Time and Motion

Today feels like spring at last. I decided to take the morning off from sitting in front of the PC and being in my work room. Instead, I gave the grass the first cut of 2021 all the while thinking about the workload I am facing over the next few weeks.

As I sit here writing this blog, I can feel the benefits of having been out in the air. Even though it is said time and time again that exercise and fresh air aid focus and concentration, it really has to be experienced. I know I need to start back daily walking and to have one hour to myself. I can not make Covid-19 the excuse for not getting out for a walk anymore. So from today, it is my plan to take that daily hour and to be quite selfish about it. Ironically, it is that very advice “get selfish” which I give to my own learners when they are knee deep completing their assignments for me!

For today’s blog, I am including a summary of a good article I read during the week. I found this to be very helpful in solving a few dilemmas for me. According to Bui (2020), creating a positive e-learning experience can be aided by all of the following:

  1. A powerful welcoming message
  2. Inclusion of short animations kept under 5 minutes in duration
  3. Inclusion of immersive instructions such as “close your eyes” or “think about the topic”
  4. Inclusion of reading material on the side to enable learners to do further research into a topic
  5. Inclusion of transcript to enable those with hearing impairments to access the information. (eLearning Design and Development, 2020)

I liked this article for a few reasons. Firstly, I was unsure whether to include a welcome message in my project. Bui (2020) suggests this can be done using animation. I have now decided to include an animated welcome message. Bui (2020) suggests that it might be possible to include the learning outcomes (LOs) in that welcome animation. Here solves my biggest dilemma. I was wondering how I would include the LOs. Most of the main theorists are all for LOs but if I am completely honest, I am not sure if including LOs is always a good idea. Can LOs put a person off from doing a course? Not because of the LO’s goals, but because reading them is such a heavy start. Is this my own bias or are they “a bit of a kill joy” I wonder? Maybe I should start another poll!

Another reason I enjoyed this article was because I extracted tips regarding how to immerse an audience. The subject matter of my project is an emotional and persuasive piece. Immersing an audience in “Penny’s Story” is vital. I like the idea of including immersive instructions as outlined above.

Thirdly, I did not know whether I should just tell the story from start to finish by animating an entire piece and then include lots of resources and information at the end. Now, however, I have made the decision to include short animations, similar to structure of The Vampire Diaries:

  1. Penny’s Story – Part 1
  2. Penny’s Story – Part 2
  3. Penny’s Story – Part 3

In this way, each stage of Penny’s life and needs will be addressed, from puppy to senior dog.

With these story parts in mind, this week, using Rise 360, I set up the blocks and placeholders for each lesson. I also recorded two short animations using Doodly. I am really happy with these two short pieces. They are just over 2 minutes long. I feel the message is good. I laugh each time in the animation where a chubby dog is supposed to represent a sad and mistreated one but it was the only image I could get of a senior dog without paying an additional hefty subscription. Subscription rates generally are a real eye opener in relation to freelance work.

As the end of my mid-term break is fast approaching, I am feeling good about the development project and the progress made this week. I am aware not everyone in the class has the luxury of having an entire week off. However, going forward, I know the next big project wave will have to be the week of St. Patrick’s. I absolutely love working on the project to the extent that I lose all sense of time. I need to remind myself over and over to devote time to the day job, which right now is not as exciting as learning how to use software. However, that reality still exists.

By the way, for anyone interested, in my final blog at the end of March, I intend to write about learning outcomes. I feel by doing so, I might make my peace with them. However, right now I am not convinced. Meantime, I will leave you with an image of a happy dog sitting in grass. In case any of you are wonder, this is not the real Penny. I will save the best image until the last blog.

Photo by Stefan Stefancik on Pexels.com

References:

Bui H. G. (2020), “How to Create A Positive eLearning Environment with Animation”, available

https://elearningindustry.com/create-positive-elearning-environment-with-animation

[date accessed 19/02/2021]