The transparent echo effect for image backgrounds

This week the Articulate team shared a super easy technique used in advertisements and presentation backgrounds: the echo effect. This effect is achieved by duplicating one of the images and placed it on the background. The background image is scaled beyond the slide size and transparency is increased to blend the image into the background.

Watch the tutorial where Tom Kuhlmann explains clearly how to do it:

My sample:

To create this cover, I used images of a cooker showing a prepared food in different poses.  Background photo was scaled and blurred. On top I added a shape with a transparency of 70% and placed the other image. Finally, I imported the PowerPoint slide to Storyline.

healthy eating cover

Very cool design tip! Check out other great examples in the Weekly Challenge 117

Credits:

Images by Photl

Font: KaushanScript by Impallari Type. SIL Open Licence

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How I revamped the Call Center demo

This file, my first branching scenario, was created almost one year ago for the Weekly Challenge #47. Although I was happy with the result, with time I realised that having no audio, users were forced to focus on dialogs and characters expressions at the same time, overloading their visual channel. This condition is better known as The Redundancy Principle.

I decided to improve this scenario by applying Allen’s CCAF model:TouristOffice-BeforeAfter

The Context: Sara working at the Tourist Information Office of Barcelona

The Challenge: helping Sara by answering phone calls on her first day on the job.

The Activity: applying phone etiquettes and providing accurate information in different calls.

The Feedback: the learner receives instant feedback on every choice, and at the end the activity, a graded score and the tourist’ comment from the “Quality survey”.

Click on the image to launch the new version

What I decided to preserve:

  • The characters
  • The colour palette
  • The basic information about the tours in the city of Barcelona

What I modified:

  • The fonts
  • The layout: cleaner, more focused on the activity than on the character’s details and poses.

What I added:

  • Objectives and Guidelines for this Module
  • Custom navigation buttons and Menu
  • Three Number variables to track the learner’s progress

It is highly likely that when another year has passed, I’ll rework the demo again, but this is the best way to learn, don’t you think?

 

Learn how to build a custom navigation player in Storyline

Comic book: The Multimedia Design Dilemma

“E-Learning and the Science of Instruction” by Clark and Mayer, this book is essential reading for anyone wishing to design and develop multimedia content for e-Learning.

At the beginning of each chapter, the authors challenge the readers with a “Design Dilemma”, a scenario to introduce one of the principles explained in the book. In these scenarios, an eLearning team is committed to create an online course on Excel for Small Business. Every character, the VP, the Instructional Designer, the Graphic Designer, the Programmer, etc, they all have different views on how to design the multimedia content for the course.

At the end of each chapter and after the Principles are analyzed with evidence-based examples, the reader is taken back to the scenario where the dilemma is resolved.

Click on the image to view my comic book

multimediaDilemmaThe Idea

After reading the book, I wanted to write a post about the Multimedia Principles, but there are tons of articles and presentations about this, so I decided to turn the “design dilemmas” into a graphic story.

The Result

I was looking for illustrated characters and backgrounds for the story, when I came across with this cool and free Comic image collection. Using the source files, I could create different scenes; changing character’s dialogues and expressions. The characters fit perfectly into the story. I changed their names and made a slight variation of their choices.

In the book, the team is designing a course on Excel, but I replaced this with a course on Applied Optics.

Unfortunately, I don’t have enough time to finish the book: Multimedia, Modality and Redundancy Principles in this first printing. Wouldn’t be great to have the complete edition one day?

Check out more comic book examples in the Weekly Challenge #11

Most common test questions used in eLearning

Test-questionsI wish to begin this section of the blog by making a presentation of the most common assessments used to measure learner’s progress in eLearning.

This summary is based on Chapter 5 “Tests” from the book “E-Learning by Design” by William Horton. This book gives a detailed description of every type of assessments, and also provides examples and tips to write effective tests and provide meaningful feedback.

Click on the image to view the presentation

If you haven’t read this excellent book, you can take a look at the recorded presentations available on Horton’s website.

 

Interactive map: 12 Best fountains of Rome

FountainsI used to teach Geography, so I love maps and everything related to cartography and spatial representation of data. Maps are used throughout all the sciences and in virtually every aspect of our day-to-day life.

When I heard Weekly Challenge number 86 was about interactive maps for e-learning, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to create a thematic map. The week of  Challenge 86, I was on holidays in Rome, and besides the ancient monuments you can visit in this beautiful city; I was impressed by the large quantity of water fountains you can find everywhere. so I selected 12 of which I consider are the most spectacular fountains, and located on a map. Although this is a personal selection, I think you might agree with me in most of them.

All information about the fountains is based on Wikkipedia-List of fountains in Rome. Some images are licenced under Creative Commons, others are public domain. The ribbon used for the title is from FreePik.

This demo is also available in Spanish

Branching scenario: What kind of Leader are you?

This time I decided to build my first branching scenario. Reading the posts of The Rapid elearning blog, I learned about the power of scenarios: this model allows learners to make decisions as in real world, each choice leads to a consequence and feedback, engaging  learners by pulling out the information they need.

The idea of Challenge number 23leaders-scenariowas to transform a static infographic about the leadership styles into a branching scenario. By having all the choices from the infographic; it was easier to assemble the slides and to create the flow.

I decided to use silhouettes in a dark red colour, to represent the leadership concept, and kept the same colour consistently thoughout all the scene for buttons and titles.  However, in the final slide, where the kind of leader is revealed, I wanted the user to understand there were different type of leaders, so I set up a True/Falsevariable for each leader, and added a final slide where the learner can compare the main values of each leader.leaders

Click on the image above to launch the questionnaire.

I had great time building this scenario, it was fun and I practised with variables and triggers. Using Illustrator, I vectorized the comic images, so they look more clean and the style match better with the silhouettes. I’m the Coach, what kind of leader are you?

Image Gallery: Compare different types of lettuce

Weekly Challenge nº84 was about creating an example of Image slider or Photo gallery. My first idea was to build a slideshow, because I wanted the images to stand out, and slideshows and carrousels are visual design patterns which instantly grab user’s attention with images.

I decided to present the most common types of leafy lettuce; I had the pictures and descriptions, but (after many attempts) I couldn’t rotate the scrolling panel into a horizontal position. There are some videos explaining how to do that, but I had 14 pics to include and found it difficult rotating them all together; I got some errors and images didn’t scroll smoothly. So I ended up building an interactive presentation with buttons, the effect is similar, and it works fine.

Click on the image below to viewLettuces the presentation.

Hope Storyline adds the option of horizontal scrollbar in future updates 😉