Post 1: 7 techniques for using characters to liven up your eLearning

August 21, 2012
Pooja Jaisingh works as a senior learning evangelist at Adobe. She has created several award-winning eLearning courses and eBooks, and regularly conducts workshops and webinars on Adobe eLearning tools and services. In her previous roles, she has worked as a teacher trainer, instructional designer, and chief learning geek. Pooja is CPLP and COTP certified. She holds a master’s degree in education and economics and a doctorate in educational technology.
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Post 1: 7 techniques for using characters to liven up your eLearning

Pooja Jaisingh works as a senior learning evangelist at Adobe. She has created several award-winning eLearning courses and eBooks, and regularly conducts workshops and webinars on Adobe eLearning tools and services. In her previous roles, she has worked as a teacher trainer, instructional designer, and chief learning geek. Pooja is CPLP and COTP certified. She holds a master’s degree in education and economics and a doctorate in educational technology.
Staff 22 posts
Followers: 89 people
August 21, 2012

Guest Blog by: Bryan Jones, author of the Assets eLearning Blog and President of eLearningArt.com, a stock photo site for the eLearning industry.

How most people use characters

One thing I notice when hosting workshops is that the first time users try to insert character images, the end product looks about the same for all users: they use the character as an avatar and the full character (head to toe) is in the viewable area.

It’s not that this is a bad way to use a character; it’s just that it’s only one way to use characters. And that doesn’t leverage a lot of the power that characters provide. I’ve been building character-based eLearning courses for over a decade and I’ve tried to summarize what I’ve learned in this post. Hopefully this will inspire you to use characters to help your courses come to life.

Think beyond avatars; 7 ways to use characters

In general, I use characters in the following 7 ways

  • Avatar: Guides the learner through a course
  • Presenter: Presents information to the learner
  • Conversation: Two or more characters talk with the lessons embedded in the dialog
  • Scenario: Character interaction sets up a scenario, learner is presented with options, and learner receives custom feedback based on choice
  • Story Telling: Characters play a central role that the learner can learn a lesson from
  • Splash Screen: First intro screen to a course
  • 1st Person: Learner sees the screen through the eyes of a character

What makes for a “good” character image?

Before we get started, it’s helpful to know what you need out of your characters. You will want:

  • Characters with the backgrounds removed so that you can put the characters on any background and mix and match to create your own scenes
  • Many poses per character to be able to tell a visual story and for many options
  • Multiple angles, not just facing forward, so you can have the characters interacting with more things than just the learner

Characters are available in CP6

For those of you with CP6, you have some characters embedded in the software. You can check them out under “Insert > Character.”

Some free character images for you

If you don’t have CP6 and need some files to experiment with, you can download free sample images here.

More to come

Over the next several weeks, I’ll provide detailed lessons on the best practices for each of the character techniques listed above. In the next lesson, we’ll teach you how to use avatars to guide your learners through a course.

Also, please join me in my session at the Adobe Learning Summit 2012 on October 29. I look forward to seeing you in Vegas!

 

Comments (14)
2014-07-30 22:54:00
2014-07-30 22:54:00

I'm looking for hairdresser avatars for Captivate 8... do they exist?

I’m looking for hairdresser avatars for Captivate 8… do they exist?

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2014-04-18 22:48:00
2014-04-18 22:48:00

I have Captivate 7 but no characters are listed for selection via Insert > Characters. Are some supposed to come with the software without an additional purchase?

I have Captivate 7 but no characters are listed for selection via Insert > Characters. Are some supposed to come with the software without an additional purchase?

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(1)
>
Anonymous
's comment
2014-04-25 22:48:00
2014-04-25 22:48:00
>
Anonymous
's comment

If you have the trial version they will not appear. If you decide to purchase the full version then you will need to download the characters from Adobes website.

If you have the trial version they will not appear. If you decide to purchase the full version then you will need to download the characters from Adobes website.

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2013-12-18 05:15:00
2013-12-18 05:15:00

Do Captivate and Presenter both look to the same location for characters?

Do Captivate and Presenter both look to the same location for characters?

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2012-10-30 01:03:00
2012-10-30 01:03:00

can you create and add custom actors?

can you create and add custom actors?

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(1)
>
Anonymous
's comment
2013-03-06 09:31:00
2013-03-06 09:31:00
>
Anonymous
's comment

Yes, I would like to know this as well. I have had limited success in adding images of characters (png)

Yes, I would like to know this as well. I have had limited success in adding images of characters (png)

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2012-09-07 12:22:00
2012-09-07 12:22:00

Fantastic post! Thank you! I love characters and I've purchased a few of my own, so can you tell me how I can add them to Captivate 6? I also have the free sample ones that I would love to add. Thanks in advance.

Fantastic post! Thank you! I love characters and I’ve purchased a few of my own, so can you tell me how I can add them to Captivate 6? I also have the free sample ones that I would love to add. Thanks in advance.

Like
(2)
>
Anonymous
's comment
2012-09-07 15:24:00
2012-09-07 15:24:00
>
Anonymous
's comment

Thanks Margaret. Watch this video to see step by step instructions to add additional characters to the library of characters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3zn2k76Rns&feature=player_embedded#!

Thanks Margaret. Watch this video to see step by step instructions to add additional characters to the library of characters:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3zn2k76Rns&feature=player_embedded#!

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>
Anonymous
's comment
2012-09-08 10:49:00
2012-09-08 10:49:00
>
Anonymous
's comment

Thanks Pooja. That's great and much appreciated.

Thanks Pooja. That’s great and much appreciated.

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2012-08-30 11:43:09
2012-08-30 11:43:09

[...] my last post, I introduced the idea that characters can be used in a number of ways in your eLearning course. Now I’d like to start with the first example: eLearning avatars. An avatar is probably the most [...]

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2012-08-24 12:12:46
2012-08-24 12:12:46

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2012-08-24 06:45:25
2012-08-24 06:45:25

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2012-08-24 02:32:30
2012-08-24 02:32:30

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2012-08-22 09:02:11
2012-08-22 09:02:11

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