Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Templates - To Use or Not to Use?

Templates can be very helpful in providing the structure of online learning activities; however some templates can limit creativity and make presentations become very cookie-cutter and boring. Templates can also allow for the rapid creation of learning activities which enable timely development and revisions. If templates are easy to use and flexible; they facilitate the design of relevant, current, and creative activities. However, some templates are so difficult to use and/or inflexible that they prohibit the rapid and creative design of activities.

Common authoring tools provide flexibility in terms of course design and navigation, but most do not include a wide variety of easy to use, customizable interactivities that make the content interesting and engaging. This requires the developer to create these interactivities using other software programs and integrate them into the authoring tool project.

There are several template-based products available in the market; however most are very limited in the ability to customize the content and look and feel. Many are also very difficult to use which prohibits rapid development. For instance, if they do not allow for a variety of image files (jpeg, tif, png,…) or video files (mp3, mov, flv,…) the developer will spend a lot of time converting files and managing resolution. Many times, templates are not flexible enough to meet the needs of specific content. I have had difficulty using some templates with nursing or other allied health content because of the length of many of the terms.  If the text boxes in the templates are not customizable, many of the terms are cut off or simply can't be inputted.

With Flash and similar applications, you have endless ways to customize content and look and feel, however the learning curve is excruciating and usually requires someone with vast training. These are not something that can be used by someone who is typically tasked with course or training development. Of course, this fact causes increases in time, complexity, and cost.

My solution to providing high quality, cost effective content is to use Raptivity by Harbinger, which provides interactive templates that are both easy to use and very flexible. Raptivity offers a library of 180+ template-based interactions that allow for customized content and design. The interactivities include simulations, videos, learning games, puzzles, animations, interactive diagrams, brainteasers, page-flipping books, whiteboard simulations, interactive questions, surveys, flow diagrams, and many more that can be easily customized in various ways. The templates are provided with both a complete example and a blank template for each interactivity. The content, size of text boxes, number of items, the background, voice files, videos, images, etc can all be selected and easily changed. The initial included elements in the activities can easily be updated or revised allowing the content to be kept current and results driven.  Also, the completion status is easily tracked using scores and responses for each interactivity. The activities can be posted online or included in online training or course presentations. The activities can be embedded into hundreds of authoring tools, LCMS, LMS, CMS and live collaboration systems.

The chart below illustrates the comparison of tools in relation to flexibility and time.
I hope this blog provided some new ways to look at templates. Please share your ideas with us.  What templates have you used to make courses more interactive and engaging? What challenges have you faced when using templates?
 Note: This blog has been posted by Raptivity Marketing Team on behalf of Ann Jackson. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Let’s Play a Game!

Let’ play a game. The game is called “Guess this Word”. Raptivity Game - Mine the Gold

I will give you three clues that describe a word that is a current eLearning trend. The object of the game is to guess this word by the third clue. Ready? Let’s start!

Clue 1

This term was coined by Nick Pelling.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Raptivity presents on ‘Innovative Ideas for Making Learning Interactive’

The Raptivity team recently presented at a technology event for educators at University of Pune, Maharashtra, India. The presentation was titled ‘Innovative Ideas for Making Learning Interactive’. It aimed at showcasing different creative ideas and ways of making learning fun and interactive. Over 65 senior educators from across Maharashtra region attended the session.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Top Five Tips to Making MOOCs Fun

When I first heard about MOOCs, I thought they were the answers to my prayers. I could sign up for fun, interactive MOOCs for little or no money, and take them from home. I was in! What I discovered was mixed—some MOOCs were fun and some not. I began to ask myself the following questions about MOOCs.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Making Learning Stick – Part 3

Hey guys, I am back with the last blog in the series for the webinar, ‘Making Learning Stick’, by Jay Cross. You can check out Part 1 and Part 2 of this series here. This time we are going to talk about some basics of making learning stick. I am sure you must be wondering why I am going the opposite way by starting off with the complexities and summing it up with basics. Well, basics are the most important component in ‘Making Learning Stick’ and I wanted you to remember them the most. So I decided to focus on them in the end.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Making PowerPoint Interactive

Making PowerPoint interactive is to make your slides do what you want, allowing yourselves to go from slide to slide almost like going from one room to another in your home – and setting your slides in a way that allows you to work better – again, that’s akin to arranging the furniture in your home so as to make movement and work easier. Even if you step out of the comfort of your home, you can make your life more gratifying by discovering streets that are not too crowded with traffic so that you can get to your office faster, and with less stress!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Spark your Imagination by Attending our Webinar Series!

Sometimes if you are in a creative slump, it is helpful to review other Instructional Designer’s eLearning interactions for inspiration that you can carry over in to your own training. Perhaps, you can learn a new way to use character dialog you had not thought of before. Or maybe, you will discover that flow charts can be used for other subjects besides business. As Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge!”

Monday, June 3, 2013

Integrating Raptivity with Claro

Did you know that Raptivity integrates perfectly with Claro? And it is is pretty quick and easy too. You can use either integrate the Single Flash file output or HTML5 output of Raptivity with Claro. So what are you waiting for. Watch these short video clips to go through the step by step procedure of integrating the Flash and HTML5 outputs of Raptivity with Claro and get started.