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.


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.


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.


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!


Graphic Design: Happy Long Weekend!

Who doesn’t love long weekends? I sure do! To celebrate my love I created this fun, simple graphic I created with Adobe Illustrator.

Happy labour day weekend everyone!


How To Create Custom Shapes/Graphics in Articulate Storyline

Last week I shared custom shapes I created using Articulate Storyline in the e-Learning Heroes Forum. Community members seem to like the shapes (yay!), and I’ve since developed an obsession with creating custom shapes. In case you’re wondering what I mean by “custom shapes” I mean that using shapes that are available within Storyline I created the items you see below:

Free Office Themed Articulate Storyline Custom Shapes

Everything in the images was created by me (except the wood texture background) by using Storyline shapes. The fun part is because these graphics are just groups of shapes, you can de-construct them, change the colors, etc.

You can also do a right-click on the group, Save as Picture, and then save the shape as a .PNG file that can be used in other applications. It’s a fun way to extend the functionality of Storyline from an e-learning development tool to a graphic design tool.

All you need to do to create your own custom shapes is insert your individual shapes, line them up, and group them.  The image below breaks down how I created the pencil.


Like I mentioned earlier in this post, I’ve now developed a bit of an obsession with creating fun new shapes. It’s given me all these ideas for fun projects and themes I can create using the shapes I’ve made. For example, I created a really cool looking desk phone (which I will share in a future post) and now I’m working on adding some functionality wherein you press numbers on the keypad, and it links to various slides. I also find that now I’m often challenging myself to see how far I can go “re-creating” simple items right in Storyline. My latest challenge was creating the Microsoft system calculator using shapes in Storyline. You almost can’t tell the difference between the two!


I made a few more shapes this weekend; I created a few folders, a notepad, and a clipboard. I’ve posted these files in the e-Learning Heroes forum as well, so feel free to download them and use them in your own projects. Here’s a photo of the new shapes:


I hope this has inspired some of you guys to create your own custom graphics in Storyline. If anyone has any suggestions or ideas for future shapes or challenges for me — bring it on! Please feel free to leave me a comment or question and follow me on Twitter!

[INFOGRAPHIC] How to Use the PAF Model to Improve Training and e-Learning

Last weekend I posted a new infographic (Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction) and I got some really good feedback about it.  One piece of feedback that I received from several people was to incorporate more graphics/icons into my infographic designs. Of course I think we can all agree that using visuals is only a good thing if it adds value by providing an instructional purpose. This weekend when I decided to make another graphic, I was careful to choose a few icons that I thought were really representative of the elements of PAF. I  created this infographic in Adobe Photoshop.

I’d also like to add a disclaimer that the PAF Methods listed in the infographic for presentation and application are only three examples, but there are a lot more methods available to you. Those are just a few examples!

Instructional Design Infographic

[INFOGRAPHIC] Instructional Design Model: Gagné’s 9 Events of Instruction

This weekend I decided it was about time I created a new instructional design themed infographic. I’ve created a few in the past, which I’ve shared on my blog (here, here and here), and they’ve proven to be some of my most popular postings.

How did I go about creating this infographic? For starters, I browsed online through some instructional design sites to get ideas for what I wanted my subject to be. In the past I’ve designed an infographic illustrating the ADDIE model and Kirkpatrick’s Levels of Evaluations so when I stumbled across an article mentioning Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction I was intrigued. Of course I had heard about Gagne and his nine events, but I wasn’t too familiar with them. In fact, I couldn’t even name one event! Since I like to use my infographic development process to learn something new about instructional design, I thought this would be a good topic. The next step in my process was to do a Google Images search for some infographic design ideas, to help me get inspired. Then I created the infographic in Adobe Photoshop, starting with the design of the heading/title of the infographic. Once I had the title narrowed down, I used those same fonts and colours throughout the rest of the graphic. I’d say it took about an hour, maybe an hour and a half, to complete. I got to be creative and learn something new about instructional design, so I think it’s a success!

Gagne Nine Events of Instruction

Got any suggestions for an e-learning, instructional design or training themed infographic you’d like to see? If you have any ideas for me please leave  a comment.

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.

Another Photoshop Timelapse Video…

I had fun with the previous video… and wanted to make one that was even shorter! So I created this  graphic in 15 minutes, and brought the video length down to under 2 minutes using Camtasia. Check out the video below.

Timelapse Video –  Another Graphic