Have you ever had to sit through a class where the teacher had one mode: monotony? There weren’t any engaging activities or riveting class discussions, and you watched the second hand on the clock while doodling instead of taking notes.
As an elearning developer, you have the opportunity to make up for those torturous courses that you and other learners have experienced. Studies show that people learn information more effectively when they are engaged in the material and participating in activities and discussions; that’s why pedagogy (learning strategies for primary and secondary education) and andragogy (learning strategies for adults) focus on methods for creating interactive learning.
Innovative elearning software, combined with creativity, can lead to endless possibilities for activities that allow learners to forget they are learning and simply have fun. At ProEdit, we focus on providing our clients with elearning training that is captivating and catered to their needs.
The capabilities of elearning software are extensive; the software allows for freeform interactivity with options you can personalize.
The three main elearning software programs that we use are Articulate® Storyline®, Articulate® Studio®, and Adobe® Captivate®. Articulate Storyline is the program we encourage most clients to choose because it is intuitive and provides endless options for creating unique, intriguing courses. Whenever clients give us the option to select the elearning software, we choose Storyline.
Elearning Activity Ideas
Elearning activities should not only be fun for the learners, but they should also be fun for the developers. You don’t have to stick with outdated and “safe” activities.
Storyline provides templates for basic quiz styles and also for some more interactive quiz options such as Sequence Drag and Drop, Matching Drag and Drop, and Hotspot. The following screenshot displays an example of various graded quiz templates:
The program also offers templates for surveys, including Ranking Drag and Drop, Entry, and Ranking Drop-down. Templates for freeform quizzes are also available, such as Text Entry, Pick Many, and Drag and Drop. The following screenshots detail all survey and freeform quiz templates offered in Storyline:
Player Triggers and Slide Layers
The real fun comes into play with the use of player triggers and slide layers. Player triggers allow you to customize activities by making specific actions happen when the user does something. For example, you can have the course jump to a new slide when the user clicks on an object. You can also play media, submit results, jump to a URL file, and much more when the user clicks, hovers, or presses a key.
You can customize the player triggers in the Triggers menu, shown in the following screenshot:
Layers allow you to create scenarios to provide feedback or go into more detail about a topic. For example, if you have a chart and you want the learner to click on each section of it to find out more information, you can use layers to hone in on and discuss certain sections, and then you can use a Trigger to take the user back to the main slide to click on another section.
You can add layers by using the Slide Layers menu, shown in the following screenshot:
These options allow you to customize just about any activity you can think of. Here are a few examples of fun activities we’ve created using Articulate Storyline:
Modified True/False: We had a client who gave us free reign to create activities in Storyline. This client wanted to use a true/false question, so we created a scenario where a teacher asked two students the question, and the two students raised their hands when the audio finished. Then, the user could click on the female student to answer false or the male student to answer true. Once the user clicked on a student, a layer came up with feedback.
One great option you have with layers is that you can gray out the background to focus on what you want the learner to look at. So, when the user got to the feedback screen for the true/false question, the background with the classroom and students was gray, and the focus was on the box with feedback in the center of the screen.
- Trivia-style Game: You can also create a trivia-style game by making boxes with numerical values on each one. The learner could click on each box, which would direct them to a layer with the question. You can have checkmarks appear on the boxes for correct answers, and then the final score can be tallied and displayed on a results layer.
Scenarios: Developing realistic scenarios is a great way to go from basic understanding to practical application. You can set up scenes that are similar to what the learners would encounter in a work environment, and then have them go through the scenes and make choices along the way.
Another option is to take learners down a hallway and have them open doors that lead to different sections of the course. This gives them some control of the order they learn the material in, and it also ensures that they view each section of the course.
When we were teaching high school students, we had our class do an activity where they retold Oedipus Rex through a modern-day medium. Some of them told the story through the eyes of contemporary TV characters.
They all demonstrated their understanding of the story, but through this activity, they were able to move from basic comprehension to application and retention. The best part is that they had so much fun doing it, and we could gauge their understanding just as well as if they had taken a multiple-choice exam.
The same approach applies to teaching adults through elearning. A basic understanding of the material is not enough; rather, they need to be able to retain the information long term and apply it to their work.
Incorporating fun activities into your elearning videos transforms content from monotonous to exciting, and it makes creating them so much more entertaining.