The Journey Continues…

02 Jul

It’s been several weeks since my last post about B Online Learning’s Master eLearning course that I’m working through. We’ve moved through the second module and covered chunking content, writing for eLearning, using simulations, interactivity, checking for understanding just to name a few. I can’t believe that we’re well over half-way time is moving so quickly.

In this second stage of the course we were to develop a piece of eLearning that can be for use in your workplace if you want it to be. I’m not going down that path because I want to develop a sample for my portfolio of examples and to also tap into the expert guidance we have available during the course. While this will be beneficial for me, my brief is effectively “create a small piece of eLearning on any topic you choose” which is kind of daunting. Along with the topic, I needed to create a bit of a backstory as well – learner characteristics etc. so, as I have an interest in craft beer and brewing so I thought I’d go with that and I might learn a bit more about the topic too. I also wanted to showcase some of what I can do in terms of design and use of Storyline.

When I’m putting a module together I like to take a pen/pencil and write my ideas down on paper. I jot down random thoughts and think about how the module might look in terms of images, the theme of the course, anything really. While it looks a bit messy, it does help me to clarify my thinking and get my ideas down.

MEC Notes


In the MEC we’re using PowerPoint to create our storyboard which is ok, and although I’ve used Word in the past this way works well too and it’s clear how the screens will be set out. I found that storyboarding in ppt was great for a couple of reasons – the SME gets a much better idea about how the course will look and also because you can get some of the decisions about layout sorted earlier in the development process. I found that using Master slides saved heaps of time and I’m loving using them! Here are some of my screens from the PPT:



Once the storyboard was completed I sent it to Ruth for some feedback. What I liked about the feedback I received was that it was both positive and constructive. It was detailed for some screens and Ruth offered some great suggestions for improvement that I have since incorporated.

I’ve now built the module in Articulate Storyline and here are some samples screens from the finished product:

Explore the Pub

This screen is my ‘Home’ page. I have four topics, each is a different area of the pub that learners go to – The Cellar is about beer and brewing, The Bar is about pouring beer and using the right glass, The Lounge is about different beer styles and The Restaurant is about matching beer with food. Different areas unlock when other areas are completed. The quiz appears once all areas have been completed.


Brewing Beer2

This screen depicts the brewing process and I’ve included it because each icon was made using the ‘Insert Shapes’ functionality in PowerPoint. Learners hover their cursor over each icon to find out about that stage of the brewing process.


Bringing it Together

This screen is the opening of the ‘Quiz’ instead of having a pass mark, learners just need to fill their glass of beer and they can do this by answering questions correctly. A minimum of 10 questions will do it but if they do get a question wrong they receive a different question. If they get that one wrong they go back to the original question. In all there are 20 questions in total.


In the MEC, like many other courses, you do need to be disciplined and allocate a few hours each week to work on the course otherwise it’s easy to fall behind. In addition to the assessment tasks there’s self-paced modules to complete and webinars to attend. While there’s plenty to do, Ruth’s weekly email updates are a good source of information and encouragement to help keep us on track.

In the course itself, it’s good to see things picking up in the forum area ‘Connect’ as other people share articles and comment or ‘like’ others. As someone who uses twitter as part of my own development, it’s nice to be able to interact with others and hopefully encourage them to keep this going after the course has finished.

I’m looking forward to the final stage of the course, where we will be learning how to facilitate in the online environment – something that I haven’t done much of at all.

This is the second in a series of posts describing and reflecting on my experiences of the Master eLearning Course by B Online Learning.

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10 responses to “The Journey Continues…

  1. Jackie Van Nice

    July 2, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    This is great, Matt! I love all the detail you included about the entire process. Also brilliant to go with a topic near and dear to your heart. Filling your beer glass as a symbol of success is always a winner (and very funny) too! 🙂 Now I see why you’ve been too busy for the challenges at the moment, but hopefully we’ll see you there again soon. Thanks again for sharing!

    • learningsnippets

      July 2, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      Thanks Jackie! I’m looking forward to getting back into the challenges I’ve just been lurking the past couple of weeks 🙂

  2. tanyalau

    July 5, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Hi Matt, thanks for the post. good to hear how it’s progressing. I am curious about your ppt storyboarding process, as it’s something I’ve been considering too….I’m assuming you still write or define a high level outline / structure prior to doing anything in ppt?
    Do you find the storyboarding in ppt takes longer than in word, as you’re dealing with layout AND writing? It also looks like you’ve done more than just wireframes in your ppt screenshots. So when you storyboard in ppt are you essentially doing a rudimentary build?

    • learningsnippets

      July 6, 2014 at 4:32 am

      Hi Tanya,
      Thanks for stopping by! Using ppt was different, as you know I’d only used word for my storyboards in the past. With the high level outline I did this using my notes etc. prior to starting with ppt (though we didn’t have to submit it as part of the assessment).
      I did find that it takes longer because you’re making decisions about slide layout earlier in the process rather than just describing how it will look or what images will be used. I used the notes section in ppt for the Narrator script and to describe interactivity for the slide.
      You’re right about it being a rudimentary build – Storyline has the functionality to import ppt so once the storyboard is signed off you’re good to go. The only thing is, the import function isn’t perfect and some of the images I created in ppt where I ‘grouped’ multiple images together didn’t import very well and you still have to create layers, buttons etc. but you have a pretty good plan to work from so it doesn’t take very long. Given that the backend of s/l is very similar to ppt you could create the module in there to begin with.
      I believe that the big advantage of using ppt is it gives the SME a much better idea of how the module will look and function.

      • tanyalau

        July 6, 2014 at 12:46 pm

        Thx for the insight Matt. Yep – re providing the SME with better view of look and function > this is exactly the reason I’m considering alternative options. I generally do a high level outline (or sometimes a full Word storyboard, if I have enough info) with a design spec then deliver something like a ‘prototype’ of a few key screens to provide both an interface design look & feel + some functionality. This helps to mitigate some of the issues.
        But just exploring other alternatives too, so wanted to get a better idea of how a ppt storyboard process might work. I’ve seen different iterations of ppt storyboards too – most focusing on content & layout (e.g, more wireframing I guess) rather than also including look & feel / design.

        One of the reasons I like separating the content and structure component from the visual design is that reviewers often get distracted by visuals so I’m wondering whether you get the same quality of feedback on content/structure (and whether it is effective for meeting learning objectives) when you deliver both at the same time…

        I also much prefer just focusing on one thing at a time – thinking about content & structure is very different to thinking about layout and visual design. I struggle with the cognitive load. Although I guess once you have determined the look & feel elements it’s just a matter of replicating them…
        I may end up doing something of a hybrid approach – perhaps trying more of a wireframing approach to storyboarding in ppt (or perhaps whatever the target authoring tool is – due to some specific requirements, we are likely to be primarily using Lectora for the time being….). Having that as the storyboard deliverable, then proceeding to build which pulls together visual design, functionality & layout tweaks.

        Anyway, just thinking out loud here. Thanks for helping me think through this, and think out loud on your blog! I will let you know how I go…. : ) (that is, when I ever get round to design/devt…I have a backlog of projects but days seem to be filled with a multitude of other distractions…challenges of working in a structure that’s still in transition!)

      • learningsnippets

        July 7, 2014 at 2:55 am

        No worries at all Tanya, I enjoy talking about these things with others too 🙂
        The separation of the layout/visuals from the content does let you focus on them separately and I always thought that would be the best method. Plus I also thought that by not committing to a design/layout too early (apart from a few mockups) gives you some more time to think about it. But I guess there’s no right or wrong way just whatever works for you and your SMEs. As Michelle mentioned, they find the SME review is better quality from the ppt version which is interesting. I’m leaning towards using ppt in the future.
        I’d be keen to hear what you end up deciding what to do and also about how you find using Lectora (which I haven’t used at all).

  3. Michelle Ockers

    July 6, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Matt, outstanding post as an example of showing your work – thanks for sharing. One of my colleagues has decided to do the MEC based on you posts about the experience. In my team we have two IDs. One does Ppt storyboards and the other moves quickly from high level WOrd outline to authoring in Captivate. In both cases we find SME review is better quality if they have a visual format to review rather than in Word. While content can be reviewed for technical accuracy on text only, the combination of text with images simply gives them a better feel for the product and they don’t get distracted by description of layout. Sometimes the context can give a different interpretation to the content, which is picked up earlier with a visual presentation. Cheers, Michelle

    • learningsnippets

      July 7, 2014 at 2:54 am

      Thanks for your comments Michelle! I’m sure your colleague will get lots out of the MEC regardless their level of experience. Also, while the support you receive during the course is great, I’m happy to be contacted if they need a hand.
      It’s interesting hear about your IDs storyboarding methods and that they use different techniques. I think using ppt takes away the need for the SME to integrate text and images together in their mind so it makes it easier for them. Looking at the ppt layout shows just how it will look and gives SME the opportunity to provide feedback on the visual aspect of the course as they are reviewing the content. I reckon this will save time down the track too.


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