Posted in My life

Your Art Inspires Mine: Making Software Training Bearable

As Instructional Designers, we create online courses for adult learners. Recently, I and another colleague were training around 12 colleagues on an authoring software that we use create these products. We were worried about the mental barriers of virtual training, the monotony of software training and the difficulty our colleagues would face in remembering the huge number of functionalities.

So, we decided to go crazy. To show them the various capabilities of the software, we used a dragon activity that Ellen Forkin had shared for free on her blog Ellen’s Wonderfuss Fairies for kids to doodle on.

We showed them how to insert icons and images of food in it’s stomach and then add labels and various functionalities to the page. It earned quite a few giggles from our ‘class’. Since, we are all 30-50 years old, I would call that quite a feat. More importantly, it helped them remember.

Next day, as a refresher of the functionalities taught the previous day, I quickly built a story using a troll hair activity, again by Ellen Forkin. It had the same functionalities and some new ones to get my ‘students’ excited and ready to learn. Some may think it unprofessional to use cartoons for adult learners but it worked for us.

Here is the story and a couple of screenshots. Together with the animation, narration and various functionalities, it came out as entertaining, if nothing more.

Now, a farmhouse, complete with animals and a farmhand, sat atop his bald head.

The old couple was horrified–it’s not everyday that you see the earth move beneath your feet. The young farmhand was rather amused–it’s not everyday that you see the earth move beneath your feet. The cow and sheep were wide-eyed and stopped mooing and baaing for an entire minute. The rooster, however, loved the higher perch and began cock-a-doodle-doo-ing right away.

But the gentle troll that he was, Munchkins put them down, smiled and walked away.

Thank you, Ellen, for waking my student’s inner child, which made the training a resounding success. Your art inspired mine.

For the love of cartooning and Norse mythology, and a good laugh, visit Ellen’s site: