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!
An audience analysis is a task that instructional designers and training developers perform in the initial phases of planning a training project. Completing an audience analysis is critical because in order to communicate information effectively, you need to understand who your learners are. Depending on the project, you might have more than once audience.
To complete your audience analysis, you will need to interview and observe the employees and management to gather information about your learners. Once you have identified your specific audiences, you can tailor your courses so they are pertinent to the different background, education levels, etc.
Here’s an example of how audiences can vary widely, even within one organization: you are developing software training for a large organization with a manufacturing facility. Some of your learners are engineers who work in software development. They are technically savvy, work at a computer all day and are already familiar with the software you are training them on. Meanwhile, your second audience is the workers from manufacturing facility. They work with machinery all day and barely use the computer. This will be their first time ever seeing this software. You can already see that, even though these two audiences may need to be trained on the same software, very different approaches will be required for different audiences.
Here’s a list of 20 audience analysis questions to get you started.
- Who is your primary audience?
- Are there potential secondary audiences?
- What is the average age of the learner?
- Are the learners mostly men, women or an equal mix?
- What is the educational background (high school diploma, PhD)?
- What is their cultural background, race, ethnicity?
Knowledge & Experience
- What is their level of work experience?
- What is the reading level of the audience?
- How much do they already know about the subject at hand?
- What tone or attitude is appropriate for your audience?
- Are the learners highly motivated?
- What hardware and software will the learners have?
- How technically savvy are the learners?
- What resources do the learners have at their disposal?
- What level of participation can you expect?
- What kind of syntax or writing style are your learners comfortable with?
- Why are the learners taking the training?
- What will the audience expect to learn?
- What amount of time do learners have available to devote to training?
- Do any of the learners have special needs? (visual or audio impairment)
If you know of any other audience analysis questions that I’ve missed, please leave a comment!
So you have developed the perfect eLearning course, the Learning Management System (LMS) is up and running… the only thing missing: your course certificate. Depending on the subject matter of your training, individuals might want or need documentation that proves that they have taken your course.
Designing and developing a certificate can sometimes be a task that falls on the to do list of eLearning developers and Instructional Designers. Other people who might be involved in the task of designing and developing a course certificate: management, a graphic designer, someone from the IT department.
Certain eLearning authoring tools offer built-in certificate features. These usually come with a wizard that guides you through an easy set up process. In other cases, the certificate is retrieved through the LMS system. The assistance of a web developer may be required in such instances. For example, if you are using a certificate that is a dynamic PDF which automatically inserts the learner’s name into the file by accessing information stored in the LMS.
Since your learners are going to have the certificate framed and hanging over their desks, you might as well try to make it look as nice as possible! I have compiled a gallery of certificate designs to inspire you next time you need to create one.
Since you’ve made it all the way to the end, perhaps you should subscribe!