Flash is almost gone and one thing I am having to do quite a bit of at the moment is remove swf files from my Lectora titles and replace them with something else that will work in future.
I used Flash files quite a lot with screen recordings of systems software. I would capture the steps in Captivate or a similar screen recording app and, rather than make it a simple video, I would include interactions so that the learner would have to locate and click on the right button to progress. In the past I would output these as swf files and insert them on the relevant page in the Lectora title.
With the ongoing demise of Flash I have to come up with a new solution. Here’s what I do. If anyone else is in the same position I hope that you find this helpful. First of all, in the screen recording software publish the recording as HTML5 and save the published files
Then, in Lectora:
And that’s it, really. If, like me, you’re finding yourself going through some of your legacy work to future-proof it, I hope that this is helpful.
Recently I sat in on the Lectora
Inspiration Wednesday, “The Magic Behind Powerful eLearning Design – Learning
Theory”. I always appreciate the efforts of organisations such as Trivantis to
reach out to the e-learning community and offer webinars such as this to
increase my knowledge as an instructional designer and developer.
The topic was really about
designing e-learning to ensure it met the learner’s needs but one of the other
things I took away from the session was the example; a board game style interaction
so I thought I would have a go at creating my own.
I wanted to make the game random so that it would give a more unpredictable element to the experience.
Clicking the die would generate a random number between one and six, and the counter would move the relevant number of spaces on the board. When it stopped a piece of information or a question would display. The learner would need to read the information or answer the question before they could move on to get to the end of the game.
Such interactions are appropriate
for presenting bite-sized information in a more engaging way than bullet
points. It does take longer to create, of course, so you would need to consider
whether the cost, time and effort is justified (although read on to learn about
a shortcut). Also the version I created included a random element – the throw
of the dice to move the counter – which meant that the learner might not see
all the content. As a result you might need to include a summary of the
learning points at the end.
It’s the sort of thing that could be used to help reinforce learning particularly on a topic where the learners feel they may already know the subject and may have got into bad habits. It’s an interactive way to present the information they should already know but may have forgotten as fun facts. The multiple choice questions scattered throughout add an extra element. If you would like to try the exercise, click on the screenshot below
There were a few things I needed to do to make this work.
First of all I needed to capture a random value to send the counter on its way around the board. Lectora is one of the better authoring tools when it comes to managing variables. Somehow to me, at least, it seems more intuitive than some of the other products available. It allows you to capture a random value to a variable when you are setting up an action. If you are interested there is a great video on the Trivantis website about working with random variable values.
The next thing that I needed to do
was to get the counter to move the relevant number of spaces. This was slightly
more problematic for a couple of reasons. First of all I needed to counter to
move from the square it had landed in which would obviously vary depending upon
the random value generated. Secondly I needed to get the counter round corners;
as you can see from the screenshot the board game meandered a little bit.
I spent some time wondering
whether I could capture the random value and use that to tell Lectora where the
counter had got to and needed to move from. In the event it seemed easier to
introduce a learner interaction to capture that information. The learner needed
to close the box that displayed when they reached the next square; I added an
action to that close button to tell Lectora where we were.
Lectora isn’t so great when it
comes to animating objects but it does have the move to action which allows you
to move objects from one position to another. It is possible to have objects move in a
straight line. In this module I wanted them to go around corners as well. The solution here was to have a series of move
to actions in action groups. The first action group would take the counter to
the corner and then trigger a second action group that would move the counter
on around the corner (in one or two cases there even needed to be a third
action group when the counter had to go around another corner). A crucial thing
was the timing of the actions. I needed to put a delay on the actions turning
the corner to make sure it didn’t happen until the counter had completed its
first move; otherwise it wouldn’t move all the way.
Another issue I needed to overcome was an appropriate naming convention for the action groups. I prefix them with the word “action” so that I can differentiate them from groups containing objects. The rest of the name is made up of a description of what the actions will do. In this case I also had to number the actions to keep track of them all. However, if the name becomes too long it is difficult to see it all in the dropdown list when you setting up action to run an action group, as you can see in the picture below. I had to come up with a shortened naming convention in this case.
I hope that you found this an interesting read on some of the practicalities on using Lectora in creating an interactive board game with random variable values and multiple move to actions. One of the joys of Lectora is that it has many ways of doing the same thing so I would be interested in others may have resolved the same challenge. Please add your comments in the comments field at the bottom of the page.
And that shortcut I mentioned? If you feel this interaction
might be useful for you but you don’t have time to create it yourself, for a
short time I am making the Lectora files for you to use to base your own
version on. Simply get in touch to find out more.