Learning Objectives Done Right


As learning designers very little is more worthy of our time and attention than well conceived and perfectly functional learning objectives. Perhaps because of this the topic is rife with controversy and misunderstandings abound.

Here’s my take on LOs and an example of Rise embedded in WordPress with Brian Batt’s awesome plugin.

Click the Launch button below and Rise will open in a new tab or window.

Launch Presentation




Sounds, Triggers, and Tools in Storyline

“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” ― Abraham H. Maslow,

In yesterday’s post I shared a Storyline theme that could be used as a course starter for construction related learning (Elearning Challenge #183). I wasn’t completely happy with it for a couple of reasons. The mobile experience wasn’t awesome and the nails didn’t display as “hammered”. So, today, while on hold with Microsoft support (long story with a happy ending), and inspired by Maslow’s quote, I decided to revisit the theme and see if I could hammer, saw, or sand this slide into shape

The slide needing extra love is the menu slide.

Screen capture of the menu slide.
Menu slide in Storyline

Here’s what I wanted the user to experience, on all devices:

1. User clicks the hammer to access a content slide.

2. On click of the hammer it changes state to Down and hit a nail. When the nail is hit the sound of a hammer hitting a nail plays, and the nail changes state from up to down.

3. Then hammer then returns to up position and slide jumps to the correct slide.

This all has to happen in about half a second.

Here is the new version and the trigger notes are below.

Launch Presentation

Trigger Set-up

1. Added hammer in normal state and down state (x4). This actually took a lot of time because there is no way to pivot a graphic. Not hard, just fiddly.

2. Added nails in normal and down state (x4). Again, not hard, just fiddly. Made fiddlier because the hammers had to intersect with the nails.

3. Added audio (media) – I ended up adding four identical instances of the audio but with different labels to keep them straight. I did this because some of the triggers linked to the audio weren’t working correctly. Using 4 separate audio objects seemed to work better.

4.  Set to “when revisiting reset to initial state” in slide properties.

5. Labeled everything so I didn’t mix up the four content sections.

6. Set up the triggers for each of the four content sections.

a. Change state of Hammer X to state down when user clicks Hammer X

b. Play media,  Media X when Object intersects – Object Hammer X with Nail X

Screen shot of trigger set-up
Trigger Wizard in Storyline

c. Change state of Nail X to Down when Object intersects – Object Hammer X with Nail X

d. Change state of Hammer X to Normal when Media X completes – This is so the hammer returns to the up position while on the slide. The nail stays down until the slide is revisited.

e. Jump to slide X when Media X completes

7. Test, test, test and then test on another device or two.

Well that was fun – seriously – it was fun and clicking the hammers and pounding the nails is just plain cathartic. Of course there is always more that could be done but that will have to wait for another day.


I suspect there are a few other ways of making this kind of layered interaction work. I’d love to hear about alternatives.

The Sound of Learning – Sound Effects in Course Design

Sound waves

Learning designers sometimes struggle with the use of sound effects in online learning resources. The right sound effects, at the right time, can add value to e-learning by adding emphasis. Sound can also help keep learners’ attention. One area that I’ve seen sound effects used really well is to indicate correct or incorrect answers in quizzes. Who doesn’t like applause, right?!

For this weeks Elearning Challenge – Course Starters: Construction Theme E-Learning Templates #183 I decided to play around with sounds other than the usual bells, whistles, and buzzers. The goal I set for myself was to create a theme, that included sound effects, that would be familiar and comfortable to folks in the construction industry.

My thinking on this is that a lot of people do not love taking courses. I know. that fact shocks me too! So the more comfortable we can make the learning environment, the less our participants will stress, and less stress = better learning.

Click the launch button to open the Storyline in a new window.

 Launch Presentation


The challenge was finding the sounds I wanted, for free. I considered recording my own effects but as time was issue I went to freesounds.org. They have tons of great sound effects in the public domain, including the ones I used, or licenced under Creative Commons attribution. I also pondered editing and enhancing the sound effects I found – which would have been really easy using Audacity. In the end I decided to just use the original downloads.

What wasn’t a challenge was finding the video and other graphics – they are all from the  content that comes with Storyline 360.


If you have other sources for free sound effects or other ideas about good use of sound effects please drop a link and your thoughts in the comments 🙂

Drag and Drop Recycling Game

Banner image

Our city recently launched a new organics curbside pick-up program – Yeah Chilliwack! – along with a great app and other resources to make it easier to sort the recyclables and organics from the garbage.  What I’ve noticed is that adults use the app but the younger kids and teens, not so much.  So I’ve built them a game.

I built this game in less than a day, mostly for the kids and grand kids, who are still struggling to sort out what goes where.

Update: I spent another day editing and adding variables to make the game more engaging. This is version 2.

Click to launch in a new tab.

Launch Presentation


This is a bit of a work in progress. I’ll be adding a way level up so once you get the first round correct you can go on to a more challenging version. I’m planning four levels of increasing difficulty.

This was a lot of fun to create. Emma and the kitchen scene are from  CrazyTalk Animator – also a lot of fun to play and create with. I plan to fully animate Emma and add narration to the opening slide. I don’t think this is critical though. Sometimes simpler is better.

Big thanks to the E-Learning Heroes folks for posting this as a challenge (#178) and continuing to inspire. And to Veronica Budnikas for all the help with the variables!