iBooks, the future of course material?

If you are in the training and learning business, you know that course material always has been the subject of many discussions. Some say it is necessary, others say that they are never used, but most students want “a manual”. Entire forests disappeared because of it, the added value of it is uncertain.

What if you could avoid using paper, and make the manual really deliver added value? I spent some time playing with iBooks author, a manual in Word format about an IT application, and Adobe Captivate software demo’s, to see if this could be a valuable alternative.

The workflow to replace all your paper based manuals by this solution would be:

  • Get yourself a Mac :–)
  • Get yourself an iPad if you want to preview your iBooks
  • Download a copy of iBooks author
  • Import your Word document into iBooks author
  • Publish your Captivate demo’s as .mp4 (standard publish function in CP 5 and higher)
  • Convert your .mp4 files to .m4v with QuickTime
  • Insert the demos in your iBook using the Media widget
  • Add some interactivity if necessary, e.g. multiple choice questions
  • Publish your project
  • Distribute your iBook (via the store or as a file)
  • Get an iPad for all your students :–)

I will let you judge for yourself. This is the result:

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How to publish a Captivate project to a SharePoint site

Microsoft SharePoint is an interesting platform if you quickly want to publish your e-learning content. These are the steps to publish an Adobe Captivate project to a SharePoint site:

1. Publish your Captivate project as Flash(SWF), and make sure that you have the option Export to html checked. This will produce a set of files: a .html file, a .swf file and a .js file.

2. Upload these files into a document library on a SharePoint site. You can start your project by clicking on the .html file.
If you are running SharePoint 2010 and the file does not open, you might need to change a security setting in SharePoint. Also, SharePoint has a default file size limit of 50 MB. Your system administrator can increase this limit.

3. Optional, but recommended: to make it easier for your users to start your course, you can include a link to the .html file on the home page of your site.

Watch the demonstration below for more detailed instructions:

 

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Links from “The New Learning starts Today”

I want to thank everyone who attended my presentation on the Xylos Clients’ Day. These are the links I promised you:

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Microsoft LCDS 2.7 available

Microsoft released a new version of its rapid content development tool, Microsoft Learning Content Development System (LCDS). Major new feature is the possibility to create “Learning Snacks”, a specific Silverlight based format designed for small e-learning courses with a maximum of 6 topics.

The new version of LCDS includes the ability to upload your learning snacks onto Microsoft Snackbox, a public learning portal (based on SharePoint Server 2007, by the way) for community content.

 

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E-learning in 1927

Via the Mobile Cowboys site, I found this video. It explains the use of a rotary telephone, and seems to be created in 1927.

It is interesting to compare this to the e-learning material we create nowadays. Especially the speed (or lack of speed) is quite surprising. And  it is good to realise that skills that we take for granted, are not necessarily “obvious” and sometimes still need explanation.

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