Monday, December 15, 2014

A simple trick to make most of the ‘Smile Sheet’ interaction

How many of you use ‘Smile Sheet’ interaction to gather user feedback on happiness quotient?
Do you sometimes feel restricted by the emoticons to be rated?
What if you need to know the user preference in the rating range of ‘Excellent’ to ‘Poor’?
Raptivity’s Smile sheet interaction allows you to change the emoticon images for the rating only. It doesn’t allow you to change the user response based on the images selected. You would still receive fixed responses as “Very happy”, “Happy”, “Neutral”, and so on.

Recently, one of our customers pointed this out and was looking for a quick fix. We realized that this could be something bothering our other customers as well, hence thought of sharing this handy tip with everyone today.

1. Save and publish your smile sheet interaction in HTML5.
2. In the published output folder, right click and open the .html file in a notepad (Ex., if your interaction is saved as sample, then open sample.html file)
3. Search for word “Neutral”. You would find something as follows:








4. Simply change the text to the values you want. So, for example, if you like to change “Very happy” to “Excellent” it would look as follows:









5. Save the .html file (by pressing Ctrl+S) and open the output file in a browser. To see the changes, simply submit the survey and the generated output would now have your customized values.

Simple! Right?
Take advantage of this quick tip and do create your own customized Smiling Sheets. Keep watching this space for more such tricks to make the most of Raptivity.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

10 Reasons Why Raptivity is a Must Have Tool



It truly does not count if you are a professional or a beginner; thanks to Raptivity, you don’t require any programming or technical skills to wow your learners. Here are ten reasons I feel Raptivity is a must have for every learning professional.

1.    Pre-built templatesRaptivity comes with a library of 190+ pre-built templates across categories like games, simulations, brainteasers, interactive diagrams, virtual worlds and many more. These can be used to create stand-alone learning objects or can be easily embedded into your favorite tool, like PowerPoint, Articulate Storyline, Lectora, Claro, Captivate and many more.

2.    Increased flexibilityRaptivity interaction templates are very flexible, easily editable and can be customized as per your requirements.

3.    Saves time
Gone are the days when you open a tool and start building an engaging interaction from scratch. Today, Raptivity templates are proving to be a boon for eLearning professionals. Raptivity’s ultimate objective is to help you get started with the best suited interaction template in minutes.

4.    Easy tracking
Tracking with Raptivity is so effortless. All you need to do is publish the interaction with the desired tracking option, such as Tin Can, SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004, AICC and JavaScript.

5.    No Programming skills required
Regardless of the training efforts you take to inculcate eLearning tools’ knowledge in your staff, often staff which is not tech savvy is left out. Raptivity comes across as a blessing. NO programming skills required at all!

6.    Makes learning interactive
Raptivity ensures that your learning material becomes very interactive and demands the learner’s involvement. Minimal browsing through the content is required since the learner will not move ahead until s(he) has performed the required activity. Raptivity helps you bind your learners throughout the course.

7.    Gives a professional look
Not all of us have a graphic designer at our reach; hence we have to depend on external help. Raptivity eases this for you with merely 3 to 4 clicks. No or minimal help from graphic designer is required to build content in Raptivity. This helps you focus on the course content rather than how to make it look good.

8.    No extra downloads required
Just a single click download is required to install Raptivity and you are all set to start working on your projects. It also provides you with a pre-built image gallery (buttons, backgrounds and characters) that can be used at no extra cost.

9.    Uniformity
Uniformity/Standardization is a crucial part of any course. Consistency in the course layout helps learners to navigate and use the course effectively. Raptivity supports global settings to standardize course: colors, fonts, sizes, and layout in merely a click.

10.Cost effective
Create effective, engaging and amazing courses— all with no dependency on programmers, easy integration with your favorite authoring tools, the vast variety of templates to choose from and support for both Flash and HTML5: Raptivity cost is definitely justified.

So what are you waiting for? Download Raptivity today and take advantage of its vast interaction library and astounding functionalities right away.

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

Friday, November 14, 2014

Walking down the Interactive Learning Path with Raptivity

One of the major challenges that educators face is holding learners’ attention and helping them retain information. With a tool like Raptivity, educators can bridge this gap by adding meaningful learning interactions (such as brainteasers, interactive diagrams, 3D worlds, games, simulations, assessments and much more) to their digital content.

Raptivity is one of the world’s finest interactivity building tools, and is being used worldwide to make  teaching content and training workshops more engaging, interactive and enjoyable - be it in the classroom, online or on mobile devices. Raptivity addresses the single most important goal of teachers, trainers and instructors – engaging the learners for effective education. For instance, while the student is viewing a video, the educator could easily make it more fruitful by adding a reinforcement exercise or a quick game to confirm whether the learner has understood the concept. The interactive assignments, assessments and evaluations created using Raptivity help in better evaluation results and fewer repeats.

With Raptivity, one can harness the addition of interactive learning objects to the digital teaching content while continuing to use the existing authoring environment and processes. Raptivity output can be embedded in a course or even in a PowerPoint presentation. It can also be seamlessly integrated with any standard LMS. The content published by Raptivity is industry standard, easily distributable over the Internet, CDs/DVDs and Pen drives. The content is accessible on mobile phones and tablets and does not require any proprietary plug-ins.

Listed below are some highlights and features of Raptivity, which make it suitable to be used by any educator looking to build interactive content:

  1. Raptivity provides a strong pre-built library of 190+ of rapidly-customizable interaction models. Users can customize these interactions without any programming knowledge.

  2. Raptivity interactions are mapped to various well-known instructional design theories like Bloom’s taxonomy, Kellar’s ARCS model, Gagne’s Nine Events and Experiential Learning.

  3. The output of Raptivity fits right into other eLearning tools. You can use Raptivity output with hundreds of authoring tools, LMS, LCMS, and Live Collaboration tools and web design tools. Raptivity supports SCORM, AICC and Tin Can tracking. As a part of tracking support, Raptivity provides information in the form of completion status, score and individual question responses (in case of assessments).

  4. Many Raptivity interactions provide support for Section 508 Guidelines.

  5. With support to Unicode languages, course creators can also create interactivities in non-English languages such as Spanish, French, Arabic, Turkish, Korean, etc.

  6. A sophisticated WYSWIG editor, with single click Flash and HTML5 previews, is included for customization of interactions.

  7. Raptivity output works well on various mobile devices. All Raptivity interactions can be played on all kinds of mobile devices such as iPad, iPhone and other smart phones.

  8. Raptivity’s HTML5 output works perfectly across multiple browsers including Internet Explorer 10.0 and above, Firefox, Chrome and Safari.

  9. Raptivity now also allows users to link multiple interactions together and create short courses using them through its latest offering, Raptivity Linker. Raptivity Linker is currently in beta and is free to use.


With so much to offer, Raptivity is definitely one of your best bets to create outstanding educational content. You can explore through some interesting samples here.

If you are interested in exploring Raptivity, you may download the free trial here. I would love to hear your experience and feedback.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

VIDEO LEARNING

This summer I’ve put the smoker on my backyard deck to good use.  I’ve made beef brisket, chicken, spare ribs and even grilled fish with it.  We’ve enjoyed the variety of meat and side dishes that go with each.  Summer barbecue season is thoroughly enjoyable. There are as many forms of barbecue as there are people who make Barbecue.  You can even spell it multiple ways depending on where you live.  Barbecue, barbeque or simply BBQ.  Which is the right way to BBQ? What meat makes the best BBQ? Do you use sauce or rub, and if you use sauce is it vinegar based or catsup – or it is ketchup – based?  When people ask me what is the best I often answer – it depends on what you like.

Come to think of it, this sounds a lot like the online learning community. Greg, what is the best way to _____?  If you’ve read my blogs you know my answer.  “Well, it depends on many things including what you need to accomplish.” Let’s take the case of video learning.

What is video learning anyway? 

Let’s look at what the experts say.

Jadin, Gruber and Batinic say that “Video-based e-lectures offer interactive learning and more vivid and personalized forms of self-regulated learning.” Jadin, T., Gruber, A., & Batinic, B. (2009). Learning with E-lectures: The Meaning of Learning Strategies. Educational Technology & Society, 12 (3), 282–288. http://www.ifets.info/journals/12_3/23.pdf  Bill Tucker in his article on Flipped Classrooms writes “Videos of lectures viewed prior to class make up what is now being coined the ‘Flipped Classroom.’  Classroom time now becomes the place to work through problems, advance concepts, and engage in collaborative learning. Most importantly, all aspects of instruction can be rethought to best maximize the scarcest learning resource—time. Flipped classroom teachers almost universally agree that it’s not the instructional videos on their own, but how they are integrated into an overall approach, that makes the difference.” http://educationnext.org/the-flipped-classroom/  By Bill Tucker Winter 2012

Does it work?

In the Jadin, Gruber and Batinic led study, 28 participants learned from two forms of video based learning; 1) Multimodal - a video-based e-lecture with synchronized written transcript of oral presentation, or 2) Unimodal, an e-lecture without the transcript. Learners could be classified as “repeaters”, whose primary focus was on the lectured material, or as “surfers,” who spent less time on the lecture itself and instead used the optional links. Study results showed that the learning outcomes were significantly influenced by learner strategy (with repeaters outperforming surfers), but not by presentation modality (with or without written text).”

The article in Education Next states “Flipped classroom teachers almost universally agree that it’s not the instructional videos on their own, but how they are integrated into an overall approach, that makes the difference. In his classes, Bergmann says, students can’t just “watch the video and be done with it.” He checks their notes and requires each student to come to class with a question. And, while he says it takes a little while for students to get used to the system, as the year progresses he sees them asking better questions and thinking more deeply about the content. After flipping his classroom, Bergmann says he can more easily query individual students, probe for misconceptions around scientific concepts, and clear up incorrect notions.”

A follow-up article in Education Next from the next summer states “Moving the delivery of basic content instruction online gives students the opportunity to hit rewind and view again a section they don’t understand or fast-forward through material they have already mastered. Students decide what to watch and when, which, theoretically at least, gives them greater ownership over their learning.” http://educationnext.org/the-transformational-potential-of-flipped-classrooms/  By Michel Horn Summer 2013

Are others using video learning successfully?  One only needs to take a look at what the following organizations are doing to understand the power of video learning: Khan Academy, TED Talks, Lynda.com, YouTube, Howto, DIY Network, VideoScribe, etc….

What is the “best way” to use video learning?

Once again, what do you want to accomplish?  You can deliver a simple video of a lecture, a slideshow synchronized with audio, screen captures, screen captures with an opportunity to enter in your own information, a video with an opportunity to answer questions, or a video with a button that timestamps when you notice something and then comment on it.

Video learning can be used for trainings such as flipped classroom use, soft skills training, computer data entry or web application usage training, or customer service engagement training.  The list can easily be expanded as your needs dictate.

How can Raptivity help you?

Raptivity offers two major packs with over 190 interactions – Raptivity Essential and Raptivity Suite.  Essential is the basic package and contains three video based interactions, while Suite and its associated packs; offer many more video learning interactions providing different modalities - unimodal and multimodal.  All packs offer options utilizing different learning strategies (repeat and surfer) for their learning experience. Depending on the pack you have or choose, many of the video learning interactions can contain one or more of the following capabilities:

  • The video player gives the learner control over play, pause, forward, rewind, and volume options.  Often you can have multiple videos available for playing presented for selection as thumbnails, in cubes, or embedded within other interactions.

  • Captioning can be at either the bottom of the video screen area in a scrolling ticker format or in different segments at the top or bottom of the screen.

  • You can synchronize text with videos in the form of bullets or longer text blocks.

  • Video interactions can be set up to automatically pause when textual or audio content becomes viewable.  This gives the learner the ability to reflect upon the presentation while reading or listening to the textual content.

  • Learners can actively interact with a video using questions and feedback that appear during breaks in a video presentation.

  • Additional navigation links (quick links) to selected areas (tags) within a video can be added in addition to the normal video player buttons.

Having a collection of video learning interactions available to you through Raptivity Essential or Suite enables you to effectively reach your learners in different and engaging ways, thereby increasing the educational benefit of your output.  Remember, there is no programming needed - just selection of options within the framework of Raptivity.

Note: This blog has been posted by Raptivity Marketing Team on behalf of Greg Gardner.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Approaches to Interactivity Building in eLearning

We all know that adding meaningful interactivity into eLearning courses allows learners to participate in the learning process, thus creating an enhanced learning environment. But building interactivities can be challenging if you don’t have the right resources, time, or money. In general, there are two ways to build interactions: 1) use a skill-based team, or 2) use a rapid interactivity builder with your authoring tool. Each method has tradeoffs and what you choose depends largely on the type of training you are developing and how important interactivity is in your course.

How to build interactions?

Use a traditional skill-based approach

Traditionally, companies have used the skill-based team approach to create most eLearning projects. Some training groups use this approach because they are required to build complex custom scenarios. A skill-based team consists of an instructional designer, a graphic artist, and a programmer/ developer that work together to create eLearning courses and interactions.

Here is an example of how they work together to build a course with interactive animations: The security group needs a new course to teach employees the importance of security. The instructional designer designs the course and the team comes together and identifies content areas where they would like to build some interactivity. The instructional designer decides she wants a series of simulated situations with images and text and an assessment with audio/visual questions that evaluates learners. The team visualizes and designs how the interactions work and then finally the developer builds them.

At the end of the process, the instructional designer uses an authoring tool—such as Captivate or Articulate—to combine the custom created interactions, with the content, graphics and media, and turn it into one complete course.

Use a Rapid Interactivity Builder

On the other hand, in some companies the eLearning development group is small and consists of instructional designers. In this case, the instructional designers have to rely on rapid development software tools to build their eLearning courses. One such category of tools is called Interactivity Builders, which enables designers to build interactivity effectively and efficiently for their courses. An interactivity builder has a library of pre-built interactions that users can view and use in existing eLearning courses.  While using such tools, a user selects an interaction design template, inputs content and media, publishes the finished interaction in the desired format, and inserts it into eLearning content, whether that is in an authoring tool or just plain PowerPoint. Since many companies have smaller training groups because of the economic downturn, they are using these tools more and more to add interactivity into their eLearning. That is because interactivity builder tools save time and programming effort that would otherwise be required to custom develop each interaction. These tools are created with reuse in mind, which also makes them cost effective.

Here is an example of how one instructional designer with an authoring tool may use an interactivity builder. The security group needs a new course to teach employees the importance of security. The instructional designer works with the security group to define the learning objectives. The designer creates the content and decides she needs three interactions in the course. She browses the interactivity builder library, chooses a simulated situation template with images and text and an assessment with audio/visual questions, and then simply customizes it with her own content and media assets. The instructional designer then imports the interactions to the authoring tool and builds the rest of the course.

Interactivity Building Tradeoffs

As you can see, the two methods of creating interactions are very different and each may be appropriate, depending on the circumstances. Below is a list of tradeoffs and advantages for using either a skill-based team or an interactivity builder to create interactions.

Use a skill-based team

There are a number of challenges when using a skill-based team to create interactions, including:

  • Resources—if you have a team in place, great! Unfortunately, not all companies keep a diverse training team onsite. If you go with this option, you will spend time reviewing and hiring trained professionals and maintaining the larger team.

  • Time – designing and developing custom interactions is a very time consuming process and can take months.

  • Cost—building and testing interactions requires a lot of development time, which adds more expense.

  • Less or no interactivity –when teams are short staffed or working against tight deadlines, they often find themselves focusing on just getting the course done and out the door, thereby eliminating interactivity that may enhance learning. This is a huge risk because interactivity is too important to omit!
Advantages
  • Custom designs—working together, the team can create a fresh, new design.

  • Custom design variety--the developer can create a variety of custom interactions to build interest.
Flexibility and control--for interactions that are very specific to the course or type of training, a skill based approach provides more flexibility and control in terms of the functionality. (For example, you need to design a customized decision-making scenario to look like a graphic novel. This will be used to strengthen soldiers’ cross-cultural and peacekeeping skills.)

Use a Rapid Interactivity Builder

There are a number of tradeoffs when using an interactivity builder to create interactions, including:

Trade offs
  • Less control and flexibility- the interactions are pre-built as compared to programming custom interactions. Although a great deal of customization capability is built in, when compared to using a programming language for custom developing to specifications, it may appear limited.
Advantages
  • Time—less time spent developing interactions, so a Flash developer’s time can focus on building custom technical pieces for the course website instead.

  • Cost—lower development costs. A large staff is not needed and, generally, courses are developed more quickly.

  • Reuse – The interaction design templates can be easily reused and customized to suit your content

    • Productivity—team productivity increases. Subject matter experts and instructional designers can create an interaction and insert it themselves.
Quality interactions are essential to engage learners. However, how you create them depends on your resources, budget, time, or need for a specific custom scenario. A skill-based team may be appropriate, if you have the resources and your company requires custom-build interactions. However, as often times is the case, if you have limited resources but need interactivity in your courses, then an interactivity builder is a good choice, because it enables you to do more with less.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Myth, Raptivity is good only for game based interactivities!

Post the release of Raptivity Linker, I have been talking to quite a few instructional designers to get their thoughts and comments on this new product. Recently, I was speaking to a friend of mine about Raptivity Linker. She was thrilled, but at the same time hesitant to use it.

She said “Raptivity Linker is a very useful idea where I can connect Raptivity interactions. But, I am not sure if I would create a complete learning module (or experience) with only interactions like games and quizzes.” I was surprised to hear this for a moment; and then realized probably she is not aware about the variety of interactions Raptivity has for all the elements a course requires.

Here is what I told her - Raptivity is not only about 3D games and interactions. It has all kinds of interactions which you need to create a learning module. Let me explain this with an example.

Most of our eLearning courses have a common structure to them.




With Raptivity, you can create the above in diverse ways:

Generally, online courses tend to be the click-and-read courses, where the learner just clicks ‘Next’ to advance.  Raptivity focuses on getting the learner go through the content in variety of ways.

Introduction or Welcome Screen: For this, one can use interactions like Banner and Bullet list.

Banner: Present the static introduction or welcome text in a unique way.

Bullet List: It does not sound new, but with the Raptivity Bullet List you can do lot more than just animating it. You can add audio explaining every point in depth.

Course Content: To present this, you can use interactions like Presentation aids, Flowchart, Scenario-based interaction, Simulations.

Presentation Aids: Present content using interactions like eBook, Tabbed interaction, Flash Cards, Accordion display and Panning cards.

Flowchart: Explain a process clearly through symbols and text. Gain and hold the learners' attention with the help of flowchart where a block of text will often fail.

Scenario-based Interaction: Present some problem solving exercise and activities in simple or complex design using Raptivity. The motive here is to give the learner a way to use the information to the fullest and get an immediate feedback. (Goal-driven Immersive Situation, Fact Based Learning, Explorative Branching Simulations)

Simulation Interactions: Simulations tend to motivate learners more than text on a slide. With Raptivity, you can illustrate actions that learners can perform or explore and also receive feedback on. (Let Me Try, Screen Familiarization, Show and Tell, Simulated Situation with Text and Image)

Exercise/Knowledge Check: You can choose from over 40 Raptivity interactions for this.

Exercise: Time involved in creating valuable exercises is massive. Use Raptivity exercise’s and engage learners in the course by creating interesting exercises in minutes. (Drag-Drop-Sort, Classification Exercise, Rapid Check, Graphic Choice Test, etc)

Quizzes: Create quizzes promptly and effortless with Raptivity. Choose from a pool of quizzes and check your learner’s comprehension. (Catch Them Fast, Find in Image, Match the Pairs, etc)

Evaluation: Create trackable interactions like One Page Assessment, Visual Assessment using various media objects.

Assessment: Select from a wide range of assessments right from singular to combination of questions in a single template. Summary: Use interactions like Spot Light, Sticky Notes, and Slide Show.

Summary: Sum up your course in a more effective manner with Raptivity. Use the above mentioned interaction along with highlights and voice over to develop an effective summary.

My friend was rather surprised and glad at the same time to know about the capabilities of Raptivity and its usage through Raptivity Linker. She has decided to try out Raptivity and Raptivity Linker soon. Have you?

Friday, May 2, 2014

Excerpts from Experts

Over the last one year, team Raptivity delivered a plethora of exciting webinars featuring seasoned learning consultants who discussed the latest eLearning trends and technologies. I thought I would take a look back at all and choose some key takeaways that can come in handy for eLearning professionals of any time and age. So here are a few excerpts right from the experts:

Webinar – Making Learning Stick

April 2013 Jay Cross
  • You tend to forget almost 50 – 80% of what you learn if you don’t revisit it within 24 hours of learning.
  • Highlighting anything makes it visually distinctive and we generally tend to remember anything distinct.
  • Don’t try to impose everything on your learners in one go. Present small bites of information to your learners at regular intervals to help them retain the same.
  • Draw mind maps that will make the connections visible and will help you associate better.
  • To master a topic, curate information about it, write about it, share it with others or give your opinion. Just keep the conversations going and you will see how it does wonders to your knowledge.

Webinar - Implementing a Multi-Device Approach to E-learning Design

August 2013 Francis Kneebone
  • HTML5 allows instructional designers to create and design eLearning for mobile devices.
  • Since the content should be tested on multiple devices and browsers, an evident drawback of this approach is that it creates multiple versions of content that IDs need to manage.

Webinar - eLearning and its Correlation with Interactivity: Advantages and Disadvantages

August 2013 Matt Blackstock
  • Create a small trial group of end-users in the beginning of an eLearning project. Find out what they need/want. If we can get their buy in, they become advocates for eLearning.
  • Get your users to do something interactive. If they are just reading a slide and clicking ‘Next’, they might as well read a book.

Webinar - Creating Engaging eLearning for Complex Technical Topics in the Financial Industry

August 2013 Jim Cannon
  • If you can show it with a picture, do so. Wherever possible, make presentations graphical. You can use pictures, charts, and SmartArt.
  • Add user acceptance testing to the QA review process of your eLearning. It provides a “fresh set of eyes” from the learners.

Webinar – Create Learning Arcs using Raptivity Linker

March 2014 Shay Patel
  • Now is the best of times to be an eLearning specialist.
  • Arcs form a part of many processes and activities we choose to engage in each day.
  • An interactive learning arc can be used as a short learning nugget that is complete in itself or as part of a larger course.
  • Advanced arcing looks within interactions and builds internal links from one interaction to another.
I hope you had a good time reading all these useful nuggets of information. To access all our webinar recordings, click here. Do share your thoughts with us on this post. For any queries, write to us at info@raptivity.com.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Quick Recap - ‘Create Learning Arcs Using Raptivity Linker Beta’

Before I jump into writing what I am supposed to write today, there is a confession I want to make. Quite candidly, despite having used Raptivity extensively, I always struggled with ways and means of putting Raptivity interactions together. Though I liked the interaction templates, using them independently did not always make much sense. And since my requirement has never been of creating long courses, using Raptivity interactions with a third party tool was never a good idea for me. I am sure most Raptivity users may also have been struggling with the same thoughts. So when the idea of Raptivity Linker was spun across to me by my boss, it was obvious that I would jump off my seat. I was absolutely in love with this product even before its inception. For those of you who do not know what Raptivity Linker is, it is a tool that helps string together Raptivity interactions and in turn; helps create Learning Arcs.

The Beta version of this Raptivity add-on was launched last month. Team Raptivity also conducted a special webinar titled ‘Create Learning Arcs using Raptivity Linkeron 19th March, 2014 for a walk through of Raptivity Linker and the concept of Learning Arcs for the entire eLearning world. The webinar was conducted by Janhavi and Jamaica from Team Raptivity and Shay Patel, Analyst with the Training section of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. All three shared some interesting insights on creation of learning arcs using Raptivity Linker.

The session began with Janhavi introducing Raptivity Linker and Learning Arcs. The focus was on how Raptivity Linker satisfies an important yet unfulfilled need in learning content creation. A single interaction might be highly reusable, but sometimes too granular to meet a learning objective. On the other hand, an entire web based course potentially meets several learning objectives, but has limited re-usability in new contexts. Learning arcs created using Raptivity Linker provide the middle ground—they are long enough to constitute a full learning experience, yet short enough to be used in different courses. Janhavi spent some time showcasing a gamification mini course with two learning arcs namely Game Mechanics and Human Motivations. These two arcs, on one hand, can be used as distinct learning modules and on the other, can also be combined to form a part of a bigger gamification course.

Shay Patel, a long time Raptivity user, emphasized on why NOW is the best of times to be an eLearning specialist! Shay also touched upon:
  • Application of Arcs in our everyday life

  • Difference between courses and learning arcs

  • Creating learning arcs and building learning experiences

  • Advanced arcing using visual cognitive association or visual cognitive dissonance

  • Learning Arcs to meet the flexibility needs of training a diverse audience
Shay also did a hands-on demo of Raptivity Linker and showcased some amazing stuff that he created using it. To view the entire session, click here. Many of you will possibly find this session to be a glimpse into an evolving eLearning model – Mini Learning Bytes’. Do share your thoughts on the same.

And now, time for some icing on the cake. Raptivity LinkerBeta is FREE for all Raptivity users. So go ahead, download your Raptivity Linker free trial copy now and explore the endless possibilities of doing more with Raptivity. We would love to hear your feedback and suggestions. For any assistance, you can always write to us at info@raptivity.com.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Use Crowdsourcing to Improve Products, Design New Products, or Solve Problems

"Two heads are better than one”, I am sure all of you would have heard this saying and many of you might agree with it too. It's a proven fact that two people working together have a better chance of solving a problem than someone working alone. But what if you could ask a crowd of people to work together to solve a problem? The results could be incredible.

This method, called crowdsourcing, is defined by Wikipedia as “the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.”

There are many companies using crowdsourcing today to improve products, design new products, or solve problems.

Lego’s Cuusoo crowdsourcing platform is a site that allows users to interact with a LEGO project team and give input on new products. The products are released based on fan submissions. The benefits for LEGO are an abundant pool of resources that supply new product ideas and word-of-mouth online marketing.

Eli Lily funded InnoCentive, the global leader in open innovation crowdsourcing competitions, as a way to connect with people outside the company who could help solve problems. The company pays the solvers from $10,000 to $100,000 per solution.

The Raptivity team employs crowdsourcing for both feedback and testing. The team contacted power users and asked for input on a new demo prototype called Raptivity LinkerBeta. This new product was launched recently with the beta customers being involved right from conceptualization phase. This customer feedback at every stage ensured that the product offered features for novice and advanced users both.

If you are interested in becoming a member of our power user group, please send us an email (info@raptivity.com).

We will be glad to hear of any creative ways used for crowdsourcing at your company. Do share them with us.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Best Practices for Instructional Design in eLearning

As technology progresses, assuring the quality of educational experience continues to increase in significance. This, in turn, has led to a surge in the number of Instructional Designers(IDs). IDs are seen as professionals who can facilitate explicit eLearning outcomes. The accomplishment of these outcomes are determined by the techniques used.

This blog highlights some valuable nuggets of information from an ID’s perspective to help you build and deliver high-quality eLearning material.

Choose the appropriate tool(s)

Selecting the appropriate tool would majorly be determined by your course objective and target audience.

  • Select a tool that is suitable for your target audience (Choose a user friendly tool if you are dealing with beginners) .

  • Make sure you are fully aware about budgets. Choose a cost effective tool based on your budget.

  • Be accustomed with the editing and integration capabilities of the tool. Fast editing is time efficient.

  • Select the tool that integrates with LMS or other media tools easily.

  • Decide the level of interactivity required for your project. Pick the tool according to the required interactivity levels.

  • Be fully aware of the platform to be used by your learners. Opt for a tool that will help accomplish the objective.

  • Do you have team expertise? Choose a tool that your team is comfortable with this will help you save effort, time and money

  • Align your media needs with the tools that you choose to work on, authenticate the tool with the file types to be used.

  • Determine how an eLearning course is going to be presented to users. Make sure your tool is well aligned to the output you want (LMS, CD-ROM, Mobile, Podcast etc).

Content Staging

Remember the golden rule when presenting content, bridge the gap between the learner and content by emotionally involving the learner in a dynamic way (Storytelling, humour, etc).

  • When presenting your course learning objectives, make sure you coherent the entire course benefits for your learners and not just the features.

  • Split the training into small segments to help the learner tread easily to the end.

  • Format the text so that it’s easy to read.

  • Use scenario-based learning; it gives the learner a role to play.

Design Plan

A design document is essential to make sure the team involved in the project is on the same page before commencement of development.

  • The Design Plan should contain metadata including the course name, description, timeline, notes from the client, and a section that outlines each page or types of interactions in the course.

  • Make sure this document captures global information on font size, colour, paragraph and text alignments and image appearance. This will help in standardising the course.

  • The document should talk about the timelines for sign-offs to be received by the client, and whether they should be after each major step or after a development phase.

  • Decide on the slides that are to be interactive and the ones that are going to be animated.

Storyboarding

Storyboarding helps in branching scenarios, deciding on appropriate interactions and also in introducing assessments at suitable intervals. Depending on what your project demands, add or design storyboard documents that fit the need. When designing, remember to be consistent. This helps the learner understand the course better.

  • Draft a storyboard from start to finish. It will help in understanding how a learner is going to experi­ence a course.

  • A storyboard should contain slide information, graphics, audio and video instructions, On-screen text, navigation instructions and interactivity instructions.

  • Make sure your storyboard is routed through your subject matter expert (SME) and other stake holders before you freeze it.

Let’s see what some of the eLearning gurus have to say:

  • Less is more: Keep the number of words low, audio narration brief, and avoid gratu­itous stories and visuals - Ruth Clark

  • Provide clear standards (a style guide) on how to format your eLearning: fonts, colors, logos, resolution size, file types, etc - Jill Kirtland

  • Document everything when you are involved in an eLearning asset-recycling effort. It is like high school and college math, you only get partial credit for having the right an­swer; you receive most of the credit for documenting your work - Joel Gendelman

The eLearning Guild’s 62 Tips on Effective eLearning Instructional Design is also a great resource to refer to. Click here to access it.
If you have some more tips on designing an excellent eLearning course, right from staging the content to preparing the indispensable documents to the final product, do share them. For any queries, please post in the comments section below. I will be happy to answer them.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Wrapper for Raptivity Interactions

Raptivity for many years has done a fantastic job of providing a means of creating interesting, fun and educational interactions that anyone can create. The interactions are stand-alone pieces that can be embedded into web based training, mobile learning, an instructor led course or as a part of a web site. This is really a different “modus operandi” than many vendors in the online learning industry. But you know – it works. Most of us have one or two core rapid development tools that we use for our work. The drawback to those tools is often the interactivity – or lack thereof – that comes pre-packaged. What if we had a tool that would “package” or “link” together the interactions we’ve built with Raptivity?

Concept

Say for instance, you created the following interactions with Raptivity for a course you are working on: Flash Card, Adaptive Question, FAQ,Pyramid, Advanced Hub and Spokes, and a Multiple-Page Assessment. Open up a new tool in Raptivity called the Raptivity Linker and drag each of these interactions into it. You would be able to move the sequence of these interactions around simply by dragging and dropping a thumbnail image of those interactions into the appropriate place. Simple. Publish and you have yourself a nifty course of instruction created completely of high quality Raptivity interactions. Neat-oh!

Ah but you want more. I know you do. You can say it. But Greg, what I really want is….

How about if you could select the type of navigation the wrapper takes upon the completion of an interaction placed into the Raptivity Linker? Cool. You can do that. You can have a Next button, a Back button or a button that opens up a Table of Contents, each of which takes you to another interaction.

“I want to create my own look and feel for the wrapper”, you say? You can certainly choose a color scheme or background image for your wrapper. You can move the location and appearance of the navigation buttons. You can even add images to the table of contents. Speaking of the table of contents I know many of you desire numbers in your tables of contents – and the rest of you don’t. You both get your way. Just make your choice.

What’s the difference?

Raptivity is going about this to simply be able to “link” your interactions together into a “short” course. This is not the same as building out full web based course.One way to look at this as a great way to create numerous branches within a scenario based course. Go ahead, use your base tool but use the Raptivity Linker to link together your interactions for each branch of the scenario. Add those into your course as needed. You get the best of both worlds. Your base tool handles the course navigation, the introductory and conclusion text for the course, each objective and scenario while the various Raptivity Linker “short courses” provide the interactions for the rest. Cool!

Mobile delivery? Of course! This is perfect for mobile delivery. Many Raptivity Interactions output to HTML5. Linking a series of these together and adding a short assessment is perfect. Just don’t get too lengthy with these. Remember, mobile learning needs to be short – less than five minutes or so tops on a smart phone and really no longer than 15 minutes or so on a tablet type device.

Examples

Example 1
I am a big Lectora fan so, let’s use Lectora to set up what it does best – SCORM packing, full navigation, base shell, and the setup for all textual content. I want Lectora to keep track of my course and user variables and work with the LMS to do bookmarking and other administrative work. Because I don’t want a boring page turner course,I’ll use Raptivity for the interactions. No big deal so far you say. This is what we already do. Here is the difference. Let Lectora provide the navigation only to the launching point of the scenario. Then use Raptivity Linker to link together the scenario itself. Not just one interaction. Pre Raptivity Linker, you could embed only one Raptivity interaction on any one Lectora page. Now, you can now insert an entire highly interactive scenario onto one Lectora page. For example, create your Raptivity Linker interactive scenario by linking a “3D Cube”, a “Role-based Individualized Simulation”, followed with a “Branching Question – Explorative Type” assessment. You can do this multiple times in the course which truly adds to the overall course.

Example 2
Another example is even simpler. We all know that mobile learning is not simply making WBT content available on mobile devices. See my blog series on eLearning Industry’s web site (http://elearningindustry.com/moving-to-mobile-what-are-the-gotchas). We want small snippets of information for mobile devices. Use Raptivity Linker to link together a short series of Raptivity interactions such as “Panning Cards”, “Memorize and Recall”, and a “Multi-Page Assessment” output as HTML5 for mobile delivery. Short, sweet, and to the point. Raptivity Linker gives you that option now. A great way to present content on mobile devices without forcing the user to open multiple different learning packages.

Conclusion

Moving forward I suppose it would not be a great leap to create a full blown rapid development tool to compete against the likes of Lectora and Articulate Storyline. I’d vote against that. I think Raptivity’s greatest advantage to those of us in the online learning community is in creating highly interactive interactions that people actually want to use. The type of packaging I’ve described in the Raptivity Linker is as far as I would like to see them go down this road. I don’t want to see energies spent on re-creating what other vendors have already done. Other vendors don’t do the interactivities well. Raptivity does and that is what I need.

When I first started using Raptivity I’ll admit I wanted to know what to do with the interaction. I did not understand that I was only building interactions. This works great if all I need is one or two interactions put into a course that is being built to add to it. But let’s face it, there are so many fantastic interactions in Raptivity now that we really have a great opportunity to link several of these together into short “snippets” or “experiences” of interactions. These can be used as stand-alone items or be embedded as “learning experiences” within a larger course.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

mLearning – It Scares Me. Should It?

So you’re not sure if you should enter the world of mLearning. Understandable. Let’s take a look at some quick ways for you to be successful. An oft-asked question from newcomers to mLearning is “What types of courses should I create?” This is a great question. My answer is generally it depends. Thanks Greg!!! I want a better answer you say. One more specific. The honest truth is that every organization should really go through a mobile learning strategy session similar to what I discussed in my four part blog “Moving to Mobile – What are the Gotchas”. Here are two topics you should answer before creating that first course. Answering these will help you succeed. One – what is the problem/requirement you are trying to correct? This is an important driver for your design. And two – what device(s) will you be supporting? Why is this so important? Most people build with a tool of some sort. Most of the tools do not output responsive design. Each tool, generally asks for the published size you want. There are things you can do well on a tablet that you may not necessarily be able to do well on a phone’s screen. Therefore, you really need to know.

These are the types of courses I feel are the mostmobile friendly.
  • Short (no one spends as much time on a mobile device as they do a desktop)

  • Specific (people use mobile devices to get answers; mLearning is no different.)

  • Task oriented (I don’t suggest teaching theory on a mobile device. A quick hitting task or series of tasks are great mLearning categories.)

  • Performance support (closely related to task oriented but directed more towards a specific job tasks)

  • Just In Time (I need to know something right now)
A lot of these can be accomplished using an FAQ, search and display, or other knowledge transfer activities. A great tool is a flowchart with explanations, or an image with drill down explanation text.

Mobile devices have fantastic multi-media capabilities. Use them. Be creative with your use of videos, audio and even geo-location (GPS) capabilities to find the correct instructions/procedure for something.

A great example of multi-media based mobile learning I saw once was having the learner listen to a series of audio clips of bird calls. The objective was to identify the name of the bird with its call. Using an integrated assessment the learner was given opportunities to answer correctly and provided the appropriate feedback

Any organization with a learner base with access to mobile devices can benefit from mobile learning.Just because your learners are “office-bound” doesn’t mean they can’t benefit. Take for instance using a tablet to have a software simulation training running while you are working with that software on your desktop computer. I’ve done this. I used a version of a book displayed in iBooks while learning a new piece of software. I could take notes, highlight, and create bookmarks – just like I would a normal book. I could also create Flash Cards for to help remember specific tasks. It was very helpful.

Raptivity has many interactions that output to HTML5. For Raptivity, only the interactions that output to HTML5 should be used for mobile learning. Flash output is not supported by most mobile devices. Here is a listing of the Raptivity interactions I think are the best candidates to be used in mobile learning. While there are other interactions with HTML5 output, these are my favorites.


  • FAQ

  • Flash Cards

  • Assessments

  • Wild Card/Jigsaw Puzzle Brainteasers

  • Concentric Circles with Callouts

  • Pyramid

  • Flow Diagrams

  • Screen Familiarizations

  • Show and Tell

  • Let Me Try

  • Pyramid

  • Multi-level Cycle

  • Picture Show

  • Rapid Check 

  • 3D Cube

  • 3D eBook

  • Detect the Emotion

  • Light and Sound Memory Game

  • Memorize and Recall

  • Problem, Consequence, Solution

  • Study Card Deck

  • Study Card Shuffle

  • Pros and Cons


SUMMARY

You should not be afraid of mLearning. If you look, I’m sure you can easily see the opportunities within your organization. The tools are available and will make you successful. Find the right content, “chunk” it into something small and specific, use the appropriate interaction for displaying that content and publish. I’m positive you’ll succeed.

Note: This blog has been posted by Raptivity Marketing Team on behalf of Greg Gardner.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Captivate + Raptivity = Fun, Engaging eLearning

Many instructional designers are always looking for new ways to add meaningful interactions to courses without adding more time and cost to an eLearning project. Using a combination of tools is a good way to do this. Here is one user who explains how she used Adobe Captivate and Raptivity to quickly create a software simulation course.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

[Vision 2014] Summary of Interview Series with Industry Experts

2014 is here … Wishing everyone a wonderful year ahead! At the end of 2013 we launched an interview series with industry experts to understand their views and vision of what lies ahead for the eLearning industry in 2014. They have all shared some great thoughts and insights with us over the last two months; Jay Cross, Bob Little, Robert Gadd, Paul Clothier, Clark Quinn, Ann Jackson and Greg Gardener. I thought it would be interesting and worthwhile to summarize everyone’s views and present to you the essence of their collective intelligence. Following is the analysis of the two BIG questions we asked the experts.

What are some of the key eLearning trends you are looking forward to in 2014? At the highest level of abstraction SoCoMo (Social, Cooperative, Mobile) emerges as the dominant theme. Mobile and/or cross-platform learning: almost everyone agreed that mLearning is here to stay and presented their own view of how it will (or should) evolve. While Paul Clothier talked about advancement in HTML5 solutions to achieve this, Greg suggested the likelihood of Just-in-time performance training taking off with mLearning. As Robert Gadd emphatically said, “Mobile, Mobile, Mobile”! has gone from a ‘nice to have’ modality to a ‘must have’, (and) it is the mission imperative choice for learning delivery.” I too agree with the above observations. Mobile and multi-device learning is a reality and organizations are quickly realizing that mLearning will be critical to the success of their overall learning strategy. As technology like HTML5 matures, and tools evolve rapidly to support it, development of mLearning will become all the more feasible and therefore see greater adoption. Other trends mentioned include:
  • Shift from eLearning to performance support especially with the convergence of mobile and social
  • Growth in social learning
  • Enhanced engagement strategy and interactivity for increased learner participation
  • Application of game mechanics (gamification) to mlearning, informal learning and eLearning
  • Idea of building a full / end-to-end learning solution; a cohesive solution that includes ILT, eLearning, mobile, personal learning environments and collaboration
Views on BYOD were rather interesting because almost everyone felt there will be an increase in BYOD, however cited various reasons as to why we should expect it to be only a gradual increase in 2014. Reasons cited for slower or limited growth ranged from ROI concerns, data/network security concerns, lack of an organizational strategy for supporting mobile / BYOD to affordability and access to devices for all students (in education sector) being a challenge. An interesting trend few experts mentioned was Experience API; they suggested that organizations will begin to take advantage of the advanced tracking options. I have mixed feelings about that. In my opinion we might see readiness and enablement from tools and platform vendors on the market. But it may take learning organizations just some more time to weigh the benefits and plan the transition to Experience API; maybe 2015-2016 by the time we see traction in xAPI. What are some challenges facing the eLearning industry in 2014? Key challenges identified by the eLearning industry experts were as follows:
  • Ability (lack of) to produce highly effective learning content for all the different types of mobile devices out there. Traditional eLearning is often being ported to mobile devices as mLearning without thought given to the differences on how content should be created so that the learning content is appropriate for a mobile device.
  • In the Education sector, the expenditure of buying and up-keep of mobile devices will be a burden for either the institution or the student, depending on who is expected to purchase and support the devices. This will specially hold true for low income families. And that doesn’t even include the increased cost of lost, broken or stolen devices.
  • Quality instruction is taking a back seat, due to a mindset predominantly favoring ‘lowest cost’ in eLearning. I too think this is a significant challenge. eLearning departments are still operating in the “do more with less” mode. Often when that is the case, decisions are cost focused rather than being learner centric. As a result quality is impacted and the learner suffers. For instance, developers realize that interactivity is critical to effective learning, and yet interactivity is among the most compromised aspect in eLearning because it can be time consuming and expensive.
  • eLearning turning into merely a performance support vehicle. Hence a greater need for interactivity to reinstate eLearning as a leading-edge corporate technology initiative.
  • Learning is considered separate from work, when in reality they should be merged, because learning should happen on the job.
  • Vendors of platforms /tools, business process outsourcers and consultants often are themselves the obstacles to fast adoption of new technology such as SoCoMo, gamification, Experience API, responsive web etc. This is because they control the pace at which new technologies get introduced. [While this may be true sometimes, it is not always the case in my opinion. More often than not, platforms/tools embrace new technologies quickly, thereby enabling organizations to use the new technology easily and popularizing it.]
  • Availability of easy-to-use, effective learning management systems based on the Experience API that will address the needs of large organizations for tracking learning.
  • Complacency and resistance from status quo. The industry simply focuses on knowledge dump and tests as the imperatives, rather than key performance metrics, such as, customer satisfaction, sales, trouble-shooting time, manufacturing errors etc.
  • Lastly, in my opinion, technology itself presents a challenge. Why do I say that? Undoubtedly technology is the enabler. However, it is evolving at lightning speed. In today’s day and age eLearning developers are faced with an overwhelming number of technology choices for creating their courses. Should they switch over to HTML5 or continue to support both Flash and HTML5? What devices should they support and how to deal with the differences? How to optimally design for the various devices? Should they bite the bullet and be early adopters of xAPI or is it too early? And many more questions like this. The difficult thing is that often the choice is not always clear.
This is just a summary of the valuable insights and thoughts that surfaced through our interview series. If you’d like to revisit any of the interviews, here are the links for your reference: Bob Little, Clark Quinn, Greg Gardner, Jay Cross, Paul Clothier and Robert Gadd I would like to thank all the expert contributors for participating in this series and sharing their views!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Raptivity review by Dr.Ann Jackson

Harbinger has made six great changes to the features offered in Raptivity. They have decreased the number of clicks necessary to create interactivities with a new layout which is a great benefit to users by easing the already user-friendly process and cutting the development time.

Additional time savers are the ‘Frequently Used Interactions’ and the ‘Select Interaction Model’ screen that opens up from the stage where you last closed it. These features not only cut development time but increase the user-friendliness of the product by making interactions quickly locatable.

The new dynamic resize feature allows users to make size changes during the development process saving time and simplifying development for different devises.

The changes to the welcoming screen allows users to access many resources in one place. I love this change as it allows me to find videos, community discussions, and other valuable resources centrally located as soon as I open the program.

I am also excited about the updated search features with allows users to not only search for specific interactions or specifics types of interactions, but also for interactions that meet certain compliance requirements. I can easily find all of the interactions that support 508 compliances using the search feature.

With the increasing need to develop for multiple devises, the new html review feature is a great addition. This feature allows users to access a html preview during the development process.

Harbinger continues to meet the needs of Raptivity users by researching ways to improve their product and by listening to and incorporating users suggestions.

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

Ann F. Jackson, Ed.D
Educational Consultant
317-440-9589

Friday, January 24, 2014

Raptivity 7.7 – The best of Raptivity in a Simplified form

Raptivity team today released v7.7 which is claimed as “Simplified Raptivity” with only 2 offerings – Raptivity Essential and Raptivity Suite. Let us hear from Janhavi Padture, Vice President – Strategy & Research, about this simplified Raptivity.

1. Janhavi, what’s new with Raptivity version 7.7?
[Janhavi] Raptivity 7.7 is fundamentally still the same product; the finest eLearning interactivity builder that users have grown to love.

The most notable enhancement that users can expect with this release is the simplification of the Raptivity pack structure. Now there are just 2 packs for customers to choose from (as opposed to 14 earlier):
i. Raptivity Essential – a collection of nearly 30 ‘must-have’ interactions, to get started with interactivity building. Click here for product details.
ii. Raptivity Suite – the complete set of nearly 100 interactions. These include all the interactions from Essential and more. Not just that, with the Suite is also included the Raptivity Bonus pack for free, which includes another 90 simple interactions. That’s a total of 190+ interactions! Click here for product details.

For users who are familiar with the old pack structure of Raptivity, the Suite is comparable to what was previously known as Raptivity Himalaya.

In addition, Raptivity 7.7 also includes some significant enhancements such as RTF support on eBook, improved

Moodle tracking, HTML5 support for 14 more interactions, improved Product Help, and more. With this release the total number of HTML5 supported interactions in Raptivity has reached 125!

So in a nutshell, Raptivity 7.7 is an improved product in a new packaging!

2. Why were the Raptivity packs restructured in version 7.7?
[Janhavi] Simplifying the product offering for our customers was the main idea. Over the years Raptivity has grown and it now proudly offers customers a wide selection of customizable interactions; over 190 to be specific. However, somewhere along the way it became difficult for our customers to figure out the numerous add-on packs that got introduced. We also realized that most customers were buying multiple packs anyways, in fact many of them had bought the complete suite despite the choice of so many packs. So last year we decided to connect with as many of our customers as possible to get their inputs. After talking to several customers and analyzing the responses to the customer survey we conducted last year, we arrived at this careful decision to have a simplified 2-tiered pack structure in Raptivity version 7.7. And we feel confident that the Raptivity user community will appreciate this simplification.

3. So, the product simplification leads to price simplification?
[Janhavi] Yes, the price change logically follows the pack restructuring. Quite candidly, different Raptivity add-on packs got introduced over time and even though each had a rather small price tag to it, in the end it quickly added up. But once we simplified our pack structure our price automatically got adjusted accordingly as well. We think that just like the pack simplification, customers will appreciate the price simplification as well.

4. What happens to the Raptivity licenses/packs I own?
[Janhavi] You can continue to use your current version of Raptivity without any problem. However we strongly recommend upgrading to Raptivity version 7.7, so that you can take advantage of all the latest enhancements.

5. How do I upgrade Raptivity license?
[Janhavi] The good news is that we have some really attractive upgrade offers for anyone interested in upgrading to version 7.7. Customers who have recently purchased Raptivity even qualify for a free upgrade. Please be assured that you will be able to continue using all your favorite Raptivity interactions even after upgrading.

Write to us at info@raptivity.com to get your Raptivity 7.7 upgrade.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Experiencing the Tin Can API

The Experience API (xAPI) was formalized in April 2013- version 1.0. Many people still refer to it as the Tin Can API which was its development project code name – much like “Chicago” was the code name for Windows 95 during its development phase.

xAPI was created to provide more flexibility than what could be reported during an interaction. You can use xAPI with many different types of interactions – not all of which need to be your traditional online learning. Other potential uses include “online check-list reporting”, performance support tools, click tracking to see how well people are using their software programs, and better game action tracking.

The underlying API (Application Programming Interface) uses REST (Representational State Transfer) web services and JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) data to communicate. In the eLearning community, this will mostly be accomplished using JavaScript – much as we are used to with SCORM. However, since we no longer need to be permanently attached to the LRS (Learning Record Store), you can now also use compiled languages such as .Net and JAVA. This opens up a slew of possibilities. My gaming friends are licking their chops! Imagine being able to track every action a gamer takes during a simulation and the data that can be collected and then used to change behaviours.

With such a wide variety of activities that can now be tracked, how are the rapid development tool vendors doing implementing this new API? Sadly, many of vendors have only taken the first tentative step of “TinCan-ifying” a minimalistic subset of SCORM. That is to say – I completed the course, this is my score and maybe if you’re lucky, I’ll tell you how I answered some questions of the graded exam I took.

Bah hum-bug. Why bother? The only advantage I see here is removing the need to always be “connected” to the LMS (Learning Management System) as SCORM demands and xAPI doesn’t.

OK, I get it. It’s only been since April 2013 that the xAPI has been published. But…it has been in the works for several years.

I gave a presentation at DevLearn 2013 on the “Tools” Stage called “Examples of the Experience API with Lectora, Storyline, and Other Tools”. In this presentation I showed how various tools such as Articulate Storyline, Captivate 7, Lectora Inspire,and Raptivity were implementing xAPI. I showed how to report using xAPI without any need for additional code. As stated earlier, this is basically the same information SCORM provided. I also showed how to use JavaScript skills to report additional, “out-of-the-box”, activities using xAPI when that option was available.

How does Raptivity fit in this? Raptivity was an early adopter – supporting versions 0.9 and 0.95. Raptivity is an interaction activity provider. In being this, Raptivity chose a sub set of it’s over 118 interactions to implement xAPI. That’s right, not all Raptivity interactions are able to report using xAPI.The 35 interactions in the Essentials Pack support xAPI. I think this is exactly the right model for Raptivity to follow. Why? By choosing a subset of interactions, Raptivity dug deep into the “actor”-“verb”-“object” activity sets initially created by the xAPI standard and, using that information, identified those interactions which could offer the most robust implementation of xAPI. They choose to do more than just the base that most vendors did. I applaud them for this. I do need to point out that as of November 2013 only xAPI versions 0.9 and 0.95 have been implemented. I’m not sure why but to be honest, at this stage, I don’t see that it is an impediment.

What interactions support xAPI and what can be tracked?

Interactions supporting xAPI

All 35 interactions in the Essential Pack support Tin Can version 0.95.

Category in the Essentials PackInteractions
Brainteasers (5)Flash Cards, Jigsaw Puzzle – Advanced, Classification Exercise with Timed Options, Analogous Pair with Fixed attempts, Wild Cards – Time bound
Presentation Aids (4)Dynamic Bullet List, Picture Show, Flip the Book, Rollover Word Definitions
Interactive Diagrams (4)Concentric Circles with Callouts – Advanced, Pyramid, Hub and Spokes – Advanced, Ladder Steps
Surveys (4)–Generalization Survey – Advanced, Smile Sheet, Survey with Percentage Rating Scale, Survey with two-point Rating Scale
Overview Visuals (2)Buildup and Rollover, Diagram Custom Highlight - Advanced
Flow Diagrams (2)Flow Chart Presentation with Audio – Advanced, Multi-level Cycle – Practice
Software Simulations (4)Let Me Try, Screen Familiarization – Rollovers on Components, Screen Familiarization exercise, Show and Tell
Glossary (3)Glossary, Glossary – Tab Style, Search Box
Interactive Questions (2)Branching Question – Adaptive Type, Create a Tree
SCORM Objects (2)Multi-page Assessment, In-Page Test
Miscellaneous (3)FAQ – Advanced, FAQ on Demand, User Initiated Zoom in Effect

The base activity verbs captured are” Experienced”, “Completed”,” Passed” and “Failed”. This may not seem like much, however, it’s really the object that the verb refers to that is important. A quick look at some types of objects captured with a verb are as follows:

VerbEvent examples
ExperiencedInteraction Loads, video loads
Completedinteraction completed
PassedAttempted question in the interaction and completed them successfully
FailedAttempted question in the interaction and but did NOT complete them successfully

More detailed information is available in Raptivity’s xAPI (Tin Can) Help Guide which can be accessed in the Help section of Raptivity or directly on Raptivity’s website at http://www.raptivity.com/TinCan-Help-Document.pdf. My suggestion is to play around a lot with each interaction, publish it to your SCORM.COM account and see what information you can gather. I’ve included the basic example I used in my presentation at DevLearn 2013 to help get you started.

Quick Example

Create a new interaction using the Multi-Page Assessment interaction from the Essentials Pack in the SCORM objects category. Create the number of questions you desire, save and select Publish. For this example I did not modify anything from the template Raptivity. When the Interactivity Publisher window appears, select your output type, check the “Publish with tracking” checkbox and choose the “Publish with Tin Can 0.95” radio button from the Tracking tab. That’s it. I then published the zip file to my SCORM.COM LRS sandbox account, opened the interaction, completed it and then viewed the Registration Statement History. I’ve included a pdf of the statements for you to review. What I like about how Raptivity has implemented xAPI is that the statements are human readable. I’ve used several other prominent tools and the statements created by some of them are almost incomprehensible.

Wrap up

xAPI provides an incredible methodology for ISD for gather data about what users do during learning activities. Because it is a framework and not a rigid standard (like SCORM), the sky is the limit for defining the types of activities and associated data. Vendors must pay close attention to how ISDs are using and planning on using xAPI in order to keep up and keep their tools valid in the learning space. Raptivity is an early front runner in understanding the breadth of information that can be collected and allowing non-programming types to publish content that can collect a great deal of data using the same publishing techniques they already use.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Vision 2014 – An Interview with Ann Jackson

Our seventh interview in the series is with an another eLearning industry expert, Ann Jackson. Below is an excerpt of the interview:

What are some of the key eLearning trends you are looking forward to in 2014?

I believe there will be more online textbooks and activities and less pencil and paper and hard copies of textbooks. There will also be more schools providing or requiring students to have their own devices for online learning.

What are some of the changes you would like to see in eLearning industry?

I would like to see more individualize adaptive learning to be made available to students. I would also like to see more engaging online courses that are not cookie-cutter mass productions.

You just mentioned about individualized adaptive learning. Can you please explain in detail what exactly do you refer to when you talk about it? What are the implications of it for content creators?

Individualized adaptive learning is vital for all students to be given equal opportunity to the content being presented. If students cannot read at the level at which the content in science, social studies, etc. is being presented, they cannot be successful regardless of their abilities in that subject. Conversely, if students are at a much higher learning ability than at which the content is being presented, they can become bored and disengage. I think it is vital for content developers to provide a broad range of content that meets the needs of individual students at all levels of ability so that students can have their own entry point and progress according to their ability and learning style.

Social elearning has been talked couple of years now. How important is the social element going to be for eLearning in 2014?

As we move more towards online and individualized instruction, it will be vital to provide ways using which students can interact on their concerns related to the content and activities. Social eLearning can provide interesting and engaging ways for these interactions to occur.

BYOD –Do you see this culture catching up in 2014?

I do, however, it is vital that students who cannot afford or do not have access to their own devices be provided with these so that they have equal opportunities in learning.

What are some challenges that you foresee the eLearning industry facing in 2014?

One huge challenge that I see is providing students and instructors with up-to-date, working devices using which they can interact with the content. If students are provided with such devices by the schools or institutions themselves, the expense will be great for school districts, and it will account to not only the initial purchase amount of the device, but the expense for keeping it up-to-date or the expense on lost and broken devices. If students are required to purchase devices on their own, then families might run into the same kind of difficulties with huge expenditures for the device, updates, and maybe lost or broken devices. This will specially hold true for low income families with multiple children.

Another key challenge will be continually providing new and engaging activities for students on these devices. No longer will publishers be able to print a textbook and have it in circulation for seven years. Students are going to demand current, correct information that is relevant and engaging.

About Ann Jackson



Ann has been involved in curriculum development K-post secondary for over 15 yrs. She has a vast knowledge base of technology, both its functionality and its use in the classroom. She has also developed and implemented training for adults on a wide variety of educational topics including: effectively using computers in the classroom, curriculum development, effective pedagogy, engaging students, varied assessments, learning modalities, and integrated thematic instruction.

More interviews will follow soon. Stay tuned to our future blogs to hear from the leaders themselves!
Click here to read the interview with Bob Little, Clark Quinn, Greg Gardner, Jay Cross, Paul Clothier and
Robert Gadd

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Vision 2014 – An Interview with Greg Gardner

Our sixth interview in the series is with an another eLearning industry expert, Greg Gardner. Below is an excerpt of the interview:

What are some of the key eLearning trends you are looking forward to in 2014?

I see mLearning really taking off to support more “Just in Time” and Performance Support based training.

What are some of the changes you would like to see in eLearning industry?

With the release of Experience API (xAPI) last April and vendors for tools and LRS finally buying into it, the ability for more Performance Support or Just in Time training really has traction. Unfortunately, most tool vendors have simply “TinCan-ified”

the basic SCORM calls. Right now, in order to accomplish what you really want to track with xAPI, you need to write your own JavaScript. I want to see quicker updates from tool vendors to minimize this.

Can you share more thoughts about any one of the key eLearning trends you have mentioned about previously?

m-Learning’s greatest asset really is its ability to get the information people need at the point in time they need it. Call it “pull” or “I want to know” learning. Having said that, there are certainly other methods for delivery using mobile devices. The “Just in Time’ concept philosophy is really built around

studies that show the small periods of time that people are engaged with their mobile device at a time. There certainly are multiple periods of time that people are using mobile devices; it’s just that those time periods are very short. On the other hand, when a person uses a mobile device for a long period of time in one “viewing”, it is generally when “playing a game” of some sort. Game based, scenario learning should start to be more relevant in the online learning space.

The game-based solution is one spectrum of where mLearning is going. Another is actually re-emphasizing some older technologies that fit very well into mobile delivery, namely podcasting and SMS messaging. These two items have their place in the spectrum of learning and should be utilized as appropriate to deliver a “full” blended solution for clients.

Social elearning has been talked couple of years now. How important is the social element going to be for eLearning in 2014?

It depends on the goal of the learning and the culture of the company implementing the learning. The more informal the learning, higher the chances of succeeding with social media for learning. Informal training is trending more, so this could mean greater integration this coming year.

BYOD –Do you see this culture catching up in 2014?

It’s a great savings for the company, so absolutely. People don’t want to carry multiple devices. I am so tired of carrying my personal device as well as my company issued device – especially since that one doesn’t do anything for me except get my company e-mail. There are certainly issues regarding security. Those can be overcome with current tools and business processes.

What are some challenges that you foresee the eLearning industry facing in 2014?

The preponderance of “lowest –cost” solutions to e-Learning needs means that quality instruction is taking a back seat. More and more clients are looking for Level 1 page turners so they can “buy more” and increase the library of

their offerings. e-Learning should not be measured by the quantity of titles in a library, but the quality of the titles and their ability to “change” behaviours or improve a process. Another great challenge is the understanding that m-Learning is not simply e-Learning delivered on a mobile device. There are many differences on how content should be created so that the learning content is appropriate for a mobile device.

Do you think mobile learning will take a leap to lead the learning industry?

It has to. Look at how people are getting their information today. Less and less time is spent in front of the desktop device and more is spent using some type of mobile device. Also, the trend is for more “Just in Time” knowledge transfer activities rather than multiple hour online courses. Let’s face it; people use their mobile devices as “all knowing machines”. In other words, I need to get some information right now and use the mobile device to get it for them.

Talking about the technologies, will eLearning embrace the cloud technology in the coming times?

Yes. In fact, you can see many vendors using the cloud to not only to distribute their tools as “Software as a Service”, but also

as a repository for the learning objects their tools are creating. These objects can then be embedded into content created by other tools or as stand-alone learning interactions.

About Greg Gardner
Greg Gardner is Founder - g2Learn. He leads the Online Learning Technical Team in the Center for Advanced Learning and Simulation group. His responsibilities include for evangelizing new technologies in the online learning spaces of e-Learning, mobile learning and most recently social learning, developing efficiencies within courseware development and integrating courseware with various Learning Management Systems. He has created e-Learning for Compaq, Microsoft and numerous state and federal government agencies. Mr. Gardner has developed e-Learning content using Lectora, Articulate Storyline and Studio, Adobe Presenter, Captivate, SmartBuilder, and Rapid Intake's Unison. His team is leading development efforts in mobile learning for many clients. He has presented at many conferences nationally.

More interviews will follow soon. Stay tuned to our future blogs to hear from the leaders themselves!