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eLearning Chef’s Top 5 Open-Source LMSystems

Per the previous post, here’s our list of the top 5 open-source LMS products. Yes, there are lots more. You can search for ‘top open source LMS’ and find several similar lists. We base ours on our direct experience, various readings and discussions, and general research.

These are not necessarily listed from top to bottom but generally, yes, the preferred are toward the top (as the write-ups will explain). Continue reading

Adobe Max Online, Creative Cloud Updates

Adobe Max starts today and the Keynotes are being webcast!
http://max.adobe.com/sessions/max-online

They’re having some connectivity issues, likely due to heavy traffic, but coming in well here so far…

  • Day One keynote: Creativity on the Cutting Edge: Monday, Oct 6, 9:30–11:30am PT
  • Day Two keynote: Community Inspires Creativity: Tuesday, Oct 7, 10–11:30am PT

Check out the Adobe Max Blog for timely updates. One major topic is the latest Creative Cloud updates. That blog post covers the highlights, including new Adobe Apps:

  • Illustrator Draw: “An all-new app that reinvents the best of Adobe Ideas, letting you work with familiar tools and features in a modern, streamlined interface.”
  • Photoshop Sketch: “Draw with new expressive brushes as well as custom brushes, and send sketch artwork to Photoshop as a PSD file…”
  • Lightroom Mobile: “View comments and favorites in Lightroom mobile that clients, friends, or family leave on the photos you’ve shared online in Lightroom on the web.”
  • Creative Cloud Market: “A collection of high-quality, curated content that’s free to Creative Cloud members.”

Additionally, some new CC Resources:

 

Use an Open-Source or Commercial LMS?

As a technology and approach to training, the case for eLearning has pretty much been settled. Sure, there are still debates about the actual definition, ROI, and efficacy of the published courseware, and those are certainly valid concerns, but as an approach to satisfying learning requirements, eLearning continues to experience significant growth.

One part of eLearning is, of course, the actual courseware and/or hybrid approach to traditional classroom training. The other significant part is tracking and reporting on those activities. This is increasingly the role of the Learning Management System (LMS).

Some organizations appear to still be hesitant to implement an LMS for a variety of reasons; is the LMS dead already? Are commitments to rigid? Are costs to high or not containable?
Those are all certainly valid concerns.

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Adobe Captivate News & Resources

Captivate on Google Chrome

There have been many reports of user having playback issues with their HTML5 output from Captivate (i.e. sound and/or video not playing back properly). While those investigations are ongoing, one issue specific to Google Chrome (v.36) has been addressed by Adobe.

Per the Adobe Blog, there are two primary issues:

  • Issue 1: HTML 5 content freezes on launch in Chrome 36 with a JavaScript error.
  • Issue 2: Slide backgrounds with gradients may not appear correctly.

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Defining mLearning

In the previous article, I opined on the definition of eLearning. What better to follow-up with than a definition of mLearning?

The term ‘mLearning’ is a bit narrower than ‘eLearning’, of course, due to its specific focus on mobile devices and access. Wikipedia reveals this definition,

“m-learning or mobile learning is defined as ‘learning across multiple contexts, through social and content interactions, using personal electronic devices.’ A form of e-learning distance education, m-learners can use mobile device educational technology in many locations at their time convenience.”

The article includes a solid number of references, history, and details and is a good read in itself. Now I’d like to add a bit of my perspective…

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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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