Of the questions asked of me during DemoFest, I think most were regarding development tools. In regards to development tools used, the course is truly a Frankencourse, a term I believed coined by David Anderson (@eLearning).
So here are the development tools I used for this project.
Adobe Flash – The initial interface was built in Flash. This provided greater ease of animating the characters, creating the navigation, which is non-linear and not as simple as adding next and back buttons of which it has none. However, the Flash movie sits within Articulate Presenter and navigates to an assessment made in Articulate Quizmaker which also sits within the same Presenter project (more on this later).
Adobe Captivate – I used this for creating every simulation in the course. I find Captivate to be a great tool for software simulations, plus I could easily edit instructions in the sims, add graphics including the Captain and Ossie 7. It also afforded me the opportunity to have several sims be more exploration than just task driven. For example, the sim where Ossie 7 lets you explore each ribbon at your own pace and direction. Note: All the sims are “try me” sims in which the participant completes tasks and/or explores the application. They are not demonstrations were they simply watch the application being used.
Articulate Quizmaker – Very easy way to create the assessment at the conclusion of the course. Most of the questions in the quiz were scenario based and involved clicking the correct button on a graphic representation of the Office application (e.g., an Outlook ribbon). Quizmaker easily accommodated this, plus worked well within Presenter – it should since it is also part of the Articulate suite.
Articulate Presenter – This is what I plopped the Flash and Quizmaker into. Essentially, the first page of the Presenter project is the Flash course, which has numerous pages and opens all the sims and links to its additional resources. It also has a button that takes you to the quiz. It actually takes you to the next presenter page introducing the quiz. The third page is the Quizmaker assessment. And because it is in Presenter, I could easily publish the presenter course as SCORM compliant that would work well on my learning management system (LMS).
That’s it. I know to some it may seem insane to use so many tools, but with so many different aspects of the course it did require these tools to get this project done. Don’t believe me? Take a look – Introduction to Office 2010.
Note: Microsoft Office 2010 was used to the extent that it was the subject of the sims, job aids, etc., but not actually a development tool itself.
View the course – Introduction to Office 2010
Well it’s that time again. Here are my e-learning predictions for the coming year.
- You know I have to include a Flash prediction. So, here you are… I predict a Flash player will finally be included on the iPad and iPhone this year. This will be mostly due to the fact that so many more phones, and tablets, will be released with Flash, pressuring Apple to do the same.
- Say goodbye to the “e-” and the “m-” and say hello to just “learning” in 2011. I think we will be less concerned about the medium and will call it “learning” regardless of whether it is in the classroom, computer, phone or wherever else you are finding it.
- The coming flood of tablets in 2011 will move m-learning much further along. However, I think people will be distinguishing less and less between the terms e-learning, m-learning, and just learning. After all, where does m-learning stop and e-learning begin? See prior prediction.
- With the economy improving, we will see reinvestment in classroom training and classroom trainers. I believe too many organizations have hastily delved into online training, resulting in developing courses that are better off in in the classroom than online. Plus with so many rushing into e-learning without investing the time in understanding the design end has resulted in ineffective “rapid e-learning.” I think we will see these people who had good intentions are going to move away from e-learning. For those that may be in that boat, don’t give up on e-learning, but please read “Hey You Rapid e-Learning Peeps, Slooow Down and Take a Little Drive on the ISD Side of Town.”
- QR Codes will become more prevalent in the U.S. In fact, I just started using them myself by including them in a new e-learning course. I also plan to start adding them to job aids, manuals, presentations and anywhere else when appropriate.
I am currently creating a course and as usual it involves numerous development tools. This course consists of using three main tools. Here they are and why I am using them.
Adobe Flash – My favorite tool of choice. I like its flexibility in making the interactive assets I need for the course and not being constrained by prepackaged interactives that come with many e-learning development tools. In this case I am making the course itself in Flash. This includes each page, characters, animation, and interactive elements with the exception of the software simulations (sims) and the final assessment/quiz.
Adobe Captivate – The course will contain many “try me” sims for a software upgrade in which we are implementing. I am developing these in Captivate, which in my opinion is the best out there for creating software sims. Each sim will launch in a new window from the Flash course. Keeping these in a separate folder and launched as individual SWFs will also help keep the file size and load time down.
Articulate – Presenter and Quizmaker are providing the assessment and an ease of packaging it as a SCORM compliant course. What I like is the ease of developing an assessment in Quizmaker. In this case I will take my Flash course and import the SWF to the first page of Articulate Presenter. A single button in my menu, called Knowledge Check, will move the user from the Presenter page containing the course SWF to the second page where the assessment begins. The ability to have a Flash button, or menu, work within Presenter was the kicker. This allowed me to get the best of both worlds; Flash and using Articulate to create the assessment and SCORM packaging. Here is a tutorial from Screenr that shows how you can make a Flash menu that will change slides in Presenter.
As my readers may remember from my past posts, I believe it will be quite a while before HTML5 becomes a practical means of delivering e-learning or a viable threat to Flash. However, Adobe has begun prototyping a tool for creating animation in HTML5. Still a long way to go, but a good start. The video preview from Adobe TV is below.
Even I will admit the iPad is an exciting device, but because it is missing Adobe Flash it is not something in which I am willing to spend the money. As you can see in the video below, we will be able get a tablet with Flash, which is enticing to me. Who knows, maybe with enough tablets coming to market with Flash on them Apple will rethink adding Flash to the iPad.
There has been plenty of buzz about HTML5 and it being a “Flash killer.” I think HTML5 has great potential and will be a welcomed improvement to the web, but it is still in its infancy and does not show any signs of being able to compete with Flash anytime time soon. I think some of the confusion comes from the fact that it currently has the ability of embedding video and audio, which makes it a viable alternative regarding those commonly used features. However, if you have looked at animation and interactivity in HTML5 it does not compete with Flash at all. Here are some examples and another, which support my argument. FYI: My intent is not to demean these examples. They are good considering what the creators had to work with, a working DRAFT of HTML5 and are a sign of better things in the years to come. So, will HTML5 compete with Flash in the future, maybe but keep in mind it has a very steep climb and Flash will not be standing still waiting. I do think HTML5’s edge will be that Flash is not on all mobile devices including the iPhone and its larger version, the iPad. I also think the appearance of the iPad has greatly increased the buzz on HTML5 and may boost its demand.
Something that has also been confusing is its availability. Yes, a working draft is available today and browsers are starting to support it. However, the W3C candidate recommendation stage is expected in 2012 and will reach W3C recommendation in 2022, possibly later. No, that is not a typo, it does say 2022. See more on the estimated timeline here and also here. We will see advances and improvements over the next few years, but they will still be working drafts.
It will be very interesting in how e-learning authoring tools adopt and adapt to HTML5. I am sure many are exploring that now. As far as web development, Dreamweaver is already offering an extension so you can start exploring it now. The video below provides information on Dreamweaver and HTML5 along with an opinion on the “HTML5 and Flash” issue.
Bottom line, don’t put all your hopes in something that has yet delivered. Learn about it, keep an eye on it, even play around with the working drafts if you have the time and patience. Right now Flash is the best and most powerful tool in an e-learning developer’s toolbox and HTML5’s current draft can’t touch it. Will that change? Maybe, maybe not, but if it does it will be quite a while before HTML5 is a true competitor for Flash. Until HTML5 offers the same level of quality as Flash I will stick with Flash and still recommend it for any e-learning developer’s toolbox.
Yesterday I attended a SCORM webinar provided by Advance Distributed Learning (ADL). If you do not know the ADL, they are a part of the U.S. Department of Defense and are the producers of SCORM. At the conclusion of the webinar they gave a tour of some of the available resources on their site. These include SCORM documentation, past webinar slides, and content examples, including the files from a Flash example. which you will find listed as “Plug-In Technologies Content Example.” They also provide a test suite. FYI: All of the above are free to download.
Do you have any great SCORM resources? Please share in the comments section, thanks.