image Play My Fun New Call Center Game Demo

Call Center Game DemoThis week’s eLearning Heroes’ Challenge on the Articulate Forum (Challenge #47, for those of you who are counting) was to create a quick sample of a call center module.  After all, sooner or later most customers have a need for some form of call center training.  Thanks, moderator David Anderson, for another great challenge!

Since I believe that people learn best when they’re enjoying themselves, I decided to take a humorous route.  I chose to leverage the nifty avatar characters that come packaged with Articulate Storyline (each character has some images on headset; invaluable for call center trainings–and something missing from their photo character images).  And since I was going for a spirit of fun, I chose to use a great set of comic book layout templates that are also available to download from the Articulate Forum.

The result is brief–it’s only a sample, after all–but packs in four different scenarios and a whole bunch of good advice for the call center trainee.  For a real training, lots of things could be expanded–for example, the feedback could be customized to each scenario.  I could add a badge or point system based on the learner’s performance.  Sound effects could heighten the experience.  Background colors and settings could add another layer.  You get the idea.  Here I present only the all-important opening interaction with the call center rep and the customer, but for a real project I would build out a longer interaction, branching with each question with varying customer responses, based on how well the call center trainee handles the customer.  And of course, the comic book approach is just one of many–but it would resonate particularly well with a population that enjoys comics and graphic novels.

If you have a couple of minutes to spare, check out my new sample.  It may give you some good ideas.  And it’ll almost certainly give you a chuckle.  You can click here to view all my eLearning samples, or click the image to launch just this one demo.

New Interactive Sample of Exploratory Exercise Just Posted!

Exploratory ExerciseAs you may know, I enjoy using Articulate Storyline to create eLearning solutions for my clients.  And Articulate has built up an impressive eLearning Heroes community of users on their web site.  Each week in the forums, Community Manager David Anderson posts a new eLearning challenge.  Anyone who has a little spare time is invited to participate.

I’m usually too pressed for time to join in, but I’ve enjoyed checking out some of the creative solutions other community members have offered on the various challenges.  This week, however, the challenge was about audio setup tips, and while I was late to the game, I had an hour to spare.  After all, I’m an actor and I do professional voiceovers.  So I jumped in and came up with a response.

The challenge was to provide three things:

  1. A description of your audio setup
  2. A photo of your setup
  3. Three audio setup tips

I decided it would be fun to combine all three by creating an interactive photo of my desktop.  Now you get a peek at just how messy my desktop can get!  I took a photo of my setup, then opened it in Storyline, and used their Markers feature to add 16 interactive points of interest.  You can explore one or all of them.  Mousing over a marker provides a description, and clicking on it opens a window with more details and helpful tips.  (Granted, I provided more than three tips!)

I’ve posted this exploratory exercise on my eLearning Samples page.  You can view it there, or jump directly to the exercise by clicking here.


Packt Publishing Has $10 10th Anniversary Sale Now Through July 5th

10 days 10 years - Home BannerI’ve just learned that Packt Publishing purveyors of design and development books, eBooks, and videos, is celebrating their 10th anniversary by offering all eBooks and videos for $10 each, from now through Saturday, July 5th only.

They don’t yet have a book out on Captivate 8, but they do have a couple on Captivate 7, and also one on Articulate Storyline, not to mention a host of developer-friendly topics.

To take advantage of this sale, click here and make your purchases by July 5th.

Free Graphics Package Through July 15 on iPad Insight

SummerFreebieI’ve been finding a lot of good deals on the iPad Insight / Stack Social site lately. If you’re looking for high-quality graphics that are free for both personal and commercial use, check out their latest freebie deal. You do have to register on their site (also free) and share the link or follow them to download the assets, but I have to say the large selection is surprisingly high quality, and a lot of elements could be handy in eLearning!

To check out the Summer Freebie Design Bundle, click here.

NOTE: This offer is available only through July 15th!

My New Film “Begin Again” Is Now Playing!

A while back, I reported on filming a very brief scene with Mark Ruffalo for John Carney’s new independent feature film. The film was titled Can a Song Save Your Life?  back then, and when it was shown at the Toronto Film Festival in Fall 2013, the Weinstein company fought for and won the right to distribute the film in the U.S..  They also renamed it Begin Again.

Whenever it plays at a theatre near you, I hope you’ll check it out.  Even if I wasn’t in it, I’d still love it. Mr. Carney is such a good writer and director–so generous to his actors, so good at letting them live in the little details of the moment. The film stars Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley, Hailee Steinfeld, Adam Levine, James Condon, Catherine Keener, and a lot more wonderful people. Their performances are all absolutely lovely: simple, honest, revealing. Mr. Ruffalo outdoes himself; he is painfully human and you can’t take your eyes off him.  As with Mr. Carney’s hit film Once, the healing power of music is a major theme, and the songs sung by Ms. Knightly and Mr. Levine are really catchy.

My one little scene is with Mr. Ruffalo, who was a blast on set — kind, funny, and eager to improvise with me.  John Carney was equally easygoing, super nice, and open to playing with his lovely script. What a great shoot. We only did three takes, and I’m so glad one of them made it into the final cut of the film. I sure hope I get to work with these guys again.

My brief scene is early in the film, on the subway. I play a preacher (the character’s name in the credits is “Christian Father”) who gives Mr. Ruffalo some surprisingly helpful advice. I’m so thrilled that Mr. Carney kept some of the “preacher speech” I improvised as a voiceover leading into my scene. If you see the film, post a comment here or on Facebook to let me know what you thought!

Here’s the film’s official trailer:

Your Input Needed for Upcoming Blog Post and Newsletter Topics

Tenniel Hatter SingingOkay, I need some input from you folks: I’m working on my next quarterly newsletter. I see from my MailChimp report that a decent number of you are opening my newsletters, which is great, as I do put a lot of work into each issue. Links don’t seem to be of much interest to my readers, however, which is surprising as I think I’m sharing some pretty cool free tools and info.

So let me hear from you: what topics are of most interest to you, for upcoming blog posts as well as newsletters? Some possible topics: Articulate Storyline, Presentation Skills, Gamification, Voiceovers, eLearning Script Writing, Needs Analysis, Making eLearning Content More Engaging, Scenario-based Training, Ideas for Mobile Learning, or…?

And let me know what you’ve thought of prior newsletters–more of something? Less of something? I genuinely appreciate all constructive feedback–my goal is to post content that will be genuinely helpful to you! Let me know your thoughts.


Adobe Captivate 8 Launches Today and Includes Responsive Design

Adobe Captivate 8 ImageAdobe announces the release of Captivate 8, with new features including the long-awaited Responsive Design.  It’s still $19.99/month for an annual contract.  If you own Captivate 7, you can also purchase a standalone version of Captivate 8 for $399, but Adobe has made it clear in the past that the ongoing subscription model is the only way to ensure that you receive all updates.

Adobe still doesn’t include Captivate and Presenter, their top two eLearning rapid development tools, in their Creative Cloud (where all the other eLearning enhancement tools you might want, like Edge, Photoshop, and more already live).  When I asked them why, I was told not enough people have asked for that.  Stay tuned for another post about it; together, maybe we can make them finally change their minds!

Read all about the new release here.

And here’s their blog post with more in-depth information.

New Instructional Video on Creating SMARTER Learning Objectives!

Smarter ObjectivesI’ve had such good feedback on my 2013 blog post about creating SMARTER learning objectives that I’ve created a podcast version of it, and also a brief instructional video, which you can now launch from my site’s eLearning Samples page. Have a look or a listen, and let me know what you think!  Repurposing my blog post to audio and audio/visual delivery methods is a good example of how you can deliver the same content in different ways, and reach different segments of your own target audience!

If you’d like to read the original blog post or listen to the podcast, click here.

If you’d like to view the instructional video or download it to your iPad, visit my eLearning Samples page, or to launch the SMARTER Learning Objectives video right now, click the image on the right.

Buy 1 Get 1 Free eBook Sale from Packt Publishing Through March 26th

My contact at Packt Publishing dropped me a note to announce their latest eBook sale: all eBooks are currently Buy 1 Get 1 Free.  If you’re in IT and/or eLearning, you may want to check out their titles.  This sale runs only through 3/26.  Their eBook library includes titles on Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, and Game Development.

To browse their selection and purchase, click here. 


Here’s an Interview for The Grapes of Wrath at Asolo Rep

Andrew and Peggy Sarasota Day Photo 1It was so exciting having family members at “The Grapes of Wrath” last night! Tonight more family and friends arrive, and they all see “Philadelphia, Here I Come!” tonight, then “Vanya and Sonia” tomorrow, and the new arrivals will see “Grapes” on Sunday. I’m so grateful for the ongoing love and support, both in person and online. Here’s a “Grapes” interview I did recently. I wish more of you could see this fantastic season of shows here!