That wraps up the last learning tip we are throwing at you for 2009. Look forward to indulge both in food and times spend with your loved ones during year-end festive periods. On behalf of all eLCians, we would like to wish you a Wonderful and Happy Festive Season ahead!
Till the next issue…
Title: Evolution in eLC Content Development
In Part 1 of the Use of Audio (you can find it archived in issue 17), we touched on the technical aspects of an audio file, the various audio file formats, and their differences. Let’s do a short recap.
There are many different audio file formats, but the commonly used ones are .MP3 and .WMA. They are largely popular because of the quality that they can provide with a relatively low file size. .Wav files may also be widely-used, but they are generally the largest in file size as they are uncompressed. In other words, they are raw sound samples. Depending on the targeted output platforms, which may be CD- ROM, web-based streaming or for downloading, you should be able to decide which format is best-suited to use by now.
Now, let’s go on to explore another important aspect of audio – tempo!
Tempo refers to the pace of the sound, usually a piece of music i.e. how fast the music is. In media, an animation/motion is usually accompanied by background music (BGM). If the animation is well complimented by the BGM, the viewer will be entirely absorbed into the animation. Of course, if it is not done well, it will also affect the overall effect for the viewer, no matter how good the animation is. Think television shows and/or movies. The music tempo generally helps set the pace of the story for the audience and this is what you can achieve for your creations.
A piece of music with a very high tempo may subconsciously convey a mental environment of intensity and excitement to the listener. However, one with a slow tempo may produce the direct opposite effect of serenity and/or tranquility. Try listening to the 2 sample music pieces below with your eyes closed.
Can you tell the difference? Music A has a very high tempo, and seems to create a sudden adrenalin-rush. On the other hand, Music B aims to create a very serene and green scenery in your mind.
That’s what tempo is all about! Now you have grasped the fundamentals of how to choose the right BGM, you can even explore the various moods that a piece of music can produce. Playful, mysterious, sorrow and anger, can all be brought out by music alone.
Hope you are all hyped up to enhance your next animations with BGM and provide your viewers with great audio-visual effects? Get “doing” now!
We are now in the last quarter of 2009! Time simply flew pass without much notice, and it had been really eventful in the third quarter with Singaporeans celebrating Singapore’s National Day, Hari Raya Puasa and also Mid-Autumn Festival. Now, we are looking forward to the upcoming holidays of Hari Raya Haji and Christmas, after enjoying the long weekend of Deepavali. Isn’t it great to have so many occasions where we can get together and share those precious moments with people we love?!
Before we close shop for the year and indulge, here is this quarter’s issue for your reading and learning pleasure.
Lectora Competition turns 5!
eLC will be organizing her 5th Lectora eLearning competition. The competition aims to showcase and recognize outstanding examples of eLearning courseware, and encourage the creation of good interactive learning resources for the purpose of teaching and learning.
There are lots of attractive prizes to be won, such as a round trip ticket to United States which includes hotel stay worth more than SGD$5000 and many more prizes in CASH!
For more information about the competition, please visit www.lectora.com.sg
All entries must be submitted (by email, ftp, or post mail) by 30th November 2009.
Title: Instructional Design from Graphical Perspective
Hi! It has been quite some time since I last wrote. Since then, I have continued to practice instructional design in elearning, and together with my background in graphical design have made this process more enjoyable. Let me share some of my thoughts on Visualizing Instructional Design from a Graphical Perspective with you. Hope you enjoy this article!
“Elearning” is the best utilisation of media coupled with relevant instructional design, to create a suitable learning package to allow the learner to best comprehend the knowledge with minimal effort. It is often misunderstood that elearning is only about putting content into a computer and presenting it to the learner with some enhancement of graphics and animation. Instructional design’s focus is on learning and not technology; its concept is based on theoretical and practical research in the areas of cognition, educational, psychological and problem solving. In short, instructional design has a systematic process of translating general principles of learning into instructional materials and learning.
Multimedia and graphics are developed only after an instructional structure is formed, and often are categorised as “technology”. As a large part of elearning involves the learner viewing the computer screen, it is critical that the visual elements chosen will enhance the learner’s experience in learning. If the visual elements are not selected appropriately, it will have a reverse effect on the learner as the visual element can end up becoming more of a distraction than an enhancement. This is especially so if the selected graphics or multimedia components does not compliment the content and/or design of the courseware overall layout. From a designer perspective, there is a wide variety of models that can be adapted in the instructional design process. Just like the saying that goes, “a picture speaks a thousand words”. Hence, it is important for us as instructional designers to constantly ensure that the multimedia components crafted do compliment our courseware, especially their strategic placement, as it not only enhance the content but also create clarity. Let us now take a look at some of the strategies you can make use of to do so:
Chunk information meaningfully
Provide the learner with proper visual clues so that they are able to follow and can review the content quickly for information. See the example below.
Use a template. One problem with poor e-learning modules is that you have users who aren’t trained instructional designers. It’s important to help them learn some basic instructional design principles. If you cannot spend a lot of time with them, at least create a simple template to help them organize the information.
Look at what others are doing. You’ll get a better idea of what’s good and bad if you look at what others are doing. There are a lot of examples of elearning online. In addition, look at industry award winners.
Burgers and fries. If I’m in a hurry, I’m more apt to stop at McDonald’s than at a fine French restaurant for a seven-course meal. I wouldn’t make a regular meal of fast food, but many times it’s just what I need.
Use a template
One problem with poor e-learning modules is that you have users who aren’t trained instructional designers. It’s important to help them learn some basic instructional design principles. If you cannot spend a lot of time with them, at least create a simple template to help them organize the information.
Look at what others are doing
You’ll get a better idea of what’s good and bad if you look at what others are doing. There are a lot of examples of elearning online. In addition, look at industry award winners.
Burgers and fries
If I’m in a hurry, I’m more apt to stop at McDonald’s than at a fine French restaurant for a seven-course meal. I wouldn’t make a regular meal of fast food, but many times it’s just what I need.
Can you see the difference between Sample 1 and 2? The content in sample 1 is all grouped together, and the learner will probably not be able to grasp the learning points at a glance. The arrangement of the text not only makes it difficult for the learner to read and understand, but also creates an intimidating impression. However, in Sample 2, the arrangement of the text allows the learner to be able to understand the structure of the information after a quick scan. Using bold headlines as title, chunking up the information into sections, and using bold and underlined text as headers for each section provide a better presentation for the learner’s clarity.
Use relevant images and nothing more
Always keep a focus on the objective of the course while employing graphics, as the use of relevant images allows learner to create visual links with the content. Visual cues also include symbols, fonts, colours, and styles adopted. As a designer, it is important to ensure that the overall presentation contributes the correct message to the user in the right way. Let’s take a look at the example below.
What comes to your mind when you are looking at this picture? If you are like me, you probably expect something about financial reporting. Without the aid of any text, the image depicting charts and reports already create the financial association in my/your mind.
This is the effect of using appropriate images. Often, a designer may want to jazz up the content by adding eye-candy or more items onto the table e.g. stationaries in the above picture. It is not wrong to include but not necessary in this case if you are presenting on financial information, as the main point is to keep the learner’s focus on the course content and context.
In general, to craft out effective elearning content, employing enhancement based on the principles of graphics and design is par for course. Consider the above pointers and start off with visualising the end result you want to achieve before enhancing the content for your learners. Cheerios!
The latest Lectora version 9.2 comprises a few new interesting features. In this issue, we are going to share on one of them i.e. the flash animation wizard. It enables the user to be able to easily configure and customise the flash animation in your content. It can be found in the Lectora Flash Media Library.
Let us take a look at how you can configure and customise the flash animation step by step.
Audio Sample 1 in WMA Format.
~Violin Concerto 3rd movement, Peter Jlych Tchaikovsky
Click to listen to an audio sample in WMA Format
Audio Sample 2 in WMA Format.
~18th Variation, Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini Opus 43, Serge Rachmaninoff
Click to listen to an audio sample in WMA Format