Going to the next step in interaction...where do you get inspired?

Jan 31, 2012

With the soon to be released Storyline product and advancements in your personal creative brain I am wondering what you are doing to go to the next level of interactivity?

I have a habit of creating branching scenarios in almost all my programs and I am now trying to create activities and tasks that the user has to do to simulate. But I feel like I need to go further.

Where do you get your idea for the odd ball stuff?

What was you favorite design class that opened you brain to infinite ideas?

How do you sell them to your higher ups or clients?

I am looking for real life examples. Not the one fun course build but real programs you created that aren't linear and use innovative solutions to send a learning message. Please share your programs if you can or a part of them.

10 Replies
Eric Nalian

Hi Zara,

Great quesions

  • Where do I get my ideas for the oddball stuff: Generally, for these I go with: How would I like to learn this content, and then I brainstorm how to do it from there.  I then hope I have the technical know-how to create it and can find the appropriate graphics.
  • Design Classes - The instructional design classes that I took limited creativity :(  I didnt have access to all the tools/software that I have now.  During college/grad school, I didn't really know Articulate existed (The ID program did not cover much in terms of eLearning), do I created everything in Dreamweaver...
  • How do I sell them to the higher ups - I have been slowly easing them into more and more interactivity.  The first time I introduced branching to them, I was shot down immediately.  So I started with just a basic online course that was just bulleted lists and text.  The nex tone added some pictures and Engage interactions, and now, I have been given free reign to do whatever I want (Insert evil laughter).  It took 3 years to gain the trust of the senior VP's to be able to have full creative control over the courses they want me to design.

Unfortunately, I do not currently have anything that I can share because everything is being built in Storyline (Yay! Beta!!), and everything else are my 'no frills lets get the company started with eLearning' courses.

Chris Fletcher

I've found that with Flash alongside Articulate, the world is your oyster!

When people ask me if I can do something a certain way, I always says "yes" and then go away and figure out how to do it. Not all as2 functionality is compatible with Articulate, but a great deal of it is, and by using flash, you can add in practical exercises, create content equivalent to the Engage 'tabs' but with images to click instead of boxes, and recreate games, quizzes, anything really.

I tend to take my inspiration from the things around me, the websites I visit, and the people I talk to. If I ever start to get stale, I talk things out with people. When no idea is a bad idea, the more people you have contributing them, the better. You can use the best one, and bank the rest!!

Jeff Kortenbosch

Hi Zara, great questions indeed.

  • Where do you get your idea for the odd ball stuff? The real world: I don't have to invent the wheel others will do it for me. I just take an idea and figure if it is something I can use. eg. I've been thinking about creating a new type of main menu for my corporate elearning templates and got inspired by the windows 7 phone, then saw that concept worked out even better on the windows 8 tablet and XBOX360 dasboard. I've attached the result slide withmy previous and new menu. So it really about taking up stuff I see all around me, navigation and content layout and accessibilty from websites, devices, movies, twitter messages, games and last but not least this forum. Anything that makes me go "Wow, that is cool" I try to get a screenshot/picture and store it in an 'design ideas' folder.

  • What was you favorite design class that opened you brain to infinite ideas? Never taken one. I'm like Eric, mostly I go by gut feeling, how would I like to learn this and being inspired by courses I have seen elsewhere. Sometimes talking to elearning or communication agencies to get some more creative brains to the table.

  • How do you sell them to your higher ups or clients? Similar to Eric again, I take 2 routes, firstly I supply our learners with elearning templates, quite tradional but with top quality graphic design, secondly for large global project (with some actual budget) I bring in the creative agencies (from which I learn) and we bring the interactivity to a next level. The hugely positive feedback from our employees does the convincing for me, allowing me to evolve the interactivity of our !

If you look at the file I added you'll see our current menu slide, followed by 2 examples I am currently working on and the windows tablet image that inspired me.

Phil Mayor

Jeff, great minds!  I have just used the metro theme for a course in Storyline, looked similar to yours!

Zara, as Jeff says i like to look at what everyone else is doing, OS GUI design have some great ideas, windows, mac, android, osx.  I love to watch the news to see what they are doing, finally i like to look at infographics and see how this can be replicated


Zara Ogden

I guess it is just the impatient millennial in me that want to be great now. lol

I too am self taught on may of my wonderful skills and I look for new ways to improve and learn more. I am ever wanting to get better at my trade. From your comments so far I think it is just experience and patience that I need right now. 

Funny cause my skills began in English media in like 1997 when I was in grade 10. The class was about creating media in the computer lab with Corel and in the video studio. The best skill i every learned was how to manipulate the points of an image to make it new. Who new that after taking business finance in college my most valuable skill would come from a bird course I took ion high school. 

I think now I need to keep working on some on the side fun stuff and less work items to beef up and get more inventive. 

Please keep sharing your crazy cool stuff. 

Eric Nalian

Self taught is the way to go!! (atleast for me).  Took the ID courses through college/grad school, but the aesthetics/design of a course are one thing that are not really taught. (also creative projects....every semester there were atleast 6 courses on how to write a resume....oy!!!)

From seeing the examples in this forum, and just thinking 'I havent seen this in a course yet, I wonder if I could create it' has really helped me grow.

I just need to find the time to work on random personal projects so that I can have a public portfolio that is not full of industry specific/operations secrets....

James Brown

My inspirations sometimes come from experiences and a little from what others have done. Much of what I create comes from trial and error. I'll develop something and then take a step back. Then I'll come back to the project and I typically see things I did not see before which then allows me to tweak my project.  I know David, Jeanette and Tom introduced ways to create attractive e-learning content with Power Point which has then allowed me to take boring course content and turn it into fun, interactive tutorials. It also forces me to up my game and make better course content to keep abreast with the latest standards.

Colin Eagles

Great post, I've often wondered the same.

In terms of ideas, I get a lot from you folks here, especially the guru winners.  I guess that I also just enjoy seeing clean design - and I take the ideas that I see from other media; magazines and books, movies (mostly the top menus), video games (great menus).  Having a young daughter (1 year old on Valentine's Day, aww, I know) has really helped me to "simplify" my message, and I try to bring this to work; colours, shapes, simple imagery; in my recent experience, it seems to have universal appeal.

As to courses, I'm also self-taught.  I took history in school (so I guess that I've got the writing side down).

I've tried a few approaches to get approval.  The first, and terrible, approach was to just work on it for a while until it was too late to do anything else and then present it.  I don't recommend it.  Fortunately, in my case, they liked it.  Now, I go with the "see how this is better than that" approach and contrast my ideas with something plain.  Naturally, I make the plain *really* plain, but it works some of the time.  I figure that the key is to ensure that the "cool, new idea" serves the material and not just my desire to try something new.

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