Tag Archives: Screenr

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.

Fonts in eLearning

illustration of a blue pencil with letter A in uppercase and lowercase

Before you read any further – or if you’d rather not read – check out my 3-minute instructional video on Fonts in eLearning, where you can also learn a bit about using fonts in Microsoft® PowerPoint®.

There’s a LOT of information on the use of fonts as an eLearning element. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I’m overwhelmed by how much there is to know about fonts and typography. That’s probably because I’m not a graphic designer. So, if you’re looking for detailed information about typography design, feel free to move on to another post, like this one, which I discovered via a Mike Taylor tweet (@tmiket).

My goal is to provide some broad guidance on the use of fonts in eLearning design. To that end, I’m going to provide an example from Microsoft®. Many people disparage using their fonts in eLearning. One argument is that they’re overused. Since I haven’t done any research, I can’t confirm or refute that. But I can say that I find many of their combinations,  like the one in this screenshot,engaging and pleasing to my eye.
Image of PowerPoint Slide with text

Headings vs. Body Text

The slide in this screenshot (above) was created using the Newsprint design and font theme in PowerPoint®. The heading uses the Impact typeface, 49 points. Body text is in Times New Roman, 24 points. You can find this theme, and many more, by clicking the Design tab; change Fonts by clicking the Fonts drop-down arrow.

This theme adheres to the overall approach that most people agree upon: use one font for the headlines and another for the body text. In this case, the body font is a serif font; that is, there are little lines at the top and bottom of each character that purportedly help guide a reader’s eye. The headline font is sans serif, minus the “guiding lines.”

Serif or Sans and How Many Fonts?
By the way, there are many articles recommending that ONLY sans serif fonts be used for eLearning because they are easier to read in digital format than serif fonts. Ah, and now you’re beginning to see the complexities around this topic!

Typically, you should use no more than two fonts. Contrast can be achieved, as it’s done here, by changing scale and style. The body text is smaller; the heading text is larger and bolder.

More Resources
Check out Articulate® David Anderson’s (@elearning) Screenr (instructional video) on using scale, style, and color to create emphasis in eLearning content. And the eLearning coach (@elearningcoach) has an informative blog entitled What font should I use?

You can of course move beyond the fonts provided by Microsoft®. Do a web search and you’ll find gazillions (well, almost) of fonts, both free and for a fee.

Pencil Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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

Script Writing Tip

As I mentioned in my first post (5/15/12), I plan to discuss a variety of “eLements of eLearning” in this blog. One of the elements, for some of us, is script writing.

I typically prepare a script ahead of time, and insert comments to myself. I type these in red, to separate them from the script itself. In this video, I describe how to create a macro in Microsoft® Word® that quickly removes these comments so a clean script can be sent along  to the client.

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.

More on States for Characters in Storyline®

In a yesterday’s post (5/18/12), I showed how to easily change a character’s emotional state over time in Articulate® Storyline®. And, I promised to demonstrate how to trigger those states automatically. Haven’t had a chance to do that yet, but thought you might be interested in this Screenr (video tutorial) by David Anderson, Community Manager at Articulate® (@elearning).

David discusses how to use Storyline® states to manage a series of your own industry- or workplace-specific photos to create custom character packs.