eLearning and Higher Education

This article is part of a guest blog post I wrote for Articulate eLearning Heroes.
Click here to read the full post.

e-learning in higher education

Instructional designers working in higher education have a ton of tools at their disposal. Learning management systems, educational apps, clickers, and other technologies allow for lots of creativity both inside and outside of the classroom.

At the University of Maryland, I partner with faculty to create engaging activities that help learners apply new skills and practice outside of the classroom. In addition to helping faculty with the tools listed above, we create custom videos and e-learning products for their courses. Both students and faculty have been wowed by the e-learning projects we have created for their classes. Faculty love how we can create a customized piece that requires students to demonstrate their skills; and students like that these assignments are engaging, useful, and fun.

Let’s look at a few ways you can use e-learning to enrich any higher ed course…(Read more)

Storyline vs. Captivate Part 8

SL2vsCAP8

Today is all about quizzing!

This is a continuation of this ongoing comparison. For a full comparison, check out this post.

Feature Captivate 8 Storyline 2 Notes
Built-in question types Captivate offers options for T/F, multiple choice, multiple response, fill in the blank, matching (drag/drop & drop down), sequence (drag/drop & drop down), hot spot, likert, short answer. It also has free form drag/drop. In addition to what Captivate offers, SL2 has word bank, essay, pick one, and pick many options.
Question options Captivate has a nice “Branch Aware” setting for quizzes. Enabling this setting means the final score will be calculated based only on questions in the branch(es) viewed by the user.  So, if there are some questions the user did not view based on their choices, this will not be held against them for the final score. I like the way that feedback is presented to the learner a little better in SL. Both programs handle quizzing in a similar way. You can choose how many points each question is worth; set the number of attempts for each question; customize correct, incorrect, and try again feedback messages; choose to shuffle answers (where appropriate); what a user needs to get in order to pass; time limits;
Question banks You can import questions in GIFT format. You can import questions in XLS format. Both programs offer question banks that can be used to pull randomize questions so that users do not end up taking the same quiz.
Results Captivate allows you to email results to a preset email address. It also contains more options for this slide such as number of correct questions and number of quiz attempts. SL includes an option to print your results. SL by default allows either 1 or unlimited quiz attempts. However, it is pretty easy to create a custom number of quiz attempts if needed. Both programs offer a customizable results page. This shows a learner if they passed or failed based on the criteria you set. You can decide which information is shown on the page such as user score and passing score. You can also allow the learner to review or retry the quiz.

Storyline vs. Captivate Part 7

SL2vsCAP8

Today is a continuation of this ongoing comparison. For a full comparison, check out this post.

Feature Captivate 8 Storyline 2 Notes
508 Compliance This could be an entire post on its own. Suffice it to say that Captivate used to win this category hands down. But the most recent update of SL2 added some really great 508 options that I think have now pushed SL to the forefront on this category. These include being able to heavily customize keyboard tabbing in addition to some of the more standard options.
Closed Captioning Captivate offers built in closed captioning. You can customize the look and timing and, while a bit time consuming, it is pretty easy to do (And important!). SL offers no way to do built in closed captioning. You can custom create this but it takes a LOT of time (I have done it before!). Your best option in SL, though it isn’t as useful for the learner, is to use the notes feature as a transcript. This is the one area of 508 compliance where Captivate wins hands down. Either way, captioning videos is tough to do. You can always use You Tube, Aegisub or other online programs to caption videos or other portions of your project.
Adding Video & Animations SL has a lot less options for the types of videos you can import and for embedding from a website. However, it does allow you to split one video across multiple slides. This can come in handy if you want to have users interact with the video in order to advance it. You do also have more control over the look of the video player skin. You can add in any Flash element, video from a file (FLV, MP4, SWF – other types will convert to MP4 when imported), video from a website (you will need the embed code), or record video from your webcam into SL. You can also embed web objects (that is, web pages) into the project. You don’t have any control over how a video player looks but you can turn it off if you want.
Object Animations & Effects Captivate has a text animation option that is quick and easy to use. It just simply does PPT style text animations. It also has a somewhat hidden effects panel that is not very user friendly but is actually quite powerful. This can be used to add animations and effects to almost any element of your project. Captivate also allows you to “time” some of your effects, such as an object glow. Storyline’s animation options aren’t as powerful, but they are very easy to use. There are tabs for transitions (entry animation effects for entire slides) and for animations (entry, exit, and motion path effects for individual objects). It also allows you to also trigger a motion path. All SL effects (shadow, reflection, glow) are static and applied to an object for the entire time it is on the screen.

Storyline vs. Captivate Part 6

SL2vsCAP8

Today is a continuation of this ongoing comparison. For a full comparison, check out this post.

Feature Captivate 8 Storyline 2 Notes
Find & Replace Captivate allows you to not only do a find/replace, but to search by type of object (caption, smart shape, video, etc.). This is a nice feature if you want to change words in, say, a demo but not in a quiz question. Both of these have a standard type of find/replace interface where you can search by whole or partial words or decide if you want the case to match.
Click Boxes Captivate has handy click boxes that have built in feedback options. You can decide to turn on the “Success”, “Failure”, and “Hint” options. These will automatically give the learner appropriate feedback if they click on the box or anywhere outside of the box. Any object can become a click box in SL. While there is no option with automatic built in success and failure captions, you can build this out pretty easily. It also gives you more options for defining what constitutes success and failure and to customize the look of the click box and captions. Click boxes are used when you want the learner to click on something on the screen. A click box is placed over the area you want them to click on.
Text Entry Boxes Text entry has built in caption options similar to click boxes. Again, it makes it very quick to set up an interactive activity and corresponding feedback. Like stated above, SL text entry and numerical entry boxes require a little more finagling but in turn offer the ability for greater customization. Text entry boxes are used when you want the learner to input a word or number. You can validate text entry in either program by entering the correct possibilities.

Storyline vs. Captivate Part 5

SL2vsCAP8

Today is a continuation of this ongoing comparison. For a full comparison, check out this post.

Feature Captivate 8 Storyline 2 Notes
PowerPoint
Integration
Integration is smooth and gives you a few options such as having slides advance automatically or with a mouse click. It also can “link” to the PPT so changes can quickly be updated.The downside is that everything is updated as a .swf so all edits to the imported material has to be made within PPT. When I tested this feature in SL2, there were some weird quirks. For example, several of the pictures ended up flipped.On the other hand, SL imports each object separately so you can edit text and images directly within the program. Both programs allow you to import PPT slides from an existing PPT project. This can really come in handy if you have a template or storyboard you want to use and build upon. You will likely still need to do significant work in either program once imported.
Player Skins Captivate doesn’t have much that SL doesn’t on this front, but it does have some textures you can add to the player border which, in theory, is nice. In reality, a couple are ok, but for the most part these are very Windows-’97-screensaver. I love working with the player skin in SL. The possibilities are truly endless and you can even change which player elements show up on each individual slide. In addition, you can create customized links on the player to any URL or slide within the project. Both of these allow for some general customizations in buttons on the player, player colors, and whether to add a menu/table of contents.
Table of Contents/
Menu
Both programs allow for similar settings within a TOC/menu. You can choose which slides will be shown or hidden, create outline structures, rename slides, change the position and look of the menu, enable a search bar, lock navigation, etc.
Publishing Options Captivate allows you to pretty easily storyboard within the program by giving you lots of printing options. In addition, you can publish as an interactive PDF, to Adobe Connect, or as a video optimized for various players (iPad, iPhone, YouTube). SL can publish directly to their LMS, Articulate Online or as an .exe for use on a thumb drive. They also have a mobile player and you have the option to allow downloading of the project to that app for offline viewing. Both applications will allow you to publish as HTML5 and/or SWF. Both are SCORM, AICC, and xAPI/Tin Can compatible and allow you to report out quiz scores or % completion.

Storyline vs. Captivate Part 4

SL2vsCAP8

Today is a continuation of this ongoing comparison. For a full comparison, check out this post.

This week is all about audio! I’ll take a look at audio importing & recording, along with some peripherally related features.

Feature Captivate 8 Storyline 2 Notes
Slide Notes & Captioning Closed captioning is one area where Captivate definitely wins over SL2, hands down. Captivate allows you to enter in slide notes as small portions which can transition into closed captions that you can time to the audio. Storyline does not offer Closed Captioning. You can use the notes as a kind of transcript for each slide, but the user will see all the notes for a slide at any given time. This can make it hard to caption animations or slides where you have several elements contingent on user input.
Importing Audio Captivate allows you to import audio to an object or slide. In addition, you can import a background audio (think, background music) that you can set to automatically reduce in volume when narration is added.One additional great feature of Captivate audio is the ability to split audio over several slides. This feature can really come in handy when doing screen captures and software demos. SL allows you to import audio to slides and layers. With the way triggers are set up, it is also easy to trigger audio to play at a certain point or when a certain action happens.
Recording Audio Both programs allow for recording audio straight into your project. For best quality sound, an external program should be used to record audio. One free program that offers lots of possibility is Audacity.
Editing Audio Both Storyline and Captivate allow for minimal audio editing (cut, copy, paste, insert silence, insert audio clip).For any other editing, an external program should be used.
Text-to-Speech This is a feature in Captivate that SL does not have. It can automatically convert your notes into a GPS/Siri-like speech. Some of the voices work better than others. This isn’t necessarily great for finished products as it can have issues with pronunciation but it is a GREAT tool for drafts so you don’t have to re-record audio several times.