Articulate Storyline: Sample eLearning Slides

Here are some e-learning slides from a project I created for my portfolio. This is how much of a nerd I am–when I am home on weekends, and in my spare time, I create “demo” e-learning courses to add to my portfolio. I created these slides in Articulate Storyline. Enjoy!

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12+ Modern e-Learning Designs For Your Inspiration

I’m always perusing the web looking for e-learning, web, and graphic designs that catch my eye. When I find something that I like, I do a quick Snippit and save the images to an “e-Learning Inspiration” folder that I keep.  When I start a new project I can open up this folder and get tons of ideas. I thought I’d share some of what I consider to be the most eye-catching and fun designs from my “Inspiration” folder.  I’m hoping these samples will provide you with ideas for layout,  use of imagery and icons, colours, navigation, typography, etc. Below each image is a link to the original site. Hope you’re inspired!

http://hasanshaheed.com/folio/zometa-image1.jpg

http://www.learningcreator.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/compass-design-final-h.jpg

http://dokeos.com/images/general_practitioner.png

http://www.skills2learn.com/images/e-learning-instructional-design-LG.jpg

http://sportdrawn.com/portfolio/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/accountability_0.1.jpg

http://www.milza.org/portfolio/gui.php

http://www.milza.org/images/COU/presentation-volumeRO.jpg

http://panxplanet.blogspot.ca/


http://panxplanet.blogspot.ca/

http://blog.thewritersgateway.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/new_app_training.gif

http://jasonrenshaw.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83452d45869e20176169e9bae970c-800wi

http://kdw.digitecinteractive.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/NACUFS_custom_e-learning_course_production_sample_new.png


http://blogs.adobe.com/captivate/files/2011/11/processMod.jpg

http://behance.vo.llnwd.net/profiles/90854/projects/171217/908541232322551.jpg

eLearning Design: Feedback Windows

E-learning designers often need to incorporate feedback windows into their course designs. Feedback windows are used in e-learning for several reasons, a few being: 1) to provide correct and incorrect feedback information, and 2) to share tips, hints, or additional  information with the learners.

I’m sharing a few examples of feedback window “designs” that I created in Adobe Captivate 5.5. I started out with a basic slide with some information, and then I overlayed a rectangle shape with a 75% opacity over top of the entire slide to give the faded background effect.

I like using this “faded background” effect for feedback windows because it keeps a strong visual connection between the feedback and the content you’re providing the feedback for. Lately, I’ve also preferred using rounded rectangles instead of hard corners because I think it softens the overall look. One more thing: I like using “fun” fonts for headings, and simpler, sans-serif fonts for body text.

3 Simple Design Problems to Avoid in Your eLearning Courses

You don’t need to be a professional graphic designer to know that yellow text on a white background is a no-no, or that the bright neon orange background is not so easy on the eyes.

However, there are some more subtle design faux-pas that not everyone is consciously aware of. Here’s a look at a few of them, and some tips on how to avoid making those mistakes in your own e-learning designs.

Claustrophobic Slides

White space (also known as negative space) is the unmarked or unused space on a slide/screen/layout. White space is a very important design element and it should be balanced with the objects on the slide. In other words, you should aim to have 50% white space on every slide. Claustrophobic slides happen when there isn’t enough white space and the objects on the slide are too close together,  touching each other or  touching the edges of the slides. Here’s an example of a claustrophobic slide:

image12

The elements on the slide are crowded and too close. It just feels a bit too “tight”. The fix: add  some white space! Here is the same slide, with all the same elements but with proper spacing around them.

image13

Ahhh! Now there’s some breathing room. That’s what white space does. It frames all the elements and provides balance.

Whispering Headlines

Why do you want your headlines to stand out? Because they introduce the slide and let the learners know what they are about to look at. Whispering headlines fail to attract attention, and are not easily distinguished from the text that they introduce. Here’s an example:

ex1

Notice that the headline doesn’t really stand out from the text that comes after it. Headlines should be significantly larger than the text that follows. Here is the same example, except this time the headline is bolded and a larger font size:

ex2

That helps a bit, but it’s still not really popping as much as it should. A few other techniques you can use to make your headlines stand out: make the text bolder, change the color or change the font. Here’s our same example once more, but this time the headline has a different font color and typeface. 

ex3

See how much our headline pops now? Your eyes go right to the headline and right away you know what this slide is all about (or at least you would if you spoke Latin!).

Similar Typefaces

When you’re using more than one type of font in your e-learning design choose contrasting fonts. In other words, avoid mixing fonts that have a similar look-and-feel (whether it be in the size or weight of the type). Here’s an e-learning slide that uses similar typefaces:

exA

It feels a little heavy doesn’t it? The fonts used are too similar, too close to the same size, and too chunky and heavy. They compete for attention and don’t balance each other out.  As we looked at in the previous example, your headline should be what grabs attention first. Here’s the same slide, but now I have switched one of the fonts to be a “lighter” style and I’ve adjusted the size of the text.

exB

There’s much more of a balance between the two fonts  in the second example.

These are just a few common design mistakes that you can avoid making in your designs. Some of these “mistakes” are very subtle, and might only be caught by a very detail-oriented eye. That being said, it’s those little details that can make a design that much more pleasing to look at. I’ll follow-up with another post about common design mistakes in a few weeks, so stay tuned!

The Ultimate eLearning Design and Development Checklist

todo

I have combed the web and compiled several e-learning, instructional design and web design checklists to create this ultimate e-learning checklist. Not every item on the entire list will apply to every project, however I think that altogether it covers a broad range of items. If you think there’s something important that I have missed, please let me know and I will include it in the list; ideally, I’d like this checklist to cover as much ground as possible.

View The Ultimate eLearning Design and Development Checklist in .PDF format.

INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN

  • Training needs analysis is complete
  • Time and budget restraints have been identified
  • Primary and secondary audience have been analyzed
  • Task analysis and task listing are complete
  • Various instructional methods are used
  • Objectives are clearly stated
  • Objectives include measurable criteria
  • Instructional content relates directly to   objectives
  • Course objectives are met
  • Content is segmented into small chunks
  • Information is logically grouped
  • Major headings are clear and descriptive
  • One-third of the content is presentation
  • Two-thirds of the content is application   & feedback
  • Feedback is provided for questions   answered
  • A maximum of 5-7 bullet items per slide
  • There is a summary for every piece of   content
  • Glossary is used to define key concepts   and terms
  • Humor is used with care

ASSESSMENTS & TESTS

  • All assessments are relevant and complete
  • Assessments are challenging and realistic
  • Various quiz methods and types are used
  • Assessments are used throughout
  • Final assessment at the end
  • Pass/fail marks are appropriate
  • Feedback is adequate
  • Feedback presented within reasonable time
  • Post course assessment/evaluation is included
  • New content is not presented in assessments or in assessment feedback

GENERAL DESIGN

  • Total design is uniform in appearance
  • Branding/identity guidelines have been   followed
  • Use of logos is appropriate
  • Colors used are consistent and suitable
  • Color schemes chosen for visibility & contrast
  • Navigation is consistent throughout
  • Horizontal and vertical scrolling is   avoided
  • At least 50% of the screen is white space
  • Graphics/icons used to signify important concepts
  • Patterns and textured backgrounds do not interfere with legibility

FONTS

  • Maximum of  or three fonts used throughout
  • Decorative fonts are only used for headings
  • Body text uses sans serif fonts
  • Appropriate line spacing is used
  • Paragraph length is appropriate
  • Font sizes are appropriate and easily readable
  • Font colors visible against background color
  • Styles and colors are consistent throughout
  • Emphasis (bold, italics) is used sparingly
  • Body text is left justified

TESTING

  • E-learning has been tested in multiple browsers
  • E-learning has been tested in various resolutions
  • All links and buttons have been tested
  • Accessibility features have been tested
  • All audio has been tested
  • All videos have been viewed in entirety
TECHNICAL

  • Project load time is reasonable
  • Shortcut keys have been defined
  • FAQ document has been created
  • Hardware requirements have been   identified
  • Software requirements have been   identified
  • Dimensions are optimized for target audience
  • The course is viewable in all web   browsers
  • Pages are easily printed
  • Total time to complete has been timed
  • Contact information available for   questions

ACCESSIBILITY

  • Entire course can be navigated with keyboard
  • All ALT tags are used
  • Text is provided for all non-text   elements
  • Video files have associated script or   dialogue
  • Captions are provided for audio conveying   content
  • No flashes faster than 3 times per second
  • No colors used to convey information
  • No fine motor skills required (large   clickable areas, large field labels)

NAVIGATION

  • Main navigation is easily identifiable
  • All navigation is correct sequence
  • Hyperlinks are clearly identified
  • All hyperlinks work
  • Minimum use of external links
  • Backward links to navigate to previous   screens
  • Number of navigation icons is reasonable
  • Table of contents used to lay out the   content
  • E-learning has guided tour and/or map for   further explanations

VIDEOS & ANIMATION

  • Use of animation and videos is appropriate
  • Files are compressed/optimized
  • Videos and animations are consistent in quality, size and type
  • Videos are legally   owned

AUDIO & NARRATION

  • Narration is not exact text on the screen
  • Narration is clear and concise
  • Audio quality is high (not fuzzy or   scrambled)
  • Narrator sounds confident and knowledgeable
  • Audio synced to the content
  • Audio can be paused
  • Volume can be muted
  • Volume can be controlled by user

TEXT CONTENT

  • Language is clear and concise
  • Spelling has been checked
  • Grammar has been checked
  • Language is culturally appropriate
  • Tone is consistent throughout
  • Tone is appropriate for the audience
  • Text is gender neutral
  • Content is not plagiarized
  • Date formats, measurements, are consistent
  • SME has verified text content
  • Facts, statistics, data are accurate
  • Facts, statistics, data sources are   identified
  • Correct capitalization applies to units/acronyms
  • Correct capitalization is used
  • Punctuation is appropriate
  • Complex sentences are avoided
  • Content has been localized for all required languages

GRAPHICS

  • Images are meaningful,   have a purpose
  • Images/graphics are resized and compressed
  • Images use appropriate file type
  • Photos are consistent in quality, size,   type
  • Images are all legally owned
  • System screen captures are   up-to-date
  • Screen captures do not contain any personal information

Since you’ve made it all the way to the end of the checklist, maybe you should subscribe to my blog!

Choosing Dimensions for eLearning: Width and Height

When developing an eLearning course, it is almost impossible to know how it’s going to look in every different resolution or monitor size.  You may have some users who are still using a 1024 x 768 px screen resolution, while the rest will be using a variety of resolutions which are higher than 1024 x 768 . You want your eLearning to look great for the widest possible audience. You also want to avoid horizontal and vertical scrolling.

Web designers face the same dilemma every time they design a website. The solution?  Design for the lowest common denominator. The following are the most recent screen resolution stats from W3Schools.

Designing for the lowest common denominator in this case means creating an eLearning course that is optimized for 1024 x 768 px. 

Keep in mind that if your learners will be viewing the eLearning course inside a web browser, there will be their web page tabs, the URL bar, the title bar, maybe a favourites and a menu bar, the vertical scroll bar and maybe a footer menu. If your eLearning project is launched as an application or in it’s own window, there may still be a title bar. Also, the start menu in Windows takes up some height space.

Also important to take note of: within your eLearning course itself, your “skin” or “player” might take up additional width and/or height pixels. Let’s say you select a project size of 900 x 700px in Adobe Captivate. Afterwards, you decide to add a Table of Contents to your “player “. The minimum width for a TOC in Captivate is 250px. 900px + 250px and now you are at 1150px and no longer optimized for 1024 x 768 (unless you decide to overlay the Table of Contents, but still, you get the point.)

All this to say, there is no official “optimal size” for your eLearning course. There are a wide variety of variables that come into play. I do think it is safe to say that, at this point in time it is probably wise to optimize your training for 1024 x 768. Within a few years (if that), 1024 x 768 will be completely obsolete and we will be optimizing for 1280 x 1024.  This is one of those joys (or pains?) of working with technology – things are constantly changing and evolving!

Just as a little aside, if you had any doubts about colour depth for your eLearning…. (also from W3Schools)

Do you have any tips of your own concerning width/height and project dimensions for eLearning? If so, please leave a comment. Also, since you’ve made it all the way to the end, perhaps you should subscribe!

Adobe Captivate: Simple, Clean eLearning Design

Lately I’ve been feeling a “need” to be creative and unleash some of my artistic skills. I’ve been on a roll and producing tons of graphic designs for my blog over the last few days. I must say, it’s great to have this blog as an outlet for my energy and to share my creations. I really appreciate the support everyone’s been showing, as well as the positive comments and feedback.

When I had my latest burst of creativity, I created some brand-spanking new sample eLearning slides, using Adobe Captivate 5.5., for my portfolio.

A few comments about what went into the design:

  • I like using rectangles with rounded corners. I feel like it “softens” the design, as opposed to really sharp and angular rectangle edges. I I use them a lot lately.
  • I started out with the photo of the business woman with the headset, and then picked up the light blue background colour from her shirt using the eyedropper tool in Captivate. That’s how I picked my colour scheme.
  • I love using photos with white backgrounds, or getting rid of the background altogether (as I did with the woman in this example). It looks clean and less cluttered than images with busy backgrounds.
  • Here the duration is visible but I often remove the duration, which is visible at the bottom of the Table of Contents, using a widget. Very handy when you don’t want to display duration.
  • The fonts are Dear Joe and Calibri.
  • For the Incorrect and Correct slides, I copied ans pasted the question slide, then overlayed a grey rectangle with medium transparency. I added the “Correct” and “Incorrect” feedback on top. I like the faded-out background effect.

Anything you like or dislike about this course design? I love to hear feedback and ideas, so feel free to leave feedback and comments.