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15 years of Artisan: The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

This month, Artisan E-Learning is celebrating its 15th anniversary. I remember those early days fondly where my business partner, Desiree Pinder, and I sat around a dining room table and planned out what Artisan would become. There were also a lot of really late nights around that table since we were still figuring out how long it takes to do things (and learning some of those lessons the hard way!).

Back in those days, we were using Adobe Captivate (still called RoboDemo at the time) and Lectora. I still remember (and still have) the very first course I ever built in Lectora. It was a branching scenario for customer service representatives to explore the impact of the words they choose. I was so proud of myself for pulling it off! (Now I look at it and giggle a little at how simple and dated it looks!)

Over the years, we’ve recreated that same course many times. I built it in Captivate for a workshop on how to design a branching scenario. We’ve re-built it in Lectora using their responsive features so it works well on a phone. And Tim Slade gave it a nice visual overhaul in Storyline with some personalized touches such as using the learners’ names and letting them select an avatar. (It is so much easier now to find images of characters in different poses and expressions than it was back in the day!)

It has been interesting to see the evolution of this course. The different variations have used different technologies, used different visual designs, and even won awards from eLearning Guild and Training Magazine.

So what might the next 15 years hold for this particular course? Without even waiting 15 years, this same scenario could use chatbots to mimic customer interactions. We could recreate the whole interaction as an Alexa skill. We could use media tools like Adobe Character Animator or Vyond to create animated characters.

But one thing that hasn’t changed and isn’t likely to change is the core instructional design. Changing technologies help us execute our instructional vision in new and different ways, but none of them replace the need for that vision in the first place. If anything, we need to be careful that the latest technology doesn’t replace or simply distract from having a clear instructional goal and using purposeful strategies to accomplish that goal.

I’m excited for what the next 15 years hold for the industry and for Artisan. I’m so thankful to all the Artisans (past, present, and future), along with our clients, for making us who we are today…and what we will become.

About Diane Elkins

Diane Elkins is the co-founder and co-owner of Artisan E-Learning, as well as E-Learning Uncovered, a company specializing in training services, books, and resources for e-learning development using the major rapid e-learning authoring tools. Diane has been in the e-learning industry since 2001, speaks regularly at national conferences, and is co-author of the popular E-Learning Uncovered book series.