College Orientation Starring Spunky Student – "Less is More"?

May 21, 2014

I thought I'd share a fun project I completed recently for a community and technical college. I always try to find a personality to host my trainings, and after a fair amount of searching I tracked down a student on the speech team who fit the bill.

In redesigning their online orientation, the college wanted to move away from the faculty-centric "round up someone from every department to talk about their services" approach to something more in line with a student's perspective. We also kept the lesson moving by providing lots of links to additional information online, rather than drag it out with content that might only be relevant to a small percentage of students.

This is yet another project where I was told "You covered 3 times the information from our old presentation in a third the time!" Do you find that "less is more" often holds true when it comes to eLearning?

10 Replies
Bruce Graham

Andy Lundquist said:


This is yet another project where I was told "You covered 3 times the information from our old presentation in a third the time!" Do you find that "less is more" often holds true when it comes to eLearning?

I find that what is REQUIRED is "more", and yes, that is usually a lot less.

Hope that made sense

Eric Nalian

I couldn't agree more!

One example that I have is converting an in-person training to online.  I was tasked with converting a 2.5 day in person training to an online course.  In the online course I was able to accomplish the same goal as the in person training, while providing more specific examples in an 8-hour eLearning course.  The course is broken up into about 16 smaller modules to make it easier to digest.


Andy Lundquist

Eric – I believe it! Isn't it amazing the extent to which (good) eLearning can compress training time compared to face-to-face? I sometimes struggle to explain this concept to clients who are used to focusing on seat time. There's just so much downtime in a face-to-face training session that would be intolerable in an online lesson. Of course this can be an advantage and a challenge – you have to keep the eLearning engaging or you'll lose the learner a lot faster than with face-to-face.

Andy Lundquist

I received a few private messages asking about my tools and process, responding publicly here.

This lesson was built entirely with Articulate Studio, no use of Storyline. I like Storyline, but on most projects I prefer to leverage PowerPoint's capabilities and the great customizable templates in Engage and Quizmaker rather than designing my own interactions from the ground up. On projects as complex as mine I try to keep as much "rapid" as I can in rapid eLearning.

As far as how I learned to do this I guess you could say I was self-taught. I came to eLearning development from a video production background, rather than a training background, which I think gives me a different perspective on engaging visual communication.

The "templates" were created by myself in Photoshop, using photos that I took around the campus. I think relatable imagery, from photos of actual students to the brick motif taken from the limestone hallways, helps to keep the lesson relevant and reinforce the brand. Stock photos and templates have their place but I try customizing the learning experience to the learners as much as possible. I think it speaks to the value the organization places on the training and makes learners more receptive and engaged.

John Wagner

I'm relatively new to elearning; although I have actually wanted to do this for many years! I just downloaded the trial of  Articulate Storyline. I found your project incredibly fascinating!  The first thing that captivated me was the video inside a video. I've never seen that used before. Totally awesome! When I first went to your project and saw it was a college orientation I thought..."60 seconds and I'm outta here.: But the whole concept was so engaging I sat through the whole thing! Your use of relevant pictures and your reason for them was spot on! I do the same thing with pictures on my web site. I have to admit, your comments about Articulate studio and engage gave me pause about which would be better for me. I've begun seeing some definite limitations to Storyline and the versatility of PowerPoint. Decisions... decisions....

Andy Lundquist

John – Thanks for the kind words!

Rachel – Ditto! To answer your question, the arrangement of the layers is a little sneaky. There are 3 of them. The background image used for the slide includes the bricks, top and bottom elements, and blue-tinted hands and phone. On top of this is a basic PowerPoint text box ("Meet Rebekah"). On top of that is a Flash video with a transparent background that includes the narrator and the video clips from around campus.

So if you were to watch this Flash video by itself, you would see the narrator speaking while video clips float in the air next to her. I created the video in Final Cut Pro (with After Effects used for some chroma keying). The campus clips are masked and aligned such that they appear to be showing through a smartphone screen (even the spot where the thumb overlaps a bit is accounted for), but they are actually part of the video that is sitting on top of everything.

* Note that I'm referring specifically to Slide 2 and 36 in these comments (there are other slides that use the smartphone motif in different ways).

Hope this helps!

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