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Mar 10, 2021

One of the most common requests we get here in the Building Better Courses forum is, How do I present information on XYZ in a way that’s engaging?

It’s a great question! But it’s hard to give a helpful answer without understanding the learning objectives and digging into the content.

So we’d like to do just that. If you’re struggling with a project, send us your content! We’ll choose a few slides and make them more interactive and engaging.

Interested? Simply respond to this discussion with some basic info about your project (audience, learning objectives, etc.) and attach your file. You can send us a single slide or a whole bunch, it’s up to you! If your project is chosen, we’ll literally do some of your work for you … so what’ve you got to lose?

Looking forward to seeing what you all are working on! :)


Note: we’ll be sharing the transformations here in the community, so don’t send us anything private or proprietary.

38 Replies
Inés BK

Thanks a lot. At the end i added more measures at once. A drag and drop option, so that the learners can do the checks for multiple measures at once (saves a lot of time). So i made up numeric variables for each measure. In the end i want a summary cheet of the 3 categories and measures.

They still have to choose yes or no, in a drag and drop option. I added a picture to visualize it. 

The complex issues are:

- Question 3: the  'measures' (draggable shapes) have to fall off (after submit) or continue to the next question slide, depending the answer --> yes = continue no = fall off. If they all fall off at question 3, then i want to present another slide that redirects to the main menu.

- i tackled the visuabilty of the measures by state (hidden). 

- The idea was: when they put the measures in the 'drop' shape and click on submit the variable will add points for that measure and then i would see that in the next slide (at start point). But i did something wrong there.

- every step i add points at the variables so that i get a distinction and based on that i want to categorize it in the resultslide --> like: 'this' measure will fall under 'that' category.

Do you have any ideas or examples of how to manage the variables and triggers? 

Thanks in advance!

Inés BK

I started with a clean file. I think the problem is in the drag and drop function (freeform with 2 drop targets and 3 or more drag shapes). Can you tell me which triggers i have to build?

the complexity of the quiz is this pathway: 

Every question has multiple drag shapes “measure” who Apply or fall off.

the questions and pathways:

question 1:

yes -> question 2    no -> hidden State on all following questions. All of the measures on no -> slide that leads to main menu to go to the next measures.

question 2: yes -> question 3    No ~> hidden State on all following questions. And by all on no, same as question 1.

question 3: one measure on yes -> question 4a, then next 4b (for the measures on “no”). All on no -> question 4b. All on yes -> question 4a and then question 5. 

So then you have these paths

3 > 4a > 4b > 5  (spread answers on 3) 

3 > 4a > 5 (all yes on 3)

3 > 4b > 5 (all no on 3)

Question 5: yes and no lead to the resultslide where the measures fall into 1 Category (3 categories)

Hopefully this explains things.


Allison LaMotte

Hi Inés,

Thank you for your additional explanations. I feel like I'm starting to understand what you're trying to do here, but I'm still not fully there. 

On slide 1.3, do you want people to be able to select only one measure? Or could they potentially select more than one? If they can only select one measure, I'd recommend using radio buttons, not checkboxes, and setting up a button set.

If I've understood correctly, for the rest you'll need to set up two variables for each measure:

  • 1 true/false variable that will change depending on whether the learner selects yes/no. Set the initial state to "True". 
  • 1 numeric variable that will count the "points" based on the learner's answers.

Then, on every slide, you'll need to set up a trigger for each measure that:

  • changes the value of the associated variable to false if the associated object is dropped on the "no" drop target
  • changes the state of the associated object to "hidden" if the associated variable is "false". 
  • adds the desired amount of "points" to the associated numeric variable if that measure if is dropped on the "yes" drop target
  • adds the desired amount of "points" to the associated numeric variable if that measure if is dropped on the "no" drop target

Then, on the results slide, you'll have to add every measure to all 3 columns. Then, you'll add triggers to determine which of these objects to show, depending on the value of the associated variable.

I came up with a point system that should work. I've attached it here as an Excel file.

Hopefully that makes sense! Good luck :)

Inés BK

Hi Allison, 

Thanks a lot! :D, I am really struggling so this means a lot! I end up deleting the freeform, and do it costum. But i will read your reaction first. On slide 1.3 they can klick on all measures, but also on 1 or nothing. The learner has to choose which measures apply. So for that i set up variables and pathways. If they choose none, then they will go back to the main menu and start the questions for another group of measures. 

Is it possible in the resultslide to automatically stack the applicable measures?

I will read your reaction and come back to you! 


Inés BK

In the pointing system i am missing a path. on three they have 1 path that goes : 3 - 4a - 4b (when a measure is no on 3 and the others yes, then they have to do both questions). for example: measure A and B are yes and measure C is no, first they go to 4a to answer yes of no for A and B and then they go to 4b to answer yes and no for measure C. next they come together in question five. How do i solve that with the pointing system?

Kristin Hatcher

I do have a "challenge" for everyone. Recently I had to create a course that had a section on American History. I used a fairly standard timeline interaction. I got feedback from one reviewer who said that "timelines and dates are an outdated and non-creative way to present history." 

It's quite possible that she was just being mean, but I wondered if anyone had ideas about what a "modern" presentation of history would be? I've seen some lovely timeline interactions, and some were animated, but they were still timelines. Is there a way to present history that is not, on some level, a timeline? I feel so out of touch! :)

Allison LaMotte

Hi Inés,

I created the point system based on that first decision tree you shared. I didn't notice that you'd added another path in a later message. I would suggest taking the tree I shared and making the necessary changes to take into account the third path. The idea is just that at the end, the possible scores all be different so that you can determine what choices they made and show them the correct final result.

Good luck!

Allison LaMotte

Hi Kristin,

Wow, that seems like a pretty harsh criticism! I'm sorry you had to deal with that. I don't think there's anything inherently outdated about presenting information in timeline format. Like you said, there are tons of different ways to make it feel modern and interactive.

As long as there's no expectation that learners would memorize dates and events, presenting date ordered events can be a compelling way to see the relationships and overlap inherent in historical events.

Many news sites—like the New York Times—use interactive timelines to organize content by key event. And they wouldn't do that if timelines weren't such a powerful storytelling device. It all depends on how they're done!

Here are some examples of timelines that you could try out if you're looking for something new:

And there are tons more where those came from! Just do a quick search for "timeline" and you'll find tons of other downloads and examples. 

I hope that makes you feel more confident about your course design! It's never easy taking criticism, especially when it's worded in a way that doesn't feel constructive. 

Kristin Hatcher

Thank you Allison! Some folks here are very talented at creating beautiful timelines, so thank you for that. I was concerned there was some new trend in Instructional design for presenting dates and events that I was unaware of. Sounds like maybe that's not the case, or at least not generally the case. I'm sure in certain situations there are ways to present the information that isn't just date-event-date-event. Thanks!