Tip #1 - Try a Webcomic Approach.
If you've seen the Google Chrome comics by Scott McCloud, you'll realise how powerful a medium the webcomic is. The reason why webcomics are so effective is because they not only simplify complex topics, but they also make these topics seem less intimidating. More importantly people are used to flipping pages in a comic and so linear navigation doesn't seem odd to your audience. So if you have an engaging story, a comic approach automatically draws your learners to click the Next button. I can understand that Scott McCloud's work can make you feel it's really difficult to do, but if you look at the video above, you'll realise that its quite easy to create comic scenes quickly, provided you have the right image repositories. I recommend the design comics toolkit and elearningart's character packs, to get you kick started with this approach. If you want a sketch like feel to the elearning art character packs, then take a look at this tutorial.
Once you've created your scenes, there's the question of integrating the visuals into a story line. If you want to use Powerpoint, then the above video can be a good starting point and you can then use Articulate Presenter to stitch together the elearning. If you want an online magazine style effect like in the video, then you could use a tool such as Issuu or Yudu. Now, I recognise that you'd love some inspiration to get started, so here are two webcomics that I really like:
- Secret in the Cellar by the Smithsonian Museum
- Telstra's 3Rs of Social Engagement (while this includes talking characters, remember that you can get them at a very low cost using Codebaby Studio)
Tip #2 - Use Effective Interactivity
A couple of months back I'd written a post titled "The tools don't matter, use your creativity". If you look at the example from that post, you'll notice that it's a fairly linear course, as is the original course by Kineo. That said, the use of effective interactivity makes both courses easy to get through. One of the reasons I'm a big fan of Articulate Studio 09, is that it puts the power to create effective interactivity in the hands of less skilled people such as me. Here are three of interactions from the rapid elearning blog, that Tom (by his own admission) built with very little effort:
- Mini Cooper - A replica of an interaction from Allen Interactions using Articulate Engage
- 5 Common Quiz Mistakes - A demonstration of quizzes using Articulate Quizmaker
- Ethics Refresher - an excellent example of how you can develop scenarios using only a form-based authoring tool.
Tip #3 - Use the right LanguageIf you're on a really tight budget for the year (and yes, I understand because I've been there), then Articulate isn't your only option. Remember that you have some free options for linear elearning, in the form of the following tools:
- ExeLearning -to create HTML based elearning
- Udutu - the free, yet full-fledged authoring tool
- and CourseLab
For today's post, I'd like to give away the course files for the example in Tip#2. You can download them here. I'm sorry I can't give you the comic from Tip #1yet, but I promise to make it available once I have the opportunity. It's my passion to try doing more with less, so this blogpost is quite close to my heart. How did you like the examples in today's post? What methods are you trying at work to ensure that you can make the most of your budgets? I'd love to hear from you, so please feel free to add your thoughts to the comments section. Hope you enjoyed today's article.