E-Learning Reviews

Mohive - Our review

Mohive is one of the current crop of cloud based rapid e-learning tools. There is no software to purchase, you buy a licence for each company project and give developers access to the cloud based development area with a login. Mohive allows successful collaborative working on various levels of the production process. Developers, designers and reviewers can all work on the same project at the same time. Users are locked out of areas where other developers are currently working. The implementation of collaborative production is certainly a move away from the traditional model where users have to have a copy of the software on their local desktop and were tied to that one location. The cloud base allows a great deal of freedom for the production team and means Subject Matter Experts have no software installation requirements to consider. SMEs can work remotely, even from home.


The actual development process is very simple to master. Screens are largely created with the use of templates and produce consistent text and image positions. Sections of content are worked through in a linear fashion with no branching but the final user is provided with a persistent menu which allows easy navigation. Large blocks of text are given automatic scroll bars and not allowed to overspill onto interface elements. Animation is limited to building onscreen elements but can quickly make content look slick and professional. What is a positive is the use of templated question screens. The user simply chooses an appropriate question type, edits key text fields and adds an image if necessary. There is no difficult programming and assessments can be created quickly.


The emphasis of Mohive is clearly on producing content quickly but the output was actually really impressive. Although not capable of massively complex interactions, Mohive provides a rapid solution for companies maybe with limited technical ability and allows them to quickly produce very professional training.

How Tin Can API is revolutionising the e-learning world

The e-learning protocol SCORM is undergoing some very large changes that will affect how e-learning is recorded. The new technology is ADL's Tin Can api. You will probably have heard of it, but what is this Tin Can, which is hardly an inspiring name for something so major? We will explain some of the basics in this article.

http://tincanapi.com/

The idea of ADL's Tin Can (the creators of the SCORM protocal) is to remove the current limitations of an LMS (learning management systems) that exist at present. With a current LMS, a course is launched and needs continual communication with the LMS. That course communicates back to the LMS once the course is completed. There is a rigid start and finish point. With Tin Can, learning is seen as being a continuous process. A learner does not need to be connected to the internet for learning to be recorded. Occasional connectivity is fine.


Tin Can opens up the ability for e-learning to be recorded from far more devices than previously possible, like smartphones, simulations, games, even a downloadable book that is not even seen as recordable e-learning in the old fashioned and rigid definitions of SCORM e-learning.


The reason why Tin Can is such a major deal is as follows. Content can exist anywhere, it does not need to reside on an LMS. Yet still usage data is recorded from the learning and a considerably greater range of data can be recorded than was possible in SCORM 1.4. Tin Can uses modern communication methods (web services) which removes the core SCORM limitations. In SCORM, you must be a single learner and be using a browser. In Tin Can, a browser is not required, but more importantly, you don't have to start from the LMS.


The last major update for SCORM was in 2004 and we are sure Tin Can will take some time to be fully implemented in the e-learning world and on LMS, but its large benefits are there for all to see. Many of the leading authoring systems are already adopting it. Lectora, probably our favourite authoring system, has included support in the upcoming release of Lectora Version 11. We can't wait, this is truly exciting stuff!

http://www.prweb.com/releases/Lectora/Tin-Can/prweb9828348.htm

Another interesting opportunity for Tin Can is the recording of social media such as discussion forums, wikis, blogging. SCORM could not record such activity before. For instance you could now generate a report of the most popular blogs within an organisation.


We are very excited about Tin Can, which over the next few years is going to transform the way e-learning is done throughout the world.


Shame about the uninspiring name though, for what is the biggest shake up of the e-learning industry in years.

Articulate Storyline - our review

Articulate Storyline is a very accomplished e-learning development tool. It cleverly utilises a Powerpoint style interface to give a familiarity for developers of all ranges of experience. It is a rapid development tool with enough layers of control under the hood to satisfy the most accomplished authors.


Storyline allows the user to easily import Powerpoint slides from previous projects. Users familiar with Powerpoint will quickly find their way around the interface. Also common with Powerpoint is the use of Master slides which allow the user to produce consistent elements throughout their course.


Templated screen types allow rapid development without need for any graphic assistance. If all you need to do is create a series of text based screens then this is quickly achievable. What is even more of a triumph are the built in question templates which really speed up production. You can choose from a wide variety of question types which remove much of the programming effort, novice developers can quickly produce a range of different questions. It is also possible to change elements on screen into freeform questions which takes advantage of the programming power under the surface whilst using your own graphical elements.


The look of the output is certainly impressive and pretty close to flash quality. Animation is handled well with Powerpoint like transitions and further control possible on a timeline. A very useful facet of Storyline is the use of both photographic and drawn characters which are all scalable. These can be an excellent narration device and come in a variety of poses and expressions. Only one photographic character is provided, though more are available to purchase online. Storyline also provides a wide range of other built in graphical elements which bring further sheen to your presentation and include speech bubbles, markers, shapes, captions and buttons, which are vector based and hugely customisable.


Interactions are fairly intuitive and can be quickly implemented. Storyline uses triggers which are actions added to objects which then affect other objects on the scene. When you set up a button you would then use a trigger on that button to show, say, an image. States within buttons can also add further interaction with the developer being able change these states using triggers. Another powerful tool for controlling interactions is the implementation of slide layers. These layers can bring many elements onto the screen at once without the over-use of triggers. Further adding to the layers of control available in Storyline is the availability of variables which are very accessible and easy to implement.


Backed up by very good tutorials on the website and helpful online community Articulate is easy to pick up and yet powerful enough to handle complex interactions and I am continuing to be impressed by it.

Captivate 6 - our review

There are some real gound breaking changes in Captivate 6 from previous versions. Publishing to html5 ensures delivery to virtually any device. At the same time you can publish to swf (flash), so you can have one version of the course say for PC and resume on a tablet in html5.


You can now keep your powerpoint in sync with captivate with the dynamically linked import feature. From Powerpoint, you can bring powerpoint objects, animations and multimedia into Captivate.


There is now the XML file export function. This means that text can be exported, translated and reimported into a copy of the file. This does not necessarily have to mean language translations, it could just be changes to headings to suit a particular environment.


We particularly like the advanced table of contents, which means a user can navigate through content and track their progress through the table of contents.


The Project from template feature is useful in several ways. Firstly, it means that new courses can be easily made from an existing template. It also means that subject matter experts can add content in a new project maintaining the existing project structure. These slides can then be imported into the original master Captivate file. This then cuts down on development time for course enhancements.


Remediation is a feature that we think requires special mention. This is a popular request on most e-learning projects that we work on. This is the ability for when a person answers a question incorrectly, that they can revisit the relevant section, relearn the material and then retry the question. A very useful feature for any e-learning program.