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.

Chuck Jones
Christy Tucker
David Anderson
Chuck Jones

Hi Coniqua, Let's begin by saying that the audio file for each slide is ONE file. I recorded each speaker's parts in Audacity, and then merged them together into one file there. I then split that file into the file I would need for each screen. Having said that, I created a second state for each character image I used. I called that state the "Highlight" state. To achieve the glow, I selected the character, and then in the Character Tools > Format option, I selected the little down arrow icon just below and to the right of "Picture Effect." Don't select Picture Effects! Instead, select the little down arrow icon just beneath it. That opens up the Format Picture box. Here are the settings I used. Select Shadow. In Color, select the primary green color - 0/176/80. Transparency =... Expand

Coniqua  Abdul-Malik

Chuck I did try it but I'm having a few problems. I'm using Character cutouts (png) rather than the built in Storyline Characters. It seems to work more or less the same except that I'm having trouble getting the glow to turn off at a cue point. I set the glow to turn on at the cue points to indicate when a character starts speaking. That is working great. However I also set a "disabled" state for each character as grayscale so that the other characters would be "dim" while the third is speaking but the remaining objects on the slide would not also be dim. For some reason the glow is working fine, but won't turn off. So the first character glows on cue (and keeps glowing), while the 2nd character's glow turns on an so on. Toward the end of the slide the cue to turn them all to normal w... Expand

Kendra Kernen
Kendra Kernen
David Anderson
David Anderson
David Anderson