Last weekend I posted a new infographic (Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction) and I got some really good feedback about it. One piece of feedback that I received from several people was to incorporate more graphics/icons into my infographic designs. Of course I think we can all agree that using visuals is only a good thing if it adds value by providing an instructional purpose. This weekend when I decided to make another graphic, I was careful to choose a few icons that I thought were really representative of the elements of PAF. I created this infographic in Adobe Photoshop.
I’d also like to add a disclaimer that the PAF Methods listed in the infographic for presentation and application are only three examples, but there are a lot more methods available to you. Those are just a few examples!
This weekend I decided it was about time I created a new instructional design themed infographic. I’ve created a few in the past, which I’ve shared on my blog (here, here and here), and they’ve proven to be some of my most popular postings.
How did I go about creating this infographic? For starters, I browsed online through some instructional design sites to get ideas for what I wanted my subject to be. In the past I’ve designed an infographic illustrating the ADDIE model and Kirkpatrick’s Levels of Evaluations so when I stumbled across an article mentioning Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction I was intrigued. Of course I had heard about Gagne and his nine events, but I wasn’t too familiar with them. In fact, I couldn’t even name one event! Since I like to use my infographic development process to learn something new about instructional design, I thought this would be a good topic. The next step in my process was to do a Google Images search for some infographic design ideas, to help me get inspired. Then I created the infographic in Adobe Photoshop, starting with the design of the heading/title of the infographic. Once I had the title narrowed down, I used those same fonts and colours throughout the rest of the graphic. I’d say it took about an hour, maybe an hour and a half, to complete. I got to be creative and learn something new about instructional design, so I think it’s a success!
Got any suggestions for an e-learning, instructional design or training themed infographic you’d like to see? If you have any ideas for me please leave a comment.
First things first, I’m really glad to finally be writing a new blog post because I realize it’s been over a month since I’ve posted and I feel very guilty about it! October was pretty hectic due to the fact that I was attending DevLearn 2012 in Las Vegas. I am actually planning on writing a post about my experience at DevLearn in the near future since it was both my first time attending a conference and my first time public speaking/presenting. It was a great experience and a lot of new lessons learned for me.
That being said, I was recently inspired to write this latest blog post from something that occurred at work! I’m working on an e-learning project now and I was recently looking into the pros and cons of adding audio to the e-learning course I’ve developed. I decided to compile a bit of my research and write about it!
I’ve come to find out that adding audio to an e-learning project is not a decision that should be taken lightly. There is a lot involved in the process, there is lot to know before you get started and finally there is a lot of room for error! So how do you decide if you need narration/audio in your project? As with all media in your e-learning projects, you should only use narration IF there is a clear instructional purpose behind it (and not “just because”). From what I can gather, there are three types of audio used in e-learning:
- Narration (which has four “subtypes”)
- Elaborative (on-screen text summarizes the audio)
- Paraphrasing (audio summarizes the on-screen text)
- Verbatim (reading exact words on-screen)
- Descriptive (audio describes image on-screen)
- Sound effects
After doing a bit of research on the topic I’ve discovered that there is much debate surrounding which “type” of narration is best for learning. The kind of narration you should use in your projects seems to depend greatly on the specifics of the project (time, talent, budget) as well as what the subject matter is. So which content should you narrate? There are a couple of scenarios where it might be more worthwhile to use narration. For example, when you need to explain a complex definition or process, or when demonstrating situations such as interview skills or emotional interactions between individuals.
The pros and cons of using audio:
Let’s say you have decided there is indeed an instructional purpose for audio or narration, and you’ve narrowed down which type of narration you will use. The next question you might ask yourself is, who will narrate this course? Three ways to narrate your course include:
- A professional narrator
- An employee narrator
- Text-to-voice software
In addition to “the voice” you will likely need a couple of additional people to be involved in the audio recording process, likely:
- A scriptwriter
- A producer (this depends on the technical skill your narrator possesses, and if he/she can do the actual sound recording themselves)
Of course there are both pros and cons to using any type of narration in your project.
- Narration rule of thumb: 1 minute of talk time = 100 words
- Try to keep audio clips to 20-30 seconds (to retain learner attention)
- Find a balance between what learners should read vs. what they should listen to
- Allow users to have control over volume settings
- Have an instructional reason for using the narration or audio (not just because)
- Include a list of hardware and software requirements for learners to know ahead of time if they need speakers or a headset for audio
- Keep in mind that if your e-learning course requires audio, people who do not have audio capabilities will not be able to take the course
- Audio might slow down some learners since they have to go at the pace of narration
- Adding narration will impact on the amount of time it takes to complete your e-learning course
Finally, here are a few links to good articles about narration in e-learning that helped me write this post:
I’ve noticed that the e-learning storyboard samples I posted a few weeks back were very popular. Since it’s a resource that a lot of instructional designers and e-learning developers are looking for online (or so my stats would indicate, in any case) I’ve decided to add another template/sample.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, what you include in your storyboard will depend on the specifics of your project. If you’re going to develop the course yourself, you may not need to include notes for the developer. If your project doesn’t use audio, you won’t need a box for narration text or the space to list audio files. It all depends on the project and what your client wants to see in the storyboard. As you can see, in my sample I’ve included a detailed preview of the completed slide. When someone else will be developing the content, I like to show a detailed preview of exactly what I’d like the slide to look like in it’s completed state, so there’s less room for confusion or misunderstandings. I hope these examples serve as inspiration for someone out there who needs to start storyboarding!
When you design e-learning courses you often have to incorporate pop-up style feedback windows into your layouts. Feedback windows are used in e-learning for a few reasons, the main ones being: 1) To provide correct and incorrect feedback information, and 2) to provide tips, hints or additional information for the learners.
I am sharing a few examples of feedback “designs” that I developed in Adobe Captivate 5.5. I started out with a basic slide with some information, and then I overlayed a rectangle shape with a 75% opacity over top of the entire slide to add that faded background effect. I really like using this “faded background” effect for feedback pop-up windows; it’s a simple way to keep a strong visual connection between the feedback and the content you are providing the feedback for. I also like using rounded rectangles instead of hard corners because I think it softens the overall look. One more thing: I like using “fun” fonts for headings, and simpler, sans-serif fonts for body text.
If you have to create a storyboard for an e-learning course you’re working on, odds are you’ve come to the web to browse around and get ideas on what you want to include in it. To make that easier for you I’ve compiled a gallery of 15+ e-learning storyboard templates and samples available on the web. Hopefully going over these examples will help you narrow down what you should include in your own storyboard document.
Got any tips of your own about storyboarding for e-learning? Please feel free to leave a comment!
A few months ago I created an online poll called “What is the Value of a Masters in Instructional Design?” and I posted it to my blog. My goal was to gather at least 100 votes, and I was really glad that I accomplished that target pretty easily. I got a few interesting comments along the way. I have compiled the results of the poll into the following simple infographic, which I created in Adobe Illustrator CS5. Enjoy!
Please feel free to leave comments and share your feedback!
I have combed the web and compiled several e-learning, instructional design and web design checklists to create this ultimate e-learning checklist. Not every item on the entire list will apply to every project, however I think that altogether it covers a broad range of items. If you think there’s something important that I have missed, please let me know and I will include it in the list; ideally, I’d like this checklist to cover as much ground as possible.
View The Ultimate eLearning Design and Development Checklist in .PDF format.
ASSESSMENTS & TESTS
VIDEOS & ANIMATION
AUDIO & NARRATION
Since you’ve made it all the way to the end of the checklist, maybe you should subscribe to my blog!
What does it mean to “optimize” graphics? It means to change the size of a graphic, to reduce it in visual and/or file size. You can do this by changing the resolution (the amount of pixels in an image), by changing the actual size of the image, or by changing the file type. It is a common practice in the web industry to optimize all photos and graphics for websites. The same principles apply to eLearning.
A stock photograph downloaded from the web can be up to 2500px wide by 1875px high. An image this size can have a file size of 8MB or higher. Simply by re-sizing the image to 500x375px you can reduce your file size to less than 400Kb. Multiply this by several images and this makes a huge difference in the size of your project .
Why should you optimize your graphics for eLearning projects?
Quicker publishing and previewing during development
Files load more quickly for the end-user
Saves disk space
Reduces bandwidth consumption (which means lower bandwidth cost)
Good business practice
Positive user experience
What can you do to optimize your graphics for eLearning?
Crop them to remove unnecessary excess
Strip/remove the meta data (information like date, time, GPS coordinates, etc.)
Use proper image formats (see table below)
Do not use graphic text (photos of text)
Note: Resizing an image once it’s imported into PowerPoint, Articulate or Captivate does not change the actual file size.
Which image formats should you use in eLearning?
|File Type||Description||eLearning Use|
What software can you use to optimize images for eLearning?
- Adobe Photoshop (free trial available)
- Adobe Fireworks (free trial available)
- MS Paint (Comes with Windows)
- Smush.it (free)
- Picasa (free)
- PNG Gauntlet (free)
- Riot (free)
- Gimp (free)
If you have any other tips or suggestions about optimizing graphics for eLearning, please leave a comment. And since you’ve made it all the way to the end of this article, perhaps you should subscribe to my blog!