Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Twelve Ways to Add Value to Open Source LMS Systems


I've been too wrapped up thinking about interactivity to pay attention to the pains learning managers must go through for making their Moodle implementations effective. So, when I sat down to talk with Dr Asheesh Choksi, technology consultant and architect, about Moodle, he gave me a 12-point program to add value to Moodle - which was quite an eye opener.


1. User Management
 User management is the starting point in making Moodle successful.  Here we deal with problems such as grade data privacy, activation and deactivation of users for business reasons, and protecting sensitive business information arising from learning systems from prying eyes.

2. Catalog Management
 What does the learner see on logging in? This is the province of content display and catalog management. Examples include news, events, calendar, assignments, course list etc.

Better structuring of information to be shown on landing page to facilitate users to quickly see needed updates and get access to other areas of the system

3. Business Reports
 How do you assess the effectiveness of a course delivered? What questions are learners failing consistently? Moodle captures most  of the data, but getting it out in meaningful reports needs some statistical analysis and design effort.

4. Student Reports
 How cool it will be if a student were to get a special personalized 'recommended for you' list of resources? How about showing a recap of  'your recent learning activity'? A well-customized Moodle can do that.

5. Offline capability
When your learners are always on the go, in far-flung parts of the world, internet connections vary from excellent to un-reliable and even non-existent sometimes. So you need to support offline learning capability. The learner should download the course, go and learn in offline mode, take tests and synchronize the results when net is connected back. This can be done using Google Gears to some extent, or with the Harbinger Offline Player all the way up to SCORM compatible tracking.

6. DRM Support
Worried that someone may copy proprietary content? You need to think about who can access, and what they can do with the courses you deliver. The solution needed is a custom course reader with several lockdown levels (machine access lockdown, copy disable lockdown).

7. Collaborative Annotation System
You want learners to share their annotations on courses. Of course, there could be multiple cohorts learning a course at the same time. Each cohort needs to have his/her own share of annotation space. You don’t want to burden Moodle with the task of managing annotations. The solution is a separate collaborative annotation server, such as TeemingPod.

8. Mobile Support
Learners are flocking to  iPads, iPhones and other tablets and smartphones. These devices are supported using MLE Moodle, an opens ource plugin for iOS and Android. This takes some coding but can be done, and well worth it. So your LMS has a mobile nexus with the learners.

9. Payment Gateway
Need to have learners pay using  PayPal or some other gateway? You can implement your own payment model such as bulk access, pay-as-you-go, pay-per-course etc. using payment gateway integration.

10. Performance Tuning and Scalability
A lot of times, training can be driven by organization-wide events and initiatives. So everyone wants to access the material at the same time. This results in  high user load, and slows down performance. This is when code optimization, caching and other expert solutions from Harbinger - ranging up to  cluster server deployment- come handy.

11. Video streaming
Moodle does not stream video effectively. For better streaming experience third party integration with services like YouTube, Kaltura and so on.

12. Virtual Class Room
Synchronous classrooms have the added advantage of a live instructor available at the time of learning. Open source platforms such as Open Meetings  or Big Blue Button can be integrated with Moodle to bring in this capability.

I know it's quite a handful, says Dr Choksi, but the effort is well worth it - take care of these points and you will end up with a state-of-the-art Moodle implementation that your learners and administrators will love, he adds.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Getting a Head Start with Mobile Interactions

When Raptivity released its first collection of mobile interactions for iPad and iPhone based eLearning, the path-breaking HTML5 Pack received several accolades. While it was a very useful collection of interactions, it mainly featured a bunch of memory aids such as flash cards. Clearly, there was a need for adding more interactions  to make it instructionally more useful and complete.

It is not easy to design HTML5 interactions from the ground up and make them behave exactly like their Flash counterparts. For example, in the iPad world, there is no mouse-over, so any interaction involving mouse-over has to use mouse clicks.

That's why I am excited about the new Raptivity HTML5 Starter Pack. With this new Raptivity extension, you don't have to spend hours thinking about how to emulate Flash-like interactions in HTML5.

Raptivity HTML5 Starter Pack

The new pack features interactions that let you jazz up your presentations. You can encourage exploration by learners. Then there are interactive quizzes that test knowledge and provide feedback. You can also provide ready reference materials for the people on the go. These interactions, together with memory aids available in the Raptivity HTML5 Turbopack released earlier, provide a rich variety of templates that suit a large number of instructional goals.


The following table summarizes the various interactions and their usage. Please note that (H5T) indicates the Raptivity HTML5 Turbopack, (H5S) indicates the Raptivity HTML5 Starter Pack.  



Jazz up presentation

Flip the Book
Present a fun page-turner with embedded video and other media (H5S)
Circles
Create interactive concentric circles with callouts (H5S)
Hub-and-Spokes
Illustrate radial relationships with interactivity (H5S)
Slide show
Build image transitions with a soundtrack (H5T)

Encourage exploration

Show-and-tell
Create a step-by-step software simulation (H5S)
Ladder
Illustrate the steps of a process in sequence, and show details (H5S)
FAQ
Provide an easy way to access Frequently Asked Questions (H5S)
Buildup and Rollover
Gradually build up complex pictures and explain each part as you go (H5S)

Test Knowledge

Pairing
Build a match-the-pair exercise with bells and whistles (H5S)
Tree
Allow the learner to build a tree structure illustrating relationships (H5S)
Branching Question
Implement a series of questions with adaptation based on learner’s answers (H5S)
Catch ‘em Fast
Create rapid-fire questions where speed is critical (H5T)

Provide ready reference

Glossary
Build an easy look-up glossary (H5S)

Help memorize content

Flash Cards
Help reinforce and memorize study material on the go (H5T)
Study Card Deck
Help learners in a hurry who need an easy way look up study material using panning cards  (H5T)
Study Card Shuffle
Study cards with text, pictures and video get displayed in a sequence  (H5T)
Memory Aid Peeler
Let learners peel away virtual pages and discover additional content (H5T)


Try out this cutting-edge product by downloading it from the Raptivity website.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Future of e-Learning Content after Adobe Kills Flash on Mobile Devices

It is official. Adobe, in a written statement, announced that it will not support Flash in mobile browsers henceforth. As it is, iPhone and iPad don't play Flash content. It will be a matter of time before  new versions of other mobile devices (based on Android and other platforms) stop supporting Flash in browsers.

What does this mean for e-learning content? Well, Adobe continues to be committed to supporting Flash on the PC platform. Adobe also says that mobile content can be packaged using Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) and delivered through app stores in the form of native apps. But these might be roundabout ways. Most e-learning developers may turn towards HTML5, in the hope that their content will play across browsers and platforms.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

mLearning in Africa

Recently I had a chance to talk to a speaker at e-Learning Africa 2011 in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. Vinod Ganjoo is an e-learning enthusiast who works as Senior Manager - e-learning Business Development at Harbinger. Vinod has traveled throughout the Middle-east, Africa and South Asia on business. He interacts with instructional designers and training managers in several countries regularly. 

What's the big excitement about m-Learning in Africa?
VG: The stage is set for m-Learning in Africa. Mobile devices penetration in Africa is expected to pass 50% during 2011. At least eight African countries will have broken the 100% mobile penetration barrier by the end of the year. Some African mobile markets are still growing at more than 100% per annum. African mobile market forecast to 2013 is impressive. Nigeria alone will have over 130M subscribers.

What are the major impediments for the spread of e-learning in Africa?
VG: Internet connectivity is a big challenge for e-learning, particularly in remote areas and in certain countries. Another major challenge is electricity. However, m-Learning is feasible because phone networks are ubiquitous, and you don't require continuous electricity for mobile phone operation.


What are the benefits of m-Learning in this market?
 VG: m-Learning is truly self paced, 24X7 learning. It can happen any time, anywhere. The learner does not have to brave a trek to the school, crossing rivers and hills. There are innovative interaction and engagement   opportunities. And best of all, there is no need for additional devices such as personal computers. You can reach the fringe student simply using a mobile phone.

What according to you is the biggest challenge in developing content for m-Learning?
 VG: I can name three challenges: One, interactivity is necessary. Two, Flash won't work on all phones. Three,  programming skills required to produce mobile learning are limited.

Don't rapid authoring tools solve these problems?
 VG: To an extent - yes. Many tools support both Flash and HTML5. Some of them even have interactivity - but it is limited to basic interactions such as multiple choice questions, drag-and-drop, click-and-reveal.

And why is that not enough for the African students?
VG: You need to engage students. They will get fatigued and bored with simple interactions. Those are fine for assessments. When the goal goes beyond assessment, you need a wider variety of interactions, such as the ones Raptivity provides.

How did the conference attendees respond to Raptivity?
VG: The response was very good. A lot of teachers and school representatives came and met me. They tried out the software and had a lot of questions. They pointed out to me that they could use Raptivity in classrooms as well, not only in m-Learning or e-Learning.

Thanks, and good luck.
VG: My pleasure.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Using Raptivity with Captivate


Several Captivate users build Raptivity interactions for use in their elearning and presentation materials. Adobe, the maker of Captivate, has been releasing upgrades and new versions of Captivate over the past several quarters. Naturally, their users want to stay on top of the best ways to use Raptivity within Captivate.

Raptivity for its part has also kept a high pace of innovation, with new releases coming out ever so often. The resources I will cite here are useful for Raptivity 5.5, 6.0, 6.1, 6.2 and 6.5.


A recent blog post on the Raptivity blog addresses the integration of Raptivity with Captivate quite comprehensively for Captivate 5.5, Captivate 5 and Captivate 4. In addition, here are some more places you might want to go.

  1.  The first place to go is the ‘Using Raptivity Output with Other Tools’ document which you will find under the resources page of Raptivity website.
  2. The Captivate integration steps – if you are trying to work around audio issues – are found here.
  3. One great place to get the latest word on this is the online Raptivity Community. Here you will find discussion forum on Raptivity Captivate integration
  4. Community forums for all other tools are accessed here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Raptivity 6.6 Enhanced Element Collection Management

When a product evolves from one generation to the next, many things get better - sometimes to a point where you find it hard to imagine how they had been before. I am having one of those moments with Raptivity right now.

One recently implemented feature of Raptivity 6.6  has got me thinking. It is the Enhanced Element Collection Management functionality. I know that sounds a mouthful - but the idea is really basic. In designing interactions, you often need collections of similar elements. Examples - a pyramid has levels, a flipbook has pages, a simulation has scenes, an animation has path segments, a rollover diagram has hotspots, an assessment has questions and so forth. All these are examples of collections.

In working with collections, here are some common situations the course developer comes across:

  1. Add a new element
  2. Delete an element in between 
  3. Duplicate an element along with its contents
  4. Drag an element from somewhere and place it  somewhere else

You can imagine how hard life would be if you could not perform these seemingly simple actions easily. Yet, in the past, users had to resort to all kinds of clever shortcuts and workarounds to accomplish these tasks. That was life before Raptivity 6.6.

Now with Raptivity 6.6, users can use the mouse right-click context menu and easily insert a blank element,  delete or duplicate an existing element or alter the sequence of elements with a simple drag-and-drop operation. That makes it easy to duplicate a flash card, re-sequence questions in a TV game and delete that panning card you don't like.

This discussion applies to collections of various elements supported in Raptivity. Certain special graphic elements such as Paths, Highlights, Hotspots and Parts  don't get covered under the new functionality. Why is that? Because Raptivity already has a way for you to manipulate these directly from the interactivity editor itself.

If all the user feedback and comments on Raptivity community are any indication, this new feature set is sure to receive a warm welcome! Users will see it as a sure productivity enhancer.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Better Productivity with Raptivity: A Story of Customer Centricity

When Yehudi Menuhin was asked: "What has music taught you?" he replied: "It has taught me to listen." It is no different with product design. You design products in a flash of inspiration, and keep making them better by listening to your customers.

The Raptivity 6.5 release is full of productivity features that are based on ideas that come straight from the trenches. Here are some examples.


Users found it a chore to delete sample content from interaction templates before adding their own. They needed the sample the first couple of times, but later on they wanted a way to start with a clean slate. That was the genesis of Raptivity's Blank Template.

Another area where course developers faced some inconvenience was in putting together media content for use in interactions. Raptivity now shows helpful information such as recommended image size, sound bit rate, video format, size, frame rate etc alongside the customization window.

As interactivity design came to occupy prime time, a quick step-by-step procedure to build interactions became critical. The new version of Raptivity provides that too - in the customization screen.

Raptivity's productivity enhancements span across the entire product usage experience. Users can convert their trial installation into full use package just by adding a license key. There is no need to install the full package over again. Likewise, while deactivating the product, the license key is detected automatically. These little enhancements bear testimony to Raptivity's commitment to the course developers' productivity.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Building m-learning : Eliminating Redundant Effort

Training Magazine’s Learning 3.0 Conference in Chicago on 4th and 5th October 2011 features a talk by Bijoy Banerjee on what he calls Single Source Content. I talked to Bijoy, Senior General Manager at Harbinger Knowledge Products, about his vision for eliminating redundant effort in building m-learning and e-learning.

Okay, what's the pain point you are addressing?
BB: Today’s learners are prepared to access learning on desktops, laptops, smart phones and tablets. As a training content developer, are you prepared to support all these different devices, their operating systems and browsers? That's what I'm trying to address.

So, where do we begin?
BB: Well, step one is to get out of denial. Acknowledge the challenge. Recognize that the prospect of creating content for all these devices, platforms and browsers separately is daunting - particularly when you think of the separate development and maintenance efforts and cost. Clearly, creating separate content files for each target delivery point is quite an uphill task if not impractical.

And- what's the big idea?
BB: Well, don’t lose heart yet! It’s indeed possible to address all these different devices, browsers and platform by a single content output, developed as a single project, at a single cost allocation. We call it Single Source Content.  Single Source Content is a “Single File” of content - HTML5 based - that runs seamlessly on desktop, laptop and all mobile platforms. The content can be delivered online through a learning management system. It can also be carried on the learner's device and played offline. Finally, it complies with tracking standards (SCORM, AICC) and accessibility guidelines (Section 508).

What are the advantages?
BB: With this solution you don’t need to separately plan for eLearning and mobile learning content development. Just develop the content once, and then push it from LMS, as is usual  in the case of eLearning delivery, to be accessed by multiple devices and their browsers. Because you need only a single project for developing the content, the single source content solution provides great cost efficiency. Not only that, single source content solution brings great operational efficiency as well - while updating the content, just update one file and the updated the content is available across all! Finally, nothing matters if learners don’t find the learning engaging and interactive. Single source content scores there too! 

Interesting, and one needs to dive deeper to understand better. Where do we find out more about this approach?

BB: You can get a sneak peak at this solution in Training Magazine’s Learning 3.0 conference in Chicago on 4th and 5th October. Or you can write to me at info@harbingerknowledge.com.

Thanks, and good luck for your talk in Chicago.
BB: My pleasure, and you are most welcome.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Power vs Ease of Use: Do We Need to Choose One?

Industry gurus have long maintained that authoring tools can be either powerful or easy to use. They say: choose one. I say: I want both. Is that possible? Well yes, if the tool designers pay attention to flexibility.

Consider interactivity templates. The very idea of a template connotes a cookie-cutter approach. Easy to learn, easy to use. How do the template designers maintain the ease of use and yet provide powerful features that the course designer can control?

The answer is in flexibility. Here is a short checklist for template designers who want to build flexible interaction templates.

  1. Element Size and Placement :  Provide control to the course designer over the placement of  whole elements, not just text labels, images, buttons and videos. Example: An interactive pyramid diagram template where the course designer controls the size and location of the pyramid - in addition to its levels and content.
  2. Ample Space for Text: Some people just cannot say it in a few words. Support for long text strings clearly helps in such situations.
  3. Text Hyperlinks: When there is a need to provide additional information that wouldn't fit the real estate of the interaction, a text hyperlink is the best way out.
  4. Liberal Limits: How many pages in a flip book? How many steps in a process? How many bullets in a slide? How many terms in a glossary? How many hot spots in a rollover exercise? How many flash cards per interaction? The course designer has to exercise judgment in making sure there aren't too few or too many. That said, the role of template designer is to support a wide range between the minimum and the maximum number of such elements.
  5. Video Support : With the explosion of video content over the web, users are expecting video support in several interactions. 

This list is obviously illustrative, not exhaustive. The recently released Raptivity 6.5 has several interactions that illustrate the use of these design practices.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Enhancing Interactions with Media Elements

A few years back, e-learning courses were largely static, with a few interactions here and there. As interactivity takes center stage, more and more learning happens through interactions. A learner may spend more time working through a simulation, playing a game or exploring an interactive visual than reading the course material. With this, course developers are increasingly feeling the need to provide additional information elements within interactions.

A large number of interactions today are developed using interaction templates. Templates can however be limiting when it comes to providing additional content elements. For example, consider an interactive Android phone tutorial where the learner rolls her mouse cursor over parts of the phone and explores its features. Now suppose the tutorial designer wants to provide a link to a Wikipedia article on Android - or to a Youtube video featuring the phone device. How cool will it be if the designer could add a button to the interaction itself, linking to the article or the video?

There are several use cases where media elements enhance the impact of interactions:
  • Assessments where the learner watches a video and then answers questions. 
  • A set of flash cards where the learner gets to pop up a text that explains a mnemonic to memorize what's on the cards. 
Diehard fans of Raptivity loved the Raptivity Media Toolbox that was showcased in a recent webinar. Using the Media Toolbox, a course designer can add custom buttons or hotspots to an interaction.
Raptivity Media Toolbox
Each button or hotspot can lead to a hyperlink, which can be a web URL. A button can also pop up a video (.flv/.f4v), an image (.jpg, .png, .gif) or  text.

Buttons work great  for learners who  have the curiosity to click and discover extra content. In other cases, you simply embed text or image media in the interaction - and the media will simply show when the interaction is displayed - no clicking is required. A video can also be embedded, so it starts playing as soon as the interaction loads.

This feature set provides advanced flexibility to Raptivity. Presently it works with certain packs of Raptivity 6.5. For more information visit www.raptivity.com and explore the power of Media Toolbox.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Milestones for LearningHarbinger Blog


LearningHarbinger blog was selected in “TOP eLearning and Workplace Learning Blogs”

A recent post on LearningHarbinger blog (Explore Bloom’s Taxonomy Using this Interactive Resource) was selected among “Top eLearning Posts for 2010”. Check out this article for the entire list: http://www.elearninglearning.com/wpblog/top-113-elearning-posts-and-28-hottest-topics-for-2010/

A big thanks to all readers, guest contributors, blog followers and the team at Harbinger Group.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mobile Learning and Interactivity

Does mobile learning need interactivity? Even more so, says Janhavi Padture, one of the invited speakers at Washington Interactive Technologies Conference, hosted by SALT (Society of Applied Learning Technologies). I talked to her to get her take on the subject.

Mobile content is short-duration, small-screen. Why bother making it interactive?
JP: There is inherently a greater chance of distraction since the learner is on the move. So the need for delivering engaging content is even greater.

Give us examples of interactivity on mobile devices.
JP: Real time polling, games, interactive diagrams.. there are several more.

What are some of the technology challenges in mlearning?
JP: Course designers must understand the differences in the various mobile devices, operating systems and browsers. There are many implications. For instance, the languages for native app development differ based on OS, iOS uses Objective C, while RIM and Android both use Java, but different SDKs of that! Or for that matter the media supported by browsers is different. Firefox doesn’t support H.264 format, while Safari will only support that, and Google introduced the new WebM standard but supports both WebM and H.264 formats. So then comes the debate of whether Native or Web apps and Flash or HTML5.

So, is there a ‘right way’ to design interactive content for mobile devices?
JP: There is no right or wrong. The best method is to come up with a checklist of requisites for your mobile learning interactivity. For instance, is this a performance support job aid where internet connectivity cannot simply be assumed? If so, native app makes sense. If you would like to develop once and deploy on multiple devices and desktop, you are probably better off with HTML5 web apps. Or if you must have stunning visual effects probably Flash is the best option today. As one attendee rightly pointed out, in order to be compatible with old versions of desktop browsers they decided to go with Flash. I presented this decision process as a simplified visual aid as we talked through each scenario.


What are the ideal characteristics for mLearning interactions?
JP: Best mLearning courses are modular, interactive and non-linear. There is the ability to selectively render content. There is a good balance of text and media content. Performance tracking is supported (with SCORM). Flash and HTML5 options exist for web apps.

What tips did you share for developing mobile learning interactions?
JP: We talked about Edumercial, i.e. extending the concept of commercials to education, and how that is so relevant to mobile interactions, because just like commercials it needs to be short and it needs to stick.

We also talked about videos & animations make great interactivity components for mobile as long as used effectively and not excessively.

Thanks and hope you enjoyed the conference.
JP: Indeed. Not surprisingly Government sector representation was the highest among attendees. It was good to interact with them and exchange views.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Learning Interaction Look-up Table

Here is the quick learning interaction look-up table I promised in an earlier post for instructional designers to locate some of the best examples of the various types of ready-made interactive elements.
 

Interaction
Tool
Where used
Examples
Games
Raptivity Games
Combine challenge with fun using super-charged learning games

Raptivity MindPlay
Accomplish learning outcomes with game shows and strategy board games

Raptivity WodPlay
Introduce popular crosswords and innovative letter games in your eLearning

Raptivity Booster
Games, simulations and learning aids

YawnBuster Competitive Games
Games  for groups to collaborate and compete in classrooms

YawnBuster Training Games
TV games and letter games for a multiplayer classroom setting
Simulations
Raptivity Simulations
Simulate real-life learning experiences using award-winning Raptivity simulations. Build guided adaptive scenarios, explorative branching simulations, immersion learning situations and whiteboard simulations

Raptivity Standard  3
technical training -overview visuals, flow diagrams and software simulations.
3D Artifacts
Raptivity 3D
Enrich Content Presentation with 3D Objects and Virtual Worlds
Social Interactions
TeemingPod
Embed polls and discussions in web content, invite discussion around presentations

YawnBuster Business Activities
Get learners in a classroom to brainstorm, prioritize, build mind-maps, t-charts and collaborate
Active Learning
Raptivity Active Learning
Achieve comprehension, application and analysis - three key middle layers of Bloom's taxonomy - in adult learning



Friday, July 15, 2011

Flash in eLearning - Seven Traps to Avoid

Flash is a free cross-browser plug-in that allows interactive content to play on most browsers and computers.The sophisticated Flash development environment allows programmers and designers plenty of room for creativity. No wonder then, a lot of e-learning is built using Flash.

If you are considering the on-going use of Flash for developing e-learning, here are seven traps to avoid.  

7. The frame rate trap
Flash files can support multiple frame rates. By itself, your interactive component shockwave file (.SWF) will play okay regardless of the frame rate. The trouble starts when you integrate it with an authoring tool that presumes a different frame rate. You will find output distorted, or simply not showing. Ensure that you match the frame rate of the container application.

6. The de-compiler trap
Reverse engineering experts can start with your .SWF file and get at the source code of the program you have painstakingly developed. If you care for protecting your code from being reverse-engineered, consider the use of code obfuscators.

5. The broken path trap
Often your Flash program refers to external content files (such as a voice-over stored in a sound file, or an image stored in a bitmap file).  When delivering the SWF, make sure to maintain the relative path, or else your content will not play because of broken link.

4. The text formatting trap
When working with text that needs rich formatting, especially when working with foreign languages, you may want to consider using a sophisticated word processor to get the text exactly as you want it to be, and then carry a snapshot of it into the Flash file. This will result in a more pleasing text output.

3. The image distortion trap
Flash objects scale and distort images that do not conform to the presumed size requirements. Better to use an image editor to crop images to recommended size and avoid distortion.

2. The CPU cycles - battery life trap
If you are delivering a mobile learning application, be aware that Flash code is CPU-intensive and can drain batteries sooner than the end-user would like to.

1. The iPad trap
If you wish to deliver your interactive eLearning on iPad (or iPhone or iTouch) then you will need to consider HTML5 in the place of Flash.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Five Types of Interactive Elements for Next Generation Learning

In my last post, we looked at the next generation content authoring. In this post, I include an interactivity that will help you explore the five types of interactive elements for next generation learning. Use your mouse pointer to explore any of the five panels here, and click on the little round button at the bottom right of each panel to know more. Click "Restart" button on bottom right to go back to the panel. Enjoy!


Monday, May 30, 2011

Next Generation Content Authoring - From LearnX, Sydney

LearnX 2010 in Sydney, Australia was a special occasion for Raptivity because of the Best e-learning tool award. Here, I also had the opportunity to deliver a session on the next generation content authoring. The goal was to outline the various aspects trainers and educators need to consider while designing their training material for next generation learners.

Content authoring has moved way beyond creation of simple textual pages and assessments. Today, learners are exposed to variety of high-end digital experiences and they expect the same in their learning. Learning interactions such as learning games, branching simulations, virtual worlds and social interactions are becoming key elements to keep learners motivated and engaged in the training material.  Here is a recap of the key points in the session.

courtesy australiaphotos.co.uk
1.    Next Generation Learning
The new generation of tech-savvy learners has grown up with mobility, net browsing, games and social networking. These learners have a low attention span. Yet, they are prepared to interact, and they expect great experiences.


2.    Types of Interactive Elements for Next Generation Learning
There are five types of interactive elements that I highlight for this discussion, that characterize the next generation learning. They are: games, simulations, 3D artifacts, social interactions and active learning. Examples of games would include mini games, word games, TV game shows and strategy games. Simulations could include software simulations, branching scenarios or exploration exercises in an immersive experience. 3D artifacts include virtual worlds and 3D navigational objects. Examples of social interactions that can aid in learning include polls, discussions, chat and collaboration. Finally, scenario-based learning and activity-based learning round out the active learning repertoire.

3.    Tools for Creating Training Material
Raptivity, YawnBuster and TeemingPod are examples of tools that allow you to create interactive learning quickly and easily.

Soon I plan to post a quick look-up table for locating some great examples and  templates for such interactive elements cited above.