Create Your Own Safety Training With Articulate Studio

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(Since writing this post, we also used it as a basis for webinar. You can view a demonstration of the steps written below by watching our How to Create Custom Safety Training webinar, or simply read on if you prefer reading.)

For many companies with safety training needs, off-the-shelf e-learning courses like the ones we make here at Convergence Training are a great option. They provide affordable access to quality training on common safety topics. However, every work environment is different, with unique health and safety hazards, and one-size-fits-all training can’t meet 100% of your EHS needs 100% of the time.

If you rely on a learning management system to help you deliver your training, it can help to have some experience creating your own e-learning courses. There are some really simple tools out there that let you create your own, complete with interactivity and quizzes, to help you fill in any gaps in your EHS training library.

In this post, we’ll show you how you can create safety training with an e-learning authoring tool called Articulate Studio. When we’re done, you will have made an e-learning course that teaches crane operators to identify crane hand signals. The course will include a simple interactive slide show and a quiz. And then you can apply the process to create safety training materials of your own on any topic you wish.

What Tools Do You Need to Create Your Own Safety Training e-Learning Courses?

So, first, what do you need to do this? Not much:

1. Microsoft PowerPoint (actually, you could get away without using this, but it is a handy place to start, and you’re probably already familiar with it)

2. An e-learning authoring tool such as Articulate Studio ’13 (there are other e-learning authoring tools out there–today we’ve chosen to demonstrate Articulate Studio, but we’ll highlight others in future posts)

3. A simple graphics editing tool (I’m using Paint.net–it’s a free download, it’s more powerful than the Paint application that comes with Windows, and it’s not as complicated as Photoshop, so that kind of hits a “sweet spot” for me)

4. A web browser and Internet connection so that you can access OSHA’s website (that’s because we’re going to use drawings of the crane hand signals that are available in Appendix A to Subpart CC of Part 1926)

A few quick notes about using the drawings of hand crane signals in OSHA’s standard: These drawings are public domain, which is why it’s OK to use them for something you don’t plan on selling. Still, it’s a good idea to credit OSHA within the e-learning course, and we will do that. Always respect the copy-written materials of others, and when in doubt, purchase or create your own materials).

Start With Your PowerPoint Safety Training Presentation

I know we said we were going to create safety training with Articulate, but a great place to begin is with your PowerPoint presentation. We’ll assume you’re beginning from scratch, so it will look like this (below).

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Next, construct a few simple PowerPoint slides to introduce the topic. You’ll add slides to this presentation later, when you’re working with Articulate Studio. In this case, we’ll begin by adding the following slides:

1. A Course Title slide

2. Two “introductory” slides to talk about cranes at the work site and crane hand signals

3. A Learning Objectives slide

4. A slide to introduce the screen that we’ll later create with Articulate Studio (which will allow the workers to view the various crane hand signals in an interactive, self-guided format)

5. A slide to introduce the screen that we’ll later create with Articulate Studio (which will quiz the workers on those same crane hand signals and give feedback to correct or incorrect answers)

6. A Summary slide

Your own e-learning course may be longer than this, but we’re just trying to introduce you to a few of the basic concepts. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with brevity when it comes to training–did you know the average person can only keep 2-4 “things” in their working memory at any one time? It’s true–read more about that here.

Once we’re done creating those slides, our PowerPoint presentation will look like this:

PowerPoint Image 1

Next, Get Your Crane Hand Signal Images Ready

Now that you’ve got the “base” PowerPoint ready, it’s a good time to get your images of the various crane hand signals copied from the OSHA website and saved on your computer. Here’s the basic process:

1. Find the webpage at OSHA.gov that includes the drawings of the various crane hand signals. Here’s the link to Appendix A to Subpart CC of Part 1926.

2. Open your image-editing software (in my case, Paint.net).

3. Copy a screen grab of the entire OSHA webpage with all the hand signal images. This works differently on different computers. In my case, I hold the Fn button and the F11 button down at the same time to do this.

4. Crop the screen grab around each individual hand signal and save each image to your computer (there are nineteen hand signals on the website, so you’ll wind up saving nineteen individual images to your computer)

Below are some screen grabs to show you how that process works.

Go to the OSHA website and take a screen grab of all the images (or maybe several screen grabs–however many it takes).

OSHA Website

The OSHA website–take a screen grab

After you’ve got your screen grab, paste it (Ctrl-V on your keyboard) into an image editing software application like Paint, Paint.net, PhotoShop, or something similar.

Paint Dot Net

Paste (Ctrl-V) the image of OSHA website into Paint.net

Then, pick the “Select” tool so you can select just one of the hand signal images.

Selection Tool in Paint Dot Net

Use the Select Tool to Create Images You Want

Select the first hand signal, copy it to create a new image, and save that image. Repeat this process until you’ve created an image for every hand signal.

Select a Single Image then Make New Graphic and Save to Computer

Select a Single Image then Make New Graphic and Save to Computer

Save those images into a single folder like we did below so it will be easier to find and work with them later. Also, note that we named them by the meaning of the signal–this helps a lot.

Repeat Until You Have All the Hand Signals Saved as Separate Images

Repeat Until You Have All the Hand Signals Saved as Separate Images

Next, Get a Copy of Articulate Studio ’13

So your next step is to take that PowerPoint presentation and your hand signal images and begin working with Articulate Studio ’13 to turn them into your own safety training e-learning course.

Of course, that would begin with going to the Articulate website where you can get Studio ’13. Here’s a tip: they’ve got a free 30-day download so you can check their product out before you have to pay.

Once you’ve downloaded Articulate Studio, you’ll see you actually get four different components:

Articulate Studio Includes Presenter, Quizmaker, Engage, and Replay (Storyline is a Different Product)

Articulate Studio Includes Presenter, Quizmaker, Engage, and Replay (Storyline is a Different Product)

We’ll use Presenter, Engage, and Quizmaker in our example.

Then, Open Articulate Presenter

OK, so now it’s time to open Articulate Presenter. The nice thing is that, once you’ve downloaded and installed Articulate Studio ’13, opening Presenter is easy–it’s right there in PowerPoint as a new menu on the right with its own “ribbon” directly underneath (see below).

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There’s an “Articulate” Menu in Your PowerPoint Now, with a Presenter Ribbon Below

Add Some Audio to Your Screens

I’m going to add a little audio to a few of the slides. You can do this directly or in PowerPoint or in the Articulate menu within PowerPoint. I like to do it in Articulate, but the images below show you where to do it in each.

Here’s where you add the audio in PowerPoint:

Adding Audio in PPT--Insert Menu then Audio Button

Adding Audio in PPT–Insert Menu then Audio Button

And here’s where you add the audio in Articulate:

Adding Audio in Articulate--Articulate Menu then Record Narration Button

Adding Audio in Articulate–Articulate Menu then Record Narration Button

Once you’ve click the Record Narration button in Articulate, you’ll get some easy-to-use controls for recording and saving audio that look like this (below):

The Narration Recording Controls in Articulate Presenter

The Narration Recording Controls in Articulate Presenter

I’m not going to go into great detail about how to record your audio narration for two reasons:

1. The controls are pretty self-explanatory.

2. Articulate has a ton of helpful explanations of how to use their product on their website–check out their stuff on adding and editing audio.

BUT, I will say something about your microphone. You CAN record the audio with the microphone that’s built into your computer. If you can afford to, try to bump that up a bit though. For as little as $15-25, you can go to one of those office-supply stores and pick up a simple microphone that plugs into your computer. You should notice an improvement in your audio quality. Or, if you can pony up just a little more money, I bought and am quite happy with the “Snowball” microphone from a company called Blue (that link you just passed takes you to the page on Amazon.com). It plugs into your computer’s USB port, set me back only about $45, and I’m quite happy with it.

(Note: There are probably lots of other great microphones out there too. Get whatever works for you–I’m not trying to sell you a microphone. Also, don’t sweat the sound quality too much.)

Now, Create an Interactive “Slide Show” to Teach Your Employees the Crane Hand Signals

Our goal is to teach the hand signals to our workers and then quiz then to see if they know the hand signals.

So, in this step, we’re going to use Articulate Engage (one of the four components that make up Articulate Studio) to create a little interactive “slide-deck” to introduce workers to the different signals.

When we’re done, the workers will be able to scroll through all the images and move through them like a slide show, seeing each one in a larger version with its name and a description of the physical motion (as you’ll see in just a bit).

Before we demonstrate this, though, let’s talk a little more about Engage. Engage lets you create interactive “widgets” that the folks at Articulate call simply “Interactions.” Each Interaction begins with pre-programmed multimedia interactions that have no training content in them. What you do is add your own content to the pre-programmed interaction. And the end result is an interactive multimedia training object that your workers can view and interact with.

Engage comes with 20 of these pre-configured interaction that you can put your own training content into. The one we’re going to use is called Media Panel. Check out their website to learn more about the interactions you can make with Engage. Maybe at some point in the future, Convergence Training will create a separate little blog post demonstrating how to use each in a safety training context.

To begin, open that PowerPoint, open the Articulate menu (red circle, below), click on the screen that will appear immediately before the Engage Interaction (blue circle below), and then click the Engage button in the Articulate ribbon(green circle below).

Adding an Engage Interaction to Your PowerPoint Presentation

Adding an Engage Interaction to Your PowerPoint Presentation

A window will open asking if you want to add a new interaction or an existing interaction (one you had created previously). In this case, we’ll select “new.”

Choose to Add a New Interaction

Choose to Add a New Interaction

Engage will open up and will ask you to select the type of interaction you want to add. We had to scroll down a bit to find Media Player (hey, if your biggest problem is there are quite a few interactions to choose from, you’re doing alright).

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Select “Media Panel,” Name Your Media Panel, and Hit “OK”

A new window will open. This is where you create the Media Player interaction that, when you’re done, will include an image of each Crane Hand Signal plus its name and a description.

We’re not going to cover every single step here because Articulate does a nice job of doing that here, but we DO want to call out the basics:

1. Each hand signal will be a Step. The red circle (below) shows four “starter” steps you’ll complete shortly. You can also add other steps.

2. You will name each step where the blue circle is. For example, you’ll name one of the steps “Raise Boom.”

3. You will put in a description of the step where the green circle is. For example, under “Raise Boom,” you’ll write “With arm extended horizontally to the side, thumbs point up with other fingers closed.”

4. In the Media section (circled in yellow), replace the picture of the flower with a picture of the Raise Boom hand signal (remember, you copied these from the OSHA website and saved each hand signal as a separate image on your computer).

Create a Step for each of the crane hand signals. Rinse, lather, repeat.

Steps to Start Creating Your Media Player Interaction

Steps to Start Creating Your Media Player Interaction

Eventually, you’ll have something that looks like this (below).

Your Media Panel Interaction with All Hand Signals Inserted

Your Media Panel Interaction with All Hand Signals Inserted

Before you close Engage and return to Presenter (where you’ll see your newly created Media Player interaction as one of the slides in your PowerPoint presentation), take a moment to preview the interaction.

This will give you a chance to see if you made any silly errors. We all slip up sometimes, right?

Here are the steps for previewing:

1. Under the “Preview” button, click the little downward-facing karat (sorry, I’d type one here but my keyboard doesn’t have one, so check out the picture below) and select “From beginning.”

2.Check it out.

And here’s what that looks like:

Click the Preview button.

Click the Arrow below Preview and Select "From Beginning"

Click the Arrow below Preview and Select “From Beginning”

Enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Here's Your Media Player Interaction, with Hand Signals, In Preview Mode

Here’s Your Media Player Interaction, with Hand Signals, In Preview Mode

So by now you can probably see where this is going, huh? You’ll save and close this Interaction, you’ll see it in PowerPoint, you’ll create a Quiz and add that to your PowerPoint Presentation, you’ll save the whole thing, and then you’ll import this into a learning management system so you can assign it to your workers. Pretty cool, huh?

Don’t have a learning management system (LMS)? Check out the family of LMSs from Convergence Training.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s go back to the step-by-step thing.

Close the preview (there’s a close button, look up ^) to return to the normal view of Engage. Then, click the “Save and Return to Presenter” button. You will return to Presenter, and your newly created Engage Media Player Interaction will be represented by one of the slides in your Power Point presentation.

Again, here’s what that looks like:

Click Save and Return to Presenter.

Click to Save Your Interaction and Return to Presenter/PowerPoint

Click to Save Your Interaction and Return to Presenter/PowerPoint

See your Interaction as a Slide in Your PowerPoint Presentation (that’s it represented in the “outline”view on the left (the red circle) and that’s it on the slide being displayed on the right (the blue circle).

Your Media Player Interaction is Now In Your PowerPoint Presentation

Your Media Player Interaction is Now In Your PowerPoint Presentation

Next, Create Your Quiz with Quizmaker

Just as you started in PowerPoint, went to the Articulate tab to use Presenter, and used Engage to add your Media Player interaction into your presentation, the next step is going to start at PowerPoint/Presenter, and then you’ll use Quizmaker to add a Quiz into your Presentation.

Because the process is somewhat similar, we’re going to keep things a little more high level than we did when we explained how to add an Engage interaction above. But remember, Articulate’s got you covered with tutorials on their website. Here’s where you can learn every last detail about creating a quiz in their Quizmaker.

So, here are a few starter steps.

1. In PowerPoint, with the Articulate Menu open, look in the slide outline view on the left and click on the slide that you want to appear immediately before your quiz (if you look at our screen grab below, you’ll see we’ve picked a slide one below the Engage Interaction–that slide will be a short one telling the employee that a quiz is coming next).

2. When the next window opens, it will ask if you want to create a new quiz or add an existing one. Click the Create New Quiz button.

3. Name your new quiz and click OK.

Select the screen that you want you quiz to appear AFTER and then click the Quiz button on top.

Begin Your Quiz

Select Where You Want the Quiz to Go and Click the Quizmaker Quiz Button

Click the Create a New Quiz button.

Click Create a New Quiz

Click Create a New Quiz

Give the quiz a name and click the OK button.

Give Your Quiz a Name

Give Your Quiz a Name

OK, now the Quizmaker will be open (see below). There will be no questions yet (see the blue circle below), but that’s what you’ll do next.

You’ll be given an option to add questions from three larger “question types”–graded, survey, or freeform. In most cases, especially as a beginner, you’ll select a “graded” question. Again, I won’t go into great detail here, but you can find more information about these question types at Articulate’s website.

Choose to add a Graded Question a Survey Question, or a Freeform Question

Choose to add a Graded Question a Survey Question, or a Freeform Question

Once you’ve chosen to add a “graded” question, it will ask you the specific type of graded question you want to add. You’ve got a bunch of options, as you can see below:

Choose One of the Graded Question Types

Choose One of the Graded Question Types

For this demonstration, I’m going to select Multiple Choice.

Once I’ve made my selection, I’m put on a screen where I can build my first question. Below are two screen grabs–the screen before I created the question, and the same screen after I created the question.

Here’s the screen before:

Here's What It Looks Like When You Begin to Create a Multiple Choice Question

Here’s What It Looks Like When You Begin to Create a Multiple Choice Question

And below is what the screen looks like after the question is created. Check out the following things:

1. I wrote the question stem in the space the red circle is.

2. I added the image the question refers to by clicking the Media button-see the two blue circles.

3. I added the possible answer choices for this question where the light blue square is.

4. I clicked in the radio button next to the correct answer–see the green box.

5. I overwrote the default feedback for people who answered the question correctly and/or incorrectly, putting my own question-specific feedback in, and then I added a sentence for the post-question review–see the yellow box.

Creating a Multiple Choice Question in Articulate Quizmaker

Creating a Multiple Choice Question in Articulate Quizmaker

Once you’ve created one question in your quiz, click the Graded Question button in the toolbar on top (the red circle, below) to begin creating another. Do this repeatedly, once for each question. As we said before–rinse, lather, and repeat đŸ™‚

Click the Graded Question Button to Add Another Question

Click the Graded Question Button to Add Another Question

Eventually, you’ll have a list of questions like the one shown below.

Continue Adding Questions Until You've Created All You Need

Continue Adding Questions Until You’ve Created All You Need

Select Some Quiz Settings (Randomize Questions, Passing Score, Etc.)

Once you’ve got your questions the way you like them, you can make select some settings to have the questions appear in random order, set the passing score, and so on. Without showing you ever step, I’ll show you some of the options and where to find them below.

Have Your Questions Appear in Random Order

Just click the “Randomize Group” button in the toolbar if you want the questions in your quiz to appear to each learner in random

Jeff Dalto, Senior Learning & Performance Improvement Manager
Jeff is a learning designer and performance improvement specialist with more than 20 years in learning and development, 15+ of which have been spent working in manufacturing, industrial, and architecture, engineering & construction training. Jeff has worked side-by-side with more than 50 companies as they implemented online training. Jeff is an advocate for using evidence-based training practices and is currently completing a Masters degree in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning from Boise State University. He writes the Vector Solutions | Convergence Training blog and invites you to connect with him on LinkedIn.

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