Why I Entered the 2010 Articulate Guru Awards

Logo for the Articulate Guru AwardsDo you have what it takes to be an e-learning guru? That’s the question Tom Kuhlmann and other staff members at Articulate ask the e-learning community each year.

This year, I finally submitted an entry to the Guru Awards. I’ve been using Articulate’s suite of e-learning software since early 2007. I’ve sat on the sidelines and watched as previous entries earned an honorable mention as well as those who win the top three awards each year.

However, as I submitted my entry, I knew in my heart that others would have more bells and whistles, more whiz-bangs, more wow-factor than the project I submitted. And yet, that didn’t bother me because I submitted an entry for a particular reason. (See my entry at the end of this post.)

LINGOs and the e-Learning Community

Earlier this year, through The eLearning Guild, I learned about LINGOs. The Guild and LINGOs promoted the first-annual Global Giveback Contest. They challenged e-learning instructional designers and developers to donate time and talents to help Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) with their online learning initiatives. (Tom Kuhlmann and David Anderson of Articulate also created a course through LINGOs.)

Mauricio Gutierrez, Leadership Development, World Vision International

Mauricio Gutierrez – Select to view his LinkedIn Profile.

Mauricio Gutierrez, Leadership Development at World Vision International (WVI), had listed a project request for designing and developing an online orientation for World Vision International’s Global Leader Orientation (GLO) program.

I partnered with Mauricio, and over a couple of months, we created a brief and fairly simple Orientation, or overview, of WVI’s eCampus, its online learning activities, and the three phases of the GLO program.

About the Course

The learner audience consists of newly hired and existing WVI leadership staff. And, many of these staff members work in very remote locations in countries with limited Internet access. Bandwidth, a key issue, played a huge role in the course’s simple design. In addition, WVI’s standard PowerPoint template provided the required framework for our design elements.

Mauricio wanted the course to tell the GLO story, so I created a basic look-and-feel of an open book for most of the screens. The Engage Flipbook interaction didn’t provide the screen real estate we needed, so I used an image of an open book from my image library.

As the learners “turn” each “page” of the story, they discover more about the three phases of the GLO program.

Oh, and Mauricio had previewed some of my voice over demo reels, and he asked me to record, edit, and produce the audio narration for the course. As Murphy’s Law would have it, I was scheduled to record the narration the day after I was down three days with an nasty, summer flu bug. The show must go on, and it did.

How We Worked

Mauricio and I both have Skype accounts, and we communicated constantly either via Chat or Skype voice calls. We also used email messages, my DropBox account, and WVI’s CMS for larger messages, the transfer of files, and communication with Mauricio’s colleagues in Australia and other countries.

We also began with a written storyboard in Microsoft Word so we could establish and refine the design with his colleagues in other countries before I began the rapid development of the course itself.

Mauricio was great to work with! And, in June, we met in person at The Guild’s mobile learning conference, mLearnCon, in San Diego, California.


When I think about the GLO program, and the WVI staff members in remote locations around the world who may view this Orientation, I feel connected to a larger purpose, one far beyond my own client work and my billable projects.

I submitted my Guru Awards entry for two reasons: (1) to thank Mauricio and World Vision International for the privilege of assisting them with their initiatives, and (2) to encourage my e-learning colleagues to visit the LINGOs site and then do the same for another NGO. I hope they don’t wait for another Global Giveback Contest. NGOs are waiting for help now, and people can begin at any time.

Image link to the elearning course.

Click to view the course.

And now, the course! Just select the image on the left, or this link (not yet HTML5-compatible; may not display on mobile devices):



mLearnCon 2010: Index of My Blog Posts

My Blog Posts about mLearnCon 2010

On Twitter: @jenisecook

June 14-17, 2010, in gorgeous San Diego, California, The eLearning Guild hosted and facilitated their first annual conference on mobile learning, or mLearnCon. I registered to attend several seminars, plus a full-day workshop on Monday, “Think Different: Getting Your Mind Around mLearning Design”, facilitated by Dr. Clark Quinn, @Quinnovator on Twitter.

The week was filled with exciting seminars. If you attend mLearnCon in 2011, I strongly suggest you go with several colleagues, schedule seminars in advance, and then share notes. I made some hard choices that week on which seminars to attend…there were many good ones available.

Everyone felt that we are at the point of seeing mlearning take off exponentially in the next few months and years, and yet, there are many issues to discuss and resolve…particularly how to track and report mlearning in the various Learning Management Systems (LMSs), and data security issues.

For your enjoyment, here’s a list of my mLearnCon 2010 posts:

1) Bill Brandon’s Recap: First Annual mLearnCon

On Twitter: @billbrandon


2) B.J. Schone: 20 mLearning Tools in 60 Minutes

On Twitter: @bjschone


3) Joe Welinske: iPad Panel – iPad App Resources

On Twitter: @jwelinske


4) Featured Panel Discussion on the Apple iPad


5) Patti Shank: Your First mLearning Initiatives


6) Tomi Ahonen: Keynote – Mobile in Learning

On Twitter: @tomiahonen


7) Qualcomm’s Mobile Learning Journey


8] Richard Clark: Surviving without Flash

On Twitter: @rdclark


9) Mimi Ito: Keynote – What the User Wants in mLearning


On a Personal Note…

On Monday afternoon, while in Dr. Clark Quinn’s workshop, my husband texted me some very sad news. His mom died that day. My mother-in-law Donna had suffered a long, hard battle against lung cancer, won the battle, but had lost to COPD. We knew we’d have her for this year only, but her death came sooner than we expected and it was a shock.

I notified members of The Guild, drove home (we live near San Diego), and was able to return to the conference on Tuesday and forward at my husband’s urging Monday evening. His mom had made advanced preparations and arrangements, so we had no tasks to attend to that week.

The eLearning Guild staff not only host amazing conferences, they also, during very hectic conference days, take time to be human. I cannot express enough thanks to those staff members who reached out to me for a few minutes with their kindness and compassion. I specifically want to call out Brent Schlenker, whose concern and thoughtful words meant more to me than I can ever express.

Thank you, eLearning Guild.

The American Cancer Society helped Donna through some very hard times. If you can, help me pay it forward through donations of either time or finances. Thank you.


How to Estimate Training Time and Costs

estimate training


Estimate Training Time and Costs: Your Dilemma

Thank you for visiting this blog post on how to estimate training time and costs. I know you want a positive (profitable) return on your investment in training. Just know that estimating the time and bottom-line Invoice figures to design and develop training is an art and not a science. Plus, financial and economic forces since autumn of 2008 have radically changed the learning and development world.

Daily visitors to this post demonstrate that hundreds of you each year want to estimate training time and costs. Why? Clients want to know if what you (the vendor) are charging them is reasonable. Freelance consultants want to know how much they can charge clients reasonably and still earn a living wage. And, since 2008, it’s been a difficult journey for my American (USA) colleagues.

NOTE: I wrote this blog for an American (USA) audience only, as that is my only business perspective and frame of reference. If you are an outsourcer in Southeast Asia (per responses to the SurveyMonkey survey – see link below) seeking how to estimate training time and costs for your area, I apologize that I cannot help you. I have not lived and worked in Southeast Asia, so I can’t address those financial and business considerations. Thanks for understanding.

You May Also Like: Calculate Voice Over Narration Scripts

The following post may help you estimate training development time for asynchronous elearning projects:

How to Calculate a Voice Over Narration Script

NOTE! June 2016, I have received a few SurveyMonkey results, and the feedback does help! Please contribute and help me to improve this article by taking this anonymous survey:

Select to go to SurveyMonkey

June/July 2016: Comments Welcome!

This blog post continues to get 15+ hits per day. I would like to hear from you in the Comments section of this blog post. Please write a comment or a question below. Why did you come to read this post? What is the business problem that you hope to solve? Thank you!

Another wonderful blog post, by Connie Malamed, the eLearning Coach, can help you, and make sure you read the Comments under her post for additional resources:

Five Resources for Estimating Development Time

May 2016:
This blog post continues to get many hits on a daily basis. This surprises me. I also know that, due to the global economy, hourly rates or project rates to consultants continue to drop while the cost of living increases. Take a moment to watch this YouTube video on my blog post: http://ridgeviewmedia.com/blog/2009/07/vendor-relationship-video-of-the-month-200907/

March 2015:

estimate training





Guy W. Wallace is my “online Mentor”, and he has shared with us all an article he wrote on this topic. Please select to view Are Development Ratios for ISD Efforts Meaningful? (shared 24 March 2015).

View Bryan Chapman’s SlideShare presentation – great information on this topic.  

And, select Bryan’s blog post on the same topic as well. Thank you, Bryan!

February 2015:

This blog post is the most popular one on my site, based on the number of daily site visitors. I will be updating what you read below this year with more current information after we finish the “remodel” of our web site.

Please know that there are many variables involved when you try to estimate training time and costs. It’s more of an Art rather than a Science. And, there’s also the People Factor. All project team members must agree to the project schedule to make sure you complete the learning project on time (and within budget). If just one team member causes delays, well, then your estimate no longer applies, and you’ll need to create a Change Manage document to update your project’s Scope with new delivery dates. This will increase your project’s time and cost.

That said, you can “guesstimate” your potential project time and costs based on the following, long-existing metric:

60 minutes of learner seat time = minimum 120 work effort hours = $6,000 to $12,000 project cost, depending on how much back-and-forth occurs between client and service provider. Emails, phone calls, QA effort all included. Instructional design and development.

150 written words of content = approx. 1 minute of onscreen audio narration.

PowerPoint (PPT) Content – 2 to 4 hours of work effort for every PPT slide of content you have. For example, 24 PPT slides * 4 hours = 96 hours, approximately.

If you’d like assistance with estimating your project, I encourage you to reach out and chat with me. I may have some fun or funny stories to share with you as well as wisdom born from years of experience! ~Jenise Cook

Why this Post?

Yesterday (May 17, 2010), I was asked how I estimate the number of hours it could take to design and develop learning activities for a training (workplace performance improvement) project.

My answer? “It depends.”

That said, my colleagues and I do have to provide clients with an estimated delivery date for projects, and so I fall back on a few helpful resources.

A Few Resources for You

Dr. Karl Kapp (on Twitter, @kkapp) wrote an article for ASTD in 2003, then revised it in 2009, along with co-author Robyn A. Defelice. This article is worth your study and application when you estimate time for your projects. For me, it is an invaluable resource, so I hope it helps you:

Time to Develop One Hour of Training – Dr. Karl Kapp and Robyn A. Defelice


David Gaw also refers to this ASTD resource and adds a few thoughts of his own at his blog:


“Time to Create Course” Thread on the Articulate Forums

Earlier this year, we had a lively discussion on the estimating topic in the Articulate Forums. From the link below, you’ll find three forum pages of posts, including a long one from me. The nice thing is several forum members contributed their thoughts from real-world experience. I know you’ll find helpful advice from this source:


Keep Track of Your Project Hours

One e-learning consultant in another state told me his “secret”. When he gets a brand new client, he does not work on a fixed, project fee basis, he always works on an hourly basis. When a new client is new to e-learning, he finds he’s also a coach as well as an ID and a developer, and the coaching takes up more of his time. He reports his time to the client weekly (or twice a month), and he said the reports help “reign in” the client when needed due to the client always changing things after a design was approved.

I open up a simple Excel file and track hours that way. I include meetings, conference calls, and time spent communicating through e-mail messages. I know not everyone likes ADDIE, but each element is a good header for me to use to track time on a project for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation.

How do you estimate? Please share with us by writing a Comment below.

Please help me to improve this article by taking this anonymous survey:

Select to go to SurveyMonkey

Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/users/stevepb-282134/


PowerPoint 2007: Designs for e-Learning v.2

You Can Still Design with PowerPoint 2007

Eleven months ago today, I wrote a post on the new design elements and features in PowerPoint 2007 (2008 for the Mac) that allow you to create visually effective designs and templates for your e-learning courses. You can use these PowerPoint templates in both your Articulate and Adobe Captivate e-learning project files.

More PowerPoint 2007 for e-Learning Templates

A few days ago, a colleague on Twitter posted a link to a simple Web page. When I clicked the link and visited the page, it seemed to speak to me: “Turn me into an e-learning design.” So, I did, and created a brief SlideShare presentation to demonstrate it to anyone who can use more ideas. Now, don’t be fooled by its simple design. You can do so much with the basic framework and modify it to meet the needs of your learners, the business (or academic institution), and the learning content that will fill the screens.

My Samples On SlideShare

My SlideShare.net mini-presentation describes just one design idea. Please note that I respect Copyright issues, and the rights of designers. My mini-presentation simply shows what you can do using only PowerPoint 2007/2008 elements plus importing a few photo image files. (My thanks to Bryan Jones – @elearningArt – for the free image files package!)

Why Give Away Design Ideas?

The global e-learning community gives, gives, and gives again. We all share the same passion, and we share what we learn and what we create with each other. Visit various blogs and Twitter pages authored by e-learning colleagues. Go to the community forums of the various e-learning software tools. If you have some favorites of your own, please share them in the Comments section.

And, my first SlideShare.net presentation on PowerPoint designs for e-learning still exists!

Visit: PowerPoint 2007 e-Learning Screens

“Always learning….”, and I welcome your design ideas!


Adobe Flash SWF Scenarios Inside Quizzes

May 2016: HTML5 in e-learning has pretty much done away with Adobe Flash in online learning courseware development. Now, Flash is Adobe Animate CC (Creative Cloud). I’m leaving this post up because the project it describes was a personal “win” for me as I really stretched my skills as I learned to use Flash. Plus, I loved creating the personas and writing their dialog. Minor updates added.

e-Learning design and development typically includes the design of assessments (or quizzes). While working on an online compliance and business ethics course with the SME, I decided to bring work-related scenarios directly onto the quiz question screens.

The result worked great! The learners reviewed the scenario by clicking the back and forward buttons on the Adobe Flash SWF file, and then the learners chose the one best answer… all on the same screen. Our budget did not include audio nor video, but the engaging Flash interactions really added to the learners’ experience (per their course evaluations).

Click to view the quiz demo. Will NOT play on iOS mobile devices due to Flash.

Click to view the quiz demo. Will NOT play on iOS mobile devices due to Flash.

For the original client, I developed the course and the quizzes in SumTotalSystem’s ToolBook Instructor. However, for the past two years, I’ve been using Articulate Studio’s suite of tools (Presenter, Engage, and Quizmaker). I also use Adobe Flash and Adobe Captivate to create additional animated, engaging elements to import into Articulate Presenter’s course player.

So, while a recent project was out for review with the client, I decided to have some fun! What would the old ToolBook Instructor quiz look like as an Articulate Quizmaker ’09 assessment?

Curious? So was I, and I’m fairly pleased with the result. Click the image on the left to view the quiz demo in a new browser window. (Note: Contains Flash; not HTML5 compliant.)

In the learners’ eyes, assessments can be intimidating, dry, and downright painful to complete. When we design and develop engaging online courses, it’s nice to know we can carry those same elements into quizzes.

An engaged, excited learner is “Always Learning”, like me, and will gain improved performance and increased knowledge as a result. That should translate to the business’s goals and objectives, improving its performance as well.

I love what I do. Thanks for reading!