Sunday, September 18, 2011

Crafting Feedback in Articulate

E-learning developers are always limited by time and technologies. Like any skilled craftsman, a skilled e-learning developer will be a master at picking the right tool for the job to save time and provide the best possible user experience when given a client's set of requirements for a project. The pragmatic e-learning craftsman will also know when to suggest adjustments to requirements to either save time on the project or provide a better learning experience.

The Development Tool Matters, in this case Articulate

Ok...enough idealism...let's get realistic. I had a project come in the other day where the client requested to use Articulate. The client really liked the look and feel of previous projects designed with Articulate. Articulate does have a very nice look and feel. It's not uncommon for a client to ask for a particular development tool as a proxy for what they really mean: "make it look nice like the last project someone did for me using that tool".

Realistically, tools do matter. The reason is because most e-learning development tools have a particular flavor. That flavor contains a unique look and feel.  The look and feel is determined by the technologies and default components of the tool. Most e-learning developers can recognize Captivate text bubbles or an Articulate table of contents when they see one. If you want this unique flavor you will be able to provide the project quicker by using the tool that matches the flavor the client wants. Now I'm being realistic. Nearly all of my projects are sorely limited by time. Such is life... to the task at hand. The client wants the Articulate flavor and being an easy pushover, I mean skilled craftsman, I agree that Articulate is a good fit for the project. Here's the requirement: the client asks to have feedback for questions when the learner misses a question.

Hacking (eh, Crafting) Feedback in Articulate

Articulate Quizmaker has a great way of handling feedback. You can assign feedback to each individual answer choice or general feedback when a question is answered correctly or incorrectly.  You can even insert audio to the feedback. Perfect...let the tool do the work for me. But not so fast...the client wants text, audio, and IMAGES in the feedback. Images? Does Articulate support graphics in feedback? Doh! sometimes a skilled craftsman has to put down the power tools and go back to the wrench. Articulate Quizmaker may not allow graphics in the feedback; however, it does provides the blank slide. So simple, yet so perfect. Just insert a blank slide after each question. Whether the learner gets the question right or wrong, they will receive reinforcement through feedback on the next slide.

I still provide the Quizmaker built-in feedback that lets the learner know if the question was answered correctly or incorrectly...then they are sent to the detailed feedback slide where they can see the text, audio, and IMAGES. This technique can be taken a step further by using branching to go to feedback specific to each answer choice.

As an e-learning developer, whether you are an easy pushover or a skilled craftsman, you are still in the best position to make the best decisions about how to accomplish a task.  Listen to the client and then find a way to make the client happy by saving time and providing the best experience for the client's learners. Good luck!


  1. Nice and excellent blog! I agree with you on the Point "Listen to the client and then find a way to make the client happy by saving time and providing the best experience for the client's learners"

    Thanks for sharing your Articulate experience, This will help me in my present and future projects a lot.

  2. Good idea on adding a feedback slide.


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