#ID6WC – Amp Quiz: How-To

Very glad people liked the Amp Quiz example for #ID6WC and thank you so much Girly Geek for asking about how I created it. Le me walk you though and also here’s the story file so you can play with it too 🙂

This is a simple Storyline 360 one slide piece that uses dials, states and layers.

First, under slide master I created the background and tried to emulate an Amp. Using the content library I found the speaker front look and for the top panel used shapes.

Back in creation and again from the content library I found a switch and a voltage dial to add to the upper panel. A small grey circle shape next to the switch, and the dial itself (Insert >Dial) which can be formatted. Then to using a free online logo creator I created Fenshall (Fender/Marshall – geddit!) which I changed to grey tones in paint.net

There is a great Dial tutorial on Articulate here 

I chose a start value of 0 and end value of 5 with each step value 1. The dial auto lays out the points (joy!) so just put in the numbers using text.

I found 5 pieces of royalty free classical music from http://www.freemusicpublicdomain.com/

When the dial turns it is a variable and in this slide each variable would relate to showing a layer. So I created 5 layers, inserting one piece of music per layer. Then it is simply a case of setting your triggers on the base layer

Show layer (insert layer name) > When the dial turns  > If the dial equals (position). (For Dial = 0, I made it show slide so it always returns to the base layer). And remember to hider other layers!

Now time to play with states – lots!

Remember the grey circle – I created a new state for it (called new state because I am that inventive!) where it was coloured green with a big edge glow. Then add a trigger so if the power switch is click it shows the new state – powerlight is on!

For the voltage dial, I took it to paint.net and move the needle, added this ontop of the volt picture already there. Set the normal state to the one with the dial on zero and the one with the needle ‘up’ to new state. Set a trigger that shows new state if the dial is not equal to 0 – in others words when you turn the dial, it looks like the needle has moved!

Likewise for the instruction caption and text – set a new state where it is not shown and a trigger to show that state if the dial is not equal to 0.

Back on the layers, I placed 3 buttons across the amp and more states fun. Under states change the colour of the button to green or red depending on whether it is the correct or incorrect answer when the button is ‘down’ and ‘visited’. This really simple state change gives an immediate visual feedback on whether you’ve clicked the correct button or not. Of course you could add more triggers and show feedback etc but i didn’t want that – I wanted this is be a really quick, obvious do you know the name or not.

I think dials are a great change and especially if you are looking to create a simulation or setting where dials would naturally appear like an amp or cooker. One word of warning though – if users are going to access through a mobile phone/small touch screen it does work but can be fiddly for them so may not be the best choice in that scenario.




For the Instructional Design 6 Week Challenge this week I went back into Articulate Storyline 360.

I realised I had never used a dial so that got me to thinking on dials and where you find them usually. So this week I created an amp effect slide master to create a quiz audio quiz.

Using the dial you can hear 5 different classical pieces, and you can see if you recognise the composer with a very simple set of buttons using states to show correct/incorrect. You could build this out further to give feedback and more information but I just wanted this to be very simple, immediate and visual.

Just for a little extra effect, click the on switch to turn the light green and the voltage needle will go up when you turn to a tune 🙂

Click here to view

Monday Meme – Assignments Looming

And so the second assignment of my first module in the Masters in Online and Distance Education looms like a massive ball of fiery terror on the horizon.

I know many of my module-mates are going through the same thing – trying to fit in study whenever and what happens…

We could also include in the orange segment:

  • play Mahjong on your phone
  • rearrange your wardrobe
  • watch 6 episodes of Judge Judy in a row

So happy Monday everyone, but an extra special Monday internet hug to all those juggling work and study at the same time! We will look back and laugh one day I promise!


Monday Meme – May 7th 2018

How is it Monday again? And, how the double heck is it May?!

This is such a great carton from Arun Pradhan  

E-Learning is wonderful, especially for companies with employees scattered around a country or even the world, but you can’t just dish it out and hope for the best. Measuring course completion or who pressed play doesn’t inform you on the learning outcomes and worse still, it is a disservice to the user. Learning requires participation, feedback, evaluation and refinement.



ID6WC Week 1 – Articulate Storyline 360 Mini Course

Time to bite the bullet and join in #ID6WC (That’s the Instructional Design 6 Week Challenge with Cara North). I am hugely nervous, feel extremely amateur amongst some great IDs on Twitter. But, they are very encouraging and generous with their time and mentorship so here I am!

So Week 1 and I am revisiting an old friend I haven’t played with for a long time – Articulate Storyline. I have downloaded a free trial of Articulate Storyline 360 for these challenge (would anyone like to buy me a licence – I would love to have one of my own so I could play to my heart’s content!)

This week I just wanted to get some confidence back and see what I could produce in an evening, without using any templates etc.

As I have been diagnosed as Vitamin D deficient I decided to use that as a starting block (not that I would be producing actual content). I created master slide views with a sunny disposition! I wanted to design a small course where the user isn’t tied to a set route, one around which people may jump around as they please to get information as they wish. It’s a simple design using layers, basic branching. The intro music is from www.bensound.com – great resource for royalty free music.

What I suspect will drive people mad – well if you have a graphic design background you may not be so keen especially as I am guilty of placing items by eye – though this design I wanted to have a bit of curve to it which is harder to place items (what’s the secret guys?!)

You can access the item below. I am finding sometimes finding the audio doesn’t always play, may be related to browser choice or just a bug but just to let you know – there is audio on slide one.

Click to launch

Monday Meme April 23rd 2018

Create e-learning? Ring a bell?!!


One Million Girls – Commonwealth Education Pledge

onemilliongirlscommonweAlth education I didn’t want the week to pass without making some note of the recent Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting and the topic of girls education.

Girls education is one of the driving forces in my further study of Online and Distance Education, and e-learning. I believe technology enhanced learning will continue to be an area which can support the education of girls throughout the developing world as well as in the first world. Where my place could possibly be in that picture I don’t know yet, I just know I want to be in there helping!

As such I thought it would be good to share some of the resources and pieces I am bookmarking capturing this weeks news items on here as well on my Diigo collection. I hope these links and very brief overviews prove useful and interesting to others.

As an excellent introduction to education in the Commonwealth is Joanna Roper’s blog One in three young people live in the Commonwealth: education is the key to their future. Joanna is the FCO Special Envoy for Gender Equality and that sheer number one in three children lives in a Commonwealth country is amazing. Let’s make sure we see it as 33% of the world’s future and talent is in the Commonwealth – let’s make sure it is celebrated and enabled.

In the world a staggering 263 children are not in education. Girls are disproportionately affected. Whilst a lack of teachers and materials, school buildings and dangerous surroundings hinder education for all, for many girls even if that where overcome their access would be limited due to early marriage and child bearings, and the cultural dominance of education being a male bastion. Yet again and again we see that girls’ education not only benefits them personally but has a massive domino effect on communities at large.

If you educate a man, you educate an individual. But if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.png

During the CHOGM, the UK Government announced support to ensure one million girls across the Commonwealth have access to at least 12 years old education.

The details of this support can be seen in the Government’s April 17th 2018 press release: UK is making sure one million girls across the Commonwealth get a quality education

One of the leading voices in empowering girls via education has been Malala Yousafzai, famously a victim of an attempt on her life for accessing education in Pakistan, Malala has become an inspiration and champion for girl’s education and has campaigned tirelessly to ensure 12 years education for girls since her own horrific experience. Malala sent an impassioned open letter to the Heads of the Commonwealth ahead of their meeting, outlining the need and benefits of investing in education for girls which can be read here. How wonderful that she is being heard, but let’s continue to amplify her words – this is only the beginning for many and others have yet to be reached and convinced.

The Commonwealth Girls Education Fund were excellently represented at the Commonwealth Women’s Forum and please do visit their website to see how you can support their efforts of ensuring secondary/high school education for girls within the Commonwealth.


Monday Memes April 16th 2018

I love memes. I am that person. My best friend and I can have entire conversations in memes. I know they annoy people like word art as home decor and inspirational posters but hey, it’s my blog so ha! If it’s Monday, it’s meme day!

I can’t always find the original source but will try to acknowledge where I can!


E-Learning – Do Ever Get ‘The Guilts’?

Do you ever feel guilty about how you learn

Late last year, I gave Audible a go, the audio-book people. And with it came….guilt and I wondered who else experiences this.

The guilt comes from that old chestnut – it’s the easier way. Reading the book is the right way, the proper, the way that counts. Listening – a cop out. But as much I used to love going to bed with a good book, now I spend hours on a computer screen at work, to be followed by more hours of reading on and off screen for study not to mention I am as guilty as the next person for spending remaining time on more screens and social media. By the time I curl up into bed I am tired, my eyes are tired and listening to someone else read to me is a great wind down. But the guilt.

Obviously the virtuous countdown goes 1st Read It, 2nd Listen to It and 3rd Wait for the film to come out 😉

Then I thought if I was feeling a twinge of guilt for that, what about other ways we simplify or streamline life, and in that learning.

A lot of guilt I feel comes as a reaction to snobbery and judgement, of which there is plenty. When I first went to University it was not long after the change of Polytechnics to Universities. At school (a private school) we were encouraged to make sure we were applying to the ‘proper’ Universities. Here’s the zinger, I still tend to think like that. ‘So and so is going to X University. Proper X University?’

Now I think about how that applies to online and distance education. Of course, there has always been, is and will be judgement on something which remains in it’s relative youth. Here I am studying with the OU and so the question arises, is it good enough, is it as good as the ‘proper’. Yet, I don’t feel the guilt on this, I see the place the OU has in tertiary education, and a very important place at that, that allows for people’s circumstances. This is an institution for those who cannot attend the ‘proper’ in the same way as others. It’s track record speaks for itself. Okay maybe I do have the slightest twinge.

Whilst the idea of participation as a vital aspect of learning is now very much discussed, the idea of the teacher imparting knowledge in the more acquisition model still lingers for those of us with whom it was a basis on how we were taught but also, culturally in areas it remains a strong and highly revered form of teaching/learning. Here is one quote that reflects this from Nazarlou M K (2013) Research on Negative Effect on E-Learning, International Journal of Mobile Network Communications & Telematics ( IJMNCT) Vol. 3, No.2, April 2013:

It does not matter E- learning import advanced technology, it cannot substitute face-to-face communication between teacher and students and students and practical activity, mention less education of thousand- year of human’ history

I often wonder how online learning is viewed even amongst my friends and family – I don’t think we have discussed it! hang on a minute – do I judge how and what other people are learning virtually?!

Of course, we are right to have standards and the jokes about getting a degree off the back of a Kellogg’s packet are there for a reason. There are and will be dubious organisations, preying on people’s ambitions and hopes. But, this should not cloud the authenticity, credible and value of the many wonderful ways people can learn informally and formally, by distance, virtually and yes, learn enjoyably.

That one is a kicker isn’t it – enjoyment. I mean if you are enjoying it are you even really learning?! Isn’t study meant to be toil, sweat and tears, isn’t even fun learning meant to come with a dose of graft? And here comes the guilt again…

One of the most exciting things for me about online and virtual learning is the fact it can it can be enjoyable and deceiving – deceiving in that whats simplistic is often the most engaging. But here we come full circle and will people like me and my Audible, be beset by thinking what they are doing isn’t proper, worthwhile, will they feel guilty for taking the easier route.

I’d love to know – have you ever felt guilty about how you learn or judged for the route you have taken?

Now back to listening another Susan Hill book!


But, What is Learning?!

What is learning?
What is learning?

One of the most enlightening discussions on the Masters so far came from the, what initially seems innocuous, question ‘define learning’.

Surely, learning is just learning – you didn’t know stuff and then you know it. But, we all know learning is so much more than that and you can go on a journey of days if you set out to search the many definitions. (10 Definitions of Learning,  What is Learning, Exactly?, Learning – Wikipedia)

The idea that knowledge is a substance, something to be owned has long dominated our thinking. The idea of teachers or trainers pouring information into our brain, that it must be remembered and then is can be acted on still infiltrates a surprising amount of learning design. Now we see that participation plays a huge role. Learning is not linear nor passed down from level to another, unchanged or unchallenged. There are many in-depth writings on this very subject and if you are interested in reading more I suggest starting with Anna Sfard’s  On Two Metaphors of Learning 

In fact I was surprised when I was asked to write down my definition of learning which was:

” I see learning as acquiring (yes the a word) and/or being exposed to new or different points of view, facts, theories and processes which I can the use and/or cultivate to further my own performance, change/challenge my approach and/or feed my critical thinking.”

There is was – ‘acquisition’. But it goes far beyond just ‘getting’ the knowledge – there is doing, experimenting, participating. I appreciate the over use of and/or is fantastically annoying but hopefully it somehow gets across my idea that learning is multi-faceted; a network of roads so to speak rather than just the M1!

Proof of learning isn’t just built into completing a test and receiving a score. ‘Success’ is surely measured in so much more – the change of behaviour, thinking, the very act of taking part.

Someone wisely said to me as I awaited the result of my first assignment that it was so much more than the score; in fact the completion of the Masters will not be measured in the final % but the fact that it will have changed and challenged my thinking, opened up new ambitions and journeys, increased my participation in areas and introduced me to new crowds therein lies the success and proof of learning.

So, I would love to hear how other people would definite learning and whether just even thinking about that makes you question how you are using learning design because of your go to definition of what learning is. I know as a learning designer and trainer, it has made me question how often I throw information at people and then wonder why they just don’t get it and do what i want them to. Guilty, m’lud!

Whilst by its very nature I don’t think there is, or will be, a definitive definition of learning I think this is the greatest thing ever – because it means we will always be keen to keep discussing, refining and respecting it.

The one thing I am certain of is learning is movement, never staying in the same place and isn’t that a wonderful thought?!