Happy New Year 2007!!!
At this point, new year resolutions have been made, then broken / cast away / re-made…and then one vowed to be more diligent next year and 2007 resolutions are locked away together with 2006, 2005 ones…Is it too early for this verdict? Or better yet, the non-believers of resolutions who smugly stood aside and smile knowingly at those in their midst whom always attempt this old tradition or should I say urban legend? Not exactly singing your tunes here? OK?! Those of you who actually think you will not be in the above categories, please stand up!
I only have one word for you, BRAVO! Please be the forerunners in clicking that left mouse button and connect away as this issue promises to be full of excitement!
What do you know? It is that time of the year again! eLC will have another exciting day on 26th January 2007, Friday @ Amara Hotel, 1PM - 3PM as our Lectora Carnival & Awards Ceremony 2007 will be held. For the 2nd time! If you are not on our guest list yet, what are you waiting for? Contact us at (65) 6846 9040 or firstname.lastname@example.org now!
In-sights from our Chief Judge, Benson Soong (Get a snippet from his column this issue)! Fun games galore! Who knows best?! Spot the difference! A day at the swish gallop races! Goodies in buckets! An event that simply can't be missed!
Want to know more about the various products and services eLC offers? Pop on down to our exciting event to have a chat with Keith and the gang! Cya there!
Title: The Five Principles of eLearning Content Design
As some of you may know, eLC runs a series of Instructional Design courses. These courses range from the 2-day introductory instructional design course to our more comprehensive eContent Authoring Certificate programme. In the course, we discuss various “templates” and “frameworks” that can be used to quickly judge the quality of any particular eLearning courseware. Examples of such templates or frameworks that we talk about include David Merrill's Five Stars of Effective Instruction (for e.g. see http://id2.usu.edu/5Star/Introduction.PDF) or Roger Shank's FREEDOM principles (for e.g. see http://ome.ksu.edu/id/blog/idos/article/elearning_from_the_outside_in/).
However, as some of you have pointed out, the above mentioned frameworks suggest how a courseware could be judged or structured from a content perspective (e.g. Merrill's Five Stars proposes a Problem => Activation => Demonstration => Application => Integration flow format) but these frameworks do not suggest how courseware could be designed from a learnability or usability perspective. Many of you have asked me if there is a particular template or framework that I use to quickly gauge the learnability or usability of eLearning courseware and so your questions have triggered me to think about how I (often unconsciously) perform my evaluation. So, here it is; the Five Principles of eLearning Content Design as seen from a learnability or usability perspective, distilled from the years of experience evaluating eLearning courseware as both a Brandon Hall Learning Awards Judge (since 2003) and the Chief Judge for the Lectora eLearning Courseware Competition since its inception in 2005.
The Five Principles of eLearning Content Design (Usability Perspective)
1. The Lead-in Principle
2. The Impression Principle
3. The Space (80/20) Principle
4. The Engagement Principle
5. The Consistency Principle
For this issue, let me discuss the Space (80/20) principle, using the screen shots below as illustration. The screen shots are adapted and/or taken from the courseware Paper Cranes and Beyond by Mr. Hedren Sum, formerly from Signal Institute, which is a GOLD winner in the Best Use of Multimedia, Interaction or Simulation category of this year's Lectora Courseware Competition.
Comparing the screen shots below, which opening animation do you prefer?
By and large, the vast majority of people I asked said that they prefer the first screen shot, despite the fact that all the graphical elements are the same! So, if all the graphical elements are the same, why is the first screen shot preferred? The answer lies with the amount (and use) of free, empty space. According to the Space (80/20) principle, at least 20% of a frame should be free, empty space. Looking at the second screen shot, less than 5% of the frame would be considered as “empty space” whereas for the first screen shot, about 30% would be constituted as “empty space”.
Like a house, such “empty space” provides visual cues for how the various elements of a frame (or room in the houses' context) are separated, and a lack of such space makes for a cluttered look. In addition, the lack of space causes us to be unable to enjoy the design and “beauty” of individual element... So, remember this rule when designing your eLearning courseware as very often, we tend to cramp too much content and/or graphical elements onto a single page (or frame). Remember this 80/20 rule, and be on your way towards creating courseware that is more useable!
I will be talking more about these Five Principles of eLearning Content Design at our upcoming Lectora Carnival and Awards Ceremony. See you there!
Title: Controlling Flash files in Lectora 2007!
Need to write specific script in flash to control your .swf movies in Lectora? Now it’s a thing of the past! With new flash command features in Lectora 2007, you can get your flash movies to work exactly how you want it.
STEP 1: Insert a .swf file into Lectora 2007.
STEP 2: Use the button wizard to create 3 buttons naming it as “PLAY”, “STOP” and “PAUSE”.
STEP 3: Click on the “PLAY” button to open up the properties window. Select “Flash Command” in the Action column.
STEP 4: In the Target column, select the flash file that you want to control in Lectora.
STEP 5: In the Command column, chose the “Play” action. Repeat the same action for both “Stop” and “Pause” button. Now test your file in the run mode in Lectora.
All offers only available at the Lectora Carnival & Awards Ceremony 2007 event this time round! So don't think twice, come join us and be connected!
What do you know? 3 months whooshed by since the last issue (I got this incessant habit to countdown things)…New Year resolutions' lament aside, it is usually true that people will only take a moment to reflect when the time is at a significant period like this or when some event force them to…
Anyway, all year round, we bust our butts to earn the next paycheck, go to the next event, celebrate the next big occasion on our social calendar, or buy the next “need” or “want” item…only when the TVs start advertising their special holiday programs, the bosses start smiling as the financial year comes to a close (for the fortunate ones anyway), the longer absences of your colleagues taking holidays…all these start signaling a gradual easing of the day-to-day hectic activities, a sort of ending to a chapter in our lives…then we have time to think back what have we achieved in the past year, and do we want more/different/better milestones in the new year?!
I don't know about you. But I intend to make my next chapter, not necessarily better (according to my beloved married male colleagues), but definitely a more exciting one…starting with a mantra to project a halo around my left middle finger…