I’ve been working on a lot of scenario-based training lately and I have found some helpful extras that I want to share with you. First, I’d like to talk about the programs I use when creating the training. I’ve used several different programs over the last several years and have found the method that works best for me:
PowerPoint – I know, you are probably thinking here she goes again, but with the PowerPoint upgrades over the last few years and the ease of use when getting started it really is the best choice IMHO. I like to set the design in PowerPoint first. I consider the subject matter and the audience. Regardless, I like to use brighter colors because they tell the brain to pay attention and they are just more fun. Lighter colors and the same background over and over is like giving your audience a sleeping pill before you start. You don’t need to – and shouldn’t – go crazy, but a good color palette and a pleasing background will help make your presentation something people enjoy and likely remember.
When choosing your background, you may want to try doing a search within PowerPoint for template options. They have some, but not a lot to choose from. What they do have however is a nice option to change your slides as you go. Here’s how:
- Click on the design tab.
- Click on Design Ideas
- A side panel will pop up and give you multiple choices. Click on one to see what you think. Keep trying till you get the one you want or decide you don’t want to use any of them. It’s a great way to get a new, professional looking design idea without a lot of work.
I like to go with Calibri, but there are many fonts to choose from. Just remember to use a font that is a Windows Standard font if you plan to share your project/presentation online. Not sure which fonts are windows standard click here for a list of Microsoft 10 windows fonts. If you don’t have the fonts you want to use, search fonts on my blog for ideas on where to get them.
I set up my presentation in PowerPoint, including images and anything else that I can do before bringing it into other software. With scenario-based training, I don’t add the action figures (character cutouts) in PowerPoint. I can however add them to non-interactive slides, so they become familiar to the audience.
For example, currently I’m working on a harassment and bullying project. I plan to move the project to Articulate Storyline 360 and add scenarios in Storyline. However, I have some slides that explain the terms (bullying, cyber-bullying, etc.) and wanted to use figures with the slides. I also wanted to use children and although Storyline has a lot of options, they don’t have children.
After some research, I found a site, eLearningArt that provides lots of options. I chose the simplest/cheapest subscription, which costs $180 per year. I get everything I need, so it’s great for me. It has a lot of diversity, including those with disabilities to choose from with a wide range of expressions to choose from. You can search using several filters (age, adult/child, male/female, ethnicity, sitting/standing, angle, pose and prop). There are many backgrounds to choose from as well. You download the characters to keep and can easily add them to Storyline as well.
I’ve posted several times about audio, so you can search my blog for details, such as choosing a headset/microphone, audio editing software, etc. It’s important to point out that whatever you use, keep it consistent. I prefer to record each slide separately for ease of editing and replacement if you update the presentation later, but it is still best to record at the same time under the same conditions. Otherwise, you end up with inconsistent audio that is distracting. Be sure to choose a quiet location with good acoustics as well.
Pulling it together:
In Storyline or Captivate, you create a new presentation and import the PowerPoint project. Both programs take the presentation and all its timing, transitions, etc. and allow you to edit within the program. I find Storyline to be easier to use but Captivate gives you more options.
Storyline also gives you options for design and character cutouts. It also has a library of images to search within. Although I generally make those choices prior to uploading to Storyline, it’s nice to have the options.
Next, I create my scenario(s) using Storyline, which is too complex to post here but I will add a post in a few weeks showing how I do it. I also add my audio to the slides, which is generally how I time the slides. I can test my project by publishing it for review and once any changes are made I can publish it using multiple methods (SCORM, web, video) depending on my needs.
The result is a nice looking presentation with easy to read text and a voice over that is consistent and clear and a story that keeps your audience interested. And that folks is the way to share information that sticks!
I’ll be away for the next two weeks on vacation. See you in September.