Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Global Poll Reveals Key Trends in e-Learning Design

In a recent online event, we polled hundreds of course designers spread throughout Australia, Europe and USA with four simple questions. The results are quite interesting.

Question 1.
In your experience, over the past several years, are customer budgets per hour of eLearning increasing, decreasing or remaining about the same?

Figure 1: Poll Results on E-Learning Budgets Per Hour of Seat Time

Question 2.
What level of interactivity do clients expect in the courses you deisgn?

Figure 2: Poll Results on Level of Interactivity Clients Want

Question 3.
What types of tools do you currently use for eLearning course creation?
Figure 3: Poll Results on Current Tools in use for E-Learning Course Creation

Question 4.
Do you use a greater number of tools today than you did three years back?

Figure 4: Poll Results on Number of Tools over the Years

My key take away from this set of poll questions is that eLearning budgets per hour of seat time have shrunk, but customers continue to demand higher level of interactivity. Given the pace of technology advancement, producers are able to meet the customer demands by using the right set of tools. That explains the use of a greater number and variety of tools.

Feel free to share your thoughts and interpretations of these poll results.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Raptivity Essential : Now Build HTML5 and Flash Interactions Simultaneously

As Harbinger Knowledge Products unveils a brand new version of Raptivity Essential that lets you publish interactions in the HTML5 format in addition to Flash SWF format, I thought it would be interesting to talk to Shweta Kulkarni, who was involved deeply in the engineering of this product upgrade.

What is the significance of Raptivity Essential?
Raptivity Essential provides a sufficient selection of templates for a novice user to get a hold of interactive learning. This best seller pack of Raptivity helps users create a variety of interactions like interactive questions, brainteasers, presentation aids,  simulations, glossary and surveys.  Many of Raptivity Himalaya users have started their association with Raptivity using Raptivity Essential and eventually went on to upgrade their license all the way to Raptivity Himalaya. 

What prompted you to go the HTML5 way?
As everyone is now taking their courses to mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones, there is a need of quick transition of eLearning courses to m-Learning platform. Course developers who have already made an investment in Raptivity Essential are looking for a solution which quickly migrates their existing content to tablets and smart phones without hassles. HTML5 support for Raptivity  Essential pack will fulfil this requirement and make them HTML5-ready for their future course creation without losing the Flash output.

What makes this a significant milestone?
The entire Raptivity Himalaya library will be available in HTML5 format soon. This release of Raptivity Essential marks a major milestone in that direction. When we started with HTML5 Turbo Pack, and followed up with HTML5 Starter Pack, we were taking baby steps. Now we are nearing 40 HTML5 interactions, the largest HTML5 library of learning interactions available anywhere. And more are in the works as we speak.

What were the technical challenges in porting Flash to HTML5 ?
Most of the challenges boil down to replicating the Flash user experience. For example, take special effects like dissolve, explode, fly, blinds, magnify and so forth. We had coded these relatively effortlessly in Flash. To make them work as smoothly in the HTML5 version wasn't easy.

Standard scroll bars don't work on iPad and iPhone. We designed custom scroll bars. Also, until recently drag-and-drop functionality was hard to implement. We are now betting on new libraries that will make this easy.

Another area is inconsistency in filetypes supported on different browsers. In the Flash world, you worked with an .MP3 sound file and you knew it would work across browsers. With HTML5, you may need .OGG format.

Thanks, hopefully we can do another post on this last topic. Software developers would love it.
Certainly we can. You are most welcome.