Anyone who has been involved in instructional design for any length of time will very quickly run into that workplace reality called Rapid Development tools. Often, the most common complaint from the tools team is that the instructional design team wants the tools team to develop the eLearning equivalent of rocket science. While the designers complain that the tools team is forever forcing them to put a lid on creativity and making them think of limitations before they even begin to design anything innovative. And so the tug of war continues, and the course gets pulled in various directions.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to avoid falling into the ‘tools trap’.
What is the starting point of the discussion – the development tool or the design of the learning?
I’m convinced that even the most creative course designer can develop tunnel vision if the starting point for the discussion is the tool rather than the design of the learning experience. Sure your customer might have a strong preference for a given tool. But in their best interests, you need to drill down to identify what they really want (they actually don’t care which tool you use, as long as it gives them the desired interactivity/functionality) and then recommend which tool best serves the purpose.
Does your developed course give away the tool used?
That’s pretty much the acid test. Can other instructional designers or courseware developers predict the tool used for development just by looking at the finished output or course? If the answer to that is yes, I’m guessing it’s time to get out of the tools framework and get the design element back into your eLearning course.
Are you letting the choice of a storyboarding tool drive the selection of the development tool?
Here’s a not-so-surprising fact – if your source content is in PowerPoint format and if you are not on your guard, you will most likely end up thinking of PowerPoint conversions – and settle for tools that allow you to do just that. And then before you know it, you end up doing what you swore you’d never do- create page turners. If the only difference between your PowerPoint file and your course is the navigation buttons, you clearly haven’t looked much beyond the storyboarding tool.
Are there possibilities for mix and match?
One way of getting around the limitations of a certain tool is to mix and match various outputs from a selection of tools. We’ve often enhanced our courses by creating custom pieces in Flash and using them in courses developed with regular rapid authoring tools such as Lectora, Articulate, and Captivate.
Are you thinking of modifying templates and tweaking styles?
Templates may be a good starting point for most tools. But what next? Customers may be quite happy if you go with existing pre-built pages and styles. But if your aim is customer delight and not just meeting the customer’s expectations, you might want to go an extra mile or two to give them a couple of customized options for styles and templates. The results will be worth it.
Is a little tool-sensitivity in order?
While we as instructional designers cannot allow ourselves to be boxed in by the limitations of a tool, I think a healthy appreciation of a tool’s limitations and the time that goes into creating workarounds can help us crystallize our own design ideas better. When we are hard pressed for time, we will sometimes have to go with the best that any tool can offer out-of-the-box.
To conclude, though tools do play a critical role in course development, eLearning is more about design and less about tools. What do you think?
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Last week I attended my cousin’s wedding. Nobody had an idea of what was going on and what others were doing. Several people ended up doing the same things and a few tasks were left untouched till the last minute. There was nobody responsible for the allocation and supervision of tasks. The scene was a total disaster. Ultimately, the wedding was a success but it gave everyone involved a lot of heartburn and I’m sure the nightmares will continue for quite some time.
Since the last few weeks, I’ve been writing about the different methods to create navigation restrictions in Articulate Storyline. But, the task is not completed by just creating a restriction. We have to add an instruction for the learner that makes him aware of the importance of the topic or the functionality of the slide he is trying to skip. Some courses completely restrict the navigation but some ask the learner if he is sure of his decision to skip the topic. Usually, we display this instruction through alert pop-ups.
The global eLearning market is expected to reach $107 billion, by 2015 – Global Industry Analysts, Inc.
The phenomenal growth in the use of the online medium in the corporate training world has resulted in eLearning managers playing a key role in modern organizations. They are responsible for equipping the workforce with the needed knowledge and skills, in an effective and efficient manner. They need to ensure that top-notch online courses are developed to meet the dynamic training needs of today’s companies. In this process, they are often confronted with 5 major challenges. Let us see what they are.
In my previous blog, we have seen how to create a navigation restriction in an elearning course for an interactivity by using a variable. As I’ve already explained, a variable which changes its value once does not come to its original value unless we use a trigger. If a learner completes the interactivity, then he cannot be restricted the next time he visits the slide. So, we use a different method when we are asked to restrict the navigation of the interactivity each time the learner visits the slide.
In my post, Customize Fill in the Blank Type of Assessment in Articulate Storyline, I explained how to create a customized fill in the blank type of assessment by evaluating as many blanks as you have within a single slide.
Rapid authoring tools allow you to present the learning content, very effectively, using various presentation patterns. Let us now see some presentation patterns that you can create in Articulate Storyline, one of the most popular rapid authoring tools. These presentation patterns can be used in different contexts and help achieve learning objectives efficiently.
Many organizations conduct webinars to train their employees. The main benefit of using webinars is that training can be delivered to a large audience at low cost. But, how can you make sure that your webinars will be available to your staff whenever they need them? Well, you can record live webinars and make them available on-demand. Sometimes, during live presentations, you may have issues with extraneous noises. These noises need to be deleted from the recorded version. You may also want to add some topics which could not be covered during the live presentation.
The number of companies which translate their online courses is increasing considerably as 59% of organizations indicated that translating their eLearning courses is important to their organizations and 85% of the respondents indicated that they translated their eLearning courses into nearly 10 different languages. (Survey by CommLab India)
In my previous blogs we saw how to create navigation restrictions for a normal slide. But creating navigation restrictions for an interactive slide is different. And today in this blog we will see how to do that.
Training managers come across different requirements from their teams. A particular team or department may have a vast knowledge bank which needs to be rolled as a curriculum. As a training manager, how will you approach this task? In this digital era, eLearning courses are the most viable option. But, their usage poses questions.
Lectora is a very powerful rapid authoring tool used to develop HTML- based eLearning courses. This tool is ideal for converting PowerPoint presentations into eLearning courses, quickly and effectively. Let see now the procedure to convert PowerPoint presentations into eLearning courses using Lectora, step-by-step.
It is well-known that the use of first-rate animations and graphics plays a key role in enhancing the efficacy of an online learning course. But, how can you develop top-notch animations and graphics for your eLearning course? Well, there are many tools in the market to create these multimedia elements. But, the most widely used of all these tools is Adobe Suite. A major component of Adobe Suite is Flash, which is very popular.
According to a survey conducted by the eLearning guild, in 2013, Adobe Captivate was the most widely used rapid authoring tool. The latest version of this incredible tool, Adobe Captivate 8 can be used to develop responsive eLearning courses. Apart from, this, we can convert existing PowerPoint presentations in to eLearning courses by importing them into Adobe Captivate. Let see the step-by-step procedure to convert PowerPoint presentations into eLearning courses.
One of our clients wanted to give product training to their sales representatives through short eLearning modules (less than an hour) to increase their efficiency. They want their sales reps to adapt new technologies that are emerging in the healthcare industry and excel in their usage.
We all know that Articulate Storyline 2 was launched recently and it is the new avatar of Articulate Storyline. We can create highly interactive eLearning courses, using Articulate Storyline 2, easily. This incredible software is power-packed with various new capabilities. The tool also has many features of its predecessor that have been enhanced. Let’s see what is new in Articulate Storyline 2.
In my previous blog, we saw the easiest and commonly used method to create navigation restrictions. In this blog, we will see another method to create navigation restrictions.
Do you know that you can reduce the time taken to develop online courses, considerably, using the Slide Master? Once you create a layout, you can use it as many times as you want, for multiple eLearning courses.
According to adult learning principles, a learner should not be restricted in his navigation through the course. But, this freedom is misused by many. They skipthe learning units and access the final quiz. This can be avoided by framing the final quiz questions in such a way that they cannot be answered easily unless you go through the course.
I often come across people who believe myths about rapid eLearning. They think that rapid eLearning lacks quality and it skips most of the instructional design steps in the process of creating eLearning courses faster. Some even believe that to take an online course, they need to have technical know-how. Most people even think that rapid eLearning is baseless, inaccurate, and imprecise.
It is common knowledge that effective translations of eLearning courses play a key role in imparting first-rate training to international, multilingual workforces. So, how can you translate your course effectively in quick time? Well, you can use Articulate Storyline to translate your courses easily.
Developing descriptive assessments with Articulate Storyline is easy. All we have to do is just take a default essay type assessment and set the character limit, using the options given. Refer to the post Creating Descriptive Assessments in eLearning with Articulate Storyline for more information.
Small and mid-sized organizations cannot afford an LMS to deliver eLearning courses to their learners. They may want to launch their courses on a web portal and prevent unauthorized access of their courses. So, they wish to want to protect the course by giving user name and password to the course.
As the demand towards learning through mobile is increasing, many organizations are looking for mobile compatible courses. Some want to convert their legacy course into the mobile-friendly format and the new courses to be compatible with all devices. To make the courses compatible with all mobile devices, they must be developed in HTML5 and based on responsive design.
Many organizations need to develop a large number of eLearning modules, very quickly, in quick time, at low cost. We cannot meet this requirement using Flash and other tools, which require programming skills to work with. But, we can easily develop courses with rapid authoring tools and meet the stakeholder’s requirement.