Getting Started with E-Learning Challenges Q&A

When we started the E-Learning Challenges (this is our 10th year hosting the event), the goal was to help answer a few of the most common questions we’re asked: “How do I become an e-learning pro?” and “How do I build my e-learning portfolio?”

The E-Learning Heroes community offers course creators many ways to learn everything about e-learning: ebooks, tutorials, online training, and published examples. However, to get the most from your learning and grow your skills, you need to practice and apply what you’ve learned. And one of the best ways to practice e-learning is with the weekly E-Learning Challenges.

With new users joining the challenges every week, I put together a short Q&A that will hopefully address some of the most-asked questions.

What are the weekly e-learning challenges?

The weekly challenges are structured activities designed to help course designers practice e-learning and instructional design. I like to think of the challenges as e-learning training. Similar to CrossFit training, the challenges share similar elements and focus:

  1. Varied. The challenge topics are varied to strengthen all your e-learning muscles. We have challenges for graphic design, multimedia, ID, and more.
  2. Functional. The movements you perform to complete each challenge are based on tasks and movements you’ll perform during every phase of course design and development.
  3. Intensity. It’s up to you how much or how little intensity you commit to each challenge. If you’re new to all this, try committing to doing one challenge per month and to commenting on 10 projects each week.

Are the challenges mostly for e-learning pros?

Most of the people who participate are beginner to advanced e-learning and instructional designers. There are some pros and future pros who are trying to gain the skills and confidence to work full-time one day. 

I’m new to e-learning and instructional design. Will I be able to participate in the challenges?

Absolutely. The folx who get the most from the challenges are people who are kinda new to e-learning. Every week I hear from users (this is our 10th year hosting the challenges) that they were hesitant to begin but learned a ton after sharing their first projects. 

When do challenges and recaps get posted?

New challenges are posted every Friday. The current challenge will always be the most active because users are sharing and commenting on each others’ projects. The older challenges aren’t as active, so some people prefer to get started that way. 

The recap post for the current challenge is posted the following Thursday. If you submit an example after the recap post goes live, I’ve still got you covered. I’ll update the recap as your examples come in. 

How much time will a challenge take to complete?

The challenges are designed to be simple practice activities where you can commit whatever time you want. Some people do more, and some do less. For example, I know users who won’t spend more than 30 minutes on their demo, while others spend 6 or more hours. It’s up to you.

Where can I find a list of challenges?

You can find the E-Learning Challenges hub by hovering over the Learn drop-down menu on the E-Learning Heroes homepage. You can always find the current challenge in the top left corner of the page.

How do I participate?

To participate, open the challenge post and drop a link to your project in the comments. If you have Articulate 360, the easiest way to do that is to publish your project to Review 360 and share that link.

I missed some challenges. Can I still participate?

Challenges are always open—there’s never a deadline to submit an idea. If you missed a challenge, just add your demo in the challenge comments and I’ll update the recap post. You can find the complete list of challenges here.

I’ve got a really cool idea for a challenge. Wanna hear it?

I’ll take all the help I can get. If you have an idea for a challenge, I definitely want to hear about it. You can share your challenge idea in this form.

I submitted an example but it didn’t get added to the recap. What’s the deal?

Sorry–this is my fault. I’m updating 350+ challenges each week and sometimes fall behind. If you submitted an example but don’t see it in the recap, please use this form to contact me.

What are some pro tips for getting the most out of the challenges?

  • Share your work. Post your examples on your blog or website. If you’re on Twitter and LinkedIn, share links to your work and use the hashtag #elhchallenge
  • Create a giveaway or freebie. I’m going to let you in on a secret. Everyone loves free stuff. When you include your project’s source file, you’re creating another artifact from your learning that will attract more attention. It’s not required to include a download, but it helps.
  • Write about your projects. One of the best ways to learn is to document what you know and what you’re learning. Think of your blog writing as a learning journal where you reflect on each project’s design concept, production process, mistakes you made, etc. I like how Jonathan, Aman, Tracy, Montse, Ron, and Jackie write about their work using their own blog, LinkedIn, and E-Learning Heroes.

Are you telling us everything? What else should I know?

The best way to learn is by doing. Here are a few more ways to start practicing and showing your work in the weekly challenges:

  • The challenges are always open. You can join the current or any previous challenge. The current challenge will always have the most activity, while the older challenges are a little quieter. Sometimes users feel more comfortable joining older challenges because it’s a way to test the waters without drawing too much attention.
  • Make it a goal to participate monthly. You don’t need to join every challenge. If you’re just getting started, commit to at least one challenge per month. 
  • They don’t need to be perfect. The main thing is to come up with an idea and then see if you can make it work. Some people build simple prototypes, and some put more work into them. It doesn’t matter. The main thing is you’re playing around with ideas and the software.
  • Check out the recaps every week. Even if you don’t do the challenge, look at the weekly recaps to see what others have done. You’ll see a broad range of ideas, and many share their source files, so it’s easy to deconstruct them and learn from what they did.

 

Have you shared one or more examples in the challenges? What tips or suggestions would you suggest for users looking to get started?

36 Comments
Daniel Benton

I’m so thankful for the weekly challenges. At first, I was scared to share anything with so many talented participants. I am an L&D trainer who accidentally fell into Instructional Design and E-Learning development. When our organisation got an LMS for the first time the peeps around me said ‘that’s a job for Danny’ and sent me on an Articulate training course. I had used power point, but was overwhelmed by states, layers and triggers. I didn’t think I would ever understand how to use the platform. It’s now coming up to three years since I was sent on that course and I can say that my confidence and skillset only really started to develop to a place where I am happy in the past 6 months since braving it and taking part in my first challenge. The people in this community have been ... Expand

David Anderson
Jackie Van Nice
David Anderson
Jackie Van Nice
Ron Katz
Jodi M. Sansone
Dianne  Hope
Daniel Benton
Tracy Carroll
David Anderson
Yvonne Urra-Bazain

I have learned how to engage with Storyline through The E-Learning Challenges. I used to think that I would need to do a lot of "book learning" before I could actually start working with new software, but this has proven not necessary, to my surprise. I look up webinars and articles based on the challenges and grow my skillset along the way. This has not only bolstered my understanding of this software and this career field, but has reminded me of what's critical in any learning experience: direct engagement with applicable outcomes. As a 10-year classroom educator and new homeschooling (to my 6th grader), remote working mom (just started a contract Feb 1!) I've even changed the ways I ask my daughter to learn. Her learning is now mostly "project-based," presenting authentic, real-wo... Expand