Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Designing for Articulate: A Newbie’s View

I’m new to Articulate. Although I’ve been rhomeproducts_studio09eading Tom Kuhlman’s Rapid E-Learning Blog now for a couple of years, I’ve never actually designed (or for that matter, built) an Articulate course.

My canvas for the past four years has been custom Flash. I’d have an idea and then someone much smarter than me would go figure out how to make it work.

At Kineo, we often work with our clients’ tools of choice. That is, if a client uses Articulate in-house, they may ask us to build a few courses for them in Articulate. (We also do a lot of custom Flash, Mohive, etc.)

For the past few weeks I’ve been designing and scripting my first Articulate courses. I’m such a n00b.

I started off feeling a bit pegged in: “I have to design and write for a set of templates? How constricting!”

But now I’m starting to loosen up a bit, with help from my Kineo colleagues. (Thanks especially to Matt!). It’s a fun challenge.

Some beginning tips:

Keep variety. Don’t use an Engage Tab screen for every other page. Mix it up.

Intersperse questions throughout the content. Formative questions break the content up with momentary pauses for reflection and to reinforce the learning process.

Use Engage Labeled graphics as question pages. “Which of these widgets would you use to paint a monkey?” There’s no penalty for a wrong answer. Let the learner explore.

Spice it up with scenarios. This is true for any tool. Keep it interesting with a story. Compel the learner to want to find out what comes next.

Use interesting images. I’m lucky to have some graphic artists on my team who know how to turn a page into something quite lovely! That doesn’t hurt.

I uploaded a final script last night for the UK team (five hours ahead of me) to start working on. This morning, when I logged on to email, I saw a message that the course had been built! Holy cow. That’s rapid.

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