Do you ever wish you had the time, budget or staff to add more interactive learning activities to your online courses? I recently came across a company that fills this gap with engaging Flash Interactions, eLearning Templates, Articulate Skins and Flash Games that can be imported into most rapid development authoring systems. The company is the eLearning Brothers—otherwise known as Andrew and Shawn Scivally.
My First Try
The interactions range from basic question and response activities to scored interactions, like their Gauge and Flash Card templates. The eLearning Brothers also create eLearning Games if you’re looking for more complexity.
I started with their drag and drop interaction, called the Dragger (shown above). One thing I liked from the start is that they give you the source file that includes instructions for modifying the interaction (this is an .fla file). You will need Adobe Flash to work on the files and a little familiarity with the Flash interface to add your content to the interactions. You don’t really need any more than that; they take care of the Action Script programming for you.
On my first attempt, I simply wanted to add text to an interaction. Being familiar with Flash, I was quickly able to jump right in and see they had things laid out quite clearly. The instructions in the source file come in handy and they have video tutorials for many of their products on their site.
I added content as quickly as it took to open a movie and copy and paste text. Then I lightened the background color a little through the Flash Properties Inspector to coordinate with my course colors. And that was all I needed to do. It was easy and efficient. See below to see the new drag and drop partially completed.
Getting More Complex
With my confidence bolstered, I thought I’d tackle a more complex interaction. This one was called the Gauge. Here, a meter displays the accumulated points for every correct response. Below is how the interaction appears prior to adding content.
This time, I wanted to try to change the layout more dramatically. I think that layout modifications and changes to corresponding features requires more knowledge of Flash and its conceptual model, which is not difficult to learn. Again, no programming was required to make these changes. In the future, I’d like try the scenario idea, adding a story, photos and scenario-based responses to a basic interaction, like the eLearning Brothers 4 Tabs Template. Here’s what I came up with while playing around with the Gauge interaction.
There are many ways to get creative with the eLearning Brothers interactions. For example, you can embed the interaction into an engaging scenario that involves real-world responses. You can then replace buttons with photographs of people and use storytelling to create an emotional connection with the audience.
I think the eLearning Brothers Flash Interactions will work well for the novice or expert designer/developer. For Flash novices, it won’t take long to learn how to open a movie and add text or delete a question if you don’t need all the placeholders. The templates provide beginners with an important new set of capabilities—increasing the interactive learning in their online courses.
For someone experienced with Flash, the sky is the limit. An expert can modify the layout, add new background images, change scoring options and in general, use the template as a shell for getting work done more quickly. The point is, you won’t need to spend hours programming the interactions. In the end, I think these template bundles will save both time and money.
The eLearning Brothers have a clear purpose, “Our goal is to make your eLearning look awesome! We want to provide interactions, templates, skins, games, and various elements that developers can use to make their courses look great.” I’d say they’re achieving their goal.
Check out the eLearning Brothers Interaction Templates by clicking Interactions at the top of their home page.
Articulate Presenter Skins: A Review