Monthly Archives: July 2014

Defining eLearning

It is generally accepted by now that eLearning provides several advantages to most any organization’s training initiatives. From cost-savings to enhanced retention, eLearning is actually recognizing those goals and continues to hold great promise…but what exactly is “eLearning”?

eLearning is commonly understood as ‘training facilitated by a computer’, but the definitions are wide and varied. Can eLearning be closely defined? Does it need to be? With the improved capabilities of mobile devices, the term ‘mLearning’ has arisen…which brings about another discussion on best-practices and how it differs from eLearning. For the sake of this article, we’ll stick with eLearning as the overall umbrella term.

If a sales representative needs to know the latest product specifications and receives the new PDF brochure on his iPhone, is that eLearning? Sure, why not? He learned something on his mobile computing device – meeting several definitions. Whether web-based educational content is accessed via an online university, a corporate LAN, or a simple web search – it can all be ‘eLearning’…though surely various experts and groups prefer less nebulous definition.

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PowerPoint for Courseware Development

Despite the many naysayers, PowerPoint is a fine place to start with eLearning development – whether the ultimate goal is to just convert those presentations to actual courseware or to use the deck as an initial storyboard for further development with more substantial tools like Storyline or Captivate (or any of the other plethora of eLearning tools).

PowerPoint has a place in eLearning development. I’ve worked with hundreds of PPT files over the years, from standard presentations to pre-production storyboards to ILT conversion. Here are some ideas how to fit PowerPoint in to your eLearning production process.

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Techsmith Repository

Techsmith provides several excellent tools useful in eLearning courseware development. Someday I hope to provide a post with an actual bit of depth regarding my favorite Techsmith tool, Camtasia.

This quickie post, however, could be just be considered more a prominent bookmark.

While I have the latest version (as of this posting) of Camtasia 8 on my primary machine, I recently needed to install version 6 to work with a colleague’s file. How to do that isn’t readily apparent on Techsmith’s site and it took a little searching to find Techsmith’s Previous Release Download Center.

Got the old 6.0.3 installer, dug up my old key, made the needed project edits, and sent the updated source back to my colleague.

Easy-peasy 🙂

 

Adobe’s Edge-y HTML5 Development Tools

With Flash being increasingly dismissed for many web projects, Adobe needed an answer to replace at least some of that functionality with a tool that used HTML/JS…resulting in the Edge suite of tools.

Here’s Wikipedia’s entry on the Edge tools. I’m not sure the overview paragraph is terribly accurate, but it’s a good reference page overall, outside Adobe’s site.

That said, Flash isn’t entirely out of the game. With CreateJS integrated, Flash can output to HTML5 Canvas, creating solid images, charts, and animations. I consider this the beginning of the Flash IDE transformation. Until it moves further, however, the Edge tools provide a lot of the otherwise missing HTML functionality.

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ADA/508/504 and Video Accessibility

A little old, but still highly relevant, from the November 2013 Streaming Media West conference came a session titled “Best Practices for Implementing Accessible Video Captioning” . Representatives from Dell, T-Mobile, and Google/YouTube discussed video captioning, mobile video, and video translation.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990) covers federal, state, and local jurisdictions, and applies to a wide range of domains, including employment, public entities, telecommunications, and places of public accommodation.

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