The movie "Hidden Figures" brought attention to the historical contributions three brilliant women made to John Glenn's mission to orbit the earth and provided insight as to what goes on behind the scenes. Spectators see the memorable images of the rocket blasting off and the impressiveness of the event. When, behind the scenes, people were tasked with making such an event come together.
Although on a much smaller scale than a rocket-ship, it is an eLearning Designers job to make eLearning experiences memorable for the learner (or spectator), and we are tasked with the mission to make it come together. To do that, we use software created specifically for eLearning design. For you, as the learner, it may resemble the simplicity of a PowerPoint presentation, but the functionality is different and more complex.
Have you ever played a video game that, based on your interaction, took you to a different part of the game? eLearning design is similar because unlike PowerPoint, it is a responsive environment. The designer is tasked with writing the scripting/coding that tells the program what to do and how to do it based on interaction.
Different than PowerPoint, where all the screens appear in order, eLearning courses jump around within themselves with interaction. You may be at the beginning of a course but clicking on any responsive item might send you to the end of the course where a specific location is housing interactive items. You never see it happen. All you see is that it popped up, and when you closed it, you were back on the original screen.
Because it runs seamlessly, it brings the misperception that eLearning courses can be used as PowerPoint presentations and printed for handouts, but they are not similar in structure or design. For example, when printing PowerPoint presentations, the slides will print in order. On the contrary, eLearning software doesn't offer a print option because the pages are not in order. They function on the scripting/coding behind the scenes and printing an eLearning course from the software would result in a nonsensical order of pages.
When you take an eLearning course, watch the items you click on. Each one is moving you around in a self-contained-environment and you never see it happening. But rest assured, somebody, somewhere, worked behind the scenes to provide you with a memorable, interactive experience.
By: Carrie Harshman