Have you done / And is it worth it - Allen Interactions Design 102

Mar 12, 2022

I've been using Storyline forever, but NOT for a while. I'm stuck trying to widdle down 7 (seven!!) modules of HISTORY. I'm in Storyline with animations, and click and reveals (that I know ISN'T -meaningful- ), because it's a low impact, no performance type interactions that need to be performed. 

I'm seeking inspiration, and considering taking AllenInteractions.com's DESIGN 102, but I'm leary about spending all that money. The description states: "focusing specifically on using imagery and hot-spot and hot-object interactivity to create compelling context, using variables to track actions and delay judgment, and non-linear sequencing" - all of which I know how to do, and might not be helpful in an info-only learning. 

And, to be honest (poss. TMI), I'm also a little down on myself because I WANT to be making learning EXPERIENCES, not just one event (eg. 1 asynchronous elearning course). I'm trying to get across in job interviews that I'm all about experiences, but then here I am, simultaneously making a blah History course.  So like, my anxiety-filled Fraud Complex is alive and well. 

Those of you who just want to say "well suck it up." Doesn't really help. I've tried it already myself. How about... Can anyone share a design document for an actual learning experience they have designed/are designing? 

Just like, majorly stuck. Ala writer's block, and feeling inadequate (or at the very least like, a HACK)... even though I've been doing this for over 8 years since getting a MEd in Instructional Systems Design. 

You've guys have been so awesome over the years. I'm glad there's somewhere I can turn to for maybe a little support.

Thank you so much for "listening". 




2 Replies
Hianna Sabo

Alison, this is one of the best posts I have seen here. It shows that IDs are human and not perfect little computers spewing out learning modules without any trouble at all. That said, here’s what I would do if I was in your shoes:

  • Find outside inspiration. Do you read? Play video games? Follow cool influencers on Instagram? Watched a fun movie? So, what did you like about them? What made you engaged? Was it a mechanic? The use of color or sound effects? The story? 

  • Next, find a common thread in your learning modules OR find something to unite your modules. Maybe you could have a historic character narrate the whole thing. Perhaps you could do “cut scenes” at the beginning of each module, then expand the lessons from there. How about using a “game map” mechanic, in which the learner clicks on different areas/time eras, and then they go into the lesson. Sometimes something little like that makes the lesson more enjoyable. For example, my husband often plays on this solitaire game app before bed. The cool thing, is that when you win, you always get a different animation of the cards. So far we have seen a dancing king, a card “cake,” and the traditional card “waterfall” from windows 95. 

  • Finally, take a look at elearning challenges that focus on the interactions your learning document mentions. Alternatively, you could look at Adobe Captivate examples if you have an Adobe ID. Lots of inspiration there as well. 

sorry for the long post. Hope you find an answer that leaves you satisfied! 

Tom Kuhlmann

Thanks for sharing. I think you share a lot of similar issues that many course designers face. I know a lot of them get stuck building the same types of info-heavy courses over and over again and then feel like they're somehow missing out or not developing the skills (or not building the types of courses they'd like to).

From what I gather, you've already read Allen's book and have an understanding of his CCFA process. Spending $900 seems a bit steep to learn more of what you already probably know. It may be more an issue of getting inspirational ideas to think through some design processes and kick start some ideas.

In terms of crafting learning experiences, it's mostly a matter of finding the performance angle and what decisions the learner has to make and then building those decision-making experiences into the course. CCFA or the 3C process I came up with when I taught entry-level IDs is viable for that. 

Sometimes, it's a matter of flipping perspective (even on linear content like history).

I recall a few years back, someone asked for help on a bed bug course because he has a mental block and wanted to be more creative. He got all sorts of ideas. My favorite was the he frame it from the perspective of a real estate agent for bed bugs. 

I spoke to a history teacher once who told me he had a problem making his history content more engaging. He taught about the Revolutionary War. So I suggested that instead of presenting history, put them in the position of making history.

"You're a general in Yorktown, and the British are doing XYZ. What do you do? And from there present some information and some decision-making opportunities. And then compare what they did to what happened."

@Hianna gives some good advice: find sources of inspiration outside of e-learning (games, mobile apps) and participate in the challenges. Those things may help to bring fresh perspective on some of what you do.

Also, do what the bed bug guy did, tell us what you're building and ask for some ideas for inspiration. I'm always amazed at the creativity of this community and I'm sure you'll get some ideas to help you.

Hope that helps.