Showing My Work #4

14 Apr

The Showing My Work series of posts are what I’m using to ‘narrate’ the projects that I’m working on or have developed.

In a previous post, Practice and Sharing: The Keys to Success, I talked about the two key messages from the from the iDesignX Conference and the Tom Kuhlmann and David Anderson workshops I attended in March. With this in mind, I decided that I’d make more effort to participate in David’s weekly eLearning challenges to help build my skills through practice. This post is about a recent challenge I completed and I wanted to share how I came up with my entry and what I learned along the way.

The challenge for the week was Summary and Resource Slides in Online Courses and the idea was to give some love to the very end of the course. My initial reaction was that I didn’t think that there was much you could do at all with the last screen of the course! But I went back to the challenge a few days later and looked at the entries that community members had started to post and I thought about what the summary screen represents which is the end of the course. So I started to think about things that symbolise coming to the end of something. The ideas that came to mind were – getting to the finish line of a race or a sunset ending a day or a plane that is coming into land and you have to put your seat and tray table up and stow items in the overhead locker. In the back of my mind I was also thinking about how I could make these themes work on-screen and how the learner would interact with them.

I was looking around for some graphics and more inspiration, when I came across an image of some candles and I thought that could work – as the learner ‘blows out’ a candle, a resource, some takeaway info or job aid could be displayed. That was ok but it still wasn’t quite right, it wasn’t enough. Then I thought, while the summary screen is a way to finish the course it’s also an opportunity to give learners something to take away from the module, so what about a party theme?

If it was your birthday party, you’d probably receive some presents and in this case the presents become the takeaways – resources, contact details and some additional info.

Pic 1

As you click on each present a layer appears and as the layer is closed the present disappears as it’s been ‘opened’.

Pic 2

I ended up keeping the candle idea too. Once all the candle flames are clicked on or ‘blown out’ a final layer appears indicating that it’s the end of the module.

Pic 3

Pic 4

I built my demo in Articulate Storyline on one slide and used layers and changes of state to achieve the interactivity. The images were from clipart and I created a colourful background that ties in with the party idea.

Before I went to the workshops I had seen the weekly challenges and sometimes I thought that they’re not really that relevant because when am I going to do something like that in a project? The same could be said for the above example, would you really end a module with a cake and presents?

But it’s more than that. On reflection, there were a few things I took away from this challenge:

  • I was able to apply what Tom had shown us in the workshop by taking a clipart image (the cake), separating into pieces, removing the parts I didn’t need and saving the flames as individual images.
  • I worked out that I could show a layer in Storyline once other objects were hidden (in this case, when the flames were hidden the exit button layer would appear).
  • It helped me to think about the summary screen in a way that I ordinarily wouldn’t have.
  • I was able to participate in a challenge and learn from the ideas of others in the community.

While the challenges are a bit of fun, they do provide a mechanism for practicing and improving your technical skills and developing your creative skills which is just what I need. You can also see how others approached the same challenge and what they came up with, which can lead to building on ideas or finding new ways to solve problems or to designing a part of a course in a different way from what you’d normally default to.

Maybe you can have your eLearning cake and eat it too!

See also Tom’s blog post about building better courses.


Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Show Your Work


Tags: , , , ,

4 responses to “Showing My Work #4

  1. tanyalau

    April 15, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Hey Matt! thanks for sharing this. Really like the idea of weekly challenges, it reminds me of DS106 daily creates, which I did erratically for a while (but haven’t for ages…). Doing a regular challenge is definitely a good way to practise thinking creatively, as well as practising skills; and doing it as part of a community, provides support – as well as triggering new ideas. Narrating the creative and ideation process is equally – possibly even more – valuable too. It was interesting looking through the examples posted. This particular challenge also made me wonder about the possibility of not so much focusing on the ‘end’ of the course, but pitching it as the beginning of the next phase of learning and applying learning, which is what drawing attention to resources and job aids does.
    I might just have to get into this weekly challenge thing…(though I’ll need to procure storyline first…I wonder if anyone would notice if I posted an example done in Captivate :p hehe. That would be like sacrilege in the articulate community wouldn’t it?! Totally tempted…ok, just kidding, I won’t :p)

    • learningsnippets

      April 16, 2014 at 3:08 am

      Hey Tanya!
      Thanks for your comments. I remember when you were doing those DS106 creates and you produced some cool stuff. You’re right about doing these types of activities, it’s like a three-part process – participate in a challenge/create, share with others in a community and reflect through narration. I’m finding it to be a powerful way to learn.

      Thinking of the end of the course as the beginning of the next phase of learning is a great idea and that’s exactly the type of thing that I’m finding by narrating and sharing – you get different ideas and approaches – which in turn helps to expand your own thinking and creativity (well it does for me anyway).

      With the weekly challenges you can use PowerPoint and while it may not have the functionality of Storyline you might be able to describe how it would work or you could give Captivate a go, ha ha! 😛

  2. Moodle Muse

    May 6, 2014 at 9:32 am

    The finishing line in Moodle courses has been my long-standing criticisms of eLearning (my own included) . Xbox games offer crowd cheering, fireworks etc at each milestone and at the end of the journey. Our e-learning courses often delay the ‘graduation’ to months after the work as been completed with a blue printed certificate arriving by post to say you have completed a ‘qualification’ (what ever that means). The certificate module and Openbadges in Moodle are giving us opportunities to celebrate successes, but your candle blowing concept feels more like an Xbox game. The interaction you have created offers the chance for reflection and celebration. Simply brilliant!

    @tanyalau I am a Captivate person too.. lets start a similar thread on the Adobe Community Forums. I downloaded an Adobe Captivate Progress Bar template I have been playing around with.

    • learningsnippets

      May 6, 2014 at 11:40 am

      Thanks for the comments Nat. The challenge helped me to look at the end of the course differently and I think for the better.


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