<![CDATA[Practical Learning Concepts, LLC - Blog]]>Tue, 13 Feb 2018 16:30:39 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[How I created a pop-up coloring book]]>Wed, 31 Jan 2018 21:00:22 GMThttp://practicallearningconcepts.com/blog/how-i-created-a-pop-up-coloring-book
​Several months ago, I saw an image of a pop-up book at Freepik.com where I like to get images for eLearning projects. At the time, I just downloaded a few of the images for use later. When the E-Learning Heroes Challenge 190 to create a coloring book came out, I decided to combine that challenge with the idea I had of creating a pop-up book.
I had no idea how I was going to accomplish that, I just started gathering more images so I would have a selection for the project. I also started looking at the examples of the coloring books to see how that could work.
I also wanted to include a page flipping action but did not know how to do that either.
I have to admit, I used to wonder why people are doing these challenges as many times they would not be something you would do in eLearning to help someone learn. Many of the examples in the past are very creative and inventive, but I could not see them being used in a course.
What I have learned from entering these challenges is they test, stretch, and add to your skills and knowledge with Articulate Storyline and other tools such as Microsoft PowerPoint, screen captures, photo editors and many more. This challenge is an example of how I started with an idea and learned to do things I did not know how to do. I also cannot thank enough all of the people in this community who have helped me by their advice and help through the years by posting their ideas, examples, and advice.
Skills Involved
·         Insert images into a presentation
·         Remove Background
·         Format color
·         Format Picture Effects 3D
·         Format Color Set Transparent Color
·         Format Painter
PowerPoint 2016
·         Making a page turn in PowerPoint 2016
·         https://www.free-power-point-templates.com/articles/how-to-apply-page-turn-effect-in-powerpoint-presentations/
·         To find this, I did a browser search for page turn animation
·         Layers
·         Triggers
·         Variables
·         Buttons
·         Insert Pictures
·         Format Painter
·         Format Change Color
·         Insert Video and Edit Video
Resources Used
Images Freepick.com
·         Artist Janoon028 use this code to search for these images.
·         I originally searched for silhouettes
Snippy tool for captures.
Steps to Build
Step #1: I gathered the images I thought would work in this project. These were all really great but some were on a book and others were not. The few images I had made me want to know if there were more of them on the freepik.com site. I am a member of the site so I login and then can download as many as I want as long as I give attribution to the site. In this case, I realized that searching for the artist’s code Janoon028 could help me find all of the related images since they were classified under different search categories.
Step #2: I knew that I wanted to break apart the images so I could construct a pop-up. I still did not know how that was going to happen but I needed individual shapes for that. I inserted the image of the boy and girl reading under a tree on a book. I used the Snippy capture tool to get the boy and girl shapes. I pasted one shape on a blank slide and used Format Remove Background. I also used the image of the shelf and background to create a new background for this project. I captured the book image and used remove background for that as well. I still get a white line around some objects but have not learned how to eliminate the line using PowerPoint. I might need another tool.
Step #3: I started in Articulate Storyline 3 with a prototype project. I opened a new project and began inserting the images I wanted to use. I had created an image with the background and book I wanted and inserted that into a few slides. I inserted a shape on the book to jump to a new slide and took off all of the built in Next and Prev buttons.
Step #4: I wanted to experiment with the pop-up action first. I thought that animations would be a good place to start but to be honest, I could not find anything that had the look I wanted. I remembered a time when I created a flat looking image so I looked in Storyline and picture effects. I knew from another project that I could change the image with 3D. However, Storyline does not have a 3D effect. I opened PowerPoint and clicked the image of the boy laying down reading. I then clicked Format, Picture Effects, 3-D Rotation, Parallel and experimented with the look of the various layouts. I settled on the Off Axis 1: Top as what I wanted. Now all I have to do is use the Format Painter on the other objects I created so they have the same flat look!
Step #5: Now I had to experiment with making this flat image look like a pop-up. I also had to experiment with what triggers them to pop-up. I did not like having them pop-up when the open book image appeared. That was more realistic but I wanted the person looking at this to see that happen. I decided to use a button to make the images pop-up.
Step #6: After experimenting with some options, I realized the best effect was to give the shape of the boy a pop-up state. After looking at the Examples for the Coloring https://community.articulate.com/articles/interactive-coloring-books-in-elearning in the challenge, I realized I needed states anyway for the colors. I made the flat shape normal, and a custom state for Popup and changed the color of the upright shape. I just clicked FORMAT tab, Recolor dropdown, Dark Variations and selected the last color a darker shade than the flat image.
Step #7: It is now time to create the triggers needed to make the pop-up effect. It made sense to me only to work on this effect first. I created a button called popup and set the trigger to change the boy state to popup. Once I tested this and IT WORKED, I added the girl and tree shapes with triggers. Now that I had one slide with shapes working, I added another slide with shapes and repeated my steps.
Step #8: I wanted a page turn effect to open the book and to move to the next slide. Wow, how do I do that? I did a browser search on the terms page turn animation. I looked down the list and saw an entry for “How to Apply Page Turn Effect in PowerPoint Presentations.” This looked good to me so I clicked the link. Doing this in PowerPoint was easy, but how do I get this into Storyline?
I did see an article for a page turn in Articulate Presenter from 7 years ago, but this did not help me. I decided to use the PowerPoint effect, and then create it as a video and pull that into Storyline. It is still a little clumsy, but it looks ok to me. After experimenting, I came up with a PowerPoint that had the image of the book and background on two slides. I then used the Transitions, Page Curl effect on both slides. I did a File, Export, Create a Video, set each slide to 1 second, and named the video Page Turn.Mp4.
Step #9: I inserted the video into Storyline on the second slide. Because the video was not the same aspect ratio as the project, I put a background behind the video to help fill in the slide. It does not match as well as I would like but it helps. I experimented with the timing of the video and discovered I could edit the video to start as the page turns as stop as the page opens. Later I made the slide .5 seconds long so the page turned quickly. I duplicated this slide and placed it between each of the pop-up slides.
Step #10: I used the example Dave Anderson provided of the Basic Drawing Book that Chibuikem Nwani created. https://community.articulate.com/discussions/building-better-courses/drawing-book-in-storyline. I liked this example because it was simple and I only wanted to change the colors of each shape to keep this simple for now. I started with the boy shape and created 4 variables one for each color. I copied the upright image and pasted it as the states boyred, boygreen, boyblue, and boyblack. I used More Variations and selected red, blue, green, and black from the Standard colors and Theme Colors.
TIP: You need to click the image for each state for the color change. I found that pasting each shape first then changing color was the best way to work. I still had to change each state color one at a time.
Step #11: Putting it all together I used the color trigger ideas from the Basic Drawing Book and copied those to the next slide where they were needed. I decided to keep this project small but it could go on for several more slides. It also helped to only have three shapes per slide so I did not need as many triggers. I just kept testing and adjusting the various effects until I had a result I felt good about. It still seems a bit clunky to me but it does work. I can continue to refine this over time and as I hope to get feedback on how to improve this challenge.
<![CDATA[January 16th, 2018]]>Tue, 16 Jan 2018 18:15:50 GMThttp://practicallearningconcepts.com/blog/january-16th-2018
I ​love it when I look for a solution to a problem in eLearning and discover it was easier than I thought. My client wanted the project to show their learners how much time they had in the course. The more I thought about it, the more I envisioned needing to use JavaScript with my Articulate Storyline project.

I began investigating that solution with an Internet search. I had a page full of possible ideas some were very complicated and others were actually too old.  After looking at a few solutions, I discovered one that had been posted to Articulate support by Jeanette and it was the best one for me. Simple because it involved using a Result slide in a way I had never done before

​One of the dangers we all face is thinking of a software tool in only one way and not paying attention to other options. I did not realize a results slide could track the entire course not just the quiz. I reposted the idea here https://lnkd.in/ej8vbk5 Note in the example above I used the setting that shows how much time has elapsed out of the total time allowed in this case one hour. Nice!
<![CDATA[Interactive Resume]]>Wed, 10 Jan 2018 20:06:36 GMThttp://practicallearningconcepts.com/blog/interactive-resume
Instead of the regular paper resume, I thought it made sense as an instructional designer to have an Interactive Resume. I know I needed to start someplace and that over time I would change the resume and include new skills. One of my favorite places to start is with the Articulate eLearning Heroes Community. This amazing group of people have influenced my work so many times I cannot count. I have learned from many of the community managers and other Articulate staff such as Tom Kuhlmann and David Anderson.

​In this case, I saw an entry by Nicole Legault for Interactive Resumes and it has been download hundreds of times. I liked the simplicity of the design and I realized that I could make it my own as well. I did not want the typical date driven design everyone uses partly because I have so much experience over so many years. What difference does it make in the accomplishments at a specific time in your life. Isn't the idea what you can do for this employer or client now?

​I arranged my resume in a pattern similar to Nicole's adding more space for skills and work experience. I connected the Portfolio slide to my Portfolio on my website. I also connected various icons on the resume to the appropriate sections of my website.

​I have a paper resume and I use that to connect people to my website, LinkedIn profile, and now my Interactive Resume. It is also good Search Engine Optimization to have cross connections on the Internet. This is a link to my Interactive Resume and there is one on my HOME page.
<![CDATA[Changing Colors in Articulate Storyline]]>Thu, 21 Dec 2017 16:47:50 GMThttp://practicallearningconcepts.com/blog/changing-colors-in-articulate-storylinePicture
The newest challenge in the eLearning Heroes website is #186 Create an E-Learning Template Using Pantone's 2018 Color of the Year. I ended up with a project that includes last weeks challenge of a festive holiday elearning with the new color.

​In this post, I am showing how to change the slide background color and slide text color to one of the theme colors. I selected the KINDRED SPIRITS color palette for my project.

Watch the video to learn how to make these changes. 

​The color Formula and Guides section of the Pantone site gives us the code for HTML and it is 5F4B8B. 
  1. ​You need to open the slide and then right-click.
  2. ​Select Format Background from the menu.
  3. Click The drop down for the Color: picker.
  4. Click the More Colors icon.
  5. Look in the lower-right corner for the HtmL:#FFFFFF and change it to 5F4B8B.
  6. The slide background color changes to the new Ultra Violet color when you click OK.
I also use one of the colors in the palette for text on the Ultra Violet background. I used the eye dropper tool to make this change and I used the same technique to change other slide backgrounds to different colors in the palette.
​To setup for this, position the window with the color palette next to the Articulate Storyline window so both are in view and you can see the color samples.
  1. ​Select the text in the text box by dragging the cursor over the text.
  2. The small text formatting box opens.
  3. Click the icon of the letter A with a color underline.
  4. Click the Eyedropper icon.
  5. The cursor turns into an Eyedropper. Be careful where you click here.
  6. Click the color you want for the text.
  7. The color should change. If not, you may need to do it over.
​Use either technique to make color changes within your project. Have fun and be creative.

<![CDATA[Using Icons for Menu Navigation]]>Mon, 13 Nov 2017 18:16:23 GMThttp://practicallearningconcepts.com/blog/using-icons-for-menu-navigation I like to enter the eLearning Heroes Challenges from time to time. The challenge to create a Table of Contents that was both creative and other than the built in menu was something I had already done. I was able to take a menu I created for a client who needed training for their road service vans. When you are on a highway and in trouble, you really appreciate the people who have the equipment, know how, and training for most emergencies.
​When I first created this course I wanted something beyond the typical menu as there are 15 videos in the training ending in a quiz the associate must pass before they go on the road. You cannot assist someone if you don't know what to do, what equipment to use, and how to work with the customer.
​I have used images from Freepik.com for several years now and I recommend that site to any developer. In this case, I selected a page of vector images so I could break them apart as individual icons. In most cases, I was able to just use the existing icons, but I was able to change one of them to be a better fit to represent that video.
​I developed the course in Articulate Storyline 2 that included instructions to the associate and the training videos that were made by a professional videographer. Storyline is able to let me set the course in such a way that the associate has to complete each video so the client could be sure they watched everything. The course was also setup so the associate would see which videos they had completed and which ones still needed to be completed and then they would take the quiz at the end. The corporate LMS kept everyone aware of the associates progress.
​To view the course and a video on how I created the icons, click ELH 182 Creative Menu. I will add the link to the eLearning Heroes page once it has been published.
<![CDATA[Using Align in PowerPoint and Storyline]]>Tue, 31 Oct 2017 18:57:03 GMThttp://practicallearningconcepts.com/blog/using-align-in-powerpoint-and-storylineHave you needed to align objects on a PowerPoint slide or Articulate Storyline? It is an easy thing to do and works the same way in both programs. Watch the video as I demonstrate how this works.

There are other situations where you need to align text, shapes, captions, and objects. This method works with all of them.​]]>
<![CDATA[Armed Employees: The New Normal?]]>Tue, 26 Sep 2017 16:51:49 GMThttp://practicallearningconcepts.com/blog/armed-employees-the-new-normalPicture

​Recent news about armed Taco Bell workers who shot a robber is all over the Internet. While these employees did stop a robbery, they also killed another person. The robber did have a gun and had ordered the employees to get on the floor. What we don’t know is if the robber would have used his gun.
This is just one example of employees who fight back. These can be convenience stores, donut shops, sandwich shops, drug stores, and any other small retail operation that stays open late. Typically, the robbers want cash, but they can go after medications or cigarettes as well. And they carry a range of weapons, such as hand guns, shotguns, axes, knives, and even a screw driver.
When an employee fights back, they usually agree that it was an impulsive act. They will use whatever weapon they have, including their bare hands. Afterward, these employees are relieved that the situation did not turn out badly for themselves and any customers who happened to be in the store.
Corporately owned stores have rules about not fighting back because money and merchandise can be replaced, but people cannot be. They realize what media coverage of a customer being killed in the store would do to their business, not to mention law suits.
Independently owned and franchised businesses make their own rules where employee behavior is concerned. While the corporation may advocate no fighting back, an owner may back their employees and even encourage that behavior. But what are the potential costs to employees or customers?
Regardless of the store’s policy about striking back during a robbery, employee training is important. In the case where resisting is encouraged, the employees must be trained to defend in a manner that protects themselves and their customers. For companies that rightly have rules about NOT fighting back, employees also must be trained how to respond in a manner that keeps themselves and the customers safe as well. Because a response to a threat is usually instinctual, they will need training to override impulsive actions.
Furthermore, employee training can prevent attacks. When employees keep the amount of cash in the register low, potential robbers know it. When employees are trained to observe what happens around the store and in it, robbers have fewer opportunities to attack. And a properly trained employee will have the presence of mind to look for details about the robber and vehicle to help law enforcement capture the robber. Employees can also be trained how to behave when threatened as well as how to maintain the store, keep the windows clear, and the lights bright in the store; All of these factors may not stop a robbery of opportunity, but it can help prevent most robberies.
Any retail store that is open late at night can be a target. Make sure your employees are trained in robbery prevention and reaction procedures. Not only that, train them often so that when they are in a frightening situation, they will remember how to react. 
One method for instilling knowledge and making sure it is remembered during an attack, is to gamify a training program. While not an actual game, gamification in training has been shown to be an effective way to instill knowledge that will be remembered and applied at a future time. Such a program allows employees to interact with the training, and “practice” before the situation occurs. If your business would benefit from a properly trained workforce in robbery prevention and reaction, leave a message at Practical Learning Concepts Contact and an associate will contact you about the program details.

<![CDATA[PowerPoint and Storyline]]>Tue, 15 Aug 2017 19:14:02 GMThttp://practicallearningconcepts.com/blog/powerpoint-and-storylineFor people who are not Photoshop experts and who do not have the time to develop those skills, PowerPoint can be a useable alternative. Using a tool you already have saves money especially if you can use it in many ways.

PowerPoint and Storyline is a presentation on using PowerPoint to create images that can then be used in Articulate Storyline as interactive objects.

​Click the link above to see the demonstration and it may give you ideas for your projects. You can also make comments about this post on my CONTACT link.]]>
<![CDATA[Variables, Motion Paths, and Incremental Scoring]]>Thu, 29 Jun 2017 17:51:06 GMThttp://practicallearningconcepts.com/blog/variables-motion-paths-and-incremental-scoringPicture
I like the ideas I get from LinkedIn and eLearning Heroes. In another blog, I mentioned the people I follow and just recently I had an idea from Alexander Salas on using variables and motion paths to create an incremental score in the results slide. 

​I knew how to put variables in the Master slide for questions to show a score and I often use that to help the learner see how many questions they have completed.
​I did not know how to combine motion paths with a variable to have it count the score at the end of the quiz, the results slide.
​This is the link Alexander Salas posted of a video he made that clearly describes the process. Great video and he even includes an example file that works in Articulate Storyline 2, 3, or 360. Cool!

​I realized this could be the solution I was looking for to complete my game scenarios for the Sententia Games Level 3 certification. It took a bit of time but I figured out how to apply Alexander's concept to my game and then how to reset the game if the person fails.
​This example is just a prototype but demonstrates the use of variables to select an avatar and use motion paths for the avatar in the game. It also applies Alexander's use of variables and motion paths to track a score and display it on the results slide. The game also includes other elearning concepts and game mechanics.

​As I have been learning, to be gamified, the game needs to have business objectives, a story, and mechanics to help the player learn something as well as have fun. 

<![CDATA[Storyline 3 and Closed Captions]]>Tue, 23 May 2017 22:50:50 GMThttp://practicallearningconcepts.com/blog/storyline-3-and-closed-captionsI have read many articles in eLearning Heroes and other places about putting Closed Captions in Storyline. I noted that when Storyline 3 came out, it had support for Closed Captioning where Storyline 2 does not. While there are many workarounds in Storyline 2, version 3 I feel makes the process easier.

​I have been experimenting with this process and where video caption is concerned, it is pretty easy. The instructions have you use the process in You Tube that can automatically sync voice in the video as closed captions.

​On Wednesday, May 24 6:00 - 8:00 PM the Greater Philly Articulate Storyline User Group is meeting and I am going to present several ideas on Storyline 3 including how to do closed captioning. Other presenters will also give tips on games and other Storyline functions. 

​For those who cannot attend, I am posting here the link I will give attendees on using Storyline 3 for closed captioning. I hope you find it use full.