I've always had one pet peeve -- when designing onlines courses, we instructional designers often try to do everything within a Flash-based elearning course. Somehow I feel we need to think beyond the Flash shell and rather design learning 'experiences' than just courses. When we start appreciate the concept of learning experiences, it automatically helps us think beyond the context of the elearning shell. I do understand however, the need to minimise context switches for the learner. This is where it helps to integrate media from the web into the context of our courses. There are several benefits to this approach:
- You can add high quality interactivity into your courses with minimal effort
- You can reuse existing content
- You can update content easily
Example 1 - Set up your Scenario
Click here to launch the demo
A few days back, I discovered this wonderful tool called xtranormal. All you need to do, is add a few lines of text and lo presto! Your video's ready! Given what Rich Mayer and Ruth Clark have discovered about the power of videos in scenario based learning, this can be an excellent way to create high quality scenarios, rapidly. Here's a simple elearning scenario that I created using xtranormal.
Example 2 - Show an Interactive Timeline
When I did this demo, a friend of mine said, "The Articulate timeline is nice, but timelines that you can drag around are nicer." While I don't necessarily agree with that assessment, I do realise that timelines that you can navigate using scrollers are quite a common interaction. It could take you quite a bit of time and money to try and build something like that from scratch, using Flash. On the other hand if you could take xTimeline or Dipity and use that to create an embeddable timeline, you'll perhaps be done really quickly. And to add to that, the output is quite nice as well. While my output needs a lot of cleaning up, here's a quick demo I created this morning.
Example 3 - Display content differently
Often, we look for different ways of presenting our content and the interactions within the rapid elearning tool may just not be enough. What do we do in such cases? I find the idea of getting web content from sources such as Vuvox or Prezi, quite interesting. Here's a quick demo where I've embedded a prezi into Articulate. Cool, huh?
Example 4 - Collect FeedbackEveryone wants feedback for their courses (I hope). However most rapid elearning survey tools are not designed for great data management. OTOH, other tools like SurveyMonkey or Google Docs are better suited for this purpose. So why not bring these tools into your course and have learners submit feedback directly into the more capable application? Here's a demo I've put up with Wallwisher and Google Docs.
Of course, with all this, there's the challenge of visually integrating the web object with your course look and feel. That said, it is pretty cool that most of this web 2.0 media is embeddable and sharable. That gives you a whole lot of power and flexibility when designing your instructional experience. I think this is very cool and represents a huge advantage especially in the rapid elearning space. If you liked this post, you may like other people's articles on the same topic. As usual, I'd love to know what you think, so please comment liberally.
The source files for today's demos are here. Well, that's it for now folks -- enjoy!