Please critique my elearning effort

Feb 26, 2013

Hello Heroes all,

I finally will put this work up for review after several months of work.  Lessons 3 and 4 of an eLearning course intended for self-paced individual use -- focus on Lesson 4

  • Biggest problem so far is trying to reduce text and create interesting graphics.
  • Topic is truly arcane, and client wants to explain everything.
  • Audience is new employees who already have experience in billing and coding, but not in using the efficientC software.
  • Voice-over will be added for Scenarios and Exercises later.

Obviously, I feel the need to explain everything too!

All feedback will be humbly appreciated.



17 Replies
Kim Taylor

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HI Judith

As a complete beginner I am not sure I can add too much from a sage/expertpoint of view.

But my naive/novice eyes picked up these issues:

Loads of word on a screen it felt text heavy especially if most of it willbe narrated.

Some of the colours of the arrows etc. yellow/brown jarred a bit with thesoft blue but that might be because I am a muted sort of person

There were some instances when I got confused by the instructions eg. Type textand press tab key. When I pressed the tab key nothing happened. Things onlyhappened if I pressed the enter key. That might just be because I am in the UK andthe tab key is different to the enter key in US?

Most of the time the bullet point/text flew in too fast for me they werewhizzing in when I was still reading the static text on the screen. I guessthis will be fixed when natation is added?

My own inclination is to try to get a human image/avatar incorporated into a course if possible. I was reading some recent research that the human conection increased engagement significantly.

Judith Blackbourn

Hi Kim, you are just the right audience to review this course! My concerns are with usability and the learner's experience, so your voice is just what I wanted. You made so many good points!

  • Yes -- too much text on the slides. Slides with text won't be narrated, just the Scenarios and Exercises, but still too many words!
  • Arrow colors are problem for me -- I'm looking for a color (style) that stands out from the soft blue, kind of a contrast, without being jarring. Any recommendations are welcome. I have some green gradiant ones, but still making up my mind.
  • No, the Tab key and the Enter key are the same in the US and the UK. The instructions are wrong. I thought the Tab key would submit the interaction, but guess the Enter key is required.
  • Yes, the speed of animation is still unpredictable. Sometimes when I select a group of bullets and have them fly in or fade in by top level paragraph, I don't know how fast they'll go. Wonder if that is related to the slide timeline? If the slide is longer, the elements move slower?
  • I thought about having a human or avatar. I use a photo character in Lesson 3 to introduce the pretest and the scenarios. Problem is, the supplied Storyline characters don't really fit (our learners are typically women, in a clerical environment -- no suits). Haven't approached my client about paying for a set of characters, so I can have different expressions, poses, etc.

Thanks again for your perspective -- as this is my first project, I am still a bit insecure!

Best of luck on your projects!

Steve Flowers

Hi, Judith - 

For colors, here's one of the many resources I tend to draw from:

Click Create and plug your color into the center chip. Select a scheme and it'll pick a great matching color for you. When I'm stuck for a color or feeling lazy, this is my first stop.

I tend to collect links and magazines that capture the experience and style of another designer. These are great to draw inspiration. I'll copy a central color or one or two colors and theme elements from another piece. Makes finding the "design trailhead" easier

Marcia Marcia

Hi Judith,

I looked through your course til I got hung up on finishing a question. Lots of useful information....IMHO this course needs small scenarios that lead into tasks....WHY do I do each of these taks? .....Set each taks up....for example: Your boss wants you to get such and such info for a report...or a customer calls and ask for.....Give the instructions some context and reasons for learners to do the tasks.....


Judith Blackbourn

Hi Marcia,

Yes, I wanted to use a scenario to illustrate these tasks, but I know it's hard to tell. With the voice-over, these screens actually become a scenario that matches the learner's daily routine.

Unfortunately, the explanation will be in the voice over (to come), so you can't tell that by looking at the screens. The voice over scripts, such as they are, are in the Notes tab on the Menu sidebar.

Thanks for taking the time to review it and give your feedback!

Greatly appreciated.

Daniel Brigham

Thanks for posting, Judith.


1. The visuals on-screen are clear. Really liked the screen where we had to click on the screen re: the claims. I believe the markers or whatever were red which was visually interesting. Small doses of red (if it works in your color scheme) can help set of the cooler blue.

2. Delivery of information seems consistent.


1. Break up the amount of info you are delivering every few slides. Give them a chance to actually use it (ask a formal question) or perhaps just ask them a reflective question.

2. How could you add a human element to engage them a bit more? Why is this stuff crucial or at least important to them? What's at stake if they screw it up? I realize that you very well may be done with this, but maybe you could add some type of story element to it? Maybe a cautionary tale about someone who screwed it up big time. Any way to add a human element. --Daniel

Judith Blackbourn

Thanks, Daniel, I appreciate your input.

Yes, I'm trying to include something engaging or interactive perhaps every 5 slides. It's been hard to decide where to break up a stream of information, but you're right -- it would help to reinforce the information more often.

Great idea to add a reflective question to introduce why it is important for the work to be accurate.

My client wasn't very receptive to the idea of showing how something could go wrong (she doesn't want her clients to think that ever happens!), but I'd like to add something like that. Also would make a good place to add a character or two.

Daniel Brigham

It's tricky when your client or boss demands things be done a certain way. The best you can do is to work within your constraints.

Maybe just start brainstorming a list of questions:

--why should they care about this? What can mastering this get them?

--where can you highlight the misinformation around the topic? That usually pretty interesting.

--a thought; maybe you could create some story type thing where your learners have the opportunity to save the day or something. Sort of corny, but who knows--maybe, it'll lead to a better idea.

Judith Blackbourn

Those are good questions -- I especially like the one about highlighting the misinformation.

It's quite frustrating to develop learning motives because the people using this software are virtually chained to their desks, and have a quota to finish each day. That's their motivation to do their work quickly -- they get to go home!

Also, any mistakes can cost my client money and disatisfied customers -- if your boss loses money you may lose your job. It's a valid motivation, but seems a little blatant to point out!

I'll have to cogitate on this some to come up with better incentive points. Often get ideas just as I'm falling asleep -- thus the pen and paper at my bedside!

Michael Heckman

You've received many good suggestions. Daniel's are especially on point from my perspective: I'm very familiar with coding practices and the quirks of various hospital systems. One thing I'd add:

"Voice-over will be added for Scenarios and Exercises later."

Why not add it for the lesson content as well, since you're already using a narrator? I think that would give you the opportunity to reduce some of the lengthy and potentially confusing text onscreen. Even if the Powers That Be demand that all of the text remain onscreen, conversational narration will make a big difference in the user experience.

Finally, for what it's worth: An experienced coder is probably going to find the content about the claims process and questions about the information in the Claim Viewer tedious. The data categories and the information they contain, for example, would be very familiar to somebody who has done any coding. I know this may be well beyond the scope of your project, but focusing on performance support and assessing what functions the target audience does not find intuitive would be time well spent. It would help you narrow down the content and make the exercises more focused.

Judith Blackbourn

Thanks so much, Michael. It's reassuring to hear from someone who knows the industry. You have made me look at this project again with a diferent view.

Could you expand on what you mean by performance support in this situation? I always think of online help as performance support, but you must have something else in mind?

FInding out which functions the target audience has problems with has been a quest of mine since the beginning. Currently my only SME is the CEO (and developer) -- she is an expert and apparently can't imagine what anyone else might find confusing. As usual, I write to teach myself, so it's likely that I've explained too much.

As for more VO, I'm seriously considering having narration for some of the text screens and reducing the text to simple bullet points or phrases. One drawback right now is client's indecision about who would do the voice-over. I recommended a talented professional, but they want to use one of the experienced billers who has a nice voice. That's fine with me, but they haven't broached the subject with her yet and my contract ends April 26.

Judith Blackbourn

Finally came up with motivations for the learners.

1. Become confident in your tasks: As your confidence grows, you can work faster and more accurately, allowing you to complete more claims per day.

2. Contribute to the team: Your greater understanding of the concepts and tools prepares you to help newbies learn more quickly, assisting the whole team in meeting their quota.

3.  Prepare for the future: Showing your supervisor that you reliably perform the tasks highlights your skills, and can lead to further responsibilities.

What do you think? Are they too touchy-feely to be motivating?

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