Critiques Appreciated

Nov 08, 2012

Hello Everyone,

First I just want to say that even though I only recently joined this community, I've really enjoyed how friendly everyone is.

I'm trying to break into the eLearning industry and I've been working on some samples to show potential employers. I would appreciate it if anybody here took the time to look of my samples and give me some critiques.

Sample 1

This was created with Storyline (Demo, and still 10 days left on it). The intro scene graphics were created using Sketchup (3D Office Background) and Photoshop (Illustrated people). I started off with a simple scenario to pull the viewer in The rest was all done within Storyline. Although I'm not fond of how my voice sounds when recorded, it was fun getting my wife and daughter to voice the other characters. I think I spend about 15-20 hours developing everything. I think what took the longest was recording my wife's voice. She had to make sure she sounded perfect.

Sample 2

This was created with ..gulp .. Adobe Captivate (I hope I don't get the ban hammer after posting this). I actually did this in about 4-6 hours. All the imagery is stock art from Shutterstock (used placeholders). There is a pass/fail screen at the end (differnet from the results page) that will show different images/text if you have passed or failed the quiz. I picked this topic to show that even something as simple as making a peanut butter sandwich, once broken down, can actually have quite a bit of information to share.

Also if anybody has any questions for me about my samples or work experience please feel free to send me a PM.

6 Replies
Daniel Brigham


Thanks for sharing. I viewed the Storyline presentation. I like the the unique feel of the graphics at the beginning of the presentation, and you did a good job "signposting" who was speaking. The different voices also added interest. A few suggestions:

1. When you record, get closer to the mic and use a pop up blocker so "p" and "b" sounds don't get accentuated. (As one freelancer helping another, I'd be willing to narrate a few of your portfolio examples. Gratis, of course.)

2. Maybe use a different type of music--when I think of sexual harrassment, I think of more "serious" music (perhaps something in a minor key)

Thanks for sharing. And I've enjoyed your comments on the boards. --Daniel

Natalia Mueller

Hi Jerson,

I noticed a lot of your posts around the forums. It’sgreat to have another active contributor. I went through your demos and capturedmy first impressions. Some of the things I noticed would be less important ifit was for an internal client. I have specifics to list but an overallthought is that if you’re using Storyline to tell them all of these features and benefits; it would have muchmore impact to show them. There areseveral pre-built interactions included that have all of the functionality setup already. You can use as is, or switch out images. I made a screenr on adifferent topic but it shows an example of this if you’re interested.

  • Consistent graphics- I understand that for the firstportion you are showing something you can do with another program but it’s alittle surprising when it jumps from illustrated to photographic. I think itcan still work since part 1 is a sample scenario within a course about eLearning.      Suggestion:  On theintro slide, set the stage that they will first be viewing a sample scenarioand then learning about eLearning instead of it being a surprise. There are lotsof ways you could do that. One option that comes to mind- instead of the full graphic inthe background, use the design theme that is later in the course. Cropyour 2 scenario characters in a smaller picture with a button to view samplescenario. Also add a cropped image of your eLearning character with a button tolearn about eLearning.
  • Audio quality- this is one of those things that if it wasfor internal use, probably not a big deal. Since it’s for a portfolio, youmight want to do a little more work on the audio quality. You don’t need anexpensive rig to avoid air pops and echoes, but if you can’t make it sound proyou might not want to include something that degrades the overall quality. I didlike the use of 3 different voices for variety, but in the scenario the audio matches the text so you really don’t even need it. Just a thought. (Nota reflection on the lovely job your wife and daughter did delivering the lines!Just the sound quality       In the second part of the course I like how one voiceasks the question and then the character answers it.
  • Scenario options- I know the scenario is just an example,but scenarios can be so much more effective if the correct answer isn't alwayscompletely obvious. This example is showing the client what they can expect from you so it's something to consider. Have you seen Broken Coworker before? It’s in the CommunityShowcase and has some good examples of answers that take some thought
  • Once you get into the eLearning portion and coverbenefits and capabilities, you have a great opportunity to actually use theinteractive elements of Storyline to showsome of the benefits and capabilities you’re describing. I don’t necessarilymean demonstrating each feature you are listing, but maybe use a click andreveal or tab interaction to let them explore the options themselves. It will addinterest to the demo experience and at the same time show the prospectiveclient some of the things you can do with eLearning. Besides the TopInteractions included in Storyline, there are more free ones in the community Downloadssection
  • Player elements – if you are going to include theResources tab, give them a resource. Or just remove it from the playeraltogether. I also like to remove the Next button from the last slide so theyknow it’s over.

I quickly went through the Captivate course as well. Personally,I would strongly encourage a client to go with Storyline over Captivate justbased on what can be done in the available time. If you really want Captivate asan option for clients, you might want to demonstrate something Captivate can dothat Storyline doesn’t. I’ve heard those things exist but they must be outsideof my skill set because I’ve never found them. :) A lot of companies want to stick with what they know, though, so it's definitely good to have a full toolbox.

  • The demo looks good. Clean and straightforward.Since it’s intended to win new clients, I really suggest using images that aren't watermarked. We all know what a hassle it can be finding free resources, but it’sworth it for something this important. They are out there and if not, thismight be a good place to create your own graphics.
  • The only other thing with this one is that the last slidefades out too fast. I could still read it, but that’s an easy enough setting tocorrect.

I know this was a lot of feedback but freelancing of anykind is a competitive gig. I wish I had this kind of constructive reviewresource when I was building my portfolio. I really hope this was helpful. Best of luck to you!

Jerson  Campos

Daniel - Thanks for the offer, I might actually take you up on that. I'm very aware of the popping in the audio. And even though I had a cheap mic we tried everything to make sure we got the best we could get.  I agree with the music. It was really hard for me to find some free music that would match the mood.

Natalia  - thanks for the comments. As I mentioned to Daniel, I'm very aware of the audio. Even though I struggled to get the best out of what we had, it was still fun getting the family involved. I'll also redo the "answers" john gives. They should be much more harder to choose between.

I did plan to add videos of the different capabilities, but I didn't get around to that yet. I was kind of short on time. But that is on the works.

The eLearning demo wasn't really to show what either software can do, One was just a demo about eLearning and the other was just another demo. I agree though, Storyline is much more easier and faster (with a few faults) then Captivate. It's like Adobe made it complicated just to make it seem "professional".

I'm not really trying to go the freelancing route just yet. I'm actually trying to find a company to work for right now. Learn the workflow and get some experience.

Again thanks for all the suggestions and comments

David Steffek

Jerson - good first attempts!

In the first demo, I liked how you got right into a scenario. Very engaging! You said you made these just for practice and that you did the best you could with what you had available, so I'll just say this about the audio: people will tolerate poor video much more than they will poor audio. So be sure to plan for this when you start putting together pieces for your portfolio.

One other tip for the first demo: When you're giving the three possible responses (in speech bubbles), hold off playing the narration of these options until the learner selects the response. Playing only the selected response will have more of an impact, take less time (for the learner), and avoid irritating the learner by reading on-screen text to him/her.

As for the second demo, I know you said you were intentionally extrapolating as much detail as possible but I viewed it as needlessly complicating a simple process. For what I think is a great example of procedural training, search the Storyline demos here for "How to make a green monster."

In all, these are good first attempts! Check out the demos here and elsewhere for inspiration, and keep working at it! You're off to a good start!

Natalia Mueller

I require a portfolio/demos from all applicants and I think it's great that you are working on a portfolio. I've had many interviews tell me they can't share any demos for proprietary reasons and I while I certainly understand that, this is a great example of how you can still put something together to show your skills. If you're looking for a way to stand out among others this is definitely the way to do it.

Jerson  Campos

Thanks David and Nat,

David - thanks for the tips. I'm very new to e-learning design and your tips are very helpful.  I know the PB Sandwich one was overcomplicating a simple situation, but I needed to show a potential employer that I could use Captivate and design a course with it.

Natalia - Since most of my work is for the military I really can't show my work, so I wanted to create a few things to show a prospective employer of what I can do. And also I've never really done an eLearning course, all I've done is ILT course development but I wanted to show that I can quickly become profecient on Captivate and Articulate because I've mastered other graphic design applications.

Currently have another sample in the works that will probably blow these two out of the water or into outer space (hint).

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