New & looking for feedback

Hi all,

I'm new to the forums and to instructional design.  I've created my first lesson in Articulate using some Quizmaker and Engage interactions and I'm interested in some constructive criticism.  I created it for a class in my masters program so the music in the beginning and the credits/music at the end were to incorporate the professor's suggestions.  I'd love any feedback you'd be willing to give.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/29777664/player.html

Thanks in advance for your time.

10 Replies
Jeanette Brooks

Hi Kris, and congrats on completing your course! You did a great job! Thanks for sharing it!

Here are some quick first impressions:

  • Nice tone & feel to the beginning of the course - I liked how you intentionally expressed to the learner not only what they would learn, but why they need to know it!
  • I like the repeated use of the four-part graphic so that learners know exactly what to expect as they move through the course. Nice job using sync'd animations each time you showed the graphic too. This made it crystal-clear what the learner had already completed, and what was coming next.
  • The use of the host character makes the content feel more approachable - nice job with that.
  • For the Circle Diagram on slide 6, and the Guided Image on slide 10, you might want to change the Engage color scheme so that the blue background of the interaction matches the darker blue used in your course slides. You could also adjust the colors on the circle diagram itself - maybe use the lighter blue color for the segments of the circle, and gold for the center because that might complement the orange logo in the sidebar.
  • Speaking of the orange logo in the sidebar - does that represent an organization? Is there a tag line or other text you could add to the logo to make it more meaningful?
  • In the quizzes, you did a nice job carrying carrying the colors/design of the course slide into your quiz slides.
  • Nice use of blank slides and animations on the quiz, especially for the feedback.
  • I liked the way you used periodic sync'd animations to support the content. For example the calendar animation, in the section on issuing wage determinations.
  • Looks like the pyramid picture in the section on reading wage determinations has some duplicated text?
  • On the review slide (beginning on slide 12), you might want to use the same technique of building the slide with all 4 squares of your diagram, and fade each section out as you finish talking about them in turn. That would create a nice consistency with the previous slides where the diagram is shown.
  • On the Resources slides near the end, it would be cool to add hyperlinks to each of the items listed, so learners can click directly to them from the course if they want.

Again, thanks for putting this out there for folks to take a look!

Saenna B Ahman

wow, Kris! That is only your first project? You did a very nice job!

A couple things i might suggest.

On the slide that shows the notebook pages, maybe a handwritten font would look nice. Also about fonts: I would recommend taking a look thorugh the slides and seeing where you could standardize the fonts more. It looks like you are using different heading fonts on some slides than others. Maybe choose one (somewhat heavier) font for all headings, and one lighter font for the body-text? Then maybe the handwriting font for small notations. In fact maybe a handwriting font would look good wherever you use the little hand-drawn arrows. (Where did you get the arrows, by the way? I like them.)

Also (and this is minor) on the quiz where you have a the PIck One question (where the user has to drag/drop the choice), i would recommend moving the answer choices over to the right a little more, so that it's clear that these are separate from the drop target, do you know what i mean? I like how you used the arrow and hint text though, so the user would know how to interact with the question.

i really liked how you designed yoru quiz slides with images and animations. It looks so much nicer than just a regular default -looking quiz!

Thank you for sharing your project with all of us.

Edward Springer

Kris, good job! As a relative "newbee" myself, you did an excellent job for your first course. A few things I noted.

Keep your look and feel consistent throughout. In an early slide you used a spiral bound book as a background. The content did not seem to match that context and looks like you used the graphic for its own sake. Some of the graphic elements seemed out of place. Pick a style and stay with it throughout. If you are using a clip art style, stay with it, if photos, stay with that. Each topic was introduced twice, once when you announced that you were going to talk about it, then in the topic title slide. I would drop the topic title slides as redundant. I noticed that there were several fonts used. It is best to pick a font and use it consistently. You can use multiple fonts if done in a consistent way. For example, when you used the hand drawn style arrow to point to something, a handwritten font would have looked good with that. The major thing that struck me was the multiplicity of navigation methods. I know some of that was due to employing Quizmaker within the course - great imaginative use of Quizmaker by the way. Consider turning off the navigation tools in the Articulate player and using Next and Continue buttons embedded in the slides themselves. This would bring more consistency and perhaps negate the need to explain the navigation up front.

Hope you find these comments helpful. Once again, very good work.

Kris Talynn

Thank you all sooooo much for your feedback.  I will most definitely incorporate your comments into fixing this lesson before I add the remaining content.  It's very helpful to have other professionals take a look at my work.  I hadn't really noticed the differences in font or the navigation stuff so I'm appreciate the thoughts.

I would agree with Edward's comment about the notebook graphic.  Thinking back, I did use it for the sake of using it.  It never felt right but I didn't think about taking it out.  I appreciate you pointing that out.

Jeanette, thank you so much for reviewing my lesson and offering your thoughts.  The logo is actually our company logo.  Our name is typically under it so I'll make that modification. I will also make the other changes you've suggested.

Saenna, the hand-drawn arrow that I used actually came from Tom's rapid e-learning blog.  I changed the color from black so it stood out.  Tom's got lots of free downloadable stuff for us to use.  It's awesome!

Bruce Graham

I cannot add a whole lot to what has been written above, except this....

You have (I am assuming it was you...) a great voiceover voice, I like the way you read and intonate immensely.

I would love to hear the voice recorded using some more "depth", and without the "start" and "stop" clicks that can be heard.

Perhaps, (as you are doing a masters in music?), you might get the chance to record in a studio somewhere - even just a couple of slides, and use them - see what a difference it makes.

Overall - a very nice course indeeed.

Well done.

Bruce

Zara Ogden

Great Job. I liked it. It is so hard making that first course. I look at mine that is a never ending animal and think how the stuff i am making now is so much better. I like Tom's thoughts that you have to start somewhere and linear is it. From there the sky is the limit.

I like to include a little bit of branching in most of my courses. Now that is not to say that i can include a lot but a little, I have to track everything...BOOO.

My suggestion is to let the user go through the Let's Review on their own. Rather then linear add a little branching. Let them click on a topic and open the review information. In the top right corner you can even indicate what section they are reviewing.

Like this

Sarah Newman

Kris, I'll jump on the bandwagon and say that this is definitely a great first course! It's on par with what I've seen a lot of veteran articulate users do, though I agree with the font type/size comments. I think Zara's idea is great, too... branching is just a small way of getting your learners to interact, and interaction really helps them engage with the material!

One point that no one else seems to have mentioned is the music. I *love* your choice of music at the beginning of the course, and I was secretly wishing that it had continued in the background throughout. Some people will argue that music in the background is distracting, and you might be part of that group yourself. If so, take my comment with a grain of salt. I think adding it in the background is an easy way to make audio sound professional without buying a fancy microphone and soundproofing your office!

Bruce is right - you have a nice voice for voiceovers. If you edit out those few random clicks with the audio editor and add the music loop background, I think the audio for this course would really be high quality and give a nice effect. Congrats on a job well done!

Kris Talynn

Sarah, and everyone else, thank you so much for your feedback.  I've already begun incoporating it into the final product and will now start working on expansion of the lesson into a course.  Articulate is awesome and it's been fun to learn.  I can't wait to dive deeper!

Zara, I really liked your idea on branching.  I'm going to incorporate it.  How did you put the little window at the top right?

Zara Ogden

All I did was copy your image and make it smaller. You can place a semi transparent square on top of each item except the one open.

This is what you need to do.

1. Make a duplicate of the option slide

2. On the dup create a next slide button

3. Create a hyperlink using a transparent shape on the next slide button

4. Create a hyperlink using a transparent shape to each of the topic slides

5. Create a hyperlink using a transparent shape on each of the final info slides that will bring you to the dup slide

There is a screenr but my quick search couldn't find it.

If you have more questions I'll be around later this afternoon. Got to run meetings.