Friday, April 20, 2012

4 Must-haves for a m-Learning Tool

These days designing and delivering end-to-end e-learning on mobile devices is on everyone's mind. What kind of capabilties must tools have to support m-learning? Here is a quick 4-point checklist.

Device Capabilties
Depending on the target device, user interface capabilities will vary. The m-learning tool should utilize fully the capabilities of the target device.

Ready-to-use templates for all supported devices go a long way in ensuring professional presentation while saving time.
Preview Capability
Due to the wide variety of form factors mobile devices come in, preview of learning material is a crucial step before publishing content.

Media support
With an explosion of device types and browsers, it is important to keep track of media supported by each combination. One way for an m-learning tool to create value would be to alert the user when a non-support type is referred to. Even better the tool could intelligently select an alternative media from multiple media provided.

Both the creation and consumption of m-learning content on mobile devices is substantially different from traditional e-learning. Tool vendors will need to keep the differences in view while designing their wares.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Building Your E-Learning Course Design Tool Kit

If the title of this post makes you think I will list a whole bunch of tools here, let me first set the expectations right. It is my endeavor to take a look at the e-learning course design process here, so that you can decide how to build a tool kit that addresses all process components.

E-learning course creation is all about having a design process in place to build the right course in time. Every instructional designer follows some sort of an e-learning course design process. What I proposed one such process in a recent webinar titled  “Interactive Courses on a Shoestring Budget” organized by Raptivity in November, 2011.

E-Learning Course Design Process

As you may have noticed in the figure shown above, the graphic image of the doughnut has been divided into two parts.

The lower part of the image has process steps such as screen capture, image editing, audio recording and video recording. These steps aid in the creation of assets for the course. These assets add to the picturesque quotient of the course and make it more engaging with videos, images, etc. The lower part also includes one final step of testing, which we will come back to later.

The upper part of the doughnut has processes such as special artifacts creation, interactivity building, content authoring and integration. This is where you assemble the assets and make the course interactive and complete. Interactivity building makes the course content more easy to adapt and retain in an interactive format through games, puzzles, etc. The final milestone is reached when all the assets, interactions, special artifacts created are put together in the content authoring and integration process and thereafter, you test the course on the Learning Management System (LMS).

Every course designer will follow some variation of this process. The process then, forms the basis of your tool selection. Building your e-learning course design tool kit is a matter of identifying the tools that help you execute the process efficiently. Some may be freely available tools, yet others commercially available.
To view the narration of the doughnut given during the webinar, you can view the recording here.