Ideas for VERY dry content

May 07, 2015

Hello - I'm very new to e-learning and the Articulate programs.  I've used Studio to build my first e-learning module, and just got Storyline.  I have now been tasked to create an e-learning module for a very dry subject with a lot of text about our company's financial process.  Any ideas of how to start?

29 Replies
Steve Flowers

Great suggestion, Chris. Priming questions can be really helpful to the learning process. Good teachers use this technique in the classroom to get folks to orient to a topic before exploration. A lot of really great brain science behind priming.

Will Thalheimer points out the attention benefits of pre-questions in this report. Beyond attention, there is research that paints a strong link between authentic cues (some of the best questions are authentic cues) and the desired behaviors. Priming someone with the challenge gets their attention. But it does so in a way that opens them up to making a connection with the right answer. This is how I interpret the research, at any rate:)

Maria Pappas

I had to do an open enrollment training a couple years ago...tons of information, and not exactly the most intriguing topic. I created a "talk show" theme for the topic, there was a "host" who led the show, and had "special guests", the host also took "call in questions" and questions from the "twitter feed" was very well received. I think whenever you can incorporate several voices, that definitely helps. I've used a similar format (talk/news show) for several other courses and they've been very well received. And they've not always had tons of bells and whistles, music and sound effects are also a powerful tools. You can find tons of royalty free sound effects on youtube, you can extract the audio with this free tool:

Just be sure to read the "fine print" under the video, sometimes they really aren't "free" other times the creators just want credit. Good luck! 

Virpi Oinonen

I'm a cartoonist/storyteller (so not an e-learning designer), but I work with trainers who deliver training on VERY DRY topics (financial processes etc). I turn the basic process into a cartoon story (I use a lot of visual metaphors - that's what can be done with illustration). Often very tongue in cheek. But you do need to get an illustrator who can do that - not every artist can turn an abstract concept into a metaphor (hence you get a lot of graphics where people just talk... which is just a little bit better than reading a text).