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 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

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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!


Transforming Infographics

Save Me Banner

I’m finally jumping into the E-Learning Heroes challenge arena. I thought I’d slip in slowly with this challenge to transform a simple static infographic into an interactive graphic using Storyline.

Launch Presentation

For this challenge I used the SAVE ME  Naloxone training infographic. Here’s what I did to convert the poster from a static image to an enhanced graphic with additional information.

1 – Edited the original graphic to add more space between the steps. This allowed more of the on-screen white space to be used.

2 – Uploaded the new graphic as a background slide.

3 – Created slides for each step. Ideally I’d use short videos or gifs to clearly show each step. In this case I settled for text descriptions with  videos for two of the steps. Each of these slides would become lightbox slides.

4 – Added icons to indicate more information and created lightbox triggers so that when the icon was clicked – or touched on a touchscreen – the lightbox would display. When I tested this on a phone I found the icons were really hard to hit.

5 – Removed the triggers for the icons and added hotspots that generously covered each step including the icon.

Graphic showing where hotspots were added to the background slide.

6 – Added triggers to each hotspot so that when clicked the correct lightbox slide would display.

7 – Tested on mobile to make sure each hotspot was easy to hit.

One challenge I’m still trying to address is that the background slide is clickable. Its not associated with a trigger so clicking on it has no effect but when you hover anywhere on the graphic the cursor changes from a pointer to a hand. Any tips on this would be appreciated 🙂