The Nobel Prizes will be announced next week in Norway and Sweden.
Despite a few controversial decisions over the years, the awards have retained their international prestige for well over a century.
In honour of the event, I have created a simple learning object that showcases the Nobel Laureates from my own country:
Australia’s Nobel Laureates – Download the files
This object was relatively easy to produce, and it surprises me that there isn’t more of this kind of thing in the education space.
To remedy the situation, I would like to share with you the 3 steps I took to create my learning object, and in doing so demonstrate the fact that just about anyone can do it.
My caveat is that I am neither a multimedia developer nor a graphic designer – though my role often involves wearing those hats. There are probably better of ways of doing this, but the following worked for me…
Step 1: Create a bunch of image files
My learning object accommodates 10 Nobel Laureates, so I created 10 images in PaintShop Pro, plus a landing image.
On each one I placed the title and subtitle, the mugshots, plus the content that was unique to each laureate (year, name, prize and motivation).
I’m a big fan of layers. You may have noticed I put a background image on the base layer, then overlayed that with a semi-transparent blue floodfill, over which I laid an image of the Nobel medal, over which I laid another a semi-transparent blue floodfill.
Of course you don’t need to go to all that trouble; you can use a plain background. However I think the layering effect adds an aesthetic richness.
Once I got the first image right, I copied it and edited the unique content for the next image. That way I didn’t have to re-do the titling and background.
Step 2: Import into Captivate
After I got all my images in order, I inserted each one onto its own slide in Adobe Captivate 3, ensuring the canvas size was exactly the same as the image dimensions (in this case, 1024 x 768).
Then I added a transparent button to each slide to execute a pause, inserted a click box over each mugshot, then pointed the click boxes to their respective target slides.
Note: I tried incorporating rollovers, but residual effects were screwing it up. My friend and Captivate guru, Marnie Bristow, tells me this glitch has been fixed in the latest version of the software.
Step 3: Publish it
I could have done Step 2 in PowerPoint. If you prefer it and it works for your audience, go for it. However, there are some good reasons to shell out the extra cash and go with Captivate:
• You can publish in swf format, which is really small to download;
• You can add SCORM, if you are that way inclined; and
• You can also record system simulations, which is what it’s designed for!
You should be able to do something similar on your own web server, intranet, LMS or VLE.
By the way, I realised I stuffed up by making the learning object so big. While most monitors have a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or greater, I forgot about toolbars and the like that compete for real estate. Luckily I had a couple of “get out jail free” cards up my sleeve:
1. Resize the project in Captivate; or
2. Edit the dimensions of the object in the coding of the html file.
I decided to go with the latter because, if someone wants to use the bigger object, I might as well let them.
So there you have it: How to create an interactive learning object in 3 steps.
Hopefully you are brimming with ideas about your own learning objects that you will make.
And if an Australian wins a Nobel Prize next week, I won’t mind updating mine. In fact, I have my fingers crossed!