Everyone needs help at some point or another… even your learners…well, especially your learners. There are different scenarios where you may see the need to provide some additional help along the way.
For example, we often work hard to streamline the amount of content that goes on a slide. This “lean text” approach makes for much more attractive slides. However, the minimalist approach in slide design can also create confusion if the learner is not 100% sure what they should do.
Another example is creating exercises for the learner to complete in a course, which creates a higher level of engagement and interaction. Sometimes, the more challenging the exercise (i.e., the more they have to figure out), the better. But, you want to be careful to not cross the line and push the learner over the learning edge. So, giving a help or hint option can give those who tried and failed (maybe multiple times) a chance to get some much needed advice.
We were given that task in a recent project. It’s a pretty simple solution with Storyline’s States, Layers, and Lightboxed Slides. Let’s have a look at some of the “Before and After” shots. (In order to protect the Intellectual Property of our customer, we have rebuilt these with some generic content from our development team.)
Notice in the BEFORE screenshot that we added a short description to the right of each item to be ranked. This is the text that was left after weeding some of it out. As you can see, including all this text on the slide makes for a wordy and crowded screen. In addition, this information may be necessary for some learners, but not for others. For those who do not need to know this information, these words are distracting. Obviously, this much small text on a mobile device could be quite challenging for the learner..
Now, take a look at the AFTER screenshot… notice that the text has been removed from the screen. We have not removed it from the story though, just from this screen. The learner can easily access the additional information, if needed, by clicking the “question mark” icon. This icon reveals a help menu, which is on a layer. Each button on the help menu will lightbox a slide containing all of the necessary information the learner may need to make a decision.
NOTE: There are always multiple ways of getting to any solution in Storyline . . . that’s why we like it so much. For example – some might consider just adding the help information to the hover state of each item, or triggering the light boxes on mouse over or click. Those are all great solutions; however we landed on our solution, because of two factors:
- Our customer wanted the possibility of mobile access. So we felt that the clickable icon was a better solution instead of mouse-over effects, which function as a “click-n-hold” effect on mobile devices.
- Our customer did not want any help available until after an attempt was made. Using a separate icon made it easier to hide and display the help option as needed.
Click here for a brief tutorial demonstrating just how easy this is in Storyline.
That’s Storyline and I’m sticking to it!