Make eLearning for the iPad for FREE July 14, 2011Posted by Eric Matas in eLearning Tools.
Tags: Development, epub, iPad, mLearning, MobileLearning, Tools
I feel some guilty pleasure when other trainers and elearning developers become jealous of my elearning app for the iPad. Because the Mac iOS doesn’t support Flash, many of my colleagues haven’t been able to take advantage of the best elearning tool ever: the iPad.
My app did not cost that much ($7,000 developed in 2010 and $4000 for upgrades in 2011). Still, even those costs are not readily available to many training teams. So, I will share my first efforts making elearning for the iPad. It still works very well and gets “oohs and ahhs” even though it is simple and FREE.
There are many tools for doing the small bit of work involved, but I will focus on the easiest method I know, using the word processing program on my computer. It’s three steps and then you are elearning:
- Make a simple document in Pages.
- Export as an epub file.
- Put the epub file in iTunes and sync your iPad(s).
Learners can view the elearning module in iBooks, the free app from Apple. The reader app is the key, really. It has interactive functionality built in, so you just need to focus on good content.
Step 1 — Pages. Pages is the word processing program on a Mac. It is simple to use, like Word. Simply add text, images and video. Formatting must be simple so the epub file can adapt to various sizes when viewed. Still the content can look great, and with multi-media, it reads more like a digital magazine than a book. It helps to make a visual cover page (your page 1) that looks like a book cover. Play around with headers and styles — because these will help the learner navigate.
Step 2 — Epub. In Pages, just click Share > Export and choose the epub option. Check the box that makes your first page the cover art. You will have an epub file in seconds. If you get errors, it is probably related to formatting that epub files don’t support. It is best to keep the formatting simple — let iBooks do the work of making your module look great.
Step 3 — iTunes. On a Mac, just drag the epub file you just saved onto iTunes and then sync your iPad. Like Forrest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that.
In iBooks, your module will have an interactive table of contents — created from your headers and styles. The table of contents works as nicely as a menu in a Flash elearning course. Learners can change fonts or font size to their liking, read portrait or landscape, and bookmark and annotate the module. The video content plays right on the page or can be expanded to full screen.
I’ve had success with small, three-page mini-books. That’s three pages in the word processor — once in iBooks, the page numbers vary for each learner depending on their font choices and orientation they prefer for their iPad. Learners found the content engaging and appealing, and as elearning it was refreshing to have a mini-book instead of the typical rapid elearning thriller. I’ve also made longer modules, around 10-11 pages. They were well-received, but I made ample use of white space, and I wouldn’t recommend pushing much more than that. I don’t have data on it, but the iBooks format seems to suit concise elearning efforts. If readers can page through within 15-20 minutes, they seem pleased. If you have more content, make a separate epub module and call it a sequel.
My New Year’s Resolutions For 2010 December 26, 2009Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
Tags: Design, Development, eLearning, Learning, software, technology, Tools, Training
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I’ve come up with a few ideas for my New Year’s Resolutions for 2010. Next year, I will…
Experiment more with technology
I usually do a decent job with this, but I’m going to do a better job in 2010 of trying lots of new software, tools, web sites, web applications, etc. I don’t need to be an expert in all of these technologies, but I find that a good awareness of everything is very important.
Succeed (or fail) fast
I will use quick prototypes when evaluating new tools / technologies for projects. I’ve learned over time that lengthy trials take too long and are often unnecessary. I usually have better luck when I set up something that is ‘good enough’ and then improve it iteratively.
In the past few years, I fell into the occasional bad habit of not listening closely enough to clients / internal customers. I would sometimes shortcut conversations in my head and diagnose their situations before I even knew the whole story. I’m aware of this, and I’ll do my best to listen better moving forward.
I love to read, but I sometimes get too busy…or at least that’s what I tell myself. In 2010, I want to do a better job of reading on a regular basis. I usually prefer books on business, performance improvement, and sometimes suspense / mystery thrillers.
I want to travel internationally at least once next year, along with several trips to different states. I’m always open to suggestions, so let me know if you have any ideas.
What are your resolutions? Oh, and in case you need it, there’s a good article on eHow called How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions. 🙂
Introducing the SCORM Cloud December 9, 2009Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
Tags: Design, Development, eLearning, Learning, LMS, SCORM, technology, Tools, Training, Web 2.0
I had the pleasure of meeting Mike Rustici this year at DevLearn. Mike runs Rustici Software and he’s a total SCORM ninja. In our conversation, Mike mentioned a new service that is offered by his company – the service is called the SCORM Cloud. It was easy to see Mike was pretty excited about this, and after hearing some of the details, I think it definitely provides us with some interesting new ways to deliver and track learning content.
How to describe the SCORM Cloud…
If you didn’t have to use an LMS to offer learning content, where would you want to do it? A Facebook page? Your WordPress blog? Via an iGoogle widget? Maybe, but you’d lose the ability to track and record and assess, right? Enter SCORM Cloud, which lets you take learning outside the LMS and put it pretty much anywhere you want.
How does that happen? Essentially, your course content sits out on the cloud (much like your Google Docs or your Flickr pictures), and SCORM Cloud lets you deliver it wherever you want. SCORM Cloud tracks and records the same things SCORM 2004 (or 1.2 or AICC) would in your LMS and reports them back. So you can score quizzes, track interactions or set sequencing for any content you upload to the SCORM Cloud. No LMS required.
As of now, Rustici Software has already integrated SCORM Cloud with several open source LMSs such as Moodle and Sakai. And they tell me that they are close to having it ready to work with WordPress and iGoogle. The current integrations are open-source and flexible enough to allow for customizations, and you can even build your own integration if you want to use SCORM Cloud somewhere they have haven’t considered yet.
(There’s a fee for using SCORM Cloud and it is priced based your usage and needs. And it is far cheaper than going the whole-LMS route.)
I’d recommend that you check out the SCORM Cloud if you’re feeling overly constrained by your LMS; it will help you break out of the traditional eLearning model and take advantage of some of the new 2.0 tools that are now available on the web. Kudos to Mike and his team for thinking up an innovative solution like this…
A Case Study of Micro-Blogging for Learning at Qualcomm November 19, 2009Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
Tags: Conferences, Design, Development, DevLearn, DevLearn2009, dl09, Learning, qualcomm, technology, Tools, Training, Web 2.0, Yammer
Below are the slides from my presentation at DevLearn 2009. I co-presented this session along with my colleague, John Polaschek. The presentation had two main areas of focus:
- How micro-blogging can be used to help facilitate discussions and knowledge-sharing between employees
- How Qualcomm is using Yammer to help employees connect across divisions and geographic regions
I hope you enjoy it, even though you won’t have our charming personalities to accompany the slides! 🙂
Please leave a comment if you’ve worked with micro-blogging at your organization. I’d be curious to hear how it’s going and any tips you can provide to others. Thanks!