Tackling a Tough Conference

A scenario-based learning experience that engages new teachers in thoughtfully navigating challenging parent-teacher conferences. 


Audience: New teachers and student-teachers

Responsibilities: Instructional Design, eLearning Development, Action Mapping, Visual Design, Textual Design/Storyboarding, Mockups

Tools Used: Articulate Storyline 360, Adobe XD, Adobe Illustrator, Playground AI, Stable Diffusion, Canva, MindMeister, Google Suite

The fictitious client is a staff development organization for a public school district that provides professional development to school staff.  This project addresses performance issues exhibited by newer teachers.

The client was concerned because newer staff were frequently reporting negative parent interactions during parent-teacher conferences, as well as a lack of parent communication during the academic year. This resulted in an overall significant increase in poor academic performance and behavior management of students, a factor in worsening student outcomes. 

After analyzing the client’s available formal and informal protocols regarding parent-teacher conferences and speaking to various new teachers, I determined the primary issue was the lack of skill and knowledge about managing challenging parent-teacher interactions. For this reason, I proposed a scenario-based eLearning training.

Title Screen


Action Mapping

I consulted an experienced mentor teacher as my subject matter expert (SME) to develop an action map and establish a clear, realistic goal for this project. After analyzing this information, I prioritized key actions that the educator must perform to create a positive parent experience and increase the likelihood of future communication. After client approval of the action map, I moved forward with the text-based storyboard. 

Mind Map


Based on the clearly-defined actions within the action map, I established a scenario as a newer teacher’s conference with the parent of a student with challenging behavior and below-average academic performance. I reflected on my own experiences, as well as the experiences of other newer staff, to ensure each step was realistic, relevant, and narratively cohesive. 

As the learner engages in the scenario, they choose between three options per situation. An incorrect action will lead the learner to a real-life consequence and the opportunity to try again, whereas the correct action will enable the learner to progress with a positive response from the parent. Additionally, the learner can seek help from a mentor teacher prior to selecting their action. 

This approach highlights the variety of realistic consequences of likely actions during difficult parent-teacher interactions, from an angry parent to a positive impact on a child’s trajectory.

Text-Based Storyboard

Visual Mockups

After client approval for the text-based storyboard, I created a custom color palette for the project based on my client’s depiction of a positive, nurturing classroom environment. I used the color palette as a guide while creating graphics via Playground AI and Stable Diffusion XL and compiling them on Canva. Modifying various parameters allowed me to experiment with different graphics styles before deciding on the most polished and impactful one. 

Asset Creation via Stable Diffusion XL, Playground AI

From there, I used Adobe Illustrator to source, produce, and modify a variety of visual assets for use in Adobe XD. In Adobe XD, I created layouts for standard slides, such as the opening, prompt, consequence, and mentor slides, and I experimented with various fonts. I returned to Adobe Illustrator often to adjust assets – for example, to manipulate vectors to better portray consequences, or to ensure a logical narrative, by adjusting times on the clock – until I was satisfied with the consistent style and impact of my mockups. 

Adobe Illustrator and Adobe XD 

Interactive Prototype

I used Articulate Storyline 360 to create the interactive prototype, directly building upon my work on Adobe XD. This prototype included the opening screen, an overview of the scenario with the role of the mentor, and the first question along with its consequences. This helped me intuitively reason the functionality of different elements and their contribution to the learning experience. I experimented with multiple states to increase responsiveness to the user’s mouse movement, as well as various animations on illustrations which add to the immersiveness of the scenario. After multiple iterations, I was satisfied with the prototype and moved into full development.

Animation on Envelope Interactive Screen

Full Development

Scenario Completion Screen

The full development of the scenario in Articulate Storyline 360 was straightforward, especially for the prompt slides. I continued to experiment with the parameters of various animations and decided to add sound on one element. A particular animation that I wanted was not available, so instead of changing my mind, I did some research in online communities until I found a viable workaround, which I tweaked to fit my needs. Through this development phase, I gained a deeper understanding about how to create a powerful eLearning experience, and that the answer is in the details. I was able to use my growing toolkit for my next challenge, an eLearning tab interaction.