ID and eLearning Links 9/29/20

As I read online, I bookmark resources I find interesting and useful. I share these links periodically here on my blog. In this post, I share links on writing better dialogue, sample projects for inspiration, and useful tools for different kinds of learning.

Writing dialogue

How to Write Natural Dialogue in 11 Steps, With Examples!
Tips for writing dialogue, with examples from novels.

And one of the best ways to cut out that boring fluff is to enter the conversation as late as possible.

When writing dialogue, it’s also good to bounce quickly back and forth between speakers, like a tennis match.

19 Ways to Write Better Dialogue — Well-Storied.
Tips for writing better dialogue like “every line of dialogue should serve a purpose.” While this is aimed at general fiction writing and not learning, most of this applies to writing scenarios for learning too.

Before writing a conversation, take the time to ask yourself what key purpose(s) the conversation will serve. Most often, conversations work to resolve or create tension, establish context, or reveal new information that moves the story forward.

With an established purpose in mind, you can begin writing dialogue with the confidence that you’re adding value to your story rather than setting readers up for boredom.

One easy way to identify dialogue missteps, however, is to read your story’s conversations aloud. If the dialogue doesn’t flow when spoken, you’ll know exactly where to revise your work.

Sample projects for inspiration

An H5P Branching Scenario That Might Break the Boat – CogDogBlog
Alan Levine built this very complex branching scenario in H5P and Pressbooks. This includes some scenario images and descriptions, plus a separate tracker where you have to fill out forms with info and keep track of finances and other notes. Alan’s blog post explains how he built the random events (which were originally a card draw in the physical version).

Klixel8 is a company that creates “High-Res eLearning”: virtual environments with very high resolution photos that you can zoom in and explore. Click hot spots to move around or select objects. You can add multiple choice questions or link to other resources and activities. Currently all custom development, but this is good inspiration for creating similar projects in other tools (maybe without the high res zooming).

Useful tools

Arist: the text message learning platform
Create courses via text message

Avatar Maker – Create Your Own Avatar Online
Free tool for creating avatars. I don’t see licensing info, so it appears to be free to use. This only creates head shots, and the choices are limited. The SVG version of the download has editable layers, so you potentially could edit it for other expressions. | Understand what you read
Paste difficult to understand text into the yellow text box, and this website will give you a simplified version. While this is intended for people learning English vocabulary (or teachers helping students), it might be helpful as an instructional designer. It doesn’t do anything for absurdly long sentences (in fact, sometimes the simplified version is longer), but you could use this to take a first pass edit on complex SME language.

Descript | Create podcasts, videos, and transcripts
This tool is geared mostly for podcast producers, but it might have some applications for elearning. When you record audio, it generates a transcript. If you want to edit out some text, you can edit it via the transcript rather than editing the wave forms. The other interesting feature is “Overdub,” which uses an AI generated synthetic voice based on the real voice to fill in changes. If you need to make minor edits in wording, you can use the synthetic voice rather than re-recording the sentence and replacing the audio. You can certainly hear the difference, even in their demo, but I bet for quick edits it could be good enough.

Additional resources

Check out my complete library of links or my previous bookmarks posts.

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