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Monday, August 25, 2014

E-Learning Challenge #48: Storyboard Templates for E-Learning

This weeks eLearning challenge is all about storyboards. I really enjoyed this challenge since my current job is pretty cut and dry on the options we have for presenting material. The same software is used, the same audience attends and the goal is usually pretty similar. So I put on my thinking cap and dusted off some old resources.

I always love when there is questions to answer. I feel like I'm getting interviewed. So, here we go:

Q: How do you define scripting, storyboarding, and prototyping? Which method do you prefer?

A: I define scripting as the pre-work related to audio and video elements.  I feel storyboarding is more for spelling out a course such as the content, branching and assessment.  A prototype is very rough draft example made similarly to a storyboard but including loosely based examples of content.  I prefer to storyboard (Download) and script (Download).  I usually do both separately so I can go into more detail on each.  

Check out my blog posts on audio/scripting and video.

When I use my storyboard I start by asking questions which will help me determine what the client needs.  eLearning is not always the answer and creating ineffective training is the bane of all Instructional Designers existence.  I use the method of asking the 5 w's; who, what, when, where and why. I find that it gets me exactly what I need and opens the conversation up for more in-depth conversations. I like to go into more detail if the client wants a video, audio or scenario since these take the most time to develop. Since not all training is linear I like to include the opportunity to talk about branching and since not all training can be delivered at once I have a spot to talk about chunking as well. I have an area for resources such as images, fonts and color samples and a section if an assessment is necessary.

Q: Do you use different types of storyboards? When do you use each? 

A. I use two different types of storyboards. For a more complex problem that I'm meeting with a high end SME or group I like to bring out my fancy pants PowerPoint.  It offers the feeling of a formal meeting and includes all the basic information to analyze the problem and come up with a game plan. The other type I have is literally a notebook and pencil or pen. I use this for most of my projects and while it's not my most preferred method it's the quickest and easiest way to launch a project.  I'll ask questions and jot down the answers, write down references to internal and external material as well as examples mentioned and create a quick outline of the project.

Q: How do you storyboard interactivity?

A. I storyboard interactivity by taking good notes.  Most of the time I'm completing the development and know know what to write down so I remember. Scenarios are a little bit more in depth because I'll ask for specific ideas on what characters to use or what the feeling/tone of the scenario or voice will be used.

Q. What are your top three storyboard tips for new course creators?

1. Courses are not always the answer.
2. Take the extra opportunity to practice and find the method that works the best for you.
3. Be prepared to vary your method depending on employer, SME or working situation (virtual).

Friday, August 22, 2014

Call Center Challenge

This past week's eLearning Hero Challenge (#47) was to create a call center interaction and I gladly answer the call with a simple plot, pics and PowerPoint (my favorite P's!). I figured I would do quick post on how and why I did what I did. 

What I wanted:
  • Create a simple interaction in between an incoming sales rep and a customer
  • The customer is happy and compliant to show how smoothly a first level of interaction can go (hey a girl can dream, right?)
  • Capture employee's basic "need to know information"
    • Proper introduction
    • What client information to collect
    • Follow up (Plugins/Upgrades?)
  • Use characters and background images to differentiate in between roles and locations (Credit
  • Go between characters and questions in a logical manor

What I came up with:

Did you submit something? Would you have done something differently?  Don't forget to comment, find me on Twitter (@jvalley0714) or Google+. Sharing is caring!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Scenarios < 100

Taking hints from the eLearning Uncovered eLearning Tips in 140 character or less Twitter campaign and HubSpot’s (In Under 100 Words) blog series here is my definition of a scenario (in relation to eLearning) under 100 words.

A scenario is a realistic situation in which a learner can relate to a character in a familiar setting that is presented with a problem and is required to find a solution. The learner is presented with information (the set up) and then is asked to make a decision (the crossroad) on how to handle the situation. Feedback is given (the result) which tells the learner if they are performing the actions correctly or explains what tactics and information should be used correctly work through the problem.

Keep your eye out for a post on a call center scenario for the eLearning Hero's challenge of the week.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Free (or cheaper) eLearning Tools

While working on a recent project I found myself going on a frantic search for just the right picture.  Having the right resources at your disposal can definitely make or break the amount of time you spend on a eLearning project.  So, I decided to update my toolbox and possible solutions with some resources that are free or lower cost than the mainstream product.  The items marked with asterisk are ones I've personally used for one project or another.  

Do you have an "I can't live without" website or service? Please feel free to add any resources I missed by commenting below or tweeting me (@jvalley0714).


Course Authoring



Image Manipulation








Other  - Not near Excel….have no fear * - Because who doesn’t need help spelling * - To help you pick the right word - Check your website before it goes live - Speed test for your computer - Free annotation creator - Keep everything you need together all in one place

Monday, August 4, 2014

Articulate eLearning Hero's Challenge #45

On Friday the Articulate's eLearning Hero Challenges administered task #45 and asked to share your audio recording setup and provide tips.  Here is my response.  Let me know in the comments if you participate in these challenges and leave a link to your submissions and I will check them out.

Tell us about your recording setup.

  • I use a Logitech headset that was provided to me by my company. 
  • I create my scripts in Word or email them to myself. 
  • I record directly into Camtasia and then edit in Camtasia as well. 
  • I am unable to use my cubicle because I'm in an open area so I usually use a conference room to record in. My company is talking about dedicating a media room for audio and video production but it's not an immediate change.
Show us your audio setup.

Share your three favorite audio recording tips.

  1. Use concise and relate-able wording with emotion and emphasis (bold/italic) when needed
  2. Read through your script until there is a level of comfort and to check for any potential slip up areas
  3. Smile and/or record to someone (I usually have a screen shot of my kids up)

See a full list of tips in my post called How to Make Audio More Than Just Noise


Check out my thread in the LinkedIn group Instructional Designers