How Do You Show Conversation and Texting in E-Learning? #105

Conversations and Dialogue #105: Challenge | Recap

Challenge of the Week

This week your challenge is to show how dialogue can be shown in e-learning courses. You can focus on talking, texting, instant messaging, video chats, or any other form of communication.

Your projects can be static or interactive and you can build your demos with any authoring tool. We just want to see your creative solutions for showing dialogue in e-learning.

To get help you get started, I’ve rounded up a few community examples that feature creative ways to show dialogue.

Grammar Guide to Speech Balloons

There’s no better guide to understanding speech balloons than Comic Book Grammar & Tradition by Nate Piekos. You’ll find a list of every type of speech balloons and when you should use them. If you’re building e-learning scenarios, you’ll want to bookmark this article.

Grammar Guide to Speech Balloons

Comic Book Grammar & Tradition by Nate Piekos

Comic Style Speech Bubbles in E-Learning

Speech balloons don’t have to be used with comic or illustrated characters. I like the way this example combines comic style panels and speech balloons with photographic characters.

Comic Style Speech Bubbles in E-Learning

View Fighting Harassment Comic Book Style

Interactive Conversations in E-Learning

In this example, users control the pacing of the conversation by clicking characters to advance from question to answer. The overlapping speech balloons help learners focus on each character’s words.

Interactive Conversations in E-Learning

Free PowerPoint Template: Conversation Interaction

Using Pull Quotes to Depict Speech

Typically used in journalism, pull quotes are graphic elements that are used to highlight an excerpt or key phrase from an article. This type of approach also works well for showing on-slide speech.

Using Pull Quotes to Depict Speech

View the interactive pull quote example

Instant Message Experience

Simulating instant messages on mobile phones is another way to show digital communication.

Instant Message Experience

Text message template

Showing Text Messages in Film

If you’ve ever watched BBC's Sherlock or House of Cards, you’ve likely noticed the innovative ways filmmakers are depicting on-screen text messages.

House of Cards uses animated chat boxes layered over live action footage. This enables viewers to remain in the scene with the actor while the text messages are displayed.

House of Cards

Sherlock takes a more simplistic approach by using floating words without the bubbles around the text. This prevents the graphic elements from appearing outdated as text messaging styles change.


You can learn more about the ways filmmakers are experimenting with text messaging styles in A Brief Look at Texting and the Internet in Film.


Previous challenges:

Forum discussions:

Articles and blog posts:

Downloads and templates:

Last Week’s Challenge:

Before you sweet talk your way through this week’s challenge, check out the audio portfolio examples shared over the past week:

Build and Promote Your E-Learning Voice Over Portfolios #104

E-Learning Voice Over Portfolios #104: Challenge | Recap

Wishing you a chat-tastic week, E-Learning Heroes!

New to E-Learning Challenges?

The weekly challenges are ongoing opportunities to learn, share, and build your e-learning portfolios. You can jump into any or all of the previous challenges anytime you want. I’ll update the recap posts to include your demos.

Nancy Woinoski
Nancy Woinoski
Rachel Craig
Nancy Woinoski
Tracy Carroll
Linda Lorenzetti
Mohammad  Hassam
Guido Roessling

Hi Joanna, for some reason, the comment I wrote a couple of minutes ago was not posted (so perhaps it will show up twice later!). Thank you for the nice example. I liked the idea of dragging the microphone and the use of states and especially the changing expression of the characters (much as Linda wrote before). I also liked the idea of the "orderly discussion" in the second example. Two small recommendations: 1. In the "orderly" example, I was missing a visual cue on "who wanted to say something". I would occasionally drag the microphone to somebody, and it would snag right back because that person "had nothing to say right now". Alas, no feedback on who wanted to say something was given (or I did not notice it), and there was no explanation (e.g, a surprised character saying "... Expand

Joanne Chen

Hi Guido, thanks for your opinion. For your first point about the microphone occasionally snag right back, it happens because if the object doesn't drop on the hotspot area, it will auto return. Thanks for pointing that out. I adjusted the hotspot size so it will not snag back when user drag to a character now. And for "no feedback on who wanted to say something was given", I am not sure what you mean, but if you mean there should be feedback to someone after saying something, I would say since the conversation display orderly. The feedback could actually display in the next dialogue. Or there could add in a chairman who has response to each character. Giving each character a microphone, that a brilliant idea and could be used in a different approach. I would like to use the idea ... Expand

stefanie stephenst
Abu Maryam
Pixentia Team
David Anderson
Michael Lacy