Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pythagoras and Storyline - A Tale of Learning

During my most recent "transition period" between employment relationships, I discovered that I'd started to fall a bit into the dreaded gray area between one who "does" and one who manages those who "do".  While the situation is relatively common across industries as one moves up the ladder, I felt like the Instructional Design domain had a heavier-than-usual emphasis on knowing how to directly use (at a detailed level) the latest version of the leading eLearning authoring tools. It seemed that knowing "of" one or more tools and their capabilities wasn't enough (even if you were seeking a management role).

Since I was a bit of a minor code/authoring jockey back in the day, I was confident that I could pick up the thread relatively quickly - most authoring tools are simply variations on a theme and once you knew the basics in one, learning how to do things in another is just a minor shift in mechanics.  With this in mind, I dusted off a copy of Articulate Storyline and started mocking up a project (since I've long advocated Doing as the best way to learn something new, I wanted to 'eat my own dog food'!).

Over the course of several days, I threw together a storyboard and basic structural framework for a module on the basics of the Pythagorean Theorem.  It was based on a boy who was trying to build his dog a new doghouse, but he needed help figuring out how long to cut the diagonal pieces that make up the roof line.  As part of the support (read: instructional) materials that are available to the learner, I created a series of five Proof illustrations using PowerPoint with a voiceover (in many ways, that process ended up being a bigger learning experience for me than working with Storyline!).

As luck would have it, however, shortly after creating the last video version of the PowerPoint Proofs, my leisure time suddenly became much more limited - I secured a terrific position with a great organization in start-up mode, so the usual slow ramp-up and orientation period was skipped in exchange for immediately jumping into a project that had some very aggressive deadlines.  It was a problem I was VERY happy to have, so the full Storyline project got mothballed...

The Video Proofs, however, turned out pretty well, so I posted them to my YouTube channel in case they might help some young (or not so young) learner get their head around the Why behind A^2 + B^2 = C^2.

Take a look (and post a comment!)....

Proof #1: Visual Comparison

Proof #2: Deconstruction (A)

Proof #3: Deconstruction (B)

Proof #4: President Garfield's Trapezoid

Proof #5: Dissection