Writing Objectives & Outcomes
Writing Objectives with Bloom's | Free
There are lots of lists out there. This one, from the University of North Carolina Center for Teaching and Learning includes definitions, a list of verbs, and the wheel. Useful for figuring out thinking level and behavior should be used to demonstrate it.
Center for Teaching and Learning
Byrdseed's Objectives Generator | Free
This one is designed for K12, but illustrates the principles of building objectives with an output. You click on the different verbs and it builds the statement for you.
Objectives Builder | Free
This one is is from Arizona State University, and uses several dropdowns to help you formulate your performance based objectives.
Planning the Design
MindMapping Tools | Varies with tool, Free, Pro and Apps
I always plan my designs starting with a key goal that says In the end, the learner will know _______ and be able to _______. This sets the focus. From there, I build a mindmap, adding the outcomes to get there, and from each outcome, I build branches of objectives that deliver the outcome. Attached to each objective, I determine how it will be assessed, then add a description of the content and activity. Using this system, you can see at a glance that you're measuring what you are setting out to accomplish, and nothing is missed. I use a variety of tools, depending on what's available. Mindmeister lets you collaborate in real time; MindManager allows exports to all kinds of things, including Outlook for tasks, but you pay a premium for it. I really don't have a favorite, so I'll list them all so you can try the different ones.
MindMeister | XMind | MindManager
Graphics & Media
Flowcharts & Diagrams
SmartDraw | $197-$497
SmartDraw lets you build flowcharts, floor plans, wireframes, org charts and tons of other diagrams. It's a one time purchase, and comes with thousands of templates to get you started. Great for adding visuals into your material.
LucidChart & LucidPress | Free, $4.95/mo; Pro $8.95/mo.
LucidCharts comes with limited capacity in the free version, but enough to play around and create some charts for your work. They have templates for flowcharts, wireframes, network, education and others. The companion product, LucidPress is for designing print documents and social media illustrations and comes with a nice variety of templates. You can import your images from Flickr, Facebook, Dropbox, or search Google.
LucidChart | LucidPress
Essential Color Tools for UX Design | Free
A fabulous article with explanations of pulling color and researching color use with a list of tools to help create a pleasing palette.
Pixie | Free
Pixie is color identifier. Simply point your mouse to a color in an object or text, and Pixie provides the hex, RGB, HTML, CMYK and HSV settings so you can replicate it in your work.
Color Picker | Free
It's not always easy to find great color combinations for your design. The HTML Color Picker lets you identify your first color, then it provides a working palette of complementary colors, including all of their codes.
IMAGES & SOund
One of the trickiest parts of our job is sourcing good illustrations. If you don't have access to a stock photo library, there are quite a few free ones out there. Here are some of my go-to sources.
Compressor | Free
It's important in elearning that we keep our file sizes small. Compressor is an online tool that lets you drag and drop photos to reduce their size with minimal loss of quality, then download it, or save directly to Google Drive or Dropbox.
Sound Files | Free
In our rich multimedia environment, we often also want to add sound or music to our work. Here's a great list compiled by Chris Pappas at eLearning Industry.
Free Sound Files
The Noun Project | Free, Pro $9.99/month
The Noun Project is a collection of icons that are licenced under Creative Commons. At the free level, royalty free icons can be purchased for $1.99/icon. Icons are added by the community every day, so it's a massive collection.
IconFinder | Free, Pro $9/month
IconFinder has a robust search engine that allows you to filter for style, color as well as theme, and the icons can be downloaded in different sizes. Some icons are free; paid icons are $0.50-2/icon.
Icon8 | Free
Icons8 is a completely free icon search engine. They even offer to draw an icon if what you need isn't there. I used this for designing my theatre app because it allowed me to find icons specific for iOS.
PresenTATION & Graphic Design Tools
emaze | Free; Pro Version $9/mo; Education pricing available
No more boring PowerPoints! Emaze lets you start with a well designed template and add your content so it appears as if you have worked with a designer. The tool is cloud-based and has the ability to upload a PPT to start. Upgrading to the pro version lets you download and print the file.
Haiku Deck | Free; Pro Version $10/mo; Premium $30/mo; Ed. $5/mo
Haiku Deck lets you build picture-based presentations. Linked into 40M searchable Creative Commons images, the content is layered over a different image on each page, providing a fresh look and a focal point to reinforce each concept. One of the hallmarks of the product is the simplicity of each slide.
Canva | Free; Pro Version $12/mo; $1/non-free image used
Canva is an aspiring designer's dream come true. Canva begins with templates and building blocks and allows you to assemble pages, posters, banners, social media ads and a plethora of other things. There is a resize feature that lets you magically redo your design for other formats. Canva has a great search tool that allows you to find photos to illustrate your designs. Some are free, but the others are $1 each to use. That's a bargain over stock photo, for sure! You can also import your own pictures.
Canva's Design School | Free
Canva sends out a regular newsletter with design ideas and tips that is worth subscribing to. The Design School starts with the nuts and bolts of what makes good design. Putting their ideas into practice makes your elearning look professional.
Rory's Story Cubes | $9.00, app $1.99
Set of 9 dice that you roll and build stories from. Clever for character attributes, plot settings for elearning games. There are supplemental sets like actions, voyage, and even Batman to broaden thinking. Available at toy stores and Amazon.
Tracking the Plot
Save the Cat!® Beat Sheet | Free
A beat sheet is an outline used for writing screenplays, but it's useful for planning the activity and the rise and fall of action in a game path. We don't need the page numbers here, but the conceptual flow is a useful framework to add excitement to your stories.
Flowchart | Excel Template (from Jami Gold)| Color Variation | Terminology | Variants from Jami Gold
Edit for Clarity
SlickWrite | Free
Nifty website that lets you paste your text and check for grammar, spelling and punctuation. You can edit settings for gender and other bias settings.
After the deadline/Polish My Writing | Free
Another website that lets you paste your text and check for grammar, spelling and punctuation. This one will look for passive voice. It also has a downloadable plugin.
Brainstorming with SMEs
GroupZap / IdeaFlip | Free, Premium $10-$16/month
GroupZap is an electronic way to do brainstorming with Post-it notes. The group logs into an identified space, and each user can drag post-its onto the screen to write on. Once the initial idea generation is over, ideas can be moved around, grouped, tagged, and leveraged as you would with the paper activity. At the free level, the board closes after 24 hours. The premium version lets that be extended, as well as exported to a PDF or Excel file for further analysis.
GroupZap | IdeaFlip
Smartsheet | varies by company size
Smartsheet is Excel on steroids. It's a cloud based project management tool that lets people collaborate on projects. Use it for gantt charts, project portfolios, databases, registration signups through a web form. It's incredibly powerful, and eliminates keeping track of a zillion versions of the data over email via Excel.
Tom's Planner | 1 sheet free, $7.50/mo for 20, $15/mo unlimited
I used Tom's Planner for portfolio management at the college because it allows you to color code the bars in your gantt chart. It's cloud based, and good for shared basic project management as well.
Analysis of Player Types
Player Type Survey | The folks at Gamification for Performance have built out a modified version of Player Types and have a survey you can send to your audience to figure out what composition you have to help you target your game to the type of player-learners you have. They are the Alternate Reality Immersive Game people, so there's tons of other resources on their site.