So last week I tweeted an example of immersive learning scenario built entirely in Powerpoint and published using Articulate Presenter. Given that I saw the tweet travel a fair bit, I thought it might be a good idea to share some of the related ideas on this blog.
Does Rapid eLearning mean Crapid eLearning?No, it doesn't have to. Really, the quality of your elearning depends on your creativity and the amount of thought you put into its design. In a recent conference, Cammy Bean and Stephen Walsh put together a great talk on 10 ways you can yawn proof your elearning. If you look at any of the ideas they put into their guide, you'll notice, none of them says, "Employ an expensive flash programmer." or "Get a budget of $100k." Recent advancements in rapid elearning development have put a lot of power into the hands of the average SME who has a passion for learning.
The key to creating interactive elearning then isn't about rollovers and animations. In fact most people are really past the ooh's and aah's you might expect to get as a result of those fancy effects. So the way I define interactivity in elearning is:
"It's not about how someone interacts with the interface, but how the interface interacts with the person's mind."
Immersive scenarios are an inexpensive way to create meaningful interactivityA few months back, my favorite blogger Cathy Moore put up a very interesting article about why you want to include scenarios in your elearning. Coupled with Cathy's excellent presentation on the topic (see below), it was great advocacy for the use of immersive scenarios in your elearning. The key as Cathy says, is to 'solve real problems in the real world.' so we need to think of ourselves as 'experience designers' and not 'information developers'.
How I built my scenarioSo, first things first - the credits. None of the content of this example was mine. This was a scenario Katherine and William Horton presented at a conference 3-4 years back. All I did was pretty it up a bit and place it in Articulate Presenter. My aim was to illustrate how easy it is to create something fairly engaging with just a few minutes of work in Powerpoint, provided you have your design well thought through.
My approach towards scenariosWhen designing any kind of elearning, I like to use Cathy Moore's action mapping approach to first define the scenario-based activities. I then use Ruth Clark's framework to flesh out the details of the scenario. Ruth recommends that as designers we think through the following aspects of the situation on screen.
- Task Deliverable: What will the learner do to demonstrate competence?
- In our case we wanted the manager to make the right decision about somebody's sabbatical leave request.
- Trigger Event: How the task or problem normally initiates in the job setting.
- In our case, the scenario gets triggered when you recieve the approved request from the applicant's supervisor.
- Case Data: What background information is needed to solve the case?
- The employee's file and leave request form the case data for this scenario.
- Guidance: How will learners get assistance when solving the case?
- You can get guidance by talking to the employee's supervisor, an HR person or a legal eagle.
- Feedback: How will the learners receive intrinsic feedback as the scenario plays out? How will they receive traditional, instructional feedback a.k.a Teaching Moments?
- The scenario has some very traditional feedback for the choices they make, but some intrinsic feedback could be useful. Our scenario misses this at the moment, but one way to build this in would be to illustrate the consequence of their choices.
- Reflection: What opportunities will the learner have to review their actions/ decisions and consider alternatives?
- We're missing this part in the demo, but its really important to give the manager and opportunity to review their actions and reflect on how they actually went about the decision.
Visually representing the scenarioI built out all of the elements in my scenario entirely in Powerpoint -- at no point did I go into any external program. A few things that might help you achieve the same effect:
- Tom's tutorial on how to build out a scenario visually.
- Tom's folder template from which you can individually extract the stack of paper, the folder, the paper clip, etc. You can very easily create these assets yourself if you like. Just take a look at this tutorial.
The rest is plain and simple hyperlinking. The current version of this demo has a few minor bugs, but I'll let you have the source files so you can dissect this and have a bit of a play around.
All you need is a bit of inspirationFor many years of my life I kept waking up saying, "I'm not a creative person." I know now that nothing can be far from the truth for both you and me. Sometimes all you need is a bit of inspiration. There are several examples of creativity that you can learn from. In fact, I'm starting to catalogue all such examples at this link. A few examples that I really liked in recent days were:
- A demonstration of how you can recreate an expensive Flash course in Powerpoint (@tomkuhlmann)
- E-mersion's course for the Red Cross
- Telstra's 3Rs of Social Media Engagement
- Experian's online orientation programme