Stories: A Powerful Elearning Tool

How are you doing with your Summer reading list? I’m currently binge reading lots of old childhood favourites. I’m surprised by how dark Peter Pan is, coming to it as an adult!

Stories aren’t just kids stuff, however. They’re powerful didactic tools which reach across time, space, culture and age. I’ve been using them more and more for corporate clients as part of scenarios, to create engagement and make the real-world applications of learning clear.

I wrote a blog a while ago about stories in elearning, and why they’re so important for creating engaging. Perhaps you can add it to your Summer reading!



Scrolling Lighthouse (Storyline Challenge #169)

View the demo here!

Scrolling panels have been getting a lot of love over at the weekly Articulate community e-learning challenges.

I feel like they are one of the most sidelined features in Storyline. It probably says a lot that the only time I have had to use them is in situations where a client wants a lot of text on a screen, but doesn’t want the font size to get too small!

After taking a look at some of the examples, I decided to find a vertically orientated diagram which would be difficult to view in close detail without  the ability to scroll. When I saw this cross-section on wikimedia, I knew I had to use it!

Unfortunately, despite growing up by the sea and visiting a fair number of lighthouses, I don’t actually know the first thing about them, so don’t expect this to be factually accurate!

My Take-Aways from this Challenge:

I’m still not a scrolling panel convert, but this challenge did make me consider some new ways that they could be used.

Perhaps my biggest discovery was that they can be orientated horizonally, with a bit of trickery and know how. You just have to group a scroll bar to another object and then rotate them together.

One thing that would help enormously is if Storyline allowed scrollbars to be customised so that they could fit the look and tone of the elearning (I did consider creating a scrolling panel using Javascript, but that’s probably an entirely different challenge for me, being a Javascript novice!)

English Gothic – Interactive Timeline

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This example piece was created for an E-Learning Challenge over at E-Learning Heroes.

Learners can scroll through a timeline, exploring buildings on a scrolling backdrop.

Hopefully vaguely factually accurate, although if you’re genuinely interested in getting a much more authoritative quick overview of gothic architecture I suggest getting hold of Rice’s Church Primer!




Photoshop Software Simulation

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Here is a short screencast/software demonstration created in Storyline 2, which lets the user learn the steps to creating a black and white image in photoshop before being given the chance to try it out for themselves.

(I’m starting to feel like making an image black and white in photoshop is a little bit like brewing a cup of tea – everyone has their own personal technique, and will vehemently defend their tried and tested method as the One True Way. I beg mercy from any disgruntled graphic designers – this is for demonstration purposes only!)

My Take-Aways from this Project

One niggling little thing: I forgot to tell Storyline NOT to insert a clicking sound effect for the mouse while I was making my screencast. It’s very repetative and I don’t feel it gives any benefit to the user. Well, unless they’re a fan of ASMR.

The biggest question this project has raised for me is whether the Tell Me/Show Me/Try Me model can be used in a more clever way than this. This example has open navigation, allowing the user to skip to any section at any time. That’s great, but in a closed navigation situation, I can imagine some users getting frustrated at being fed the same information three times.

In the Try Me stage, I created a hint system which gives more information each time it is consulted. I’m envisioning an expansion on that idea. What if the user began by trying, with an adapting system increasing showing/telling elements if they became stuck or unsure how to continue?