Monday, August 19, 2013

Augmenting Authoring Tools using Interactions

No one wants to take time and trouble, using their expertise, to produce something that’s not as effective as it should be. This is just as true of online learning designers and developers as it is of anyone.


Since adding interactivity to any learning material helps to engage and interest the learners, as well as allow them to retain, reinforce and practice their learning, it makes sense to include interactions in that learning material. Interactions can also be used to reward learners. Moreover, when it comes to online learning – especially because the tutor/ designer of the learning material is remote from the learners – interactions can be used to assess learners’ understanding.

There are those who’re only too happy to give you chapter and verse on using ‘interactivity’ in learning materials. They’ll probably use Wagner’s 1994 definition of interactivity: an event that takes place between a learner and the learner’s environment. Its purpose is to respond to the learner in a way intended to change her/his behavior towards achieving an educational goal.

These are wise words that every designer and developer of online learning materials needs to know and apply but the key is how to do this to maximum effect with the minimum of fuss.

Articulate and Adobe produce suites of authoring tools but other popular authoring tools include Lectora, Claro and Elicitus. While these tools will build online learning materials, designers and developers who’re serious about offering learners the benefits of interactivity in their online learning materials tend to look for an interactivity builder for their toolkit.

Of course, the interactivity builder software must be compatible with the designer’s authoring tool of choice – and one such well-established, tried and tested interactivity builder is Raptivity, from Harbinger. Using Raptivity enables developers to enrich their learning materials by providing higher degrees of interactivity for learners than are possible by merely using an authoring tool alone.

Not only does Raptivity offer a growing list of over 180 customizable interaction templates, it also caters for the latest developments in the online learning technologies industry, including HTML5 and Tin Can. Each Raptivity-generated interaction is published as a Flash SWF file so that users can play it independently or insert it into any authoring environment that accepts SWF files.

Those who’re apprehensive about using unfamiliar software should have no worries where Raptivity is concerned. Each interaction uses a wizard – which doesn’t vary a great deal between types of interaction, so the developer’s own learning journey to competence should be a relatively short one.

The developer enters the desired text and loads the appropriate media – although the more intrepid can explore the Detailed Customization option which enables further fine-tuning for any interaction.

While there’s no guarantee that having the best tools will produce the best finished product (because it’s how those tools are applied that will determine the result), no one would, willingly, want to attempt a professional job with inadequate tools. So online learning designers and course developers who want to do the best professional job they should consider adding interactivity builder software along with the authoring tools in their toolkit.

In that case, Raptivity is one of the best-established and most widely used interactivity builder product on the market. As such, it has to be worth investigating by anyone who’s serious about doing a good job when it comes to producing effective online learning materials.

Note: This blog has been posted by Raptivity Marketing Team on behalf of Bob Little. 

About Bob Little:

For over 20 years, Bob Little has specialized in writing about, and commentating on, corporate learning – especially e-learning – and technology-related subjects. His work has been published in the UK, Continental Europe, the USA and Australia. You can contact Bob via bob.little@boblittlepr.com His e-book, ‘Perspectives on Learning Technologies’ (e-book; ASIN: B00A9K1VVS) is available from The Endless Bookcase and from Amazon. It contains over 200 pages of observations on issues in learning technologies, principally for learning & development professionals.