Wednesday, December 9, 2009

iPhone for education case study

Great Article discussing Abilene Christian University's implementation of the iPhone to enhance education.

In class the iPhone allows for anonymous student polling and quizzing. It also connects students with class notes or access to web resources so that students can look up anything they are not fulling understanding as they listen to the lecture.

Outside of class the iPhone has apps to "turn in homework, look up campus maps, watch lecture podcasts and check class schedules and grades".

It's ideas like this that really make me believe that the iPhone/iTouch is the next Personal Computer. What we have now is a smaller portable processor, with its own platform for application development, and constantly connected to the network. I would not be surprised that in five years, you'll walk into work or school, throw your iWhatever on your desk, turn on your wireless Monitors, start navigating using your wireless mouse and keyboard and when you're done pick up you iDevice and walk away.

Is your infrastructure planning for the future?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Games = Incentives for Learning

Was forwarded to eLearning Brothers this morning. A quick browse around, and one can see that these guys are on the right path.

Knowledge checks are an essential part of reviewing material, and putting a game 'shell' around simple question types will help keep the learner engaged. The elearning brothers have come up with some really creative game types.

I think the next step for the brothers, and they are probably already going this way, is to change their target end user from a flash developer to a SME or ID. Once they have their templates ironed out, they should spend time developing an authorware environment (or maybe partner with someone already in this field) so that knowledge of flash development is not always necessary.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Adobe Presenter Embedded swf appears choppy or twitchy


When embedding a swf animation into adobe presenter, the final movie apears twitchy or 'stuttering'. This occurs because the "Control using presentation playbar" option is selected, and Presenter is doing odd playback control on your swf.

Basically, to keep the slide time synched with your swf time, it is either jumping ahead or backwards to keep them together, not ideal at all!


1. Rob Rodes:

I did not find this solution to work for me, but it might for you, it's pretty low effort to try and if it works great!

2. My Solution:

First I cut all of my main timeline and chucked it into a movieclip which then got thrown on frame 1 layer 1 of the main stage (make sure the main timeline is the same length as the new movieclip timeline), we'll name the new movieclip "allAnimations".

Now, the playback bar for presenter won't have access to this movieclip, so the stuttering effect is gone, but what if the user is jumping back and forward, how do we sync this animation up with the main timeline?

Here's the magic (Actionscript 2.0):

allAnimations.onEnterFrame = function()
if(this._currentFrame - this._parent._currentframe > 150)
else if(this._parent._currentframe - this._currentFrame > 150)

Basically if the animation's timeline differs from the main timeline by more than 5 seconds then sync them up!

This is a hack, i'm positive there is an unfound better solution, but for now this may work for you, if so enjoy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Make photoshop run faster

One would assume that Academic institutions provide their learning technology departments with the finest machines from which to develop on. However, for those not so fortunate, here is a fantastic article on speeding up that sometimes machine chugging Photoshop:

How to make photoshop faster on slower computers

Also as a bonus for those who don't have photoshop, or just can't get it running fast enough for simple tasks. picnik is a fantastic web based app for photo editing.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Articulate Quizmaker Fill in the Blank Correct Response Not Appearing Bug and Solution

Ran into a situation with an test built in Articulate Quizmaker not showing some correct responses during "review".

The question with the problem was a fill in the blank type, and it's fill in the blank field was just about the size of one or two characters.

Well, apparently you have to be very careful when using small boxes in these questions, because if it's too small the correct answers just will not show up during a users review of the quiz.

I would recommend going with a four or 5 letter sized box, should do the trick until this is patched up one day ;)

Boring Long Technical Description (BLTD) to Follow:

For flash geeks, what I can only assume occurs is that Quizmaker determines the width of it's dynamically created correct answer text fields based on the initial input box, combine this with a kinda unstable text renderer in flash and you get the disappearing text....There's probably a width = width - 10 somewhere that needs to be removed ;)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Powerpoint image crops fail with Adobe Presenter

Just ran into this issue today, basically any image crop you do in powerpoint will have a different look when published through presenter.

It's a shame, the option for image cropping is good for rapid development, but to ensure that your screenshots look the way you want them you should do all cropping in another program (photoshop, paint etc..) before bringing them into your ppt file.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Understanding the material is the key to developing quality eLearning

All my favorite teachers were those who were passionate about what they were teaching.

When a teacher in a traditional class room setting is passionate about the material they are teaching, there is no obstacle between them and the student.

When a Subject Matter Expert for an eLearning course is passionate about the material being taught, they often have 3, 4 or more individuals/obstacles to go through before that material reaches a student.

For the material to maintain the passion/comprehension and vision of the SME by the time it becomes a fully formed course, it is essential for the Designers and Developers to actually learn the material before creating material to teach it.

Obviously given the deadlines of course development schedules, and also the complexity of many courses, this can not always be achieved, but the idea here is not to always make experts out of the development team, but to get them submerged in the material to help transfer the SME's passion for the material onto the student.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Online Learning vs Classroom

Thought I'd share this awesome article:

Study Finds That Online Education Beats the Classroom

Surprisingly, not mentioned in the article is what Students lose when their education is online. The amount of 'life' education that students learn from each other through interaction in and around the classroom is so important, and the question to us in this field is:

Will technology allow for online social networking to equal or surpass in person communication, or do we as a society even want to travel down this road?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How to import flash object with multiple swf's into Adobe Presenter

I ran into this little problem when I noticed importing a flash file into presenter only takes the root swf, and does not handle any external resources that swf may need.

For instance if you have a captivate demo, some of those full motion recordings may not show when you import that demo into presenter!

Not very helpful is it!

Worry not, this is a simple copy and paste solution. First do your import into Adobe Presenter and publish. Then copy any other swf file that the imported flash object is going to need and paste it into the /data/resources folder found from your published presentation file.

If you want something done right, sometimes you gotta do it yourself I guess!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Adobe Presenter Won't Import Flash or Video


Adobe Presenter does nothing when you try and import a swf.


Make sure you are editing the file from your local drive. Opening and editing the file from a network path will cause this bug/error.

Hope this helps someone out there avoid the same frustration I went through!

Keep on Truckin Neternauts.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Apple Tackle Education

A very short article posted at gizmodo about a possible holiday release of a brand new Apple product:

Obviously the key quote here:

But it will come in two editions, one with a webcam and one for educational use

Unfortunately, it looks like that's as far as that information goes, although a little trip down the rabbit hole of comments and we get this totally unreliable addition:

The educational version checks out. I got some insider info that said Apple recently started an Education division (without anyone really noticing) and poached a former honcho from Microsoft education to head it up.

My source also said that Apple employees have been told to be excited for something in September...

They're seriously looking into educational uses for their iPhone OS so it looks like the tablet is a-go.

Assuming that the actual product itself is real, I can completely see students roaming campuses with these tablets. The immediate use that comes to mind is to completely blow Kindle out of the water, but I'm sure Apple has something much more inventive in mind as always....

A fun little rumor, but don't be surprised if there's going to be a new demand in elearning for iTablet App Developers.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Layer a Capticate recording on top of a Recorded Captivate Slide

Not to go all Fellini on you, but I've recently ran into a situation where I am creating a software demo, and on one of the slides recorded I want to have another recorded animation show during that slide. You follow?

For example, let's say we are demonstrating how to save a file in Word, now instead of a standard recording of the mouse clicking file -> save, we want the actual animation of that activity to occur in the center of the screen.

1. Record you slides, in this case, one snapshot of Word would do.

2. Open another instance of Captivate

3. Choose blank recording, custom size, and full motion.

4. Make that magical red captivate box just big enough to record the file menu drop down. And focus it on that area.

5. Record your action.

6. Last step, in the Slide editor click the animation you just recorded and Copy it, now in your main recording choose Paste.

Bingo Bango, a recording on top of a recording!

Note: I've seen some weird transparency issues so you may want to put a white highlight box behind your animation....

Advanced Note: You can even export your recording to flash to make advanced edits on it for some really funky stuff before reinserting it to your main recording as a swf...that's probably a story for another day though.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Staying Motivated

How do you stay motivated as someone involved with eLearning?

Educators in a traditional setting get to face their students every day. It may be difficult to be teacher of the year all the time, but it must help to be able to see the direct and immediate impact of your job on the faces of your learners.

So how do we in the eLearning field get that kind of reward?

How about using Course forums, allow your students to have conversations by posing an interesting question. Watching your students interact should provide you with a positive view into how your work is impacting these learners.

If and when able, communicate to your students, be proactive and don't always wait for an email. Remember students can be shy on the Internet as well, reach out and get feedback from them through direct communication.

Integrate excellent student work back into the course. If your course has assignments, and a student has provided a terrific submission, with their permission you could post this for future students to see. Soon your course might even have it's own 'hall of fame' that students should strive for!

What methods do you use to stay interested and engaged with your users?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Use flash to develop an Avatar for Captivate

Have been spending sometime looking into a good way to build an Avatar, or "Talking Head" for Captivate Simulations.

I came across a really good tutorial for building a talking head in flash and syncing it with Audio:

But how do we apply this to a Captivate Simulation?

Here is the strategy:

1. Build your Captivate Simulation

2. Using advanced audio, export the audio to mp3(s)

3. Using flash, import those mp3's to use as the sound, follow the above tutorial to build your talking head, synced with the audio.

4. Remove the audio from your Flash project and publish, now it should just be your talking head animation.

5. Return to captivate, on the first slide choose to import an Animation, select your talking head swf.

6. In the options panel for the swf select Show for rest of project, and select Synchronize with project.

This is just a basic strategy feel free to adjust it for your own project (maybe you just need a talking head for slide 2 and so on)...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Using Multiple Style Sheets to control the look and feel of your SCORM content without sacrificing Portability

The problem i've been looking to solve is how can I develop course content that makes use of CSS so that I can maintain the look and feel of an institutions content, but also develop portable SCORM packages.

To start off with, let's assume that you have already figured a way to hack around with your LMS and the way it stores content so that you can implement a site wide style sheet. (This is easier if you have direct access to the server)

Now anytime you're creating a new course you just make sure your html pages are linked to that stylesheet so that you can have some long term control over the look and feel of those pages, however:

What happens if you want to share or move this content? Sure you may be developing nice little SCORM packages that upload into your system just fine, and link to that CSS file you've plopped on your server, but that's not going to work for another system is it!

So you now have 2 options, A) Find away to get your stylesheet onto this new LMS in a way that the initial path from the SCORM html content doesn't break, or B) Develop your SCORM packages with two CSS links. One for the CSS file on your server, and a duplicate that will be packaged with the SCORM object:

<link type="text/css" rel="alternate" href="portable_style.css"/>
<link type="text/css" rel="stylesheet" href="../../whateverpath/default_style.css"/>

The duplicate should only be used if the browser fails to find the default. What's great about this, is it also doubles as having a 'safety' stylesheet in case your default ever gets moved/deleted from the server by accident.

Friday, July 31, 2009

A method for recording Captivate Simulations with Narration

Depending on the size, and the number of people involved, recording a simulation in captivate with narration can be a little frustrating.

I've recently started using a new method which is working out really well. Since i'm not a huge fan of Captivate's audio editing tool, I try and record all the narration separately in something like Audacity (free) or Audition (not so free).

With some nice narration recorded, I then start recording a new simulation while listening to my recorded track. The trick here is to select "record narration" before you start recording, this way the slide timing will match the audio you are listening to.

Once you've created your simulation, all that is left to do is to go into Advanced Audio and delete all the audio tracks that were recorded (which would be blank or just a poor recording of what you were listening to). Then import your recorded narration to slide one and select retain current slide timing.

You may need some slight tweaks depending on how good your video timing was but most things should line up great for you. Hope this helps, and feel free to share any other practices you use that work!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Remove a Flash Movie Clip from the stage AS2

Just some pure flash geekery:

Ok, so removeMovieClip() only works for dynamically created movieclips, but what if you have a bizarre scenario where you want to trash a clip that was created during development?

Easy as pie:

Assuming "myMovie" is what you want deleted:


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dude, where's my elearning posts?

Apologies for dissapearing, I know it's not been that long, but in the blog world not posting in a couple days likely means you're dead.

I've been rocking some awesome food poisoning, so I guess if I can offer any words of wisdom with this post it's don't eat breakfast sandwiches that don't look right, apparently it doesn't matter how much ketchup you throw on that thing, it will still make you sick.

Anyways, here's something remotely learning based, but more just for fun. As a huge "Lost" fan, I learned about a new viral marketing campaign they have for the final season. It's called Lost University and one of the coolest parts about it is they seem to have imagined and created a fake Portal/LMS which actually looks pretty cool....I just hope Blackboard doesn't sue them....or buy them....I guess it's 50/50

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How web direction should influence a new generation of Learning Management Systems

To me web pages/applications have been evolving as follows:

1. Initial web sites were static pages

2. A new wave of web sites allowed for users to customize the page/app (I think this is probably when 'widgets' showed up..)

3. The latest wave of web sites customize the page based on the actual use of that site.

The quickest example of this latest wave is when Amazon uses a permission based marketing strategy of suggesting items based on what you have been looking at on the site.

I think the next evolution of a Learning Management System, will be platform that doesn't simply house content, and record students grades, but will intelligently respond to users and help customize and improve their education experience.

What are some features that could easily be implemented using today's technology?

  • Course home pages will have a widget displaying a couple key topics that the user read last time they logged in.

  • Topics in the course index can be bolded and suggested for review if the user has been showing trouble with them in quizzes

  • The LMS can make suggestions about the users pace through the content based on there current pace and the deadline for completion - this could even become as smart as the LMS chunking content for the user and giving customized lessons - users that log in frequently would be given less content, and users that log in once a week would be given larger amounts at once, but both users would be pacing through the content so that they finish on time.

  • LMS can cross reference different courses and grades to help with time allocation, "Jim, I noticed your Chemistry mark has been dropping, would you like me to allocate you more time for those lessons?"

With or without the above ideas, the role that Learning Management Systems have in their interaction with the user is sure to increase.

or maybe I've just been playing too much wii fit....

Monday, July 20, 2009

Using regular expressions to pimp your find and replace skills in Dreamweaver

I had a post planned for today, but while doing some research I came across exactly what I was going to write only way better, so props to Rob Christensen at Adobe for this article on regular expressions:

Introduction to Regular Expressions in Dreamweaver

This concept is especially important for those developers who DO use Dreamweaver for offline development, and are trying to maintain lots of content. If you ever find yourself opening page after page to make the same edit over and over again, stop and read this article.

Not only do regular expressions allow you to do some awesome find and replaces, but when you combine it with Dreamweaver's ability to search through every file in your site, you have a pretty powerful tool in your hands.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Fixing Captivate Slowdown

Quick note on a problem i've encountered with Adobe Captivate.

It's seems that when working with some larger simulations with audio my captivate files become increasingly large in filesize and in turn cause the program to run very slowly.

I'm certain that this is because I was doing a lot of editing with the internal audio editor (cutting/pasting and moving slide cues around). Anyways there is a way to quickly solve the issue:

(Note: I suggest saving a backup of your file prior to this, not that anything could possibly go wrong....)

1. In the advanced audio options, choose to export your audio as one mp3.

2. In the advanced audio options, delete all the audio from your slides.

3. Run Captivate again so you have two windows, create a new blank project.

4. Copy all your slides from your project and paste into the blank project.

5. Import the exported mp3 on the first slide and choose to "Retain Current Slide Timing and distribute audio files over several slides"

6. Save your new smaller quicker project and get back to work!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Remove the 'finish' button from quizmaker quiz endpage


There is a silly problem with Articulate quizzes in that they always have to have a finish button, and that button can ONLY close a window, or direct to another URL. Not very helpful if we want them to be in a linear course is it?

Anyways, I found a flash exploit to hack away the button, enjoy:

Solution Summary:

Because Articulate developers did not use "_lockroot" by inserting a custom swf on an end page, we can write custom code to turn the finish button invisible.


1. Create a new flash movie
2. In the actions panel insert the following code:


3. Publish

4. Using the slide view on your first slide in Quizmaker, choose to insert a swf, browse for your custom code and insert.

5. Publish your quiz.

Note: the object (_root.g_mcFrame.mcFinish._visible) was found by making a flash movie that simply loads a quizmaker quiz.swf to the root, then I used the flash debug options to list all objects.

Hope this helps, and also inspires some more exploration of the endless possibilities of this exploit!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Augmented Reality will soon replace Job Aids

If this is where the technology is at Today. It's not that hard to see it's impact tomorrow.

Augmented Reality may sound (and now look) like something from a science fiction movie, but the truth is the technology is here and within the next 5 years will redefine what we consider 'Just In Time' learning.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Microsoft Plans Free Version of Office, or how I learned to stop caring about my desktop.


Not surprising, given Google's announcement of the Chrome OS, Microsoft is finally seeing the light and creating free web applications of all their shiny products.

It's amazing what a little competition will do for technology, now that Microsoft has a little fear we might see some actual progress.

How do I think this will effect online learning? probably in some small (but positive) ways first. For one thing, online instructors can now put assignments requiring a word processor or spreadsheet without worrying that their students won't have access to one. Another impact is that collaboration will become much easier, no more emailing around word docs, just log in to the account and open the shared resource. Finally classroom learning may start to use more real time work with the instructor and students working of the same file at the same time.

Can you think of any immediate impact these web applications offer to elearning?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Google announces OS

"[t]he operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web. So today, we're announcing a new project that's a natural extension of Google Chrome — the Google Chrome Operating System. It's our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be."
I doubt this is very surprising to people, but it is certainly noteworthy. In my previous post I talked about the movement of the users applications from their desktop to their browsers, which is essentially what the Google Chrome Operating System is designed to do.
"We're designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web."
What do I think the most important things learning professionals should be thinking about right now?
  • With a new wave of cheap Netbooks, and a focus on the web as a platform, in class educators should be thinking about ways to blend their lessons with real time online activity. For example, real time surveys in class, or the movement to online textbooks - "Students, turn to Video 7"

  • Along with being a backer of HTML 5, Google has been doing it's best to get the most out of our web browsers, check this video out if you haven't seen it yet:

Pretty nifty stuff!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

TBQ : New Skills and Knowledge for Learning Professionals

The Big Question: New Skills and Knowledge for Learning Professionals?

Specifically, when discussing this Web 2.0 'thing', how can a Learning Professional keep up to speed.

Well, what is Web 2.0 to me?

I have always thought of it as the movement of the user's applications from their desktop, to their web browser. The natural progression of this being an increase in the amount of collaborative use of common applications. Or, as the rest of the webernet would say 'Social Networking'.

Many technologies have become associated with Web 2.0, but it is important to realize that it is the application of a technology that can be defined as being Web 2.0, not the technology on it's own. Thus, when discussing what a learning professional should be following to leverage Web 2.0 for elearning, I believe it would not be useful to go out and start purchasing intro books for AJAX, FLASH, PHP, XML, .NET, PYTHON, CSS, HTML 5 etc.

Instead, learning professionals should be interested in the application of these technologies and leave the developing to the developer.

As a learning professional you should immerse yourself into sites like Twitter, Blogger, and Facebook, not only to understand the possible elearning applications of these sites but to also follow other professionals and to open yourself up to a wealth of resources so that you are aware of new sites or 'Web Applications' as they become available.

Aside from hanging out at the elearning guild, and reading various blogs, I try to check out aggregate web development sites such as and to keep myself aware of what is going on in the web.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Common Problems with converting PPT to PPTX

As posted earlier, I've been working with Adobe Presenter of late.

Ran into a couple of issues with Animations working in preview but not so much when published, seems the PPT to PPTX conversion causes this. Adobe has a great listing of all the not so great problems that can occur here:

Powerpoint conversion issues when using Adobe Presenter 7 and suggested workarounds

When dealing with text, the best fix I came upon was just to retype and recreate the text animations again once you save as PPTX. Obviously not an ideal solution, but it got the job done. Luckily it was only a dozen or so slides!

Keep it classy Webernet.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Although a 'good' tool, I think Adobe Presenter is getting stale...

The first bullets on my slides have all decided not to show up until the second bullet animates in. In preview this all works, but obviously the gnomes in my computer are causing the error to occur when I ask them to publish the presentation.

The output of Presenter can be great, the idea of easy conversion from a slide deck to a web format - with the option to add audio and additional media - is a fantastic way for Subjects Matter Experts, Designers and Developers to work together. However, the UI is seriously hurting, a lot of the interactions and animations are seriously dated. There is major room improvement with this type of tool, and if Adobe or Articulate don't step up their games I wouldn't be surprised if some startup blew away the community with an impressive presenter tool.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What are you afraid of?

This is probably a good thing:

German teacher loses court battle against rate-your-teacher website

I can understand both sides here, but I believe that a low ranking from a biased student who failed the course would be offset from a biased student who aced the course. Eventually - given a large enough number of reviewers - a true evaluation of that teacher will come out.

I can remember even as early as grade 6 having a teacher who loaded on the homework, was very strict, and even though all students despised him/her, most were quick to agree that he/she was a great teacher. Students recognize when a teacher is passionate about their job and when they care about pushing students to their potentials.

Anyways, I bring this case up as I feel that Online education (especially those attempting to market a product) should embrace rating systems as well, either through their own LMS or through third party sites. While most departments of eLearning products will create surveys for their own internal feedback, they should instead strive to create a recognized quality learning experience that is rated publicly by their users. The current and new generations expect to see user ratings, and when a learning product has a five star rating with "76 learners rated this product" it will have a stronger affect on their decision then having a stock photograph with a quote from 'Billy'...not that there's anything wrong with that.

Don't be afraid to show what users think of your products. Earn some gold stars. Plus user ranking is so web 2.0!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Text is fine.

Text is fine, say that to yourself, like a mantra, hummmm, hummmmm.

90% of the time, Text is fine, it's ok. Don't feel pressured to come up with some creative way to display every piece of content. Most of the time, plain text is what the learner is looking for, easy accessible content.

Instead of trying to make everything an animation or interaction, locate a couple key concepts that really lend themselves to an interesting simulation, video or creative elearning method. Focus your web media development time on something that matters, that does improve the content, that will help the learner. In the end your course will be better for it, and the development team will likely feel they have built something worthwhile.

For the other stuff - Text is fine....ok...maybe...just a couple little pictures on the side ;)

Stay Classy 2.0'rs

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thoughts on Digital Textbooks

Top ten reasons for Academic Publishers to move to Online Textbooks, from a student's point of view without any care for development costs:
  1. Embedded audio and video.

  2. Randomly generated practice quizzes/exams from a giant pool of questions that are constantly updated

  3. Accessible from a Kindle, iPhone, Blackberry, laptop, Japan, a toaster...

  4. A lower cost that is Semester Subscription based

  5. A dynamically created Study Calender, where the student enters what topics they need to read and by when, and the web textbook will create a schedule, track progress, and email alerts if the student falls behind

  6. Games and Simulations!

  7. Teachers can build their own learning path from the books content. This way students don't have to worry if they are studying the right material or not

  8. Fixes and Updates to the content are made on the fly so students always have the most up to date version

  9. Chat room for online Study Groups, or Event Posting for live study groups

  10. No more sore backs from lousy heavy books

Stay Classy Webernet.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

likes / dislikes - SCORM edition

Things I like about SCORM:
  1. Portability. The wonderful theory that I should be able to export a course package from one LMS and seamlessly import into another LMS. It's nice to have these kind of dreams....

  2. The API. There is an abundance of examples and sample code and wrappers to help you make your first Learning Object communicate with an LMS, and being able to design Flash Objects that pull the user name and report scores is kinda cool and easy when you get the hang of it.

  3. Authorware. Over the past five years, Course and Assessment creation software has made leaps and bounds in quality (Adobe, Articulate). I do believe this area has a lot of room for new companies to enter the compitition, which is great because we should see a steady improvement in solutions.

  4. Branching. If properly supported by an LMS, it will allow course designers and developers to create a learning path that adapts to the user, which is the first step in emulating how a teacher adapts to a student.

Things I dislike about SCORM:
  1. Out of date, clunky Dreamweaver extensions. Did developers just give up? it seems like there should be more options when it comes to compiling a SCORM package from a Dreamweaver site.

  2. Inconsistency in LMS SCORM implementations. I've seen packages being imported to Course Level, Module Level and Asset Level depending on the LMS, I've seen numerous LMSs just ignore SCORM interactions.

  3. 2004 Sco to Sco navigation - I feel like this should be easier to implement than it sounds.

  4. Limited use of CSS. Because SCORM packages are these 'self dependent' objects, it becomes impossible to properly maintain the look and feel of a facilities e-learning products using CSS. There are ways around this on an LMS by LMS basis by looking into the folder structure where courses are imported to, but this is simply a hack and not a solution. Obviously we can still have one CSS per SCORM object, but what happens when a facilities rebranding occours? each object's style sheet will have to be updated and then the package will need to be re-imported.

  5. The fact that the people most interested in working with SCORM, are usually teachers, subject matter experts or instructional designers and not usually developers. This is not really anyone's fault since we are talking about a standard for web communication which understandably becomes a developers game, but it is a shame that the current state does not allow for enthusiastic educators to quickly turn their ideas into SCORM materials. I think as more and more Authorware becomes available this problem will eventually shrink, with Developers being moved from working directly with the educators to creating software for the educators.

That's all, Stay Classy Internet.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Converting vhs educational videos to a digital format

A really good question down at the about how to handle moving from an old video format to something a little modern.

I think when moving from VHS to digital formats you should definitely start to think about some of the technology available to you and how this technology can improve the users engagement.

How about converting the video to a flash interaction where the User watches a couple minutes, then a multiple choice question pops up and the video resumes until the next question?

If the old videos were made to cover a large range of topics to be applied to a generic audience, how about organizing all the lessons taught in the videos, editing out small chunks and creating learning plans that are specific to the person taking the course, thus a line worker would have a different path than a manager.

The conversion is a great time to become enthused about improving the quality of your materials. How about if the videos are becoming dated (80's clothes etc.) but the content is still good, you can add some 'pop up video' style humor to keep the learner amused while absorbing the material.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Use Flash and Scorm to show Student Name on Quizmaker endpages

Just spent the day figuring this nifty trick out.

If you've found this page then you probably spent time in the Articulate forums and blogs reading about how the only way to get the user name is to have them answer a survery question at the beginning of the quiz.

Forget that! ha!

Here's what you do.

1. Using flash create a new movie clip and rock this code in your actions panel:

import flash.external.ExternalInterface;
var username ="parent.GetStudentName");
studentName.text = username;

2. On the stage add a dynamic text field and give it the name "studentName"

3. Publish the SWF

4. In your Quizmaker quiz edit the end page (for pass or fail) choose slide view, choose the insert tab, insert your wicked awesome SWF you just made.

5. Publish your Quiz into a SCORM package and import it into your LMS Wam. Pow. Bang.

6. Test it out, make sure it works, now edit the look and feel of your SWF and Endpage to perfection.

Stay Classy Internet.