ELH Challenge #179: Learning a Language

When I was an English teacher (11-16 year olds!) my main “competitor” was definitely the Latin teacher who had the classroom above mine, who taught using Cambridge University Press’s famous Latin books. There was something about the continuing ongoing story of a Pompeiian family that really grabbed my students and led to all kinds of in-jokes. Apparently the books are something of an institution, having been used since the 70s. There’s even a Doctor Who episode which seeks to remedy the inevitable fates of the characters when it’s time for “volcano day”!

When I remembered that the books are available online in PDF form now (You can find the first one here!)  I knew that I had to use them in this week’s challenge.

The demo below uses hotspots and triggers to play audio when characters are dragged into a particular area of the screen.

There weren’t any suitable backgrounds in the book so I broke out my graphics tablet and tried to draw something in a similar style and add some watercolour paper overlays to match the tone of the original 70s illustrations.

The audio is just Google’s voice for Latin text-to-speech, and I really couldn’t comment on its accuracy (pretty sure it’s normally Kai-killy-us not Kai-chilly-us.)

Click the image below to play!

latin

#ELH Challenge 177 + Tooltip Template

Another week, another excellent Elearning Challenge, this time on tooltips, hyperlinks and explorable explanations.

The term “tooltip” originally comes from the early days of applications like Microsoft Word and Paint, where users were greeted by toolbars full of unfamiliar icons. Although the FUN way to work out what everything did was to try every button out, the quickest way was to hover your cursor over the item. A small hover box would appear giving you information about that item without you having to try it out.

(I’m using past tense, but of course tooltips are still everwhere! )

Tooltips in Photoshop, 2017

Tooltips in Photoshop, 2017

For this week’s challenge I decided to take a passage from an encyclopedia and add in tooltips to provide nuggets of additional information.  With websites like Wikipedia I’ll often find myself getting lost as I branch down different pages. One moment I’m reading about the Royal Albert Hall, a few hyperlinks later and I’m reading about the island of Grenada (…it’s true!) With tooltips, it’s easy to get small nuggets of information which add to understanding without taking you too far away from the original topic.

Here’s my example which is all about the mysterious Mechanical Turk, a bizarre and fascinating episode in the history of computer programming:

mechanical turk.jpg

Get the Template

If you’re interested in taking a peek at the Storyline 2 file and adapting it for your own purposes, I’ve created a template which you can download here.

The future of tooltips?

The big problem with tooltips, of course, is that you classically need to be able to hover a cursor to use them – something you can’t really do if you are using a touch screen. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to tooltips and hovering interactions in general in the future. Are they on their way out?

If you’ve enjoyed this or found it useful, do let me know in the comments and find me on Twitter and LinkedIn! 

 

Cells (Using Small Words to Explain How Complex Things Work #176)

This week’s elearning challenge is to design an elearning course explaining something complex . As a long time fan of Randall Munroe, whose book Thing Explainer inspired the challenge, I had to give this a whirl!

I decided to step back to GCSE biology and create a mini course about cells. Mostly because for some reason, “cell” is one of the 1000 most used words on Munroe’s list. Although frustratingly, the word plant isn’t.

wednesday

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

Since the challenge was mostly content based and I always like to try to explore a new aspect of Storyline with these challenges, I decided to focus on making the transition between slides as interesting as possible without being distracting. I ended up using the push transition alongside a few animation tricks to make it seem like the learner is visiting different parts of a single scene.

cellsimage2

VIEW THE DEMO HERE

As a bonus which I didn’t end up using in the course, here are all the things an organism must do in order to be considered alive (in only the most used 1000 words, of course.)

  • Things that are living can move.
  • Things that are living can make more things like them.
  • Things that are living can feel other things around them. This could be through seeing, hearing, smelling, touching or in other ways.
  • Things that are living can get bigger by growing more of the blocks that make up living things – cells.
  • Things that are living can get power from their cells. Humans do this by breathing.
  • Things that are living can throw away bad stuff inside them that they don’t need.
  • Things that are living can get power from outside. Humans do this by eating. They can use this power to get better if they are hurt.

Time To Draw! – Random Word Generator (E-Learning Challenge #174)

This week’s elearning challenge was to create a random word generator. I decided to combat that horrible feeling of wanting to draw but feeling uninspired by developing something that would generate odd or funny drawing prompts.

example2

Click here to try it out!

This challenge was perfect timing for me, since I’ve been trying to learn some Javascript basics over the past month. A few weeks ago I was messing around with random numbers, so a random word generator is a great next step!

Most of them make sense (even if they are a bit silly!) but if you get a nonsense phrase, you can click to have another go.

If anyone feels inspired to draw any of these weird creations, do let me know.

Stuff I’ve Learned, Stuff I’m Thinking About.

Timers

I put in a timer function so that you can set yourself a challenge by completing your drawing in either two, ten or thirty minutes. This works, although at the moment there is no indication of how far through your allotted time you are. You just get a message when your time is up. I was planning on creating an animated timer, but I found out that Storyline isn’t fond of animations which last for 30 minutes!

I’m putting finding a workaround for that one on pause for now.

Javascript

Have you reached the point when learning a (regular, non-programming) language where you’re thrilled because you understood a sentence perfectly, but then you realise you don’t have the skills to actually respond yet?

That was my feeling when encountering the Javascript I used in this piece, which was from a guide by Matthew Bibby.

It was great to be able to look at the Javascript and understand what it was doing and how, but I’m not at a point where I could have created it from scratch.

I’m hoping to update this post with other challenge entries which catch my eye, so stay tuned!

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!)