Animation sequences: must they be manual?

So, maybe I'm not seeing it, but there doesn't seem to be a way to have objects in Lectora "chain" their transitions. What I mean is, in PowerPoint (to name a primitive tool) if there are three bullets, I can have each of them transition in separately, one after another, with a custom delay.

In Lectora, I have to select the objects and make them all "initially hidden" and assign a transition, then select each one individually and have it trigger on the previous one's OnShow event (or have each trigger the next one) with an appropriate delay, manually. What I'd like to do is select some objects and say "transition in sequence" (or some more eloquently-named command) so that after each object appears and all its OnShow events are finished (including, as in my current project, playing a media clip), and after a configurable delay, the next object in the sequence transitions in.

I can't be the only one wanting this: lots of eLearning has bullets or question choices transition in one at a time, yes? Am I missing something? Is this really impossible? If so, I'll move/copy this over to the enhancement requests topic.


Discussion (6)

You don't see a benefit to a voiceover narration?

As an instructional designer, I have been trained to consider cognitive load theory, in which one avoids overloading the various sensory and cognitive channels with irrelevant information. Thus, there is benefit to not displaying text until it is time for the learner to read it.

As I wrote in the original: because I want to play an audio clip for each of the objects, without having to manually time them to wait until the previous clip is done by manually adding an OnDone event.

Basically I want to have the narrator read the text to the learner without having to manually time everything.

Yes -- but that's what you want, as the designer. I'm asking what's in it for the learner. How will it improve engagement or retention, or provide some other benefit to the learner?

A philosophical question to be sure, and not helpful with the nuts and bolts of how to do it; sorry about that. I just think it's worth asking whether to do it before trying to figure out how to do it.


I might be unusually ornery today, so if this comes across that way, please forgive me.

While this seems like a neat idea on its face, I want to push back on the philosophy behind it a little. What's the value to the learner in having bullets or question choices transition in one at a time?

In a slide deck, that's usually done to allow a speaker to elaborate on each bullet before the next one appears, but I'm not sure it's a good idea in e-learning. If you have audio that elaborates on each bullet and the audio script isn't shown on the screen, the course content may not be accessible to hearing-impaired learners. If you're doing it for visual appeal, it may annoy learners who read faster than the timing you set, and may distract learners who read slower.

One of my guiding principles for design is that I never do anything that's cool just because it's cool. Cool stuff that improves engagement or retention is great, but for me, transitioning bullets or question choices one at a time doesn't do that and has some downsides noted above. (And in the bargain, it's faster and cheaper not to do it.)

I'm open to debate, though, and certainly might be missing something. So back to my original question: What's the value to the learner?


I definitely do, in some cases. I'm only suggesting that all of the text can be displayed at once, and that determining when it is time for the learner to read it is ... fraught. I'm a reasonably fast reader, and it bugs the stuffing out of me to have to wait for a narrator to read me text that I'm perfectly capable of reading on my own. I know I'm not alone in that, and in fact an argument can be made that audio that simply restates text on the screen increases extraneous cognitive load; see for instance

Additionally, learners with hearing impairments -- and those who don't happen to have working speakers or a headset, or for whom playing audio would disturb nearby colleagues -- may wonder if they're supposed to click something to move on. Obviously there has to be some balance; I doubt many of us would argue for letting learners just click "Next" without reading or listening.

And if there's so much information on the screen that cognitive load from the text alone is a concern, I would argue that there may be too much information on the screen. :-)

Fair enough. I do have an "audio off" button on the template.

Also worth mentioning that this is specifically aimed at learners who have difficulty reading. (I mean "this feature" and not "this course".) I'm specifically thinking of questions, where the various options need to be read to the students so they can pick one, and each needs to be visually emphasized as it is read to help the students select the correct choice. That is, assume the question is "What is the capital of the United States?" If the choices are:

• Toledo

• Spokane

• Washington, D. C.

Then I'd like to highlight "Toledo" (circle it, change the background color--I haven't picked a style yet) as the voice-over reads "Toledo" out loud. (I'll also have the ability to "read out" any given bit of text by tapping or clicking on it.)

As it turns out, the "Sync Events" feature for multimedia clips might be what I was looking for in any case.

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