Month: February 2014

Cards For Humanity

This week I decided to participate for the first time in the Articulate Storyline eLearning weekly challenge. I had been meaning to participate for a while now, but hadn’t had the time.  However, this week’s challenge was to create a simple eLearning game, which frankly I love doing.  I couldn’t resist.

I have been playing a lot of one particular game lately – Cards Against Humanity.  For those unfamiliar, it is similar to “Apples to Apples” but much more misanthropic and inappropriate.  It’s definitely a game made for drinking and not made for kids or those who are easily offended.  But it guarantees a lot of laughter and a raucous good time, both things I love.

So, inspired by this wonderful and terrible game, I made an eLearning game called Cards For Humanity.  It isn’t quite so raucous, but I also think it is a somewhat interesting way to present a multiple choice quiz to learners.  I tried to add in an element of silly as well.

Visual Design

My first step was to consider the visual design.  I wanted it to be simple and resemble a card game.  Since the original game is all done in black and white, I chose those as my primary colors and used a wooden background to look like a table. I also found an image of a hand over at the eLearning Bros website and did a quick Photoshop magic lasso job to cut out the thumb so it looked as though it was holding the cards.

And that was it.  Aside from one short instruction on the first slide (done in red to stand out) along with the scoring and the feedback (done in black and white to match the cards) there were no other elements.

title slide   game board

Game Play

The game play is simple.  It is really just a multiple choice quiz set up as a drag and drop. You have a question and four possible answers.  You drag the best answer to the table to play your card.

In order to make it feel more like a real card game, I wanted to make sure that each round automatically submitted your answer once it was dropped on the table.  In order to do this I created a trigger for each card so that the interaction was automatically submitted if it was dropped on the drop area. Once two template slides were created (one that assigns points to player 2 and one that assigns points to player 3) I just copied and pasted and changed the question and answers.  It was actually a pretty quick build.


Feedback is always important in a quiz.  I made it pretty simple for this game, putting it in a black box on the bottom left corner. Positive feedback just gives you kudos and lets you know you earned a “point”. Corrective feedback was presented as an opponent playing a better answer, letting you know what that better answer is (which will actually be a card still remaining in your hand).

positive     corrective


Scoring is always fun for me.  I grew up a kid of the 80s and definitely noted the types of scoring and health meters that were used in video games.  I use these when possible in my games and feel like figuring out how to make those meters work is always a little bit of a logic puzzle (and I very nerdily LOVE logic puzzles).

For this game, I wanted to show how many rounds had been won by each of the players.  In real game play, you would have a stack of the black cards that you had won.  So, I made each player an empty stack in a bar at the top of the screen. Each time you win a point, a box in your stack turns black. Each time you miss the answer, a box turns black in one of the other players stacks.


To assign points I used 3 variables, one for each player.  If the correct card was drawn, a point was assigned to you.  If an incorrect card was drawn, a point was assigned to either player 2 or player 3. Once submitted, the feedback layer has triggers to fill in a box in the correct stack. Once a stack is completely filled you are taken to the last slide either for congrats or a please try again message.


Other tricky bits

– I wanted the opponents cards to fly in and out, like they were really being thrown anew each time.  But that meant I needed the slide to pause so they didn’t fly out before you had time to make your selection.  So I created a pause layer that has nothing on it and pauses the base layer timeline. The layer is tied to a little box hidden off screen (the blue box in the picture). When the timeline for the blue box starts, the pause layer is shown. The layer hides when you click the continue button on a feedback layer, allowing the base layer timeline to finish and the cards to exit.



– I wanted to randomize the card draws but had some difficulty getting my skip logic to work with a question bank.  If anyone has some simple brilliant idea on how to make this happen, I would love to hear it!

– I also considered allowing the player to be the judge every three rounds, to make it more like real game play, but in the end decided this would bring more complexity to the game play, so may not be a great idea for those that don’t know how to play the game already.

So What Do You Think?

Take a moment to play the game and let me know what you think!  You can also download the source file and use it as a template for yourself.

…And it’s Ikea for the gold!

I don’t know about you, but I’m really bad at sitting.  When I sit too long my knees start to hurt.  I slouch and my back starts to hurt. I fidget and fall out of my chair.  Really.

So a little less than a year ago I jumped on the standing desk bandwagon. I couldn’t afford a real standing desk so I made a nice hack from Ikea odds and ends. It was a gold medal solution…  until I changed jobs within my company and moved to a new office.

But this week I finally got my standing desk back in its rightful place!  In honor of that, I thought I would take a little time to talk about my office set up.

image of my desk set up

Ikea hack you may have seen floating around the internet is a great starting point and inspired the design of my DIY standing desk.  I used 2 Ikea end tables, as I have 2 monitors. And since I wanted the shelf that holds the keyboard and mouse to be a little offset, I brought in the big guns – velcro strips – to attach it to the brackets. Otherwise, I followed the model pretty closely.

If you’re worried about it holding up, one of the most frequent comments I get is about how sturdy the whole thing is.  I also lean on it way more than I should but it has held up nicely.  It’s a great value considering the entire set up cost just about $30.

So, what ergonomic considerations are important for a standing desk?

Well luckily, you don’t have to worry about a chair since that can get quite costly. But it’s important to make sure your gear fits. Take some measurements and figure out how high to put the shelf that will hold your keyboard and mouse. You can also use a handy dandy internet calculator to figure out where everything should be placed. My stuff is all a little higher than I would like, but I’m short and it couldn’t get any lower with the elements I was using.

Good monitor placement, wrist rests for my keyboard and mouse, and a nice anti-fatigue mat are all part of the set up as well. (The mat still hasn’t made it to the office but it will soon!)

Notice that little lamp on the right hand side of the picture.

I’m lucky enough to have an office mate who hates the fluorescents as much as I do.  We each brought in a few lamps and voila!  Our office has lovely soft lighting that keeps us alert but minimizes strain on the eyes.

One thing to note about lighting – it is important to make sure you don’t have glare on your monitor and that your brightest light source is to the side.  Lamps can help you accomplish this nicely.

The best part of it all? Dual monitors.

Really, I can’t emphasize enough how much easier these make my life.  They are almost crucial for anyone working on elearning or a similar pursuit where you have several programs running at the same time. And certainly useful for anyone else who likes to watch cat videos (or the Olympics!) while responding to email.

What do you find particularly useful in your office set up?  What tweak, hack or item makes your life golden? Share your must haves, tips, and tricks for a great working environment in the comments below.

Show some love

Happy Valentine’s Day! In the valentines spirit, this morning I attended a webinar hosted by Kineo on “8 ways to make your learners fall in love”.

I don’t really know how I ended up on the email list for Kineo but I’m glad I did.  They have a lot of great resources for eLearning professionals… like this webinar!  I thought I would summarize a few points here that I really liked.

Go slow and woo with styleposter of smokey the bear that says "only you"

That is, create a learning campaign.  Learning shouldn’t happen in a bubble.  It needs support on the front end (hype) and reinforcement on the back end to make it stick. Think about awareness campaigns (Smokey the bear, This is your brain on drugs) and get creative in how you hype and reinforce your learning experiences.  Repeated small exposures will stay with your learner much better than a one time, 3 hour course.

Gifts are nice

We can talk all we want about intrinsic motivation, but not everyone will be intrinsically motivated to take mandatory courses.  So what are some ways we can give them a little extra push?

Star student blue ribbon stickerSome companies can offer monetary incentives; one example shared was a company that offered a helicopter trip to the person that earns the most points, complete with a leaderboard in the LMS.

But what can you do that won’t cost much? A free way to incentivize is with badges.  They are all the rage these days.  And Mozilla makes it easy for anyone to offer badges that can be posted on social networks.

Another way is through games. Just make sure that the game is actually contributing to learning and is not just a fun and pretty distraction.

Don’t take the love for granted

One of my favorite ideas was getting learners to create something or complete a worksheet that they then discussed with a manager or mentor. This allows some reinforcement of the learning in addition to serving as a knowledge check.


  • Speak directly to your media icons
  • Use personalized stories and examples that your learners will relate to.
  • Allow learners to connect with each other through social media or your LMS.


If you liked these tips and want some more, you can watch a replay of the full webinar on the Kineo website.

Also, earlier this week I got an email from Kineo that gave me $100 off registration for ASTD ICE!  Another great reason to follow this company and others like it.

Welcome to eLearned

Welcome to the eLearned blog!

I will be using this space to write about new things I have learned or done.  Because I am doing a lot of eLearning currently, many posts will focus on learning technology. But I will also be writing about training, development, performance improvement, or other topics that I think might be fun or interesting. My goal is to post at least once a week…  we’ll see how that goes.

Please enjoy, comment, engage, and learn along with me.