eLearning does not have to be hi-tech

It is far too easy, for me, to grab Flash and start creating interactions and what not. It’s not that Flash is easy, but there is a comfort in using the tools you are most familiar with.

Often we do not take the time to stop and grab paper and pencil and sketch out our entire flow. We (the eLearning community in general) do use storyboards for our lessons, but it stops there often. We do not work out the minutia on paper. That is natural and often seen as a time saver.

But sometimes, making it work on paper first saves a lot of time. And sometimes, maybe the paper version can be the final eLearning. To explore that concept, I set out to create a detailed flow of how to buy land in Second Life.

The storyboard for a simple task, buying land, turned out to be a series of drawings on paper. It easily could have been created in Flash using a combination of snapshots and machinima (sl video). To do that would involve setting up land, creating a set, wardrobe for the avatars, video editing, importing into Flash, et cetera.

It seemed like such overkill for a quick 2 minute tutorial. So I pulled out the camera, kept it low tech and campy and the result works well. Hardly a new concept.

In fact it is somewhat like a flip book. The closest eLearning example I know to something vaguely similar would be the masterful work of Common Craft.

However, I used no video (keeping it simple for very fast production), no pre-made props, had no hand appearances, used colour, and only used drawing (no scissors kept it safer too!). I drew out the main points on individual sheets and made notes on each (they are visible in the video) as to what needed to be added.

The biggest time factor was in scripting the voice over. This was done first and based on iliveisl’s Flickr tutorial on Buying Land. The total production time was about 4 hours. It is an experiment and if it were to be redone, a little polishing would be done, like tighter shots, no desk in the background, perhaps the use of a ruler for some drawings.

Enough pontification, the final version is here.