This demo was inspired by the Articulate e-Learning Heroes weekly challenge #128 Pre-flight Safety Demonstrations. The challenge was to “share an e-Learning example for airline safety training”.
I looked through a number of resources before deciding on a concept for my demo. Some of the more engaging ones I came across included The best inflight safety videos and the How to survive an air-crash app. I even downloaded the Learn to Brace app and had a lot of fun playing it. It asks you to adjust the position of a virtual passenger, who then has to endure a simulated crash. Feedback is given after the crash with details of how bad their injuries would be based on the position you put them in before the crash. Using gamification and putting learners in real-life situations is definitely an engaging way to design for online training.
Whilst I really wanted to use video and interactive elements in my design (and there are elements of video and interaction in the final demo), these types of course elements take time to develop. I looked at a lot of pre-flight safety cards and agree with what most people are saying – these are confusing and not particularly effective as a training resource, although I did like the concept of using recognisable icons to guide learners to the appropriate information.
My main priority was to make the course relatively short and easy to navigate, yet visually engaging and educational. I used a few different tools to achieve this. I did a lot of image editing and for this I used PowerPoint and Picasa.
Some of the effects I used included transforming an ordinary image using the “Cutout” Artistic Effect in PowerPoint and then the Pencil Sketch and then the Comic Book effect on top of that in Picasa. I then made the pencil sketch image 50% transparent (using Articulate Storyline 2) so I could use it as an overlay over the cutout effect image.
Because of the variation in colour tones in the different images I was working with, I decided to use the “Recolour” feature in Articulate Storyline 2 to recolour all the pencil sketch images to the same colour, which was just a grey shade from my colour theme. It’s amazing what a difference a little step like this makes to the final imagery.
Here is an example of the three images – original, cutout and pencil sketch:
And here’s the final slide I designed using this method:
Because I find it essential to maintain consistency throughout a course as far as the imagery goes, I used this same method for all the images, except for the opening slide, which is my favourite slide! For this slide, I wanted to use a motion path in Articulate Storyline 2 to move the plane image across the screen, but the slow speed for the motion path was still too fast for the effect I was after, so I created this in Camtasia and published it to an .mp4 format. Once I had the published .mp4 file, I imported this into the slide in Articulate Storyline 2, making the video take up the whole slide, with the top and bottom yellow banners added on top of the video to match the rest of the slides. I set the video options to play the video automatically, so learners don’t even realise it’s a video playing.
I also used this process for the slide of the airplane window – moving the background image past the window to simulate the plane moving on the tarmac.
The design spans across just four slides, with the main “Welcome” slide containing the six recognisable icons for easy access to relevant information on safety for learners. On clicking each icon the learner is taken to a layer of that slide, then the navigation from that layer is by closing out using the exit icon which returns you back to the main Welcome slide. I did incorporate a little bit of trickery with some of the navigation here – some of the slide layers learners come to don’t have an exit icon, but display another icon which is their only option to navigate to more information before they exit.
Lastly, when there’s a slide that has several layers of information learners need to visit, I like to show visually which information they’ve visited, so I included a “visited” state for each of the six icons on the Welcome slide which changed the icon colour from yellow to grey, then set a trigger with conditions to hide these elements and show the “Thank you for your attention” information once all six icons had been clicked on. I’m not totally happy with the result as the screen flickers a bit too much as this trigger kicks in, but with all the other options I tried (such as setting the trigger to move to the next slide) this happened as well, so I’m still working on this design element. Ultimately, I don’t want the learner to be able to move on to completing the course until they’d visited all six information layers.
I was glad I decided to include video footage in this design and really impressed with the quality of the .mp4 footage I created in Camtasia and imported into Articulate Storyline 2. I think this is a really effective way to add that extra element of engagement to a course and the design possibilities are endless.
The interactivity throughout the course is designed to engage, but not take priority over the content, so not all slides have interactive elements, apart from the navigation of course. I like to avoid using the previous and next buttons if I can and in this demo I have achieved this by making the navigation intuitive and linear, apart from the Welcome slide where the learner gets to choose in which order they view the six layers of information. No matter which order they view this information in, they are returned to this same base Welcome slide which then offers them an Exit button to complete the course. In a short course such as this I also don’t include a menu as the course is meant to be linear and viewed in one sitting.
I had a bit of fun designing the slide simulating the boarding scenario by including the “Boarding Pass” slide at the beginning – a simple drag and drop to move the learner onto the next slide once they handed their boarding pass to the flight attendant.