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.