Monday, August 27, 2018

Five Essentials of Stellar Learning Quizzes



Do your courses need to include a quiz or a practice activity? Is it fine to build courses that don’t include tests or quizzes? Well, as an educator the choice is totally yours, but providing learners an opportunity to fail at guessing can actually improve learning quality. While, if your learners know the stuff already, quizzes can be a great mechanism to provide them credit for the same.  
If you believe that quizzes can do your learners some good, read on. I am going to talk about the essentials of effective learning quizzes.

Good quizzes have the following in common:

1. They are made of relevant, clearly written, and easily understandable questions.

The quiz questions need to align well with the course objectives. They should focus on the recall of only the material covered in your course.

Additionally, the questions need to be concise; you should omit any unnecessary information that needs learners to spend their time understanding the question correctly. The idea is not to trick the learners, but assess their knowledge.

You could either draft questions manually, or take help of a tool like Quillionz to automatically generate questions from your content using Artificial Intelligence technology.

2. They test the learners at the right time.

Well, the fact is that there is no bad time to quiz your learners. You could quiz them anytime, at the start of the course, during the course, or at the end of the course. But the key is in knowing what purpose each of these time-points serve.

  • Setting a quiz at the start is a great way of apprising learners of what is to come. It might make them curious and more interested in the subject.  An introductory quiz also lets you gauge if learners already know about the topic that is going to be covered. If yes, then you might consider skipping forcing them through the course.  
  • A quiz used during the course can be a good way to assess whether learners need to be re-routed back to the earlier section to understand the material better, or just reinforcing main ideas from that section would help. Such quizzes can be planted every time after logical chunks of content have been presented.  
  • A quiz at the end of course can of course be used to assess learners’ understanding of the entire content presented in the course.

3. They comprise appropriate answer choices.

Answer choices should challenge the learner to think through what they have learned. Of-course if the learner makes the wrong choice, feedback should help them get back on track. More on that in the next point, but as far as answer choices go, go for options that urge the learner to recall the entire concept. A limited set of clear and distinct answer options is all that you need.

Don’t be too inclined towards using too many True or False kind of answer options since they cannot judge the learner’s knowledge levels precisely. Avoid using ‘all of the above’ or ‘none of the above’ as options. Be consistent with the format for all answer options (length, grammatical parallels, etc.) For multiple choice questions, prefer to use serious distractors.

4. They provide meaningful feedback.

Feedback is critical. It can have both motivational and educative value. Providing well-crafted feedback in the moment-of-learning is invaluable. Make sure your feedback is courteous and crisp, yet explains what the correct answer is. Even if the learner answers correctly, your feedback can still reinforce why it is correct.

5. They are presented in a relevant and interesting format.

It is always a good idea to use compelling quiz formats to cater to varied learning styles and to engage everyone well.

You could evaluate different quiz presentation ideas ranging from drag-drop, multiple choice questions, trivia, fill-in type questions, true or false, open-ended questions, flash cards, game-show style quizzes, etc.  


Some of these formats are perfect for digital quizzes while others could be used in both classroom and digital settings. Choose the format that best measures your students’ cognitive ability for that subject. Another factor to consider when selecting a format is how much time the students will have to take the test. Open-ended or descriptive questions might not be appropriate for larger classrooms or situations where a large number of students are involved.

Once you have decided on including a quiz in your learning module and thought through all the above scenarios, you could build it using a quiz building tool or a comprehensive interactivity building tool like Raptivity.  In addition to quizzes, Raptivity provides a plethora of other templates ranging across categories like games, simulations, presentations, and assessments.

How do you build your learning quizzes? Do you follow specific guidelines? Feel free to share your thoughts through comments below.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Six PowerPoint Add-Ins to Help Educators Create Sleek Slideshows


As an educator, don’t you strive to create slideshows that can excite, engage, and educate your students in one go? But how many times has it happened that you built a presentation and thought that it needed to be improved?
Creating bewitching presentations is an art. You either need to be a creative geek to craft one or possess the right tools to do so. I have a list of some cool PowerPoint add-ins that could help you create extraordinary presentations. Here you go:

PowerPoint Labs
PowerPoint Labs is a wonderful add-in that is aimed at helping users with creating better effects and animations in their slides. It is specifically great for educators or professors, with its neat transitions and zooming effects. You could use it to light up specific objects using spotlight, highlight bullet points, slide segments or backgrounds, crop out part of an image without using an image editor, and drill down to important details using the magnifying effect.
With its nifty features to spruce up presentations, PowerPoint Labs is a must-have in your add-ins library. As on today, this add-in is free and works with PowerPoint version 2010 and above. You can download it here.

ShapeChef
If you are not pleased with the limited selection of default graphics PowerPoint has to offer, then you are going to love ShapeChef - a graphic and chart library add-in. ShapeChef offers high-quality PowerPoint graphics, charts, and icons for your presentations. You can make use of ShapeChef's instant search feature to find the graphics you're looking for. It even lets you save and categorize your own creations. This add-in integrates a library pane into the PowerPoint window, which allows you to download their graphic collections and organize your assets.
ShapeChef’s trial version comes with a limited number of shapes and can be downloaded here. To access the entire shapes’ library, you may check out their full version pricing here.

Pexels
Are you forever on the lookout for relevant images to add to your presentations? Well, there is definitely something amiss if you are not.  But if you are on the right track, then you need to check out Pexels. It is one of our favorite image libraries for completely free stock photos. All photos are tagged, searchable and also easy to discover through their discover pages. This add-in is a huge time-saver for anyone searching for and adding images to their decks. You don’t even need to open up a web browser, simply open the add-in within PowerPoint after you are done installing, find your image and click on it.
It is a free add-in available on the OfficeStore, you may download it here.

PPT2HTM5
PPT2HTML5 converts your PowerPoint content to HTML5 with the guarantee to maintain the quality of animations, transitions and other special effects connected with the original PowerPoint presentation. You can then use your online presentation on iPad, iPhone and other devices. Good tool when you need to host your PowerPoints as online modules for your students to access!
HTML5Point runs on any PowerPoint version for Windows later than 2002. You could take a free trial here, or buy the paid version.

Raptivity
If you are looking at creating interactive presentations, Raptivity could be the right choice. Raptivity’s 190+ customizable interaction templates can infuse life into your otherwise dull and static PowerPoints. You could present your slides in the form of a flipbook, a game, an explorative scenario, a timeline, or even as a quiz.  Raptivity is essentially a desktop based interactivity building tool but it comes with a PowerPoint add-in to enable insertion of interactions into slide decks.
You could start a fully functional trial of Raptivity here, and choose to pay up later.



Opazity 
Opazity builds on the power of curiosity to catch, hold and maintain your audience’s attention. It provides a tool to blur part of your slide in slide show mode. You can use it to put the focus on what you are talking about, blur out or reveal backgrounds, make foregrounds stand out, or hide answers to a quiz.
Opazity works for any version of PowerPoint for Windows from PowerPoint 2000 onwards. You could purchase it here.

Alone or together, the above add-ins provide a great way to create extraordinary PowerPoints that catch eyeballs, engage learners, and educate them simultaneously. PowerPoint is quite capable but combining it with such tools takes it a notch higher. We shall be glad to hear about your thoughts and experience with any of these tools. You could leave a comment below.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Raptivity Prep Sheets – A More Convenient Way to Build Interactions

Do you develop your Raptivity learning objects in a team? Or, are you an individual contributor who develops a lot of content and then uses it in Raptivity?  In the former scenario, you might have a subject matter expert in place to develop the content; there could be an editor to proofread it; an artist dedicated to designing graphics; and a course creator or a developer who is actually responsible for putting it all together in Raptivity. With so many people involved, the process to create even a simple learning module could consume a lot of time.
Whereas in the latter, since the onus of everything is on you, you could be struggling to maintain your content repository in a way that is easier to understand and decipher. There might even be situations when you have to seek course content from your customers,or subject matter experts. 

Keeping both the above scenarios and the challenges associated with them in mind, Raptivity has decided to launch interaction specific prep sheets to make their product usage easier. These prep sheets will outline all parameters available in specific interaction templates, along with providing placeholders for listing your content. These would be available as 'free-to-download and use' word files. You can use them to capture course content from various stakeholders, or to organize your content better.

There are several evident benefits of these prep sheets:
  • Even if your team members/external stakeholders are not acquainted with the Raptivity interface, they can still visualize the interaction outline through these prep sheets, and can share the course content accordingly.
  • These prep sheets will simplify your content organization process.
  • If your team needs to create course content in multiple languages, you could directly translate the interaction prep sheet content. This is surely one hassle-free way to create courses in multiple languages.
We will kick off  this idea today by sharing prep sheets for three popular Raptivity interactions:

Flash Cards


When there is a need to reinforce core concepts, facts, or vocabulary, use Flash cards. You could effectively use it as a presentation aid or even a quick quiz. Questions/Cues can appear on one side of the Flash cards and corresponding information or answers can appear on the flip side. You could download the Flash Cards prep sheet here.

eBook


If you wish to reproduce the experience of reading and flipping pages, use the eBook interaction. This interaction, with its flipping effect, and the use of images and videos, makes the whole experience of reading very interesting and close to real life. Download the eBook prep sheet here.

Lesson


If you intend to present something in the form of a screen by screen module, use the Lesson interaction. It allows you to describe the different elements on screen using onscreen text, images and voice over. You could even use it to create guided tours of several application screens. Click here to download the Lesson prep sheet.

Lets us know if you found these prep sheets useful, so that we can build even more. You could drop a note to us at info@raptivity.com, or share your feedback through comments below.