Approaching Instructional Design

I've just watched this great video on YouTube by Cathy Moore and she gives a wonderful perspective on how elearning instructional design should be approached in the corporate environment. I feel that what she identifies as "the big  mistake" is actually relevant to all elearning including the education sector where I have experienced the same mistakes being made.

In fact what Cathy is really identifying is that all instructional design should be approached in the same way any good teacher should design and deliver a lesson; by identifying a clear set of learning outcomes first from which to design and deliver a lesson/resource; making it as engaging as possible for the learners by providing a range of activities throughout in which the information is embedded so that the learners can "learn by doing" in order to develop what skills/knowledge is required to meet the learning outcomes; and by giving them as little information as possible, just enough to direct them towards their own learning. It is a common mistake that people feel the need to give the learner all the information they need without allowing them to explore and to learn it for themselves. What this approach leads to is information overload which either makes the learner switch off or it just fills their head up with a load of information they will soon forget as they cant see its relevance.

Unfortunately too many people see elearning as a solution to unload lots of information by dressing it up and making it look pretty. This renders it totally useless, and just wastes time and money!


Articulate Plugin for WordPress

This is a fantastic plugin if you want to be able to embed your Articulate projects into your WordPress site. By downloading and installing the plugin it allows you to easily upload and run SCORM packages directly from your blog. Cool huh! Obviously the results are not stored as it is not being run on an LMS however it is a good way to demonstrate what you can produce, rather than just providing screen shots. 

The plugin can be downloaded here:

I am currently working on my WordPress site so once its completed I will make it available so that my Articulate stuff can also be sampled. I have been trying to find a way to do the same for my Adobe Captivate projects however I haven't encountered a solution yet. It would be great if a similar plugin was created for Captivate, but I guess you cant always get what you want. If anyone reading this has a solution for embedding Captivate projects directly into Wordpress that works then please send me a message!

Thank you kindly

New SCORM Package Designed in Articulate Storyline

Okay so my trial version of Articulate Storyline has now ended which is a big shame as I was really enjoying using it. This software is really great, simple to use but provides really great results. It takes a lot of the faff out of building the interactive elements of your SCORM package, and its so easy to animate your objects. Its going to be tough going back to Adobe Captivate now...

Anyway I have put together a new package which provides an introduction to using asstive technology to support and enhance teaching and learning. The package incorporates animated slides, voiceover, an interactive menu slide, demonstrational videos, direct links to online resources, and scenario based quiz slides that allow the user to apply the knowledge they have gained by considering which assistive technology is most appropriate for each scenario given. 

The menu slide displays a range of assistive technologies avaialable; as you hover your cursor over each technology the image responds to indicate it is an active link.

Each link takes you to an animated information slide with accompanying voiceover. There are interactive icons embedded into each page which provide links to online resources and videos.

After the user has learnt about each technology they are then given a couple of scenarios to which they can provide a solution. If they get it wrong they are provided with instant feedback which explains the correct answer. 

The SCORM package is simple to use, colourful and animated in order to make it engaging and more visually stimulating to the user.  

Pixlr free online photo editor

I was recently shown this by a colleague at work Pixlr. Its a free online photo editor and can be best described as a free equivalent to Photoshop.

It's not quite as advanced however it does come with a broad range of tools and effects that you get with Photoshop, and the best thing about it is its hosted online so you dont need to download and install it first! It allows you to save your image in a range of formats including jpeg and png, and seems to run very well even on an outdated version of IE. The program would be very useful for when your on the go and need to quickly edit and image for use and you do not have access to a device with Photoshop.

I've tried a few online programs in the past and Photoshop equvalents and this is by far the most impressive I have come across. Go tell your family and friends about it! 

Articulate Storyline

So I've started playing around with Storyline, the latest incarnation of Articulate, and I have to say I'm rather impressed! Compared to Adobe Captivate (which I have been using and have been mightly impressed by), this eLearning authoring tool is a lot more straight forward to use but you can still do a lot with it.

The interface looks a lot like Powerpoint, however dont let it fool you, there are loads of options and tools for you to use create somthign truly engaging. It comes with a range of templates for you to use to create interactive materials inc. questions slides, drag and drop exercise templates etc. that are less faffy to use than Captivate. It also allows you to use a range of pre-designed backgrounds and templates however, like Captivate, you can fully customise and design your slides and buttons to your own design. The main selling point though is that it allows you to publish to HTML5 so anything you develop is compatible with iPads. No more flash!! Bonus!

I am in the process of building a little something with it to test it out fully, so I'll post more once I have a finished product.


Adobe Connect SCORM

I have developed a SCORM training resource on how to use Adobe Connect virtual classroom software. The package incorporates animated lecture slides, an instructional video, question slides, text-entry boxes, and links to web resources.

I am really pleased with the final result. You can have a look at it in a bit more detail by going to the SCORM section of this blog. 

New Website for Artist

I recently created a new website for fine artist Barbara Maskrey. I decided to use a dark grey colour scheme in order to accentuate the colours in her work. The website features a set of image galleries of her work, an image content slider on the main page, a contact page with a built in message form, and a blog which Barbara can update herself. There is also a set of social media profile icons that link directly to a Facebook page and a twitter profile. I have also setup the RSS feed so that any blog posts made on the website will be automatically sent to both Facebook and Twitter to keep her audience updated and to further promote her work online.