It’s Friday, November 21, 2014, and it’s time for the latest edition of 3 Things I Learned This Week. Each week, I focus on the most riveting, amusing and downright engaging things going on over at the Articulate Community forums. Specifically, I’m searching the back channels (e.g., those hard to find posts, helpful comments and just wonderful samples) where the passage of information can sometimes go unnoticed. In other words, the information that will help you and me continue to build our knowledge and skills in the world of e-Learning and Instructional Design. In this week’s edition, I’ll discuss a trigger tip for navigating between scenes, share a tip for choosing color palettes from a photograph, and finally, discuss the concept of humor when it comes to designing courses. Let’s get started!
#1: Watch those triggers!
Once you start working with Storyline, one of the first types of interactivity you will build into a course will come from triggers. Triggers can be used to jump to a slide, a scene, show or hide a layer, or even change the state of an object. Using triggers helps you control what happens (actions), where it happens (slide, layer, object, character) and when it happens (event). Here’s something that you might find useful. Let’s say you create a course titled All About Dahlias. For the course, you remove all navigation from the player and replace it with your own custom navigation buttons.
Behind the curtain, you can see this course is divided into four scenes. It’s very common to add a trigger to each of the circular buttons (see earlier image) that tells Storyline to jump to a specific slide. For example, each of the navigation buttons leads you to the appropriate slide in the selected scene.
The trigger information for one of those navigation buttons is shown in the next image. Notice how the Action is set to jump to a slide? In this trigger, it’s Slide 2.1.
This works like a charm but, what if you decide to re-arrange the slides in one of the scenes or delete the slide at some point in the future? If this happens, the navigational button will no longer work.
Here’s another way to approach this. Instead of adding a trigger that takes the learner to a specific slide, make one simple modification. Set the trigger to jump to the applicable scene instead. This way, you can rearrange the slides within the scene to your heart’s content and the navigation will remain in place.
#2: How can I extract the colors from a photograph to create a color palette for my next e-Learning course?
Have you ever found an image full of vibrant colors that you want to incorporate into your course palette? Well, once you have your image why not automate the process of identifying the colors it contains? This tip was mentioned by Tim Slade in a discussion thread I found here. There are several online tools that can help with this process but Adobe Color CC (formerly known as Adobe Kuler) provides a quick and simple way to generate the palette. To find this little gem, you’ll have to do a little scrolling! When you arrive on the page, you see a Color Wheel. Scroll to the bottom and look for the option Create from Image. In the photograph below, you can see the color palette generated from an image I uploaded. Give this a try the next time you find that special photograph or company logo that you want to serve as the basis for your course’s color palette.
#3: How much funny is too much funny when it comes to designing e-Learning courses?
Everyone has a different sense of humor when it comes to life in general. In fact, what one person finds hilarious another might find to be offensive. As e-learning designers, we are often tempted with using humor to make our course more engaging. Come on, confess! You know we’ve all been there. It usually started years ago when you designed that first PowerPoint slide deck and thought that cartoon or quote you added would make them roll around the floor in a fit of laughter. Unfortunately, humor can be a double-edged sword whether you are presenting or designing a course. As I was navigating my way around the Articulate community, I came across a thread that touched on this exact subject. Here are a few comments that people shared about the matter:
- It all depends on the audience and if the stakeholders approve
- Take the temperature of your audience and see what’s appropriate
- Adding humor is a great way to make the subject more memorable
- Script a few minutes of content and run it pass the client to see that they think
Here are a few that I would like to add:
- A little humor can go a long way
- Don’t let humor take over your course and replace its overall value
- Think culture(s)! Different cultures interpret humor differently
- Don’t stick to quotes or cartoons if you decide to introduce humor. Try using funny stories and/or real-life examples too.
If you’re looking for a way to introduce humor in a very clever way, check out Bruce Graham’s comments in this thread.
Well, that’s it for this week’s edition. Stop by next week and see what new things I’ve uncovered while surfing the back channels of the Articulate Community forums.