Throughout high school and college, I was a DJ at the college radio station. As technology improved around the turn of this century, our little radio station became much more automated, and the massive compact disk library moved to digital files. One thing that didn’t change before I left college was the soundboard that we used to fade music and microphones and do some light mixing.
I am unsure if radio stations still have mixing boards or if everything is digital now. I know I do most of my audio work on my computer, so I wouldn’t be surprised to find that radio has gone the same way. Technology improvements aside, the standard mixing board is a visual that many people can digest easily. For some reason, it tempts us to come and turn the nobs and slide the sliders to see what happens. Because of this, I find it to be an excellent interaction to explore content in an eLearning interaction.
Storyline, which is the authoring tool we use most frequently at Endurance Learning, has buttons, dials and sliders built right into the Insert Object menu. As these are the main components of a soundboard, turning this into an eLearning interaction gives the designers and developers a lot of room for creativity.
In the last three Thursday posts, we have been discussing ways to apply what people learned during an eLearning course. When you look at the Anchor, Content, Application, Future Use model, these interactions live in the Application step. The soundboard interaction favors the Content step, where we explore the information and interact with it.
When learners are exploring content in eLearning, we are at an automatic disadvantage in that we cannot rely on the most common way to interact with learners that we normally see in an Instructor-Led Training – a lecture. I am not against lectures in any way as long as they are used creatively, but eLearning isn’t the place. Reading on a screen is okay, but it gets pretty boring for the learner, and I like to spice it up with a new way to explore information. That is where the soundboard comes into play. Just as radio soundboards beg to be played with, the eLearning soundboard allows us to show our learners how objects interact or relate to one another when given more or less weight. Take a look at the wireframe below to review one way this interaction can be used.
Here we see several dials, buttons, and sliders that allow the learners to explore the relationship between objects. These interactions serve objectives where our audience needs to explore how relationships change when things are increased or decreased. There are various ways to explore content using this creative interaction. How would you use it? Let’s have a discussion about it in the comment below!