Category Archives: Screencasts

Split Up Long Audio Files With Audacity

microphone-162205_640One element of eLearning is inserting narrated audio files into an authoring tool for a course you’re working on. Often the narrator will send along one long audio file – say 30 minutes – that must be divided up over several slides. This can feel daunting, but Audacity®, which is free, open source, cross-platform software for recording and editing sounds, can simplify this task.

I’ve created a tutorial that explains how to go about this. If you watch it, I’d love to hear your feedback.

Oh, and I’d like to take a minute for a Shout Out to pixabay. They have such wonderful free images. That’s where I found this “Mic Guy”…and so many other cool images.

Requiring that Learners Enter Information During eLearning: What Do You Think?

Why Ask Learners to Enter Information

One element of eLearning design is to engage Learners, and one way to do that is to have them “lean forward” in their seats.

Young woman looking at computer screenTyping novel information, rather than clicking among a variety of choices or passively reading and viewing information, is one way to achieve this.

What Kind of Information

The kinds of information Learners are asked to enter can vary. Let’s take a look at a couple.

Demographics

Often, we welcome Learners to a course and ask them to type in their first names. Once this information has been entered it is stored by the eLearning system. This allows us to design a more personalized experience by dynamically displaying Learner names periodically throughout the course.

If Learners’ first and last names are captured, these can be used at the end of the course to produce a personalized document of completion.

Of course, there can be other kinds of demographic information that are specific to a particular course.

Reflection

Requiring that Learners reflect on information is another way to encourage engagement. The reflection could be very simple: “Which of the individuals in the previous scenario demonstrated the best marketing skills?”

Reflective questions can also be more challenging: “Why do you think Anna demonstrated the best marketing skills?”

These more challenging questions require higher level thinking skills and help to keep Learners mentally stimulated during the course. Learners are creating novel constructs to apply the information they’ve been learning. This can help them process and retain the information.

Setting up Text Entries in Articulate® Storyline

One method for enabling Learners to enter text in Articulate® Storyline is by using Text Entries. I recently created two screencasts that describe how to do this.

This video describes how to use an additional layer to pause the slide so Learners can enter their data.

This screencast explains how to pause the slide using a hidden prompt on the base layer.

What types of situations have called for Learners to enter text in your eLearning courses?

Customize Articulate® Storyline Quiz Tutorial

I promised to create a screencast to supplement the post earlier this month on creating a custom quiz in Storyline. So, here it is.

Your comments are welcome!

Dodge Bullet Issues in Articulate® Storyline®

  Bullets aren’t looked upon particularly favorably nowadays as an eLearning element, but as someone said to me recently, “Sometimes you just need bullets!”

If you use Articulate® Storyline® to create your eLearning, as I do, you may have sometimes felt a bit frustrated when changing font type size on bulleted text. A common occurrence is for the last bullet in the list to stubbornly maintain the old type size.

In this video I describe a discovery I made that forces that last bullet – or any bullet that isn’t “behaving” –  to conform. The “key” step is at around 59 seconds, where I suggest you use your mouse to “select” at the end of the line containing the bullet that’s not conforming. It’s difficult to see what I mean, because Storyline doesn’t highlight that area and there’s not a whole lot to select. So, here’s a screenshot that may help. The yellow highlight indicates the little spot, right after the bulleted text, where you drag your mouse before adjusting the bullet size.

Screen shot with highlight and arrow showing where to select at end of bulleted line

In addition, I think I’ve found a way to avoid the problem altogether. Intrigued? Check out the video. And, if you do give these tips a try, I’d love to know if they work for you.

Articulate® Storyline® – Bullet Color

It’s been a while since I’ve added any screencasts here, so, today’s the day! And since tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d go with one that has a Valentine Design.

A question that pops up frequently in the Articulate® Community Forums is how to change bullet color – that is, to make bullets a different color than their associated text. If that’s a question you’ve been asking yourself, take a coupla’ minutes to watch this video.

Control Consistency in Image Design

You know about CRAP, right? Good elearning design incorporates these elements: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity.

Did you know that Microsoft® can actually give you a hand here – with the repetition part? Consistency, or repetition in styles, is an important “eLement of eLearning.” And styles isn’t just about fonts and headings, it’s also about images.

Recently there was a discussion in the Articulate® Community Forums about finding and using style numbers at the Microsoft® Office Clip Art and Media site. These style numbers can help you choose images with a consistent design style. Watch this video to find out how.

Note: Microsoft and Office are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

Tooltips: Just in time eLearning eLements

Many “eLements of eLearning” are so subtle that we don’t even recognize them as such. Tooltips are a good example of that. As we move our mouse over image of what a tooltip might look likean element on a screen, more information about that item appears in a box. It might look something like this

When we move the mouse away from the item, the tooltip disappears.

In this way, a tooltip is a kind of “just-in-time” eLearning element. We need more information at a particular moment in time, get the information we need, and move on.

Tooltips can be used in a variety of ways, and I was recently inspired by a few discussions in the Articulate® community forums to think about how they might be used in an association’s organizational chart. The instructional video I’ve embedded here shows how to create a tooltip in Storyline®, since the community member specifically asked about that product. But tooltips can be created in a variety of products and applied in many different ways.

 

Magnification Graphic Tip for PowerPoint®

Microsoft® PowerPoint® is used a lot in eLearning. Some people love it, others, well, not so much. But that’s not for today’s post :-). Since it IS used a lot, it’s certainly one of the elements of eLearning.

A while back I was reading a blog by the eLearning Coach (@elearning coach) where she provided a great tip on creating a magnification graphic. She merged two photos, a zoomed out photo that showed “the big picture” of a catheter, and a zoomed in one showing the catheter tip. She suggested the photo editing she’d done might be doable in PowerPoint®, so I decided to give it a try. Sure enough, it worked like a charm. Watch the video at the top of this post to see how it’s done.

Oh, and if you’re interested in her original post, you can find it here.

Note: Microsoft and PowerPoint are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

And…Even More on Character States in Storyline®

A couple days ago (5/18/12), I created a post that included a Screenr (instructional video) showing how to create custom states for photographic characters in Articulate® Storyline®, specifically the character named Rhonda. In this post, I show how to set up objects “offstage” that automatically trigger Rhonda’s changing emotional states during her phone conversation.