How to Choose the Right LMS for Your Business
I had a client recently who needed to include a Glossary in their Storyline eLearning course. Fortunately, this kind of functionality is simple to add to any Storyline project.
To begin, open or create a Storyline project. Click Player (located in the Publish group on the Ribbon). From the Data area of the Properties, click Glossary and then from the bottom left of the dialog box, click Add.
In the Glossary Term dialog box, type a Term and Definition. When finished, click the Save button. Repeat the process as necessary.
The final step is telling Storyline that you want the Glossary to appear in the published lesson. From the top of the Player dialog box, select Features. From the list of Player Tabs, select Glossary.
How do you collaborate with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who aren't Adobe Captivate or Articulate Storyline developers? Specifically I'm talking about text content. How many times have you gone back and forth (and back and forth again) with your SMEs, changing a word on a slide here, removing a comma there. Maddening, right?
Wouldn't it be great if you could export the text from your eLearning projects into Word, get your SMEs to make their changes in the document (using Word), and then import those changes back into your project? That kind of workflow is a dream, right? Nope. The workflow exists today in both Captivate and Storyline and the process is simple.
Open or create a Captivate project and choose File > Import/Export > Export project captions and closed captions.
In the Open dialog box, name the resulting document, specify a save destination, and click the Save button. (You will be notified when the captions have been exported.)
Are the slides that make up your eLearning lessons text-heavy? Images are an often overlooked component of a good eLearning course. Sadly, when images are added to eLearning, they often have little to do with the content being presented or, just as sad, are of poor quality.
You've probably heard the saying that a picture is worth 1,000 words. But consider this: people process information presented in an image far faster than text. According to Mike Parkinson, founder of Billion Dollar Graphics, "visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text, graphics quickly affect our emotions, and our emotions greatly affect our decision-making."
Parkinson went on to say "Study after study, experiment after experiment, has proven that graphics have immense influence over the audience's perception of the subject matter and, by association, the presenter (the person, place, or thing most associated with the graphic) because of these neurological and evolutionary factors. The audience's understanding of the presented material, opinion of the presented material and the presenter, and their emotional state are crucial factors in any decision they will make. Without a doubt, graphics greatly influence an audience's decisions."
There's something very helpful about having a pictorial representation of the concept to hang your hat on. An image anchors a concept in a way that words often can't. While text forces you to create an image in your brain from scratch, introducing a picture gives us a jumping-off point, showing us a tangible concept which can be instantly grasped and further explored through text or audio.
For many of the same reasons above, a good image can also increase a learner's comprehension and recall. Instead of trying to remember the nebulous image that they produced in their mind's eye, they can simply call up the more tangible picture that they physically saw and didn't have to manufacture themselves.
Any journalist worth their salt will tell you that a story without a picture lacks the punch it might otherwise have. For instance, if I were to describe to you a natural disaster that occurred in some foreign country, you might be pretty shocked by the words alone. However, it wouldn't be quite as real to you as if I included a picture of the rubble, injured people, and all-around devastation.
Similarly, I could try to tell you how much I love dogs and try all day to convince you to love them too, but it wouldn't have nearly the same impact as if I just showed you this...
How quickly did your heart melt? How long did it take for the word "awwwwwww" to involuntarily escape your mouth? Instantly, right? And now we both love dogs! (Thanks to Mike Parkinson for inspiring this example.)
Punctuating the Text
Finally, eLearning images also work wonders when it comes to breaking up the text and giving the eye a chance to rest. When you read, your eyes scan a wall of words trying to squeeze out each nugget of information. If done for an extended amount of time, it can get exhausting. But throw in some pictures periodically...
... and it breaks the monotony of a text-heavy lesson.
The ability to create Responsive Projects was introduced last June with the arrival of Adobe Captivate 8. During the development process, you can basically create and work on multiple screen sizes (called break points) in one Captivate project. When you publish the responsive project, the learner will automatically be served the break point appropriate for the device they're using.
As I've created more and more Responsive Projects, one of the big concerns is to ensure the fonts and font sizes used in each break point is appropriate for the display size. For instance, I might want my font size to be 14 points in my Primary Break Point, 12 points in my Tablet Break Point, and a bit smaller in my Mobile Break Point.
While I could manually change the font formatting used on my slides, Break Point by Break Point, if I've got a lot of slides, that means I've got a ton of work to do.
As an alternative to manually formatting the slide objects, visit the Object Style Manager (via the Edit menu). Select an Object Style and in the Text Format area, notice that there's a Break Points drop-down menu. The menu contains three options: Primary,Tablet, and Mobile.
Select each Break Point in turn and set the desired Font Family, Size, Format, Color, etc. When finished, click the OK button and you'll see your changes immediately on the project's three Break Points.
You're developing an eLearning module in Adobe Captivate or Articulate Storyline. There's a slide that plays for 45 seconds. As you're listening to the audio, you'd like a screen object to appear in sync with the voiceover audio or some other screen action.
If the object in question is already on the slide, you can certainly select the object on the Timeline and drag it until its left edge gets to the desired part of the Timeline. Of course, if the slide is playing for a significant amount of time, that's going to require a lot of dragging.
Right at a time when flat design has become the rage, removing the three-dimensional look that for 30 years (happy anniversary to Windows this November!) has informed us that "this thing looks like you can poke it in! It must be a button!" people are starting to worry and become uncertain about the clear vocabulary that has helped us to write about software and computers for just as long.
In a recent class I had one participant tell me her office has forbidden the word "click" in favor of "select." Another told me that her office had done just the opposite!
The two concerns in question are whether the word "click" loses its meaning on mobile devices, and whether the word "click" is exclusionary toward individuals with disabilities or different abilities.
The good news is that using the word "click" is not ableist, nor is it declaring the hegemony of mouse users over mobile device users. It is just the standard word in technical communications to indicate "execute," on certain kinds of interactive items on screens. In other words, "click" means "hey you, button, do that thing you do."
The button, as with so many things in the computer realm, is an analogy to real-world little pokable nubbins that make things happen on electric devices from vacuum-cleaners to doorbells. Even real-world buttons have undergone some changes in the ways people use them. The buttons on my microwave and stove are now flat to the surface and covered with a plastic sheet so that spaghetti sauce and porkchop grease can't get in and ruin the mechanism. But you still actuate them by pressing them--and most of them still emit a satisfying "click" sound (or a beep) when you do so.
By analogy, "click" is whatever action you do to an on-screen button to make it do its thing. It is executed on various devices and by various computer users in various ways. Many of us already made the leap from "press and release the left button on a mouse device" to "press and release the left side of your mouse even though it no longer has a button" to "press and release the entire touchpad on your Mac laptop so that emits a click sound" to "tap ever-so-gently on the hair-trigger touchpad of your new Windows laptop" to "tap once on the screen of your iPad or phone" to "tap once on the screen of your touch-screen laptop" to "tab to the button and press the Enter key on your keyboard." And with Windows Speech Recognition, to actuate a button, you actually speak the word "click," as in, "Click OK;Click File; Click Bold; Click Save; Click Close," and so on.
To back away from the word "click" right now is as unnecessary, and even nonsensical, as deciding that the Save icon has to be changed because no-one has used an actual mini floppy disk since 2005. The Save icon has become a symbol that will retain its meaning like other permanent glyphs, such as the Arabic numerals or the smiley face. And the word "click" is the way you indicate "actuate" for certain screen items.
But that is not to say that the word "click" should be used for every screen action. By now I hope I have made clear that a "click" is a characteristic of certain screen items-buttons, icons, tools-not of the physical method by which you actuate them. So even though you may also click your mouse to execute the following actions, the word "click" is not the clearest vocabulary word for them.
You "choose" something from a menu, because you are "choosing" from a list of "choices," and once you "choose" the one you want, the chosen command is immediately executed.
choose File > Close
You "select" something that, once you select it, stays selected. You select a cell in Excel. You select part of the text in a document. You select an option from a list and the option stays selected-as in a drop-down list or a list-box. You select a radio button, and you select a checkbox. And they stay selected. Until you "deselect" them.
select the Portrait Orientation radio button
select the Kerning checkbox
from the Font drop-down list, select Verdana
select the first paragraph in your document
deselect the Enable Live Preview checkbox
You "press" a key on a keyboard or a real button on an actual piece of hardware. (The word "press" definitely cannot be used to describe what you do to an on-screen button, because it may create ambiguity: Does "Press Home" mean on the screen or on the keyboard?)
press the Enter key
press the F6 key
press the Power button (on the microwave)
And finally, you "click" an on-screen button, an icon, or a tool.
click the OK button
click the Bold tool
click the Wifi icon
As this vocabulary discussion continues, I would love to hear your take. Is your office using "select" for everything? Are you using "press" for mobile devices? Or tap? Are you combining commands, as in "click or tap the link"? Email me.
Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications: "Do not use choose as an alternative to click or double-click. Choose does not convey any additional information to those who do not use a mouse, and such users normally understand the equivalent action that they must take when a procedure step says to click."
Do you need to learn how to write eLearning scripts? Come check out my live, online mini course.
Last week I taught you how easy it is add a hyperlink to caption text in Adobe Captivate. This week, let's tackle object hyperlinks.
First of all, keep in mind that any interactive object can take a learner to a website. Interactive objects include, but aren't limited to, click boxes, buttons, text entry boxes, and smart shapes (assuming the smart shape is being used as a button).
To insert an interactive object, click Interactions on the Main toolbar. In this example, I'm going to use a Button.
With the object selected, go to the Properties Inspector and select the Actions tab. From the On Success drop-down menu, choose Open URL or file.
Select Web Page from the Link To drop-down menu and then type in the web address. And just like I mentioned last week when creating a text hyperlink, prior to clicking the OK button, visit the drop-down menu to the right of the web address. Select New from the list of options. (This will ensure that the page that appears after the learner clicks is a new page or tab, rather than a page that replaces the current lesson.)
In our own, considered, humble opinion, we have an awesome blog that every eLearning professional should read.
But sometimes we like to see what our colleagues are doing, which means taking a look at the multitude of eLearning knowledge that exists all over the web. Here are a few blogs that you simply must bookmark and read on a consistent basis:
Is there a blog you would like to add to this list? Feel free to name your go-to blog in as a comment below.
If you've taken any of our Adobe Captivate, Adobe Presenter, or Articulate Storyline classes, you are probably aware that these programs provide a selection of screen characters--cut-out pictures of professional actors in business, medical, or business-casual clothing posed as if they are talking to you. They are intended for use as a kind of avatar of the trainer.
April 16, 2015 in Adobe Captivate, Adobe Presenter, Adobe Presenter Video Express, Adobe's Technical Communication Suite, Articulate Storyline, Camtasia, Captivate, e-learning, eLearning, mLearning, TCS5, TechComm, Technical Communications, Technical Writing, Technology, training, UA, User Assistance, User Experience | Permalink | Comments (0)
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