1.b Technical knowledge and ability in the use of learning technology


Here is a whistle stop tour of some of my formative experiences making digital media within education. This is to demonstrate applied technical skills in education with relatively decent production values that isn’t necessarily evident in the rest of the portfolio.

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Examples from Capita Project

Capita – The first role I had where I was writing and developing from storyboards was on the University’s partnership project with Capita. For this project we gave content as part of a CPD offering for the NHS that we could re-purpose for our own use.

The developing was done in an early version of Xerte and look incredible dated now. All in all the department redeveloped hundreds of these learning objects.

For my part it was a great experience writing storyboards for linear eLearning screens and managing assets to a third party template. There was a set amount of interactivity requested and a certain number of interactivities to choose from. It was certainly more structure and rigour than I was used to and although UWE still doesn’t do formal storyboards outside of budgeted video work it certainly showed me the process behind it.

Link to example: Form and function of the respiratory system

Pressure Sore Quiz

Pressure Sore Quiz – In my early career at UWE I did a fair bit of development for the NHS that I never saw again once published. NHS work was particularly difficult as you had to manage graphic patient images coupled with poor data management. Questions like:

  • Where did these images come from?
  • Who holds the rights for it?
  • Where do we store consent to use it?

One of the best looking pieces I worked on was a pressure sore evaluation activity. Picture above. This was developed from pictures with a subject matter expert. It was authored in Adobe Presenter 8. So now it is looking a bit dated.

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Images from uChoose authoring system and player

Virtual Patients – The Faculty invested heavily in a system that supported a branching eLearning authoring system called uChoose.

This system was developed in house and although it has fallen behind technologically it was an interesting tool to author in. Being a conversation simulator you had a node based authoring tool. It would have been impossible to author through a more traditional storyboard for these kind of activities.

These patients involved many different decision points and conditional branching. They are complicated to quality assure and accumulate digital assets for. They tended to use a lot of avatars due to the amount of different videos needing production.

Link: Virtual Patient 

Images from LO ‘Only Connect’

Only Connect – One of the worst aspects of working at a University is the strict firewalls between content that you produce and those who you might have a vested interest in seeing it. One of the most open examples of learning objects created directly by me is the ‘Only Connect’ project, a writing project pilot that transferred content from one to one tutorials to the online sphere.

In truth, it was a spectacular failure in terms of broadening out to the wider project however I learnt a lot about writing doing it. It is authored in iSpring 8 and includes activities, video and lightweight animation. My choice of authoring products was limited for this project and in hindsight I probably wouldn’t have used a PowerPoint based rapid eLearning tool for this project.

Link: Only connect


Example of Welcome Videos

Welcome Video – The more senior I get in my current organisation the more divorced I get from authoring digital assets. However, I tend to do skills training for new courses. Part of this is recording welcome videos. We have recently been using green screen technology to do this coupled with Camtasia 2018. It is surprisingly lightweight for the results. It helps me get to know people and produce something in my daily routine.

Example of Articulate Rise

Interview Learning Object – I attended an interview recently where I had to make something from scratch. I wildly misjudged what they were expecting and made a storyboard and LO for an entry level mathematics course. They were expecting a video or individual animated asset but I chose to use a new piece of software so I at least got some CPD out of the exercise. In the end I was up against an internal candidate and they didn’t get back to me for three weeks. They are now my enemy. The LO is below. Rise is by far the easier of the parts of Articulate but as it is industry standard I thought I should know some of it more intimately.

Link: The Foundations of Mathematics 1


I have always believed in the need for a Learning Technologist to embrace generalism in their praxis. Too niche an outlook is problematic in that it leads the practitioner to focus on the affordances of a technology and your relationship with that technology rather than the complicated ecologies that exist within a large organisation. How that these ecologies can be harnessed for specific teaching needs / goals. The more senior you become the wider your view on these products are. I still spend time producing digital media. This is to ensure I know what I am talking about but also that I connect with our academic staff regularly.

Helping Others – The next generation

As a manager I get to take credit for a lot of other peoples hard work but I also must recognise the amount of time I spend developing my staff to get them to a reasonable level of development experience quickly. Below are two outputs that aren’t my own but were done within the probation period of junior members of my team.

Recording at your desk (iSpring done during HELM MOOC) Krystina Selley

Chronic Pain OER (Animated video using Videoscribe and Premiere Pro)
Krystina Selley

Professionalism in clinical practice LO (branching eLearning made using ADAPT / Learning Pool and Panopto) James Rawlings

What will I do differently in the future? Well I am desperate to still practice as a content developer. In the summer of 2019 I worked on a small project in social work where we used Thinglink to provide a family tree of case histories. We used the system within Blackboard as embedded content. It helped me understand the additional steps needed to make enriched media accessible. I could have given this project to someone else but y’know what? I learnt something by doing it and I found it very fun. Content development is fun. By doing it I can maintain credible advice to those I manage.