Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ten tips to build interactivity

Interactivity is a key component in the learning process. While it’s relatively easy for a teacher in a classroom to interact with the learners and, by ‘reading’ the situation, involve them in the learning process in the most effective ways, it’s much harder for those producing online learning materials. For one thing, they can only make educated guesses at their learners’ needs, state of mind, attitude to and preferences for learning and so on. So, when developing online learning materials, it’s important to define the content that needs to be learned; determine what the learner must do as a result of completing these learning materials, and so decide on the most appropriate ‘treatment’ for the content.Users must interact with online learning materials to navigate through the materials; amass information and make decisions. Considering what the learner needs to know or do - rather than what the teacher wants to teach –involves you in‘interactivity’. So here are ten things to bear in mind about interactivity when you’re developing online learning materials:
  1. Allow the learners to control their learning – so they’re more likely to engage with the whole learning activity. You should always let them see where they’re going on their learning journey and what options they have at each stage of that journey.
  2. You should cater for different preferred learning styles. Not everyone wants to engage with the same type of interaction. Offer learners choices of interaction to go some way to ‘personalizing’ the materials and so generate maximum engagement and motivation.
  3. Give the learners a reason to explore the materials and gather the information they need. Don’t ‘push’ information at them. Rather, let the learners ‘pull’ that information from the learning materials.
  4. Challenge the learners’ understanding – not just to find out how much they already know and, so, how much they need to learn but also to make them receptive to new ideas and ways of doing things.
  5. Give the learners choice over how they’ll learn – building in opportunities for those who need more information to get it as well as for those who need less information to learn by experiment and experience.
  6. Emphasise – in the learning materials - that these choices produce consequences. This can be done via establishing a scenario with various results depending on the learners’ decisions.
  7. Generate ‘tension’ throughout the materials. If you make learners care about the decisions they take, they’ll become more engaged with the learning materials and motivated to not only ‘succeed’ within the parameters of the learning materials but also to apply, in the real world, the lessons they’ve learned.
  8. Look for other ways– that is, things not specifically related to the materials’ learning objectives - to reward the learner for persevering with the learning materials. This could include permission to play a game (contained within the learning materials) for a while once certain key points are reached.
  9. Give helpful feedback following any assessments the learners take. That’s easier said than done!
  10. Make the materials look attractive to the user. Visually attractive materials aren’t necessarily the most effective - but if they’re not visually attractive, they won’t attract learners’ attention and, so, they’ll be ineffective anyway
Instituted tastefully, interaction can help to make learning materials more intuitive for the user – making their message more memorable. Of course, Harbinger Group’s Raptivity is a rapid interaction development software tool that comes with a library of pre-built customizable learning interactions. Users have access to over 180 pre-programmed Flash and over 110 HTML5 interactions including games, simulations, brainteasers, interactive diagrams and virtual worlds. Moreover, each type of interaction includes a number of standard templates – one of which is likely to be appropriate for any ‘learning situation’. The user merely has to add content to the chosen interaction. For more information, see Raptivity®.  

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.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Creating Engaging Courses on a Low Budget Using PowerPoint

eLearning  

Engagement can increase retention in courses With the explosion of online learning comes the issue of student attrition. It is well known that there is about a 10 -20% higher attrition rate for online students. One factor found in many studies is the lack of student engagement.According to one ASQ study*, "Today’s online students are clamoring for more technology—to build relationships, communicate in real-time, collaborate within an online community and engage in the learning process." Therefore student engagement should be a main focus when developing online courses. This is most effectively done by using different learning strategies customized to the content and the students’ pre-existing knowledge. With the use of various software applications and instructional strategies, courses developed with this high level of engagement need not be difficult or extremely costly. *Jamison V. Kovach and Lee Revere,"An Overview of Online Technologies that Improve Engaged Learning," ASQ Higher Education Brief December 2010 (Vol. 3, No. 6) http://rube.asq.org/edu/2010/12/continuous-improvement/an-overview-of-online-technologies-that-improve-engaged-learning.pdf  

Beefed-up Power Points can be very interactive Most people have experienced a boring PowerPoint presentation with someone reading the slides to them. However, if done well, PowerPoint presentations can make very engaging and cost effective online courses. By including various elements, the presentations can be polished and professional and very engaging. First, some general guidelines for any online course presentation, ensure that: the amount of text is limited; timing is correct if using animation, audio or video; font is consistent and the appropriate size; video and audio are clear and the volume is consistent; and images have the same resolution. Elements that increase engagement in a presentation include: Animation - Keep it simple! Use to accentuate essential information and focus attention on specific content. Audio -Audio can be included to present the meat of the course with the screens showing bulleted main points. To ensure clear correct information in the audio the content should be written in a script and practiced before it is recorded. Video - Short video clips can be added for a variety of purposes: to demonstrate something, provide real world examples, add humor, or add a recorded message from an expert in the content. Whatever the purpose, video clips can increase engagement if they are relevant and are not too long. Engaging Learning objects - Interactive activities can be embedded in presentations to enhance them. eLearning 
Tools that can be used to increase engagement: There are many free or inexpensive tools that can be used to enhance PowerPoint presentations. Searches on the internet will provide many choices. I have found the following to be very easy to use and of high quality. Jing: A free downloadable application from the makers of Camtasia and Snagit that can be used to capture screen shots of parts of or the entire window. Text boxes, arrows, highlights or captions can be added to the captured image. Jing also records up to 5 minute video clips of an area on the computer screen. These can simple movements of the mouse or more complex tutorial of tasks completed on the computer. Audacity - A free downloadable application that records and edits audio files. Wax - A free downloadable stand alone or add in application that edits video files. Raptivity - A rapid interactive building tool that helps to quickly create learning interactions in HTML5 & flash formats that can easily be embedded into PowerPoint presentations. It supports more than 180 interactions. For example, in corporate training, the Build Up and Rollover interaction can be used to illustrate how systems within the corporation interrelate and work together. The Flow Chart interaction can be useful in both corporate or compliance training as it presents processes in detail with audio explanations. In addition, the Software Simulations and Interactive Questions interactions add value and engage participants in all types of courses. There are many choices of interactivities that will enhance any PowerPoint presentation. I hope this blog provided some new ideas for creating more engaging courses using PowerPoint which won't break your budget. Please share your ideas with us. What strategies and tools do you use with PowerPoint to make courses more interactive and engaging? What other techniques do you use to increase engagement in online training? What challenges do you typically face when creating online training or courses?

Note: This blog has been posted by Raptivity Marketing Team on behalf of Ann Jackson. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Need to apply some common settings? Use the 'Global Settings' feature of Raptivity

At times, you need to apply some common settings for font, design and background across various interactions. It could be to comply with your brand identity guidelines or for running a campaign. Whatever the purpose be, you can easily do it using the ‘Global Settings’ option in Raptivity. The following video clip takes you through a step by step procedure of applying global settings across all Raptivity Interactions.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Make it a Game



If you had the choice between reading through a training module or playing a game to learn the same concepts, which would you choose? Most of us would choose game-based learning hands-down over traditional training.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Adding Hyperlinks in Raptivity through a simple process

In our last blog, we talked about deactivation of Raptivity in online and offline mode. This time we are going to tell you about using hyperlinks in a Raptivity interaction. Adding Hyperlinks to course content is a very common practice. It helps adding additional information to the course material. Raptivity supports hyperlinking content in 2 different ways:
  • Turning plain text into a hyperlink
  • Directly writing the web link

Thursday, March 7, 2013

It’s time for Dialog-based Learning!

Dialog based learning, indeed, is a proven way of teaching and keeping learners engaged.

Today, we will understand how dialogs help us add a human touch to our courses, thus making them more engaging and interesting for the learners. Let’s take a quick look to see how dialogs help us bid boredom goodbye from our courses.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Top 5 eLearning Trends of 2013’ – An exclusive event for Training and Learning professionals

Team Raptivity recently organized an exclusive event named ‘Top 5 eLearning Trends of 2013’, for professionals and leaders committed to integrating the best in learning practices, using the latest available tools for enhancing the overall learning experience. The event which was held at Harbinger Group’s Global Port location at Pune on 27th February, 2013, was a smashing success with attendees from diverse business segments and educational institutions coming together, to enhance their knowledge in relation to the various new trends and tools that will be a rage in the eLearning domain in 2013.

The Game Changer: Interactivity Builder

Would you like to play an interactive game with me? It’s one of the more popular games used by instructional designers to create interest in a subject. Let’s start with a few hints from Wikipedia.

An American television quiz show created by Merv Griffin. … The show's broadcast history in the United States spans nearly five decades. The original version debuted on NBC on March 30, 1964. On September 10, 1984, it returned to television as a daily syndicated series with Alex Trebek as the host.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Learning Technologies – 2013

The dust has already settled but that has given us more insights and opportunities from the market. This year’s Learning Technologies and Learning and Skills event was larger than last year and was an expansion rather than dramatic innovation when it came to new trends and technologies. It was an action packed and exciting event! The first thing that stood out was the new layout, all on one floor rather than on two floors like previous years. Even for us this new layout felt better, less cramped and more airy.