I was recently in a series of phone interviews for a position. Before that, I had decided to build up my brand as best I could with a brand new website and portfolio and trying to blog about my design experiences. I took screenshots of my best work (work-for-hire don’tcha know, so I couldn’t post any interactive modules) and I engaged more fully in the Articulate community by purchasing Storyline 2 and participating in the the challenges. But it wasn’t enough. Several times, the interviewer asked me if I had anything else for him to view. And this weighed on my mind a lot.
I love the challenges because they are bite-sized and modular and allow you to tackle a specific challenge. But it seemed that they weren’t working as show pieces. I can understand that. They are design practice, the equivalent of correcting 10 lines of code. What he was really asking for was original, fully-displayable, interactive pieces that showed my particular approach to design. So I wracked my brain and settled on the idea of a mashup. I mean several of the ELH challenges can be interconnected. And by connecting them in the right way, I could begin to tell a story.
I’ve been an aspiring writer for… ever but when I started thinking more visually and trying to practice my craft, I’ve been guilty of not making time for writing practice. So when my fantasy kingdom idea first surfaced, I became really excited about the idea to practice my writing through my instructional design. Long story long, I’m currently working on a longer eLearning piece for my portfolio that takes the ELH Challenge to another level. Low and behold, I starting using Popplet, a tool that I had previously only used to collect fiction ideas, to plan out my mashup of ELHChallenges #43 and 44, along with some other cool stuff concerning tourism in the psuedo-medieval fantasy kingdom of Essia. Stay tuned. It’s gonna be awesome. Though I’ve used Popplet before in the past, I’m just coming around to how useful a branching/storyboarding tool it is and I wanted to take some time out to articulate why its been an important tool, and I’m beginning to use it more and more as a way to collect my ideas for things other than pure writing.
Some of the Stuff I like Most About using Popplet
-First, I love that it’s available to me whenever I need it. I purchased the iOS app some time ago and since I always have my iPad with me, I can jot down ideas and post links and photos whenever I get some inspiration. -The ability to visually represent branching alongside referencing inspiration material in the form of links and photos (I’m looking at you, Tim Slade and Melissa Milloway!) is priceless. -I know that some people might use Pinterest (and I luv Pinterest) but in this situation, I think Popplet provides a better solution. The ability mind-map and visually represent connections between pieces of content was what I needed. -I like to color-code my headings so that I can see at a glance what type of popplet I’m looking at (pink for headings, black for content, green for changes, red for questions, and blue for inspiration). -I like how easily I can create and break a connections between popplets.