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3 Posts authored by: Darrin Hayes


E-Learning courses don’t have to use a one-size-fits-all approach every time. One way to add some personalization to a course is by capturing the learner’s name, then referring to it later. It helps give a more personalized, friendly tone to the course. After all, who doesn’t like to be catered to?

We can use variables to capture simple user data that a learner provides, and then adapt the course content along the way. Variables can help us develop a single course that can adapt to the various learner groups by showing or hiding content specific to certain types of learners, without having to create multiple versions of the course.

Using a Text variable to display the user's name

In this week’s example, we use a simple TextEntry variable on the first screen to capture the user’s name when they type it in. Once we’ve captured their name, we can display it anywhere else within the course. We also set a custom variable, named location, to track which location the user selects on the second screen.


User selects location which updates a location variable

On the third screen we can show content that is specific to the user name and location.


Example of personalized content

Click here to view example

Using variables to customize a course based on user input can make online courses more personalized and more relevant to our learners.


One popular method for making E-Learning courses more engaging for our learners is to include video content. An example of this is in quizzes where we can include a brief video clip in the quiz question, asking the learner to watch the video before answering the question. This is a great way to make even simple multiple-choice quiz questions more engaging and more work-context oriented.


But did you know that you can make the video itself interactive? In the case of a quiz question, it’s possible to build the quiz questions into the video itself. (Actually the question may be layered above the video, but the effect is the same.) With an E-Learning development tool you can add triggers that pause the video at certain spots where you want the learner to do click on something, answer a question, or review additional information on the screen, then use layers to add a content overlay over the video. The content can be images, text, even animations!


This idea of interactive video follows one of the emerging trends in online learning where videos are becoming interactive, allowing the learner to select options, answer questions, even choose responses for the character on screen to follow. Imagine the implications for Healthcare training. You could show a video of a clinician completing a particular procedure with a piece of equipment, then pause the video at certain places to provide popup information to the learner about the process, or ask the learner to answer a question.


In the example screenshot shown above, the video on stroke education is paused in three specific places to ask the learner to answer a brief review question. You can click the link below to view the video example.


Click here to view example


Can you think of topics or projects where this could be useful?



When you were a kid, did you ever get to play in a sandbox? Or maybe you spent time on the beach, building sandcastles, digging holes, or making whatever you wanted, getting your hands in the sand, mixing in the water, and going where your creativity would take you. Playing in a sandbox is a great way to help us explore new and creative ideas. And that’s what the E-Learning Sandbox Blog is all about.


The E-Learning Sandbox is a place to present and discuss ways to enhance online course design and development to make online learning more engaging for our learners. While many of the course authoring topics and questions in the HealthStream community focus on helping users find answers to questions or troubleshoot technical issues, we want to expand the conversation.


In the Sandbox we want to present ideas with regard to the DESIGN-side of course authoring - instructional design, graphic design, and learning experience design. We also want to explore ways to incorporate newer learning technologies, to stretch beyond just PowerPoint bullets, text, pictures, and Next buttons. While having accurate content is clearly important, we also want our courses to be engaging for our learners, to capture their interest, and ultimately to help them learn more, retain more, and perform better in their jobs.


We hope that the E-Learning Sandbox Blog will help to inspire you to expand your toolset with regard to designing online learning experiences for your learners, and we welcome your participation. You can participate through sharing your comments, questions, and ideas; submitting your own blog postings and examples; and promoting the blog within the HealthStream community. We hope you’ll come back and join us in the Sandbox!

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