Presentation Software

Free Flat Icons

Sometimes when you’re creating a presentation or trying to create assets within Articulate Storyline, having the ability to modify the graphic size or its colors can be a handy feature.

Here are a few generic icons that I’ve made for those who use PowerPoint or would even like to save the icons as graphics.




Download (.pptx)


I have started a few more scientific-themed icons and hope to upload those soon! Stay tuned!

Free Course Starter Template

Each week when I start a new project at work, I love trying to think up ways to put a slightly unique spin on the experience while still staying true to the format I’ve been using. There’s something about consistency that is both helpful and boring at the same time. One on hand, the learner can concentrate on the content because they know what to expect out of the user experience–so no guessing on “How do I interact with this object,” or “what am I supposed to do here?”

But at the same time, the user can quickly become bored and think, “Not another lame eLearning.” This is where a slight tweak comes in handy.

I think it’s possibly to have unique “slides,” each serving their own purpose but still having the tie in of a theme through use of:

  • Color
  • Font
  • Image theme
  • Transition
  • Animation

This week I created a Storyline 2 template that is a blue photography theme. I’m hoping this will inspire others out there to download and modify the theme as needed. Change the images, modify the colors, choose a new font! Go crazy.



Download the Template

Creating the Ultimate Memory Game

This week, I took a look at a bunch of other Storyline 2 Memory games that were available online, and all of these card-flipping games left me longing for Simon.Capture

Everyone who was born in the 70s or 80s knows how awesome the game Simon was. The anticipation of the crazy pattern alone was enough to drive you crazy, and Simon gave immediate feedback, which sometimes was soul-crushing when you were incorrect.

Creating the buttons was easy. Thinking through the logistics of how to make it work was not so easy. I contemplated using a million layers (blah). It could have worked, but it was a workaround (boo). I toyed around with the possibility of using true/false variables, but this only really worked when I used two colors (one time each: blue, yellow).

I knew it was a matter of assigning numerical values to actions, but all I could think was this was going to turn into a crazy mathematical sequence from high school algebra or something. You remember…

5 (+3), 8 (+3), 11 (+3), 14 (+3)…

I also knew that I couldn’t have the value of any two clicks equal the same number. For instance, if the pattern was blue (+1), yellow (+1), I needed the computer to know that the person clicked blue, not yellow. With the same values assigned to both, this wouldn’t work.

I also knew that I might want the pattern to contain two of the same color in a row, so counting userClicks became important.

I actually have to give it up to my husband who mentioned prime numbers, and I tried that out…tada! It worked. Let’s explore how and why (for the first light pattern: blue then yellow).


Creating Variables

First I created two variables, clickNumber and sumTotal.


clickNumber = how many times the person has clicked

sumTotal = each colored button has a value assigned to it, and when you click on a button, it adds the value of the button

  • blue = 1
  • yellow = 3
  • green = 5
  • red = 7


Setting Variables to Zero

Then on the slide, you have to set the variables to equal 0 at the start of the slide so the math is done properly and matches up with your values later.



Officially Assigning a Value to Each Color

Now, I said above that each color has a number associated to it. You actually have to create the number values as triggers.




B (Blue)

When the user clicks blue, add 1 to the clickNumber (you clicked one time).

When the user click blue, add 1 to the sumTotal. (1 = blue).

For the first click (which is blue), the variable will have +1 added to it because blue = +1.


Notice above that each color has a different sumTotal associated with the color. G(reen) = 5, R(ed) = 7…yadda yadda.


Associating the Incorrect Response to an Incorrect Click

If you remember, Simon doesn’t reward you for tapping each correct button. It just keeps moving onto more difficult patterns if you press the easier patterns correctly. However, it does let you know when you are incorrect!

I made an incorrect layer that redirects you to the lights pattern again, and I also made a correct layer (for when you are finished the whole correct pattern, i.e., press blue then press yellow…correct!). Whenever the number of clicks doesn’t match up to the value it’s supposed to, the incorrect layer will display.

You can see in the trigger below that if the first click (clickNumber = 1) adds a value to the sumTotal that is NOT equal to 1, it will show the Incorrect layer; this means the player must have clicked another button (besides blue) since yellow, green, or red are not equal to +1.


On the second click (which is supposed to be yellow), the user should technically have these values:

  • sumTotal = 1 (from blue) + 3 (from yellow) = 4
  • clickNumber = 1 (from blue) + 1 (from yellow) = 2 total clicks

So we set up a trigger to show the Incorrect layer if the second click (clickNumber = 2) adds a value to the sumTotal which makes the sumTotal NOT equal to 4, it will show the Incorrect layer.



Associating the Correct Response to User Behavior

If you’ve followed the pattern correctly (blue then yellow), you will be automatically taken to the next “level” with a more difficult pattern.

So you need to show the Correct layer when the sumTotal variable changes and becomes correct, 4 (because 1 [blue] + 3 [yellow] = 4). This total of 4 should only happen with 2 clicks (so the clickNumber is equal to 2).



Making More Difficult Patterns

And for more difficult patterns, you add more of the Associating the Incorrect Response to an Incorrect Click steps. For example, if on the 3rd click you wanted the user to press blue again, then you would add another Incorrect trigger that says:

  • sumTotal not equal to 5 (1 [blue] + 3 [yellow] + 1 [blue]
  • clickNumber equal to 3 (3rd click)


Check out the demo or download the .story file to take a closer look.

Also, feel free to download the button files to change the colors as you wish.
Creative Commons License
Memory Game Buttons by Lauren Franza is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


eLearning Helper Challenge: Custom Course Player

Creating a custom course player can really enhance the user experience and take a course from “Oh, that looks like it was made in Articulate,” to “Wow!”

I am guilty of being the course player snob at work when I am evaluating pre-made courses that my company purchases in HR. Once I spot the player, I can usually tell which eLearning software was used to build the course. But every once in a while, they leave me stumped…and I love it!

Thinking outside the box about how to use features makes work fun. I’ve seen people use two features together in ways that I’ve never even thought about…and sometimes I’m a little embarrassed that I never thought about it!

As far as creating a player goes, I pretty much gave up in interest once we decided on a theme, logo, and style for my eLearning player at work–Marketing says we’ve got to be consistent for branding and multimedia style guidelines! I get it, and I agree.

But for today…here’s a little break from my norm.

*Updated: I was playing around trying very hard to lightbox language selection in the upper right tab, but then after much research and trying found that you cannot really put variables in a lightbox because the original slide you are on becomes paused. I am hoping for some more advanced features in Storyline 3! My Language Selection tab isn’t a 100% solution for dual languages, but it’s a start.




Download with updated language selection tab


eLearning Helper Challenge: Double Image

My current job is working at a non-profit for organ and tissue donation. As you can imagine, it is an amazing place to work. There are stories of hope, stories of better health, and stories of success, but there are also stories of giving hope…to another family.

So in addition to creating educational materials for our staff, for medical professionals, and bio-implant specialists, we also have a need to create educational materials for the community.

The reason I really like these eLearning Challenges is because it gives me an opportunity to learn something new, try it out, and immediately use that knowledge.

This week’s challenge was to create an eLearning with a fancy cover slide that contains a double image. I found a topic that would allow me to practice using this technique that might inspire me later during work projects. With just the right animation/fade, this double image technique suddenly becomes filled with emotion…which is perfect for educational materials when dealing with difficult and emotional subject matter.



Download– I had to use different images for this one since my original file contained stock photos through a paid service.



Using iBooks to Create Interactive Learning Materials

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 12.52.30 PMMany educational establishments are creating their own textbooks online in an effort to bring learning into the 21st century. The iBooks authoring program is a great way to create educational materials that are interactive as well as informative.



Here is a small sample of the iBook I am currently working on that will help people become familiar with the features of Google Drive and three useful apps, Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 12.52.40 PM

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 12.52.49 PM

Creating Animated Videos in Premiere Pro

(c)2010-2014 ATLT Games


(c)2010-2014 ATLT Games


When I was the Lead Instructional Designer for ATLT Games, I developed a few concept videos for our video game, Pi & The Lost Function. These videos helped our story writers understand possible plot lines and themes that would work well with the instructional content we developed.

All animations were done using Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects by Lauren Franza. Graphics in these animations were created by Katie Cavitt.


Creating Word Clouds in Wordle


One of my favorite things is to find innovative ways to teach a lesson. When I was a teacher, I found that many of my colleagues were having students use pencil and paper for concepts that could be so much more creative than a piece of paper.

For instance, when a Language Arts teacher is reviewing characters from a book and wants his/her students to describe a character using adjectives, or when a teacher wants to get the point across that his/her students use the word “is” too much in their writing, there are several creative ways to do this.

I love using word clouds, like Wordle, to show students the frequency of words in our writing. I put an example above to show how my own personal word cloud from my website shows just how often I use the words “create,” “designer,” and “instructional.”

Using Webspiration Pro to Create Graphic Organizers


Download: Probability & Statistics Organizer (Inspiration file, .isf)

Download: Probability & Statistics Organizer (Microsoft Word, .docx)


I created many graphic organizers for our instructional design meetings, and this file was generated in Webspiration Pro, a web-based version of a program I used often in teaching, Inspiration. Webspiration Pro is an online web application that allows professionals to brainstorm, organize, collaborate, and communicate more effectively.

The best thing about any documents created in Webspiration Pro is that you can save the files as Google Documents, Microsoft Word documents, or Inspiration files, allowing for greater flexibility.

This file is a brainstorming graphic organizer and outline that I created after working with the math SMEs for our unit on Probability and Statistics in the educational video game, Pi & The Lost Function.

Creating Banquet Programs with Photoshop


Billboard at Nauticus


Banquet Program

Link: Hampton Roads Business Hall of Fame 2011


When I was the Education Director for Junior Achievement of Greater Hampton Roads, I created 2011 Business Hall of Fame invitation, billboard (above), and program printout (above). I have linked to the program which shows my use of Photoshop and how I integrated company logos and ads into well-selected spaces and used white space to maintain balance.

This program was created in Adobe Photoshop and was compiled in Adobe Bridge. All company logos and ads were given to me by the marketing departments of each company.