Monday, June 29, 2009

Storyboard Templates and Resources

storyboardFor the last week I have been in storyboard mode for a large course I am creating. Since grad school I have been using the same format for storyboards, when I do use them. Some projects benefit from use of storyboards, some do not, but that is another post.

The storyboard I use is a very simple, but flexible format that we used in my school's ISD program. I have made a few small changes to it. Here is the template, which is made in PowerPoint, but could easily be made in MS Word too.

And here's what I include in my storyboards.

In the main frame:

  • Textual content

  • Graphics (even if rough representations)

  • Screenshot or representation of animations, interactives, etc.

  • Buttons and/or navigational features

  • Page orientation

In the side frames:

  • Navigational info (i.e. where each button or link will take the user)

  • Text for pop-ups or rollovers

  • Media info (e.g. info about the animation, video, audio, etc.)

In the bottom frame:

  • Notes to developers, SMEs, or anyone else that may have access to the storyboard

  • Notes that won't fit in the side frames

  • Any pertinent notes that don't fall under "Navigation" of "Media"

  • Color requirements, screen size, graphic sizes, etc.

Storyboard formats very widely. The above happens to be the format I like, but here are some more storyboard resources you may find helpful:

Multimedia Storyboard - Studio 1151

Storyboards for eLearning - The eLearning Coach

Free Storyboarding Template -

Creating Scripts and Storyboards for e-Learning - e-LearningGuru

Really Fast Storyboarding for e-Learning Projects - Learning & Performance Tips

Example of a storyboard in MS Word - Learning & Performance Tips

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It Came From Hollywood - Storyboarding

At the moment I am busy storyboarding a course. So, here is what I would like to share today...a great video about the history of storyboarding, how it is done in the film industry, and its benefits. Please pay attention because much of it translates to what we try to accomplish in e-learning.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Developing With Flash Lite Video Series

Dale Rankine recently launched the first video of his video training series for Flash mobile developers. If you are interested in developing with Flash Lite, say m-learning, you will want to check this out. The videos are developed for delivery on Adobe TV, but he is also making them available on Vimeo. Here the link,

I am looking forward to seeing more of these videos and will be adding this to my Free e-Learning page, of course.

New e-Book From e-Learning Guild

The latest e-Learning Guild e-book has just been released.

98 Tips For Selecting and Working With e-Learning Providers

FYI: All their e-books are free.

It includes 54 Tips for Selecting e-Learning Service Providers, 44 Tips for Working Successfully with e-Learning Service Providers, and an article by Evelyn Jackson, "Improve Outsourced e-Learning Quality with Consistent Standards."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Android and Flash?

It was announced today that Verizon and T-Mobile are offering Motorola smart phones based on Google's Android operating system. These will be available later this year. T-Mobile already offered one phone with Android, the G1, and will have the My Touch 3G during the summer.

Will these new Google Androids have Flash?

Well, according to Adobe's 2nd quarter earnings call, they are releasing Flash for smart phones (Flash 10) this October. And it is expected to be on Androids.


View entire call

If Android phones have Flash, they will have at least this edge on Blackberry and iPhone. This includes the ability to deliver m-learning created with Flash.  I just can give up on using Flash/Flash Lite for delivering m-learning.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Where Organizations Go Wrong With e-Learning

A post on e-Learning Guild's group on LinkedIn asked, "In What Ways Do Organizations Get eLearning Wrong?" This question really got me thinking. There are many organizations that get it right, but many get it wrong too. Here are my thoughts on pitfalls organizations must avoid.

  • Not knowing the difference between an e-learning designer and an e-learning developer. Companies that only employ staff with development skills will end up with courses that look nice, but are not instructionally sound. Note: If the budget does not afford both a designer and developer, then find someone with both sets of skills.

  • Letting subject matter experts write courses. Again, an e-learning/instructional designer is needed to create engaging, instructionally sound courses.

  • Not conducting a needs assessment prior to creating a course. A needs assessment, even if done informally, is the only way to identify the audience's learning needs, if any. Too many training departments act as order takers and end up creating courses that are not addressing the solutions needed.

  • Not identifying if e-learning is an appropriate medium for specific training needs. Some things ARE best delivered in the classroom.

  • Creating page turners, ugh! Courses can be non-linear. And they should also be interactive and engaging.

  • Not evaluating courses.

  • Thinking e-learning is only __________. e-Learning is a breadth of training approaches. It is not just asynchronous online courses. e-Learning is also synchronous courses, blended learning, informal or social learning, etc. And within these there are many, many types of delivery mediums and approaches. And more on the horizon.

Feel free to add to the list.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Financial Education - What's Out There

I saw today that MasterCard launched  Learning Centres, which provides financial management tips for consumers. Are they doing the same here in the USA? I found they have a learning center on the U.S. site. And they have a DIY Guide for Young Adults. However, it markets their cards as much as it provides financial advice.

Full disclosure, I am employed by a financial institution, but I am also an advocate of financial education/literacy. As we has seen far too much of, people who are not up to speed with how personal finances, credit cards, and banking products work can get into extreme jams to say the least. And they are also easily taken advantage of .  So, here are some resources provided without any marketing from financial industries.

Money Smart - FDIC

Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning - University of CA - Irvine

Link & Learn Taxes - Internal Revenue Service

And to quote Shakespeare, "Neither a borrower, nor a lender be."

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Delicious, Take Two

I signed up for Delicious social bookmarking quite a while ago, but it just didn't take for me. Perhaps the fact that I could not access it at work or that I was perfectly happy with using my browser for bookmarking. Either way, I set-up Delicious and just never really used it beyond the first few days. Why not give it another try. After all, I am trying move more onto the cloud, I can have my bookmarks in one place and I can share sites that I value. Let's hope my new job does not block Delicious. I will find out tomorrow.

Here is what I like so far:

  • Everything can be tagged - easy to stay organized

  • Adding a badge widget to my blog, promote sharing my bookmarks

  • Adding a Delicious tag cloud to my site or blog (see my Delicious tag cloud below)

  • Viewing how many people, and who, bookmarked pages. It's motivating to see someone tag my pages

  • Finding new and interesting sites by viewing other people's bookmarks

  • Easy access from any computer, if Delicious is not blocked by the "man" at work.

  • Customized descriptions of each bookmark can be added

So, I started with bookmarking and tagging the links I have collected on my Free e-Learning page and added a few blogs, blog communities and some e-learning resources.

And here is my Delicious tag cloud.

FYI: Here is a great video on social bookmarking and Delicious.

I am sure there are additional features on Delicious that I should be using. Let me know what Delicious tools and features you would recommend.

Economic Times - Impact on Distance Learning

Has the economic struggle had a positive or negative impact on online learning?

This question has been posed a lot on the e-learning blogs, for example.

The Boston Globe just published an article titled Where the Jobs are in Anxious Times. Distance learning and a few related fields are noted as being areas where there are jobs

Here are quotes from the article that pertain to distance learning, social media, cloud computing, and mobile technology.
Government stimulus funding has been creating new opportunities in education and energy, says Clark Waterfall, a partner at Boston Search Group. "We're seeing activity in for-profit education companies, and companies geared to distance learning and corporate learning,"

A new role at many companies is a social media expert, who can help the company communicate with customers and prospects using new channels like Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. "Sometimes that job is called 'community manager' or 'community rep,' " says Tom Summit of Rowley-based Catalyst Recruiting Corp. "But the people who can get hired are the ones who can relate online activities to quantifiable metrics. What are you doing for the company, aside from just starting a blog?"

Cloud computing - technology services that can be accessed over the Internet - is another area of increasing activity. "I also see a lot of interest in search engine marketing" - making websites more prominent in search results - "and engineers who know how to design websites with that in mind," Summit says.

Keith Cline of Dissero LLC says one position that can be hard to fill at the moment is a mobile application developer. "If a company is trying to build an app for the iPhone, there aren't a lot of people who have that experience," he says.

Where the jobs are in anxious times
By Scott Kirsner
Globe Columnist / June 14, 2009

It is good to hear that there are opportunities out there in the fore-mentioned fields and probably more to come. From my own glances at job boards it appears companies are still hiring people in the distance learning field.

Friday, June 12, 2009

How Big is Moodle?

Moodle is getting more and more popular, but just how big is it? I am  even starting to hear of more corporations adopting it. My experience has been that companies were weary of using open source software, but that appears to be changing too.

I decided to do some research. Here is what I found from

Registered validate sites:  56,715
Number of countries:  210
Course: 3,047,685
Users:  32,815,756

Keep in mind, these are only the registered Moodle sites. Pretty impressive numbers!

Here is where you can find all the statistics -

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Descend into a Black Hole

Here is a great video on what it would be like to descend into a black hole. Yes, I am an astronomy nut and I love educational videos/animation. Plus, it comes from my alma mater, University of Colorado at Boulder. So, when I saw this video and the great stuff coming out of Jila at CU, I had to share it.

The video contains insets that include a map of the trajectory and a clock that displays the time left until central singularity, where space and time come to an end. In e-learning central singularity is 1 continual hour of clicking next buttons. Had to throw that in.

Here are all the details of the science behind this video -

Monday, June 8, 2009

Merger - OutStart & Hot Lava (Mobile Learning)

OutStart has announced a merger with Hot Lava software. OutStart produces an LCMS and development tools (including TrainerSoft, which was renamed OutStart Trainer). It will be interesting to see where this goes. There are many challenges to m-learning. The ease of getting handhelds to talk to an LMS is one, I am sure they will be getting this down pat with Hot Lava and their LMS. If done well it may even give them some advantage in the m-learning world.

So, here is what they get by buying, I mean merging, with Hot Lava as stated in the press release.
OutStart will make use of Hot Lava’s patent-pending technology to develop, deliver and track mobile content for everything from product training to assessments, surveys, job aids and checklists.  OutStart plans to incorporate Hot Lava Mobile capabilities in its social business software and learning systems as well as offer Hot Lava Mobile as a stand-alone solution.

This will be interesting to follow and see its impact on the m-learning world.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Video on Twitter in the Classroom

Here is a really well done video about Twitter being used in a UT Dallas classroom. It provides perspectives from the professor and the students. Goes to show ya, in the classroom Twitter is a great medium for increasing participation.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Free K-12 e-Learning Courses

There are some great e-learning courses out there for kids. I had a few courses on the Free e-Learning page, but hidden under Misc. I am well overdue to add a K-12 category on the Free e-Learning page. For me, some of the most engaging and inspiring online learning is designed for K-12 students. As a corporate trainer, I am often inspired by what is done in K-12 programs. And much of this inspiration has led to much more fun, engaging and instructionally sound course's for my audience. This includes use of educational games, cartoon characters, immersive simulations, humor, etc. So, thank you to all the K-12 course designers out there.

And thank you Christy, Experiencing E-Learning, who suggested that I add to the list. I have always relied on the kindness of bloggers.

Here is what I have so far, but I know there is MUCH more to add:

Edheads (numerous educational games and activities)

Build a Panda Habitat - National Zoo

e-Learning For Kids

National Postal Museum Activity Zone

If you know some courses that I should add, just let me know.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Free e-Learning Page ISD Additions

My Free e-Learning page has received a consistent number of visitors since adding the page. The page receives approximately 10% of my blog's hits. And from my blog stats, I can see many are launching the free courses.

My intention for the page was to not only provide educational opportunities, but also to showcase examples of e-learning. Many of us, myself included, are inspired by seeing what other e-learning professionals are creating. And I am happy to see the page is being attended.

So, with the intention of increasing the value of the page I have added an "Instructional Design" category.

Thus far, I have added the following:

Access eLearning - Georgia Tech Research on Accessible Distance Education (GRADE)

Aligning Instructional Design and Technical Standards - Eduworks

ADDIE Model - C. Pappas

Gagne's 9 Events of Instruction - C. Pappas

Objective Builder - RadioJames

Theories of Instructional Design - J. Carswell

If you know of any courses that will add value to this category or to the Free e-Learning page in general, please let me know.