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Article Title: Is Your eLearning Effective for Dummies?

Publication: Integrated Learnings: eLearning

Summary: This article describes a few instructional tactics used in the For Dummies book series. It then suggests how instructional designers can apply those same tactics to improve eLearning.

This flexibility can work well with scenario-based eLearning. Imagine opening a lesson with a scenario or case study. Learners who like to tinker can dive in immediately, perhaps clicking “hint” buttons or accessing job aids as needed. Having the option to work the scenario right away keeps them engaged and helps avoid the zoning out that can come with being forced to read introductory information first. Learners who prefer more guidance could opt to review a job aid or a demo first. Having this route available can benefit learners who become overwhelmed when pushed into something too quickly. Everyone wins.

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Article Title: Cues that You Need an Image Instead of Text

Publication: Integrated Learnings: eLearning

Summary: In many circles, eLearning has a bad reputation as a text dominated page-turner. Although instructional designers realize that images can enhance learning efficiency and effectiveness, many miss opportunities to replace text with meaningful images. This article suggests three cues that prompt the use of images instead of text.

You can also use an interactive diagram like this as a hint for learners. When prompting them to practice with a scenario or activity, including a mini version of the diagram on the slide can allow learners to hover over the steps to remind themselves of what they need to do to complete the practice activity successfully. Kind of like a job aid within the training.

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Article Title: 5 Ways to Tell Stories in eLearning

Publication: Integrated Learnings: eLearning

Summary: Training professionals promote storytelling as a way to engage learners and relay tacit knowledge. Although storytelling is a skill that many inherently possess, instructional designers often struggle to incorporate stories into eLearning lessons. This article describes five approaches to designing a story into eLearning.

Who doesn’t enjoy a snappy comic strip? Comics offer a relatively quick read, an effective method for displaying dialog, and a visually engaging format. If the rest of an eLearning lesson follows a standard, templated look, using fun images can contribute to the story’s attention-grabbing effect. It also opens the door to a more informal writing style…even a bit of humor.

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Article Title: Visual Storytelling: Lessons from Slide:ology

Publication: Integrated Learnings: eLearning

Summary: A graphic can be an effective way to illustrate a concept, summarize data, or create a focal point within a sea of text. This is true for magazines, presentations, eLearning – just about any communication tool, really. Slide:ology, a book by Nancy Duarte, offers an inspiring and informative crash course on visual design. This articles summarizes lessons learned from the book and points out how its principles do (and sometimes don’t) apply to eLearning design.

First of all, Duarte practices what she preaches. The book is a package of eye candy that inspires and informs. In just flipping through its glossy pages, I spotted several slide examples with ideas I went on to borrow for my own projects.

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