everywhere write a short summary or teaser to pull them into my blog.
I took a day off from work, replaced my old website with a fresh instance of WordPress, figured out how to redirect all traffic from my old blog url to the main site, purchased a theme I really liked and worked the entire day to migrate content from all over the web into my new blog and learning about WordPress, plugins and theme options as I went along. I wrote a new post sharing a free Articulate Storyline interaction, prepared a short teaser for the Articulate Community and LinkedIn blog post and aligned my Twitter and LinkedIn status update using BufferApp, selected some additional LinkedIn groups that I wanted to post to as well and went for it.
The results, to me, where staggering. Google analytics, which I had used on my main site for two years now, reported a massive traffic boost of 442%. The stats plugins on my personal blog where giving me some awesome numbers of the amount of unique visitors and where they were coming from and I was ecstatic! People where commenting and sharing everywhere and I felt that all the work in figuring out what works (for me) paid off. I’m super happy with my new blog, have found a way to put what I do and think out in the broader learning community and can’t wait to write my next blog post! In a central spot where everyone can find it.
* I’m still adding ‘older’ posts to the blog from the sites mentioned above, so feel free to look around and check out what I’ve shared in the past!
In a recent Articulate e-learning challenge we were asked to create interactive charts, graphs and tables as these are easily the most overlooked assets in online training. For some reason clients prefer to keep the graphs, workflows or tables identical to the one that’s in their slide deck even if it means cropping and scaling the hell out of them making them virtually useless.
For this challenge I combined some Diversity and Inclusion related material I saw passing by in my twitter stream and remembered I had just seen the most gorgeous graph design on dribble that I had saved into my ‘inspiration’ folder.
In this example the user can explore the graph and add more information to it by clicking the legend at the right hand site. What I like about this approach is that it plays with my personal expectations of what the numbers will be like. Any surprises from my end when seeing the actual results will only embed the learning in a stronger way.
The demo was built in Storyline but could just as easily been put together in Articulate Studio.
So what do you think?
I created a simple animated menu that a user can open via the ‘sandwich’ icon which you see more and more in responsive design these days. What I like about this interaction is that is frees up the player real-estate and allows the user to focus on the actual content while the menu is but a simple click away.
- is based on a Slide master for easy maintenance
- has a smooth intro and exit animation
- features a Hover and Completed state
- is slightly transparent so any background image can subtly bleed through
You could expand some of the menu’s features by adding a help/more info, downloads/resources and contact icons at the bottom.
Hope you like it, let me know in the comments!
I’ve been creating videos for quite some time now. I’ve started making public video tutorials about 5 years ago in screenr but since the the release of Articulate Replay I’ve been creating videos and uploading them on YouTube. I’ve even uploaded most of my old Screenr videos so now everything is collected in a single spot.
If you’re not a subscriber already, go ahead… check out my YouTube channel and, if you like, subscribe so you’ll get informed whenever I post a new tutorial.
Na de release van Articulate Storyline 2 in oktober 2014 ben ik gevraagd door de Courseware Company, de officiële reseller van Articulate producten in de Benelux om samen met hen een webinar te doen waarin ik als Articulate Superhero en Bétatester de nieuwe features van Storyline 2 laat zien en wat vragen beantwoord van bestaande en mogelijk nieuwe gebruikers.
Aangezien ik nog vaak de vraag krijg wat er nieuw is en ik veel vragen hoor die in het webinar aan bod komen biedt ik graag de opgenomen webinar nog eens aan via mijn blog.
Heb je nog vragen of opmerkingen? Laat het me weten in de comments!