2014 the year of the story

Top Story Concept.

In 2014 my focus was very much on creating interactive elearning and utilising the power of the story through interesting design and technologies. This showed under my five most highly viewed and popular posts for 2014. If you haven’t already, check these out:

  1. Using digital stories in elearning
  2. The awesome tool Videoscribe
  3. Rapid prototype vs storyboard
  4. Why storytelling should be part of your elearning kit
  5. 10 steps to create a digital story for elearning

These are also topics I’ve especially enjoyed blogging about. If you would like to hear more on any topic please comment to let me know. Have a wonderful 2015!

Coding individualised feedback in Storyline

Time To Learn Concept

In a recent project I wanted to give feedback that was more than just a result of a single choice selected in an elearning scenario. Instead I wanted a way that remembered an individual’s series of choices over different slides to later provide them with feedback about each choice they made. This way the learners would feel as if the feedback was specifically tailored to them. I did this by coding in Articulate Storyline.

Storyline is much easier to code in than Captivate and Lynda.com is well worth the investment to get you started.

In the Storyline example below, coding enabled me to give individualised feedback to the learner at the end of the activity – dependent on the choices they made on previous slides. The activity was to write a system (file) note and the learner received feedback once they had constructed the whole note. Unfortunately I can’t show you the final version as it’s proprietary, however, this first prototype with placeholder content should give you an idea how this individualised feedback could work.

Want to know how to replicate this? I’ve put together a guide that you can print out and takes you through the code step by step. Why not try it out yourself?

Coding individualised feedback

This code and individualised feedback design could work well for incremental activities or skills. What activities could you use this coding for? What techniques do you use to make your elearning feel more personalised?

I’d love to hear your ideas and examples, follow me to hear more of mine.

How to use Twitter as a learning tool

Ostersund, Sweden - April 13, 2014: Twitter website under a magn

Using Twitter as a learning tool – part 2

First it’s important to mention Twitter is easy to incorporate as a learning tool. In fact the hardest part was going through and getting faculty approval. Actually incorporating it into the course design as one of the learning tools was easy, low effort, no cost, and intuitive (Using Twitter as a learning tool – part 1).

Here are three steps to complete before designing Twitter activities in a course:

1. Get familiar with Twitter yourself

If you aren’t a regular user of Twitter do some background research to understand how the tool works. Here I’ve tweeted a website that I found particularly useful:

2. Inform students you’re using Twitter

Tell students that Twitter will be used to complete some of the learning activities. You do not need to teach students how to use Twitter just source some beginning starter videos and website links so they can get themselves familiar with it. There are lots of videos about Twitter on Youtube, here’s an example of one:

 

3. Explain the Twitter conditions specific to the course

There are two important conditions students needed to know to participate in Twitter activities successfully.

  1. The first was how to identify the course teacher’s tweets and receive current news and examples from the teacher. To meet this first condition we opened a Twitter account for faculty to use specifically for this course. We chose a relevant username/twitter handle so the teacher could be easily identified. For example, “@universitycoursename” – not a teacher’s personal name. By not having the teacher’s name it also meant that other faculty members could tweet under the same twitter handle in the future if desired. The students were advised to follow the teacher’s twitter handle to receive course updates and current examples related to course content.
  2. The second condition was how the students could allow the teacher and other students to find their tweets. For this condition we asked students to include a course and cohort specific hashtag in each of their tweets, for example, “#unicourse2014”. This meant that their tweets could be searched by either course lecturers or their peers. In each Twitter activity students were reminded to use the course specific hashtag.

Once you have completed these three steps then it’s time to start looking at how Twitter activities can be regularly incorporated within the course content. My next post in this series will describe how I incorporated Twitter into the course activities and other possibilities for using Twitter in activities. You can read my previous Twitter post here or follow me on Madelearningdesigns.com to get notified when new posts are available (approximately 2/3 times per month).

You may also find these posts interesting:

Monthly inspiration – Brain Rules 

Using digital stories in elearning

Secondhand shopping for elearning

Using Twitter as a learning tool

Brussels - March 03: Twitter Hit By Hackers.

Twitter is a powerful social media tool used for micro-blogging and social networking. Google the stats of Twitter use and you will see numbers in the millions and billions. Twitter is hugely successful as it enables users to disseminate information quickly and easily through Tweets. It also makes searching for content easy through user generated #hashtags.

Twitter is easy to access, simple to use and it is a powerful tool to include in your elearning toolkit. In fact it may come as no surprise that Twitter has been voted the top learning tool for 5 years running by Jane Hart’s Top 100 Tools for learning.

So why might you want to use Twitter as a learning tool?

Let me share 5 reasons why I chose to implement Twitter in a distance university course I was recently involved in:

1. Relevance to the content

The course I was tasked with designing included the impacts of social media as one of it’s key topic areas. Therefore it made sense to actually utilise Social Media within the instructional design of the course – walking the talk.

2. Bring current events into the content 

The subject matter of this particular course was rapidly developing where reference to current events and new technology developments were important. Twitter research activities provided an avenue in which I could pull very current events and technology developments into the course content without having to constantly rewrite the content each year or two.

Twitter is great for linking to current events or examples within a subject.

3. Access and mobility

Twitter phone

Twitter is extremely mobile meaning that students can utilise Twitter on their smartphones and complete activities while on the go. This meant the Twitter learning activities could go to where the students are – mobile learning – rather than forcing them to access the learning through a static computer.

4. Bite sized efforts

All Twitter activities were designed to be completed rapidly within 5 – 10 minutes max. This meant that these activities could be completed in small bite sized efforts and provided an interesting alternative to posting in a forum or other activities. It also invited students to engage with content in a different manner.

5. Curation of content

By using a unique #hashtag for each student cohort, students could potentially search tweets by other previous student cohorts and share information, resources and references. This increased the possibility of a community of learning being built over time that goes beyond the course timeframes and boundaries.

Students could also use Twitter to ‘favourite’ and curate their own content to use within their assignments and assessments.

The lecturer could also curate Tweets and use Tweets over the course to share student generated content – social learning.

In summary, here I’ve given 5 reasons why I used Twitter in a particular university course. Twitter can also be used in other environments for different types of learning experiences. There are many reasons why you might consider using Twitter as part of your learning toolkit, some may or may not be the same as mine.

Have you used Twitter as a learning tool? Please share your reasons for using Twitter in the comments below, or you can Tweet them to me @LoMinister. If you are interested in different elearning methods or want to read more about how I’ve used Twitter in activities you can also follow me on my blog – www.madelearningdesigns.com.

Below are some other posts you might find interesting

Secondhand shopping for elearning

Why story telling should be part of your elearning toolkit

Monthly inspiration – learning from leaders

Motivational Background

This month I’ve taken more time than usual to invest in my own learning and professional development. I’ve been learning from leaders in the field to fast forward my skills, knowledge and performance.

Here are some ways I learnt from leaders this month, that could also be relevant to your professional development:

Connect with leaders in the field

Take opportunities to connect with leaders in your field, there’s reasons why they’re successful – they have a lot to share and they’ve got where they are by sharing with others.

This month I was lucky to have the opportunity to learn more about learning technologies and the future of learning from thought leader Nigel Paine.

Here I interview Nigel about some of his views on Social Media:

You can see Nigel talk about other topics relevant to learning technologies here, he also has a wonderful new book out that you can order.

Nigel's book

Invest in quality courses in your field of interest

I’ve also been learning how to adapt my design strategies for virtual classrooms, an effective but under utilised (or absent) delivery mechanism in many New Zealand organisations.

I’ve just completed a ‘Design and Development of Virtual Classroom Training Advanced’ course through The eLearning Guild that was very high quality – I recommend it to anyone who is interested in either designing for or facilitating virtual classrooms. I believe completing this course fast-forwarded the quality of my design for virtual classroom environments by at least 1- 2 years – the course was cheap in comparison.

It’s well worth it to learn from the leaders in your field. Find out who has the expertise in what you want to learn – connect with them -and invest in your learning.

Monthly inspiration – Getting geeky with coding

Extreme Computer Nerd

Over the last month I’ve found myself working with code in both two of the big elearning programs Adobe Captivate 8 and Articulate Storyline. Once you can code in either of these programs your options for interactivity and adding interest open up expotentially.

This example below uses conditional coding (if this happens then these things will happen) in Captivate 8. My client wanted text boxes to close automatically when the next information icon was clicked on i.e. only one text box could show at one time. Here is a mocked up file simulating the solution, it was trickier than it looked…

 

Articulate Storyline is much easier to code in than Captivate and Lynda.com is well worth the investment to get you started.

In the Storyline example below, coding enables me to give individualised feedback to the learner at the end of the activity – dependent on the choices they made on previous slides. The actual activity was to write a system note where the learner gets feedback on their specific note choices. This draft example will show you how it could work in real life.

 

If you haven’t yet delved into the world of coding in your rapid elearning tools, I highly recommend investing the time in learning this – you will become the master of the tool and have much more options for getting creative.

Click follow me to receive more updates on this geeky stuff or other elearning instructional design areas. I’d love to hear your thoughts on coding in these rapid elearning tools.

Monthly inspiration – the awesome tool Videoscribe!

 

Have you heard of videoscribe? Do you use it?

Videoscribe is a seriously cool tool that allows you to create whiteboard animations in a fast and effective way.

I’ve used it to tell stories, for example a customer’s journey through an organisation. I’ve also used it to show pharmacy technicians how to solve complicated calculations (kind of like the Khan Academy). I have many plans to utilise this tool more in the future now that I know how to bend it to what I want it to do.

Don’t worry you don’t have to be a graphic artist to use this tool. Videoscribe comes with it’s own stock of images, you can also make your own images using a SVG drawing tool such as Inkscape for Windows or idraw for Mac

It publishes well into the big elearning tools like Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate. Or alternatively you can use it in it’s .mov or .flv published state to make it run seamlessly across multiple devices – just like the example given above.

Another benefit of Videoscibe is that it’s available on a subscription basis – so you can learn it and try it before you buy, without it burning a hole in your pocket – download it here

Can you see ways you could utilise this tool in your elearning? I’d love to hear your thoughts, or maybe you have a cool tool you’d like to share too?