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Extra! Extra! More Q and A On the Periodic Table of Instructional Design


Our recent webinar series, Parts 1 and 2 of the Periodic Table of Instructional Design: Elements to Amp Up Your eLearning, was incredibly popular. Each webinar generated tons of discussion between our instructional designer Jenn Fairbanks and the attendees. In fact, there were so many questions and conversations happening that we couldn’t fit them all into the webinar time. Jenn kindly followed up on some of the questions she wasn’t able to answer fully. Her answers and some suggested instructional design resources are below. Enjoy!

If you missed the Periodic Table of Instructional Design webinars, catch up with the recordings:


Here are the questions from the Periodic Table of Instructional Design: Elements to Amp Up Your eLearning webinars:


I was told that drag and drop was not accessible. True? If not, are there tools to make drag and drop accessible?

  1. In my experience, standard drag and drop interactions aren’t accessible for JAWS readers and other accessibility tools. There are better options for creating interactive 508 and WACG compliant courses. Alternate options are click-to-reveal interactions, sliders or drop-down interactions that are accessible with the keyboard. You can include the relevant information as a popup or as audio narration when the keyboard is tabbed to the appropriate stopping point.


What would you suggest as alternatives to drag and drop when converting SWF files to HTML5?

  1. There two potential suggestions, one of which was brought up in the webinar chat from LaDonna Patton. Click-to-reveal interactions are an alternative if you need to chunk content. You could also use sliders, dials, or drop-downs.
  2. An alternative option is to use a rapid authoring tool such as Storyline, Captivate or Lectora. These tools have some drag and drop functionality built in. You may also choose to import templates such those available from eLearning Brothers. Once the course is built, the above tools all have an HTML5 publish option.


How do you address visuals for accessibility needs, especially with infographics where a blind student can’t infer associations/relationships based on the infographic/layout?

  1. Great question. Standard infographic design doesn’t create accessible content. Use of alt-text can help, but that may not be enough to help the learner really get the most out of the slide. Here are a couple of resources with suggestions on creating accessible infographics.
    1. http://www.interactiveaccessibility.com/blog/creating-accessible-infographic#.W-3LzmhKjcs
    2. http://ruralinstitute.umt.edu/media-accessibility-resources/other-accessibility-information/accessible-infographic
    3. https://fyi.uwex.edu/edtech/accessible-infographics/


In terms of visuals, sometimes I find it hard to know when to do a simulation or demo and when to just create a course like the email example.

  1. For me, it comes back to the objectives of the course. Is the objective that the learner applies skills and uses the software and demonstrates a skill or functionality? Or is it more knowledge and awareness? If what you need them to do at the end of the course is to successfully demonstrate a skill, then the course should include the demo so they have the ability to practice and apply it in the learning environment. If they just need to have knowledge of where a feature is at or something along those lines, then an image or a simpler solution is probably enough.


I am working with a client with whom I am redesigning a ground-based course into eLearning. They want to change course in terms of the learning outcomes or providing materials that are a challenge to integrate into the course or are misaligned with the course structure…any suggestion to reel them in concerning a client who keeps wanting to change the blueprint???

  1. I’ve been there, and it can be challenging to get everyone on the same page to move forward. There are a couple of things I’d suggest.
    1. First, I’d suggest that you have a meeting with the key stakeholders to clarify the purpose of the training. If the stakeholders are introducing objectives and material that aren’t aligned to the goal, then a conversation needs to happen to hash out what the bigger picture purpose is for the training. Maybe the items that they’re introducing do need to be covered, but it sounds they should be covered in a separate training altogether or an alternate solution. This is your chance to be a partner and a consultant to help them clarify the true need and how it should be resolved.
      • What is it that the stakeholders really care about?
      • Why is it important?
      • What is the impact of making the changes they’ve requested (learning experience, scope, budget, timelines, resources, etc.)?
      • What is the continued impact of not delivering a solution (Is the training “mission-critical” or a “nice-to-have”—and what happens if the solution isn’t delivered?)
      • What solutions would you recommend based on knowing this information?
    2. After everyone has agreed to what the true needs are, and what is/isn’t in scope, create a strategy/blueprint to move forward with the revised (or original) plan of action.
    3. Hold everyone, including yourself, accountable to the plan.


How do you recommend handling a complete change in theme when the stakeholders requested the original theme and changed their minds?

  1. Seek to understand the reason for the change from their point of view. What is the reason for the change? Is there something that is different now than when they originally chose this path? Is there a way to make changes to the existing theme that will achieve what they want from the new theme? What’s missing in the new theme that isn’t in the original one and can it be added?
  2. If the original theme can’t be salvaged or the issues resolved, help the stakeholders to understand the impact of the change and what that means to the project with a delayed launch, budget, resources, etc. so that they’re aware of the full impact of the change. Depending on why they’re asking for the change to be made, that may influence their decision.
  3. The bottom line—theme changes do happen. It’s not ideal for anyone. Do what you can to mitigate risk wherever possible and move forward with the new concept making sure to include the stakeholders in the key decision points along the way. Avoid getting too far ahead and building without their approval. Create prototypes of key activities and slides to allow stakeholders to see the revised concept before building it all out.


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