Wanna Collaborate?

Launch Presentation

A while ago I was looking for an easy way for learners to collaborate in “canned” online courses and came across a tool called Padlet. Deciding to give it a try, I signed up for a free account and created my first padlet wall in a matter of seconds. I then inserted it into Articulate Storyline and the rest, as they say, is history. I must admit I haven’t used Padlet in a real course yet but did create a prototype for one of David Anderson’s Articulate Community Challenges and I got a large number of inquires from other community members asking how I created this little bit of magic. I’m a little embarrassed by how easy it was. I’ll take you through the steps in a second. In the meantime, you can look at the project in action by clicking the image.   Here are the steps:

  1. Create an account in Padlet (http://padlet.com/)
  2. Click the button to create a new padlet. (that’s all it takes to create a padlet wall)
  3. Modify your wall by adding a title and changing the background, layout and privacy settings.
  4. When you are satisfied with your wall, click the Share/Export icon and copy the embed code.
  5. In Storyline, click the insert video from website option and paste the embed code.
  6. You don’t need all the embed code so need to edit it down. The following image shows you what to code should look like when you are finished editing.

You might have to play with the size of the embedded Padlet in your course. Once you have it looking good just publish your Storyline project.

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Is eLearning the Next Blockbuster?

bankrupt
I walked past a Block Buster Video store a while ago. It had a big closed sign plastered over its window. It’s sad to see a business fail especially one that’s been around for so long but it’s just a very visible reminder of something that has been on my mind lately. It’s the idea that no matter what you do or how good you are today — you have to stay relevant to stay in business. Block Buster floundered when people started streaming movies at home. Practically over night nobody wanted their product anymore. They became irrelevant.

I’ve been thinking a lot about relevancy lately. Are eLearning Designers going to wake up one day to find there is no longer a market for their products? In one, two or three years will organizations still want or need eLearning as we offer it today? Steve Jobs once said:

“Some people say, give the customers what they want, but that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do.” 

Is this the approach we should be taking? — do we innovate or follow the trends? I just read an article that listed the top trends for eLearning for 2015. Here they are for what it’s worth:

    1. Gamification
    2. Corporate MOOCs
    3. Personalized Learning
    4. M-Learning and BYOD
    5. Augmented Learning
    6. APIs
    7. Cloud LMS
    8. Flash Html5 Conversion
    9. Wearable Learning
    10. Video Learning

I’m not going to get into what I think about this list — suffice it to say that some of the items (Augmented Learning, personalized learning for two) have been identified as the next big thing since at least 1995 — maybe longer.  And some — wearable Learning anyone? — are ridiculous. So I guess the big question is how do we filter out the chatter so that we can focus on the things that will take us to the level we need to stay in the game? How do we ensure that we make the cut? I’m just asking the questions today. I don’t have the answers but I’d love to here what you think.

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Breaking News! Digital Magazine Format Great for Elearning

Welcome to the first issue of “The Environment” Pinched Head’s new digital magazine – just kidding – this isn’t a magazine it’s an idea for an elearning module. Built in Articulate Storyline of course! When you think about it, digital magazines and elearning have a lot in common. They both rely heavily on text and graphics, with judicious use of audio and video, to get their message across – they have some type of menu or contents list, and navigation elements to allow viewers to move through the material.

You can launch the demo by clicking the image above.

The Design

I took my design inspiration from Net-A-Porter’s online magazine but applied it to an issue that is important to me. One thing I really like about Net-A-Porter is that you can click to buy almost everything featured in their pages. Just for fun, I used layers and variables in Storyline to incorporate this idea into my magazine. Online shopping may not be a natural fit for elearning but, who knows, there might be some application in which this makes sense – I know I’d be more engaged if I could shop as I learned.

Navigation






Navigation in digital magazines should be readily available and non-intrusive so that it’s accessible when needed but doesn’t detract from the content design. In my version, I placed the navigation panel on a layer in the slide master so that when opened it would sit on top of the content. I made the panel semi-transparent so that the content would still show through. If you try the demo you’ll notice the navigation panel opens when you place your mouse (or finger on an iPad or Android device) along the bottom of the screen. To achieve this effect, I created a second layer on the slide master with an invisible shape that acts as a button to launch the navigation panel.

Text

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Because text is such an important element in magazine design, I took special effort to make my text pop. I used one font throughout – Google Fonts Droid Sans – but played around with the character spacing making some text spacing tight and some loose for emphasis. This is a new feature in Storyline 2 that came with the revamped text editor and it worked really well here. The choice of font is also a key consideration – I used Droid Sans because it has a clean, modern appeal and was designed to be comfortable for reading on mobile devices and on websites.

I’ll leave you with one last design trick. I used the color picker in Storyline to select the colour of the text from the main image on each page. This little trick helps create a cohesive look to the page.

So what do you think? Would a magazine design work for your next course?

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Is it 2015 Already?

Happy New Year Everyone! During the holidays I managed to put work aside for a little while which gave me some free time to play. I got Christoper Hart’s wonderful “Cartoon Faces” book for Christmas and spent some of the time drawing silly characters. Here’s my second attempt. As you can see, there is much room for improvement but I guess that’s why I wanted to book in the first place. I don’t make resolutions but one of my goals this year is to get really good at this. Why, just for the fun of it. That’s all!



Second Attempt

Second Attempt

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Another Freebie Storyline Template From Pinched Head

I created this Storyline menu for my presentation at the Articulate Community Event that was held in Toronto back in July – was it that long ago really?
Anyway, I finally found some time to clean it up and turn it into a template for anyone who wants a Storyline 2 menu that tracks progress as a person works through the content. I won’t go into detail about how I created it, but I have included some developer notes in the template to help people use it.



menu_template



Click the image to view the menu in action or click here to download the .story file (Storyline 2).

Due to popular demand I have created a Storyline 1 version of this template. You can download the .story file here.

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