Tom is the IT training manager of a large, multinational car manufacturer. His company has recently implemented SAP and wanted him to train its 300,000 strong global workforce that speaks 40 languages on the ERP software. But, to Tom’s dismay, his boss told him clearly that the IT training budget could not be increased to accommodate the cost of SAP training.
Stories such as these are not uncommon. According to a study conducted by the Aberdeen group, 40% of companies cite the need to reduce the cost of enterprise software implementation, and often training budgets are the first casualty. So, how can cash-strapped IT training departments deliver good training to their people? Well, they need to go in for e-learning. Research reveals that the online medium is 50% less expensive when compared to the traditional instructor-led training (ILT) format. Furthermore, e-learning courses can be translated easily into multiple languages, and this help provide good training to multinational, multilingual workforces.
But, what does it take to build effective e-learning courses on enterprise software?
One of the critical elements in the development of agood, cost-effective online course on enterprise software is the choice of the right rapid authoring tool. The marketplace is replete with hundreds of authoring tools which can be used to develop online enterprise software training materials. One of the most popular of these tools is Adobe Captivate. A survey by the E-learning Guild in 2013 revealed that Captivate is the most widely used rapid authoring tool.
To find out more about this authoring software, I talked to Mohd. Sohail, an authoring tool expert, who has developed hundreds of courses using the tool.
Here are the excerpts of the interview.
I see you work on various enterprise software training development projects. How many of these involve Adobe Captivate?
Sohail: I work with various tools such as Flash, Articulate Storyline, Lectora Inspire, Articulate Studio, besides Adobe Captivate. About 60% of the e-learning courses that I develop involve Adobe Captivate.
What makes Adobe Captivate a good tool to build online materials for training on enterprise software?
Sohail:The tool comes with various features that make the creation of training courses on software such as SAP, Salesforce, Ariba and Workday simple and efficient. I have worked on various versions of Captivate, but the latest (Captivate 9) is my favorite.
Sohail: This version is a marked improvement over its predecessor. It enables me to make highly effective e-learning programs on enterprise software in quick time.
And, how is this possible?
Sohail: Captivate 9 allows me to make courses out of PowerPoint. I can import a presentation into the tool, update its content to suit an e-learning environment and synchronize it with the online course development project.Thanks to this feature, I can build a 60 minute online coursefrom PowerPoint in about 3 weeks.
People can masterenterprise software, or for that matter any software only when they work on it. Can Adobe Captivate 9 be used to develop hands-on training materials?
Sohail: Oh, yes. Captivate is well-known for its ability to develop watch-try-do simulations which help learners gain expertise on the enterprise software.
How do these simulations help?
Sohail: Interactive courses with simulations using the watch-try-do(WTD) approach are ideal to train learners on the use of software.These simulations enable the learner to master the steps involved in the use of the application. In the first phase (WATCH), the steps involved in using the software product are demonstrated to the learner. In the second phase (TRY), he is given a chance to try the steps he has watched. He is guided with pop ups and hints at every stage prompting him about the next step in the process. In the last phase (DO), the learner is all by himself and needs to apply the knowledge that he has acquired, remember the steps and do them on his own. If he gets stuck at any point, he is given the option to call for help. You can use Captivate 9 to develop simulations of very complex software.
Sohail: Some transactions on enterprise software can be performed only through right clicks. It is not possible to create “right click simulations” easily with other rapid authoring tools. But, with Adobe Captivate 9, it’s very easy.
We live in the mobile age. Does Captivate 9 help youmake the best use of mobile learning?
Sohail: The rapid authoring tool has excellent responsive e-learning course authoring capabilities. Captivate 9 can be used to publish online courses to HTML5, a device-agnostic platform. You can also use the tool to create simulations of enterprise software, which can be tweaked for a particular device. For instance, you can create simulations of an enterprise software application, which can be accessed on an iPad very effectively. However, this takes time and a bit of effort. Captivate 9 can also be used to include in-course YouTube videos, which are ideal for imparting training. I used the tool to develop courses containing high resolution HD videos which explain the how-to aspects of using the software.
Gamification is the next big thing in the world of e-learning. What is the quality of support provided by Captivate 9 to gamified enterprise software training?
Sohail: The e-learning course authoring tool has an in-built library of 25,000+ learning assets, which include a wide variety of gamified elements. These elements can be customized according to your needs, and good gamified software/desktop application training courses can be made.You can make courses compliant with xAPI, a learning standard which provides good support to gamified learning.
What about the assessment capabilities of the rapid authoring tool?
Sohail: Captivate 9 is endowed with powerful quiz capabilities. You can use it to develop a wide variety of assessments, including pre-test checks. You can also create informal knowledge checks to help learners assess themselves where they stand.Staying on with xAPI, you can use the learning standard to correlate job performance with training.
Enterprise software training courses of most multinational companies (MNCs) are accessed by learners who speak different languages. How easy is it to translate courses developed using Adobe Captivate 9?
Sohail: You can export the online course as an MS-Worddocument. This makes localization of the e-learning course pretty easy. You can hand over the document to the translator, and after it is translated, you can import the translated version into the tool, and the course in the target language is ready. Captivate 9 provides good support to languages which use double byte character sets (DBCS) such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. It also supports languages written in “right-to-left” scripts such as Arabic and Hebrew.
How would you rate Captivate 9 vis-à-vis Articulate Storyline 2 and Lectora Inspire 12?
Sohail: As far as the ease of use is concerned, Storyline 2 is way ahead of other software. And, when we talk of translations, I feel that Lectora Inspire is by far the best tool. But, when it comes to simulations and responsive e-learning development, I would give full marks to Adobe Captivate 9.
This is what Sohail had to say about developing online courses on enterprise software. Hope you enjoyed the interview.