While I've created many "show me" tutorial videos for software companies, providing eLearning designed for customers is a relatively new thing. I wanted to do a trial of Articulate Storyline's software simulation capabilities, while continuing my comparison of the two types of educational products.
Following on my example from last week, I'm showing the same task, but in this example, the user gets to try the skill instead of just watching it. This can be great for customers who need to learn how to use certain software features, but are afraid of "breaking" the data in their system.
I'll start with a caveat. I'm not happy with the quality of this output. The point of using Storyline's screen recording feature was to save time. But this isn't publish-quality in my book. The video clips that looked fine in preview mode have morphed into something in the hosted project that is too distracting. But rather than halt my planned investigation here on the blog, I thought I'd show it as is and go from there. I'll provide a better quality example soon. (You can view the project here.) This sample was meant as a rough and quick example anyway, but the quality problems mean I'll have to rethink my process for this type of educational product.
The big-picture process for creating this type of product is similar to the process for creating show me tutorial videos I explained last week.
1. Task analysis
2. Instructional design
4. Template and layout design
5. Development of activity and full context
6. Produce to platform for sharing
The obvious difference from the tutorial is that this example doesn't include narration. Instead of the script and recording steps, I spent more time on the instructional design to figure out how to best engage the learner for maximum knowledge retention and skill transfer. That's why I've included the Q/A at the beginning that helps the user understand why part of this task is important.
This example also doesn't include much in the way of template/layout design or development of the full context. It's really more of a prototype. But the point of a prototype is to get the idea behind the activity across to the project stakeholders before spending resources on development for something that isn't going to work.
I love the idea of software simulation. They are much more fun that watching a video. However, they do take a bigger investment of time and money to develop, so it's important to weigh the potential return on your investment.
You might consider the cost of your support staff - are they answering the same types of questions over and over that could be handled with an interactive learning experience instead? Would you like to get away from doing the same webinars over and over and spend your time on more valuable activities? What about certifications? Would your users pay to be trained in your software because of the gain in skills it provides them? These and other questions are a great starting place for determining whether software simulations deserve a place in your approach to training customers.
So what about you? Let me know in the comments whether you love em or leave em.