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top10tools Time to participate in Jane Hart‘s annual Top 100 Tools for Learning survey! Jane notes that the tools can be used either for your own personal learning or for teaching/training. So, my approach this year was to submit 5 tools I use for my own development and 5 tools I use for developing training resources for others. The top 5 tools I use for my own development: [list style=”arrow” color=”blue”]
  • Twitter– Easily, my top choice. It’s so simple: follow amazing people = learn amazing things.
  • Google– Yes, it often leads to Wikipedia or YouTube, but it is almost always the launchpad. Even my seven year old knows, if you don’t know something “google it”.
  • Youtube– Sharepoint has a help system, but I truly learned Sharepoint from YouTube. It has saved me numerous, unnecessary calls to home and computer repair services. The breadth of knowledge (and garbage) on YouTube is astounding and has something for everyone from ballroom dancing to using D3js to make online visualizations.
  • Delicious– I realize Evernote has more to offer, but I started early and have a lot of items indexed and archived for myself. It’s been a great curation and archive tool for me.
  • Udemy– with constant shifts in tools and technologies, I find it helpful committing to a structured program. Between the options available and almost constant price specials, I get courses worth hundreds of dollars for $15 (cheaper than many books on the same topics and with much more interaction/resources).
[/list] Here are the top 5 tools I use to develop learning resources for others: [list style=”arrow” color=”blue”]
  • Powerpoint– the most ubiquitous and familiar tool across organizations for storyboarding, presenting ideas, and doing handoffs (it takes a villiage, people!). In the right hands, it make good presentations and decent infographics. Those who really know what they are doing can create effective templates for SMEs that work very well with common development tools.
  • Storyline– I could write many articles on why, but I can sum it up with two statements. First, “folks get it”. For whatever reason (my team trialed several competing tools), folks become more productive with Storyline- faster than their competitor’s tools. And second, “community”. Even if you aren’t an Articulate user, join the Articulate community and benefit from the resources shared.
  • Photoshop- Sure, there are other tools, but I’ve been with Photoshop since it’s start.
  • SCORMCloud– I use my test account to check LMS Issues (I am between two right now because of an acquisition). I am using it as I start to experiment with xAPI.
  • WordPress– this is where I share with peers. I haven’t done as much with blogging as planed, but the next year is going to be a serious upgrade, not just in sharing, but functionality. I truly intend on turning this site into a pretty robust learning platform as I explore the evolution the industry is undergoing. And I plan on bringing as many folks along for the journey as I can.
[/list] Plenty of other tools in the shed, but those are my top 5s. Participate in the survey and let others know about the great tools you use.
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Photography, Uncategorized

Massive Dynamic has over 10 years of experience in Design, Technology and Marketing. It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using ‘Content here, content here’, making it look like readable English. Many desktop publishing packages and web page editors now use Lorem Ipsum as their default model text, and a search for ‘lorem ipsum’ will uncover many web sites still in their infancy.

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Presentation1 Here is another Before & After example.

BEFORE- the original content

Like the other interactions in this series, this comes from huge, high-visibility orientation course on workplace attitudes and behaviors initially developed by a junior developer in our group. This particular action needed little work- the concept was fine, it just needed a bit more improvement in graphics and flow in my opinion. Let’s review the original (text blurred to protect the organization’s material).

Intro Screen (not shown)

Standard scenario intro setup using an Articulate character: “Meet <name>. She just received a call from…”

Interaction

The interaction concept is simple. The main character gets a call and needs to pick the best reply. The user clicks the next button to get to the interaction.    

Feedback

  Feedback is triggered instantly when the user makes a selection. This is a vast improvement on prior screens in the course that was using the “next” button as a submission trigger. However, this also creates a consistency issue. Because on this screen it actually acts as a next button enabling users to skip the interaction. The feedback itself only has small presentation issues. Incorrect and Correct feedback are actually difficult to distinguish from one another and the Correct feedback prompt area seems to crop part of the customer service image. cust_serv_orig_incorrect cust_serv_orig_correct  

AFTER – the revision

[button title=”click here to see this in action” type=”linkbutton” color=”blue-lite” url=”http://businesscriticallearning.com/wp-content/uploads/storyline/customerservice/story.html” target=”_blank” ]

Intro Screen (not shown)

The intro screen is just a different aesthetic choice using photos and color vs the original white background and Storyline characters.

Interaction

The left half of the screen animates a conversation just as a text stream would through standard phone SMS texts or popular messaging applications. I though this would be a good way to make it more current and for most users, immediately intuitive. After the drop-target area shows, the options to drag display.If users drop a reply outside the drop target, it returns it’s original position.

Feedback

The feedback triggers immediately when an option is dropped on the drop target. The columns for the customer conversation and feedback were made consistent in presentation and Incorrect and Correct feedback each have different color schemes.  

The client didn’t use it- but you can!

Since the organization went in a different direction with the final version of the course, this interaction won’t be used, so I removed company-specific information, to offer you the .story file – have fun making it your own. More to come!
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Presentation1 Back again with another before and after example from the content conversions I’ve been doing.

BEFORE- the original content

This is one interaction from a huge, high-visibility orientation course on workplace attitudes and behaviors initially developed by a junior developer in our group. The concepts are fundamentally sound, but the graphics and flow had opportunity for improvement during our conversion. Let’s review the original (text blurred to protect the organization’s material).

Intro Screen (not shown)

Standard scenario intro setup using an Articulate character: “Meet <name>. He just overheard a conversation between his manager and a home office employee.”

Interaction

The interaction concept is simple. The main character overhears a conversation where his manager and a home office employee are planning to do something legal, but not consistent with the values of the organization. He has several courses of action he could pursue, but really needs to distinguish between good and bad ideas he is considering. The original designer put in an animation. The left half of the screen renders to introduce the scenario and show the conversation. Then, the right half displays the main character and the interaction. Despite the use of animation, the design falls into the common trap of “flat design thinking” I mentioned in my previous before and after post. The end result is too much on the screen at once. Only half of the real estate is dedicated to the interaction, which is the purpose for this screen. The design of the “idea boxes” was not immediately intuitive to a some users and the boxes sizing did not distinguish them as clear drop targets for the interaction. “Tonight, the role of the submit button will be played by the next button”… On virtually every screen of the course, the right pointing arrow is for navigating to the next slide. One some interactions, the next button suffers this identity crisis. There were a other opportunities to improve the interaction. These are easier to see in the following screenshot: interactionissues [list style=”arrow” color=”blue”]
  • The size of the thought bubbles overflow the drop targets as well as the stage area.
  • Thought bubbles do not need to be dropped on any valid drop target to submit the interaction (for example, you can just drag it over the main character as shown).
  • Once the first item is dropped on a drop target, you can no longer read the name (as shown, you can no longer determine which box was for a good ideas, which one was for bad ideas).
[/list]

Feedback

Incorrect feedback essentially says “Incorrect. <Character> should choose a different course of action.” and a Try Again button resets the interaction. So a user possibly need to try every possible combination to get the correct answer to advance in the course. This is a bit harsh in my opinion, considering there is no feedback to help guide users to perform better, and this is one small interaction in a very large course. Despite the issues, there is a great opportunity here. So often in business, we are faced with situations that aren’t black and white and have actions could take and others that we might consider, but really shouldn’t pursue. So, I set out to develop a “Good idea/Bad idea” template that could apply to many business scenarios (I’d attempt to develop a similar interaction for husbands: “good thing to say to wife” vs “do not say this to your wife”, but my bride of 14 years can assure you that I don’t score well on that test).

AFTER – the revision

[button title=”click here to see this in action” type=”linkbutton” color=”blue-lite” url=”http://businesscriticallearning.com/wp-content/uploads/storyline/overheard/story.html” target=”_blank” ]

Intro Screen (not shown)

The intro screen is just a different aesthetic choice using photos and color vs the original white background and Storyline characters.

Interaction

The setup was separated from the interaction itself. I attempted to create a little ambiance by selecting a photo that makes it look as if you have snuck in behind your manager and stumbled upon the conversation that occurred. Each idea appear one at a time for the user to considers and drop onto a very obvious drop-target area. If the user drops the idea on the incorrect drop target, it returns to the neutral position for quick, instant feedback. Once all of the ideas are dropped onto the correct drop target, a final congratulations message displays.

This ended up on the cutting room floor- so enjoy!

The organization did not select this version of the content treatment, so this template will not be used. Instead of letting it die unused on the cutting room floor, I removed company-specific information, and I am offerring it to you to adapt for your own needs Download the .story file and have fun! More to come!
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