How to Organize, Analyze, and Prioritize Tasks for E-Learning

img4

The One Thing You Need To Do To Organize Training Content: Task Analysis

Are you dealing with a huge pile of raw materials that need to be converted into an e-learning course or training programme? If so, you’re likely wondering how best to organize the content and filter out the need-to-know from the nice-to-know. If this sounds familiar to you, you need to acquaint yourself with the process of task analysis. Discover how a proper task analysis can organize your content so it focuses on what learners need to know on-the-job.

Read full article.

How to do a Task Analysis Like a Pro

As I explain in this article, task analysis is one of the cornerstones of instructional design. Why is task analysis so important? The purpose of training is to teach learners how TO DO something; they should walk away from the training with new knowledge and skills they can apply on-the-job. When you focus on tasks, you’re more likely to accomplish this goal, as you’re focusing on the actual processes the learners will do on the job.  A task analysis is the process of systematically breaking down a task into a documented step-by-step process. This article explains how to first identify tasks, then break them down into sub-tasks, and finally, parse them into steps. It also contains some helpful task analysis dos and don’ts.

Read full article.

Instructional Designers: Remember These Factors When Prioritizing Tasks

Once you’ve completed your task analysis, you’re going to need to organize and prioritize all the tasks you’ve analyzed. How should you order your tasks? This depends on a variety of factors: task importance, task frequency, task difficulty, and learner experience. Learn about these four factors and what you need to know to ensure your content focuses on the right tasks.

Read full article.

Have you ever done a task analysis before? If so, how did it go? Do you have any tips or tricks to share with others? If so, please leave me a comment below, I love to hear feedback.

 

Advertisements

10 Free Articulate Storyline 2 Templates

The holidays are right around the corner and the season of giving is upon us. With that in mind, I’ve compiled 10 of my very best free Articulate Storyline 2 templates to make it easy for you to access all the e-learning goodness.

Use one of these templates when you want a starting point, some inspiration, or you’re just plain short on time but you still want a polished looking course.

Timeline with Horizontal Scroll

Have you ever wanted to insert a horizontal scroll in your Storyline course? Achieve this effect quickly and easily using Storyline 2’s Motion Paths and Relative Start Point features. Grab this download to see how it’s done.

example8

View Demo | Download

Basic Tabs Interaction Template

Tabs interactions (also known by some as a click-and-reveal interaction) are a super commonly used interaction type for e-learning. Save yourself time and use this pre-built tabs interaction. It makes use of layers, a button set, and visited states. Want to find out more about how I built this tabs template? Here’s a helpful article to go along with this download: The Most Straightforward Way to Build a Tabs Interaction for Storyline.

example9

View Demo | Download

Gamified Customer Service Scenario

Turn a boring multiple choice question into a fun, interactive scenario for your learners using this gamified template. There’s tons of cool gamification features built right in: a scoring system, progress indicators, player control, avatar selection, and a narrative learners can follow along with.

example1

View Demo | Download

Text Message Quiz Template

Use this text message-themed template to jazz up your e-learning quizzes with a fun and modern touch. Do your learners deal with situations that take place over telephone? This is the perfect template to use when you want to present content in a unique and engaging format. There’s even sound effects, so don’t forget to turn up the volume!

example2

View Demo | Download

Interactive Resume Template

Looking for a great way to present your resume or portfolio in a unique way that shows off your Storyline development skills? Download this interactive resume template, add your personal information and work history, then style it to fit your personality. Easy as 1-2-3!

example3

View Demo | Download

Colorful & Interactive Timeline

Timeline’s are a popular interaction type. They are a great way to showcase the history of a company, a product, an event, or anything else that occurs over a period of time. You can even drop the dates and simply use it as a click-and-reveal interaction. To work with this template, just add in your information and update the color scheme to match the branding of your project; everything else is done for you!

example4

View Demo | Download

Employee History Timeline

Another timeline template! This is a great template to use to create a “meet-the-team” style interaction or to highlight a series of people or characters. Swap out the text and images for your own and you’re off to the races!

example5

View Demo | Download

Do’s and Don’ts Slider Interaction

Presenting a boring, basic bullet-point list of do’s and don’ts is definitely an e-learning DON’T. Make it fun and interactive by turning a basic list into an interactive slider interaction that displays a list of do’s and don’ts or tips and tricks.

example6

View Demo | Download

Do’s and Don’ts Cue Cards Interaction

This cue card themed interaction is another fun and stylish option you can use to convert your bullet-point lists into something  a bit more substantive. Users click through a series of cue cards, each with it’s own tip or piece of advice on it. This template is easy to use; just swap out the template text for your own.

example7

View Demo | Download

Select a Character Slider Interaction

Allow your learners to select an avatar or character in your next course by using this sleek and stylish slider interaction. Choosing an avatar is a fun and easy way to add a gamification element to your next course, and with this template, all the work is done for you.

example10

View Demo | Download

I hope you enjoy these Articulate Storyline 2 freebies. Feel free to leave me a comment to let me know if you’ve got feedback or questions about my templates. I’d also be more than happy to hear any suggestions about which types of downloads I should create in 2016. I love to hear your opinions and ideas. Happy Holidays!

Hundreds of E-Learning & Instructional Design Articles… All In One Spot!

img9

My blog followers know that I love writing about my experiences and insights when it comes to instructional design and e-learning… but did you know that I also write blog articles for the Articulate E-Learning Heroes Community?

Every week I write about everything related to e-learning…. from software-specific Articulate tutorials and best practices, to general instructional and graphic design tips, my articles are all compiled here, in a handy series: Nicole’s Articles.

Bookmark the page now so it’s easy to access, and check back on a weekly basis to see my latest and greatest content. You can also check out the E-Learning Examples hub and the Downloads hub to see my contributions to the demos and freebies. Those can also be great places to get inspiration and ideas for your next projects.

I’d love to hear your ideas and feedback on my articles. Any topics you’d like to see me write about? Any past favourites in particular? I love getting your feedback, so please leave a comment below. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for daily updates!

4 Reasons You Don’t Have an E-Learning Portfolio

img2

I find it surprising when an e-learning developer tells me they don’t have a portfolio. In certain industries, such as web design and graphic design, you simply can’t be viewed as a legitimate business person without a portfolio; I believe e-learning is also one of those industries. When I get asked for advice on hiring a great e-learning developer, my top recommendation is always: Don’t hire someone without seeing their portfolio.

If you don’t have an e-learning portfolio, you probably have a reason. But if your reason is listed below, you should reconsider and remember that you’re working in a competitive, global market, where anyone can create a free blog or portfolio website in a few minutes.

You’re Too Busy

The “I’m too busy” excuse is the most common and most overused. You’re too busy to put time into creating something that could well hold the key to your success and potential future earnings? Your call.

Why this isn’t a good reason: Everyone has the same number of hours in the day. Bottom line is: if something is truly a priority, you will make time for it. If it’s not a priority, you won’t. Potential clients don’t care about how busy your life is; they care about hiring a candidate who can show work that is up to their standard and get the job done.

You Don’t Have Any Experience

Maybe you do have the time but you’re new to the e-learning industry and have zero real-world experience or projects.

Why this isn’t a good reason: First of all, don’t advertise this fact to potential clients. For many people “zero experience” equates to “lacking skills and credibility.”. If you don’t have any real world projects to add to your portfolio, don’t despair: create your own samples. Choose a topic that you’re a passionate about and develop a mini e-learning module. Which leads me to my next point…

You Don’t Own E-Learning Software

I’ve heard many people say the following: “I can’t create samples for a portfolio because I don’t own any e-learning authoring tools.”

Why this isn’t a good reason: Just about every authoring tool out there offers a free, fully-functional 30-day trial. Take advantage of that and use your 30-days wisely! Create a few mini 5-slide e-learning courses that showcase your skills. Another option: Powerpoint! So many people have access to this but don’t take advantage of it to create awesome e-learning; you can even hyperlink slides to create branched scenarios and create engaging samples.

You Signed an NDA

This is one I’ve heard quite a few times: “I’ve done a lot of awesome things, but I can’t share any of it because I signed a nondisclosure agreement.”

Why this isn’t a good reason: Anyone can say they’ve created great e-learning, but at the end of the day, actions speak louder than words. Of course you should never share confidential materials you’ve signed an NDA for, but there’s no harm in asking a client beforehand if you can use a sample of work, stripped of original content and identifying information, for your portfolio. This is a standard procedure in other industries, and often the request is included directly in the contract of work. If you can’t use any of the work you’ve signed an NDA for, don’t panic: you can still create your own samples!

The e-learning industry is getting more competitive by the week and potential clients want a candidate who can demonstrate their skills and abilities, instead of taking a gamble on someone with nothing to show. Don’t give potential clients or employers a reason to pass you over: create that portfolio today!

I’d love to hear your thoughts: are these legitimate reasons for not having a portfolio? Are there other reasons that I left out? Leave a comment below and let me know. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, as well in the E-Learning Heroes community, for all the latest.

E-Learning Examples: Branched Soft-Skills Scenarios

computer3

I recently presented a session for the E-Learning Guild’s Annual Online Learning Forum 2015 about how to create engaging scenarios for e-learning. (The session was recorded and Guild members can view the recording here.).  In preparation for that session I built a branched e-learning scenario, using Articulate Storyline 2, called The Job Interview.

What do I mean by branched scenario? It means that the learner can follow different paths (or different “branches”) through the course, depending how interview questions are answered. For example: if you select the worst choice for the first question in the scenario and arrive to the interview 30 minutes late, that path, or branch, ends right there. Your interview is cancelled and they’ve moved on to the next candidate.

However, choose the option that has you arriving 5 minutes early and you score bonus points. The order and the amount of questions in the interview, as well as the amount of points scored (indicated through the progress meter), is totally dependent on the choices made by the learner. 

Try it out yourself and let me know in the comments, how many tries did it take you to land your dream gig?

The Job Interview | View Demo

job

Want to build a scenario of your own? You may be interested in some of these articles I’ve written about creating scenarios for e-learning:

Want to see another example of a branched e-learning scenario? Tim Slade created a great example on his blog for Call Centre Training.  He’s also written a blog post about it and made the source file available for download. Tom Kuhlmann’s Rapid E-Learning Blog also has a whole section on building scenario-based e-learning, chock-full of awesome tips and tricks, so check it out!

Got tips or tricks of your own about building scenarios? Have you seen other scenario based e-learning examples that you’d like to share? If so — leave a comment; I love to hear your feedback. And since you’ve made it to the end of this article, perhaps you should subscribe to my blog!

Quick Tip For Organizing Your E-Learning Samples

paper

Every week I create new e-learning demos in my role as Community Manager for the software company Articulate. When I help out community members in the E-Learning Heroes forums I often like to share some of these demos to help illustrate a point or demonstrate a type of interaction. Some of these demos were created over a year ago, and I noticed I had a problem: I didn’t have an easy place to quickly access all of my published samples.

I do have an online portfolio, but it desperately needs updating, and typically a portfolio only contains the crème de la crème of e-learning work, not all of the short little samples and demos.  Much of the e-learning content I create isn’t exactly “portfolio-worthy”, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a valuable example that can’t be helpful for others.

I do also have a “Projects” folder where I keep all the project and published output files for my demos. But what I didn’t have is what I would a “visual repertoire” of my courses where I could easily see them all and access one by clicking on a quick link.

I recently solved this problem quite easily using a simple table in a Google Docs file. Here’s a sample of what it looks like:

Demos

Now my e-learning demos are all organized in one neat table with titles, thumbnail image, description, and link to published output. This has saved me a lot of time of searching through folders looking for the right link. The fact that it’s a Google Doc means it’s always available to me wherever I am, as long as I have internet access. Just wanted to share this quick tip with you! Now if I could just get around to updating my portfolio…

Do you have tips of your own for keeping all of your demo files and e-learning samples organized and easily accessible? If you do, leave a comment below — I’d love to hear your tips or tricks. And since you got all the way to the end of this article, you might want to subscribe to my blog!

Get Inspired With These E-Learning Samples and Examples

As a lover and designer of e-learning, I’m always on the lookout for cool samples and demo courses that I can use as inspiration; when I’m browsing the web I keep my eyes peeled for fun and engaging ways of presenting content, great uses of imagery and cool examples of typography. If I find a great design that I love, I take a screenshot and save it to an “Inspiration” folder. I also have a collection of sites bookmarked that I’ll visit regularly when I have design block and need to get my creative juices flowing. To that end, I thought I’d share a couple of recent e-learning examples created by me that might help you kick-start the design for your own next project. Click on the title of the demo to view the published output.

Demo #1: Weekly Challenge Compilation Course

This is a course that I created for DemoFest at Learning Solutions Conference in Orlando in March 2014 that compiles some of the awesome submissions we’ve received for the Weekly E-Learning Challenge. What is the Weekly E-Learning Challenge, you ask? It’s a fun, informal e-learning challenge hosted by Articulate in the E-Learning Heroes Community. Every week a new topic is presented (for example: drag-and-drops, virtual tours, results slides) and participants create samples and demos related to that topic in whatever authoring tool they have access to (Storyline, Powerpoint, etc.) and share them with the community. It’s become really popular over the last year and the submissions are super creative and impressive.

Demo2.png-550x0

This sample course was developed in Articulate Storyline with the goal being to highlight some of the cool submissions that have been created by Articulate community members for the Weekly Challenge.  I “chunked” the submissions into two sections: by Weekly Challenge and by Community Member. For the Community Member section I was going for an effect that simulated a “network” of connected community members; I used a drag and drop interaction to make it more dynamic. After sharing this demo with the Articulate community several people mentioned that they loved the drag-and-drop interactivity in this demo. Since I aim to please, I went ahead and created a Storyline template that you can download here (you might also be interested in this video tutorial with instructions for using the template).

Demo #2: Herbs & Spices Course

One of the ways I know I’m passionate about my line of work is that I often enjoy creating sample e-learning courses just “for fun”, as was the case with this Herbs & Spices course. I have recently discovered a passion for cooking and as a result, I’ve started experimenting with different herbs and spices. I wanted to learn more about them, and thought to myself “What better way is there to learn something than by creating an e-learning course about it!?” That is how this sample course came to be; I did some online research and investigated the most common herbs and spices, tips on storing them effectively, and which dishes to pair them with. I compiled everything I learned into this mini e-learning course.

herbs1

I selected a soft green color scheme for this course because I felt green just worked with the subject matter (herbs!) and the wooden texture background represents a cutting board. I used a casual-looking character as my course guide;  he introduces the course and provides the navigation instructions. I like characters because I feel they give your course personality and a human touch. You’ll notice he’s standing in a kitchen: I also love using contextual background images! The image has been faded so it’s noticeable but not distracting.

The final quiz becomes unlocked once you’ve visited both sections of the course (herbs and spices) and all three question slides were custom-built using Freeform slides with Storyline. Don’t forget to check out the three links at the top of the player to see more content!

Demo #3: Payroll 101

Here’s a sample course I built as part of a New Employee Orientation series using Articulate Studio ’13. I’d like to think this goes to show you can build a great-looking course whether you’re using Storyline, or even if you’re building in a “basic” tool like Powerpoint (as is the case for several of the slides in this example.)  This course also features one of my go-to design methods: using lightly blurred background images to set the context. In this case I used the outside shot of a building and the interior shot of an office. This e-learning demo also uses a character to give a personal touch and pop of color.

demo1

I hope you’ve had fun exploring these three e-learning sample courses; sometimes seeing an example is exactly what we need to kick-start our own creative engine. Keep in mind that building your own samples and examples is a great way to sharpen your skills and add content to your portfolio. And since you’ve made it all the way to the end of this post, perhaps you should subscribe to my blog!