Friday, November 19, 2010

Moodle Music Video

I came across this Moodle music video on Twitter via @moodlerific and I just had to share it.  Hilarious and well put together.  I know I'll be spending the rest of the day with the chorus line stuck in my head.  Hope you enjoy.

"I think I know what you need now, switch from Blackboard go with Moodle right now!"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

eLearning Guild OLF Resources

Today I will be presenting with Montse Anderson in the eLearning Guilds Online Forums. Our session is titled “How to Give your eLearning Graphics a Voice” and takes place today at 12 pst.  This post will serve as a resource page with examples and source files that I will be sharing in the webinar.

Source Files:


Other Resources:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Now Contributing to MoodleTuts

I’m happy to announce that I will now be contributing to MoodleTuts, the Moodle blog that makes learning Moodle easy.  If you’ve worked with Moodle you know it’s not easy to find what you are looking for in short easy steps.  MoodleTuts was started by Dave Mozealous with the intention of solving this problem through short, less than 5 minute video tutorials that make learning Moodle easy.  

As a contributor I will be posting videos on Moodle topics that I come across in my day to day work.  By contributing I am hoping to help make MoodleTuts an even better resource than it already is.  I’ve already posted my first MoodleTut about using SCORM with Articulate and Moodle and I am looking forward to posting many more.

If you are not familiar with MoodleTuts go check it out.  You might just learn something new in less than 5 minutes.  And if you have any topics you would like to see covered in a MoodleTut be sure to let me know by posting a comment below.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Articulate, Moodle, and SCORM

You've got Moodle and Articulate now you want them to talk to each other using SCORM.  One of the most common questions I see in forums, twitter, and blogs is how to use SCORM so that the results of eLearning courses developed with articulate can be tracked in the Moodle gradebook.  While it is a fairly simple process, many eLearning developers run into problems tracking scores for Articulate courses in Moodle.  All it takes is one wrong setting for your scores to not be tracked and there are a lot of SCORM settings to choose from in both programs. This blog post is an attempt at helping out eLearning developers having trouble using SCORM features in Articulate and Moodle.  I hope that the video and written instructions below help one of those many people encountering issues using SCORM with Articulate and Moodle.

How to use SCORM reporting with Articulate and Moodle:
The instructions below highlight some of the key points covered in the video.  For full details and a visual example please see the video above.
 Articulate Settings:
  • From within your Articulate Presenter project, access the "Publish" feature.
  • Select LMS as the publishing option
  • Click on the SCORM Reporting and Tracking button
  • Enter course description on "Reporting" tab (Optional)
  • Click on the "Tracking" tab and set the project to track slide views or a quiz score.
    • Slide views - Best used for Presenter projects that don't include a quizmaker or Learning Objects quiz.
    • Quiz score - Best used for Quizmaker and Presenter projects that include a Learning Objects quiz.
  • Click OK and Publish
  • After publishing, compress all of the published files into a compressed Zip folder
Moodle Settings:
  • From the Moodle course site in Editing Mode, add a "SCORM/AICC" Activity.  A common mistake is to use the "Link to file or web site" resource.
  • After selecting the "SCORM/AICC" activity, you will be able to upload the zipped folder of published articulate files.
  • After uploading the zipped folder, click the "Choose" option.
  • From here you will be able to adjust the rest of the settings to your liking.
  • Once you have all the settings adjusted you can go back to the course site and test your Articulate project.  After completing the project your grade should show up in the grade book on the course site.
Hope this helps out and let me know if you have any questions or alternative approaches to using Articulate, Moodle, and SCORM.

Related Posts:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Moodle Pros and Cons Update

With all the hype surrounding the upcoming arrival of Moodle 2.0, I thought it might be a good time to revisit what we love and hate about Moodle 1.9.  In a previous post, "Moodle Pros and Cons" I set out on a mission to build a robust list of Moodle Pros and Cons that would be a great resource to someone researching whether Moodle would fit their needs.  I thought a list created on my own would not be nearly as useful as a list created with the help of fellow moodlers who come from different perspectives so I created a wiki page and posted a call for help compiling the ultimate Pros and Cons list.  While the response wasn't enormous there were some great pros and cons added to the list from Joseph Thibault and other fellow Moodlers.  Now that we are getting ready to say goodbye to Moodle 1.9, I thought it would be a good time to post the updated pros and cons list and send out another call for help adding more pros and cons to the list.  If you have any contributions please click on the link below to add your thoughts to the Moodle pros and cons wiki page. 
Moodle BenefitsMoodle Drawbacks
Open Source - Free to download and lots of great plugins to customize to your needs. - Joe DeeganReporting - There is no simple way to run a site wide report with users grades in multiple courses. You are stuck going into each course site to view one courses grades at a time or using the overview report to view grades for one user at a time. - Joe Deegan
Great Community - There is a great community of Moodlers more than willing to help you solve any problems you may come across. - Joe DeeganUser management - No easy way to manage groups of students. It would be much easier if there was a way to manage groups site wide rather than on a course by course basis. I need to use groups for position and region which requires a lot of maintenance of the groups in each course site. - Joe Deegan
Customizable - There is a huge selection of plugins and add ons freely available to help you customize Moodle to your needs. - Joe DeeganTakes a little tech savvy - Not just any trainer or teacher can download Moodle and be up and running with a quality LMS. It takes a little tech savvy and access to IT Dept resources to implement. - Joe Deegan
Widely Available - Most low cost hosting solutions on the web will install Moodle for you at no cost through simple scripts or an easy to use interface (which makes starting up much easier than having to know/install php, etc.) - Joseph Thibault (MM - GC )Closed - if you're looking to create an open repository of information that anyone can browse and engage, Moodle is not necessarily the best tool. You can "open" your Moodle, but most installations require registration, and even more courses require course passwords (enrolment keys) - Joseph Thibault (MM - GC )
Actually, it is possible to set up a Moodle site so that anyone can read without registering and without login. And anyone can edit via self registering.
Sell content - one of the less talked about benefits is that for small businesses, Moodle offers a fully capable course delivery and sales platform. Just plugin your paypal email address and list prices. Though users will have to register before being able to make a purchase (which might be viewed as a drawback) - Joseph Thibault (MM - GC )the admin side is not very user friendly. many info on the web but its not that easy getting used to the Moodle logic as admin, especially as the whole thing is strictly course oriented (as pointed above). also the "helps" are rather brief and hardly offer help for a begginer.
but generally i do like moodle. guess im just a cons kind a guy...
Familiar - During workshops I like to put teachers at ease by letting them know if they've filled out an online application or form, they can master Moodle. All activities and resources are driven by similar form templates (title, description, etc.), if teachers can look past the fact that there are a lot of choices, working with Moodle to build content is easy - Joseph Thibault (MM - GC )The Real Cost - Upside Learning wrote a good post highlighting some important factors to take into consideration before implementing Moodle. While Moodle is free to download but in reality the costs can add up if you go with a "Do it yourself" approach. - Joe Deegan
Content - Moodle's backup and restore functions are two of my favorites. The shear number of sites and courses on the web is if you're willing to do a little research/searching odds are you can find a pre-constructed course that the author is willing to share with you. Check out sites like and 's course exchange for free resources - Joseph Thibault (MM - GC

Related Posts:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Best of Both Worlds: Integrating Adobe Captivate and Articulate Presenter

Adobe Captivate and Articulate Studio have different skill sets and sometimes you need the best of both worlds.  While Captivate is great for software simulations, I think Articulate is better for soft skills projects and tying the whole thing together.  Because Captivate and Articulate have unique qualities you may come across the situation where you want the best of both worlds by using the two programs together.  For example, I'm currently working on a project where branching scenarios lead into software simulations.  I wanted to use Articulate presenter for the branching scenario but I also wanted to use Adobe Captivate for the software simulations.  This brought me to the challenge of embedding an Adobe Captivate software simulation in an Articulate Presenter project.  Through a little research and trial and error I found a way to smoothly embed an Adobe Captivate software simulation in an Articulate Presenter project.  This post includes a Screenr video and written instructions describing how to take advantage of the best of both worlds by integrating Adobe Captivate and Articulate Studio.  Please post a comment if you have any questions or ideas of how to improve upon what I started.

Video Overview:
The Screenr video below overviews how to embed Adobe Captivate Software simulations in an Articulate Presenter project as well as a cool way to transition from a branching scenario into the Captivate software simulation.  Check out my post "How to Create a Zoom and Pan Effect in PowerPoint" for more information on the "Zoom and Pan" transition effect.

Written Instructions:
Why reinvent the wheel? Dave Perso wrote up great instructions of how to embed Adobe Captivate in Articulate Presenter in his post at the link below.  You may have got the jist from my Screenr video above but if you would like more details or a written set of instructions then click on the link below to check out Dave's post.  I also included a link to my previous post which describes a method for transitioning from a scenario into a software simulation by creating a "Zoom and Pan" effect in PowerPoint.

Monday, May 17, 2010

How to Create a "Zoom and Pan" effect in Powerpoint for eLearning

I am working on a software training project developed with Articulate where the eLearning course transitions from a branching scenario into a software simulation and I wanted to create a smooth transition from the scenario into the simulation. The scene transitions from the character sitting at a desk in front of the computer to a full screen software simulation developed with Adobe Captivate. I thought it would be cool to zoom in over the characters shoulder for a smooth transition into the full screen simulation but I wasn't quite sure how to approach this "Zoom and Pan" effect using Powerpoint animations. After a little playing around I discovered that by grouping all objects on the slide and using the "Grow/Shrink" animation I was close to achieving this effect. I figured out the Zoom but I knew there was room for improvement. I knew that with a little help from the Articulate community I could improve the effect so I recorded a Screenr video describing how I created the effect I had so far and asking for suggestions on how I could improve on it. As usual the Articulate community came up huge and responded with some great suggestions to improve the effect.

The Screenr videos below take you start to finish through the process of creating the "Zoom and Pan" transition using PowerPoint animations. The first video is what started things off and the following videos take it to the next level by using Powerpoint "Motion Paths" to add the "pan" effect and "parallel proximity." With the help of David Anderson, Kevin Thorn, and other helpful Articulate users I now have a nice transition from the scenario into the software simulation. Now that I know how to create this affect I have a lot of ideas of how to use it in other types of eLearning scenarios to bring attention to certain parts of the screen or scene that you are developing. In the spirit of sharing I have included the source files and posted the videos for anyone looking to create a similar effect. Please post a comment if you have any suggestions to improve the scene or ideas of how to use this effect in other types of eLearning scenarios.

I started things off by describing how I created the "Zoom In" effect using the "Grow/Shrink" animation. This was getting close to what I was looking for but there was still room for improvement.

(Click Here to View on Screenr)

David Anderson and Kevin Thorn both responded with the suggestion of adding a "Motion Path" to go along with the "Grow/Shrink" to achieve the Zoom and Pan effect. David Anderson describes this in the Screenr video below.

I guess I got David's wheels turning because later in the day he took it to the next level describing how to use the "Grow/Shrink" and "Motion Path" animations to create the "Parallel Proximity" effect.

(Click Here to View on Screenr)

Written Instructions:
I also received a response pointing me to written instructions from Microsoft explaining this and alternate methods of creating the "Zoom and Pan" effect.

Source Files:
If you would like to tinker around with the PowerPoint or use it for your own projects feel free to download the source files using the links below:

Related Posts:
If you are looking for tips on creating an indoor scene in eLearning like you see in the Screenr videos then check out the post at the link below:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Should I change the name of this blog?

Back when I started this blog about 3 years ago I was coming from an instructor led training background and transitioning into the world of eLearning. I was working on a variety of instructional design projects involving instructor led (face to face) training and beginning to implement eLearning within my organization. I was hot on "Blended" training solutions involving both ILT and eLearning so I thought "Blender - Training Solutions" was a decent name since I was blogging about instructional design projects involving "blended" training solutions but I've never been very happy with the name.

Fast forward to today and you could say eLearning has reached the tipping point within the organization and is now dominating my "To Do" list. I still work on and blog about instructor led projects from time to time but the majority of my work and blog posts are focused on eLearning. The change of focus and dislike of the current name has pushed me to consider changing the name of this blog. Before making any changes I wanted to tap into the wealth of knowledge out there in the blogosphere to make sure I have a complete understanding of the pros and cons involved in changing the name of a blog. Below I have a list of some name possibilities, the pros and cons, and a few questions I have about making this change. I would love your input on whether I should go forward with this and if you have any ideas for what I should call this blog if I do decide to make the change. I'm looking for feedback from a variety of perspectives so you don't have to be a blog or SEO guru to chime in and let me know what you think. Thanks in advance for commenting.

Blog Name Ideas:
  • eLearning Blender - This is the one I am leaning towards since it is a similar name but more focused on eLearning. I blog about a variety of topics related to eLearning so I feel blender is still fitting in the name.
  • eLearning in Practice
  • eLearning in Action
  • eLearning Insider
  • eLearning Dude - This is what I am called within my organization. It sure stuck at work so maybe it will stick as a blog title.
  • Something focused on eLearning in the corporate sector? - Should I narrow the focus even further to "Corporate eLearning."
  • Your Ideas?
Pros and Cons:
Here are just a few of the pros and cons that have crossed my mind. I'm sure there are many more issues to take into consideration before making this change.
A Better Name - I don't feel the current name is memorable or very fitting of the content.
Established - This blog has had this name for around 3 years now so it's somewhat established although I'm not sure if many readers remember the name.
Improved SEO - I don't know a lot about SEO but I would imagine having the word "eLearning" in the title would improve search engine rankings.
Mess up feeds - I have some concerns about messing up feeds that are addressed in the questions below.

  • Will I mess up my RSS feed? - I'm concerned that I may have to set up a new RSS feed for the new name which would put me at risk of losing current subscribers. I haven't done any research on this yet so it may not be an issue.
  • Will I mess up my "eLearning Learning" feed? - This may be a question I need to ask Tony Karrer but I am hoping changing the name won't mess anything up on the eLearning Learning site.
  • Is there anything else I am not taking into consideration? I haven't done much research on this yet so I am sure there are many more issues I need to consider. If you can think of any of those issues please let me know by posting a comment.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Synchronous eLearning Design Overview

As I described in my last post (Help me Design Synchronous eLearning), I am working on a school project that requires the design of an eLearning course that includes at least one online synchronous session. After getting some comments with tips and doing a little more research, I have come up with a decent lesson plan for the introductory session of the course. Keep in mind that this is just an introductory session and the majority of the course is a project based lesson involving participants completing a project on their own. I've included an outline of my lesson plan for the introductory synchronous session and would love your feedback. Please let me know if you have any ideas to help improve the design or if you just have a comment about synchronous eLearning in general.

Goals of Introductory Synchronous Session:
The overall goal of the course is for participants to learn how to build Moodle course sites by actually building a site on their own. Because participants will be off on their own to build a Moodle course site, it's important that they leave this session with an idea for what they want to use a course site for. Therefore the goals of this course are to introduce Moodle and what it can potentially be used for and to help participants develop an idea for the project.

  • Welcome - Brief overview of the course structure and objectives of the course. Keeping this "Broadcast" portion of the course short and sweet so that I can dive into the activities.
  • What is Moodle? - Many of the course participants have never used Moodle and really don't know much about it's potential. Before they can fully develop an idea for their project they need to have an understanding of what they can do with Moodle. I found a great "What is Moodle" video at that drives home this point for me so I will use that as a brief introduction to Moodle and to get the conversation started.
  • Moodle Hopes and Dreams (Poll) - In this section we will start developing ideas for the projects by taking a poll asking them what they are hoping to use Moodle for. This will give me an idea of the participants backgrounds and the kinds of projects they will want to complete. I'll segue from this poll into a brainstorming session by discussing their expectations for Moodle.
    • Poll Question - What are you hoping to use Moodle for?
      • K12 Course Site
      • Corporate Training
      • Other
  • Brainstorming for Project Ideas (Whiteboard) - Now we'll dive into creating project ideas. In this activity I'll be asking participants to write down potential project ideas or just uses for Moodle while I write down their common ideas using a "whiteboard" feature or simply writing them in a word doc while sharing my screen. The goal of this section is to get their wheels turning about how they can possibly use Moodle and what they want their project to be.
  • Sharing Ideas - At this point participants should have a great idea of what Moodle can be used for and hopefully they will have narrowed down what they want to do for their project by taking the stage and using their mic to share their idea with the rest of class. This activity will give them the opportunity to bounce their ideas off the rest of the class and receive feedback to nail down what they want to do for their project. Participants should have an idea for their project narrowed down after sharing their idea with the class and receiving feedback.
In all I feel I have a decent plan for the structure of the course but would love to hear your ideas on how I can help course participants to realize the potential of Moodle and to nail down an idea for their project. I've done my best to keep the "broadcasting" to a minimum but still feel there is room for improvement to make this session more engaging and effective for the participants. Please share your ideas for improving this design by posting a comment.

Related Posts:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Help Me Design Synchronous eLearning

I am working on a project for my Ed Tech class at SDSU which is putting me a little out of my comfort zone. The project requires the design of an eLearning course including a synchronous portion where the facilitator and learners meet online using web conferencing software. I have a lot of experience creating asynchronous "self paced" eLearning courses but rarely have the opportunity to work on eLearning courses with a synchronous session involved. I am excited about the opportunity to try something new and would love your input on the design of the course especially when it comes to the synchronous online meetings at the beginning and end of the course. Below you will find the syllabus which summarizes the design I have come up with so far and the direction I am headed with the project. Help me earn an A+ on this project by posting any suggestions, ideas, or questions you may have about designing synchronous elearning as a comment.

Excerpts from Syllabus
Course Description:
This course introduces Moodle, the Learning Management System and how it can be used to create an online course site and learning activities. Course participants will take a "Hands On" approach to learning Moodle by completing a project based lesson which requires the development of a Moodle course site. Through the development of this project, participants will learn how to take advantage of the Moodle features described below and finish with a course site that can be used for their own courses:
  • Customize course site settings for your specific needs
  • Add text and graphics to your course site
  • Add resources such as web sites or documents to your course site
  • Create graded online activities such as quizzes and self paced online lessons.
  • Create social learning activities such as Forums, Chats, Wiki's, and Blogs.
The course starts and ends with synchronous online discussions while the majority of learning will take place asynchronously using resources available on the course site to complete the project. The online discussions will get you started on the project and provide the opportunity to receive feedback while learning the basics of Moodle through the development of your own course site. Because the majority of the course is completed independently, it is important that you take advantage of the forums on the course site to ask questions and complete your weekly progress reports. Don't wait until the last minute to ask a question, be proactive by posting any questions or concerns on the forums so that you can build the course site of your dreams.

Course Site and Resources:
You are not on your own when it comes to completing this project. By completing weekly assignments, communicating with your instructor and classmates, and taking advantage of resources found on the course site you will learn a lot about Moodle and walk away with a finished product that you can be proud of. Everything you need to attend online meetings and complete the project is found on the course site. Prior to attending our first online meeting, familiarize yourself with the course by reading through each section on the course site.

Course Schedule:
Week 1:

  • Online Meeting
    • Accessed through course site
    • Topics - Moodle overview, Project overview, Discuss project ideas
  • Post your idea for project in progress report
    • Use the "Progress Report" forum on the course site
    • Summarize the purpose and content of your course site. Outline what content, resources, and activities will be included in your course site.
Week 2:
  • No meeting
  • Create project course site and begin adding text using resources in section 2 of course site.
    • "Add a new course" using resources in section 2
    • Assigning participants to the "Student" role
    • Add instructions for students and outline content of course using resources in section 2.
  • Post Progress Report
    • Use the "Progress Report" forum on the course site
    • Summarize what you have done so far, lessons you have learned, and any questions you have.
    • Post link to your project site in forum posting.
Week 3:
  • No meeting
  • Add resources and activities to course site using resources in section 3 of course site.
    • Add a resource such as a web site or document using resources.
    • Add a graded activity such as a quiz or self paced lesson using resources.
    • Add a social activity such as a forum, chat session, wiki, or blog
  • Post progress report
    • Use the "Progress Report" forum on the course site
    • Summarize what you have done so far, lessons you have learned, and any questions you have.
    • Post link to your site in forum posting
Week 4:
  • Online Meeting
    • Accessed through course site
    • Topics - Project Presentations and feedback
Any Feedback??:
So, what do you think? If you have any ideas, questions, or suggestions please let me know by posting a comment.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Creating a Better eLearning Scene With a Little Help

A great way to create effective eLearning is to throw the learner into a simulation of the task or performance you are training them to complete. Don't just tell the learner about it, make them do it. This often requires simulating the scene where the task takes place which can be difficult to make look realistic in whatever authoring tool you may use. One way to create a realistic scene is to use pictures of the actual environment but in some cases you might want to design a scene that is easier to manipulate so that various scenarios can be constructed from the same scene. The latter is the situation I was in in for an eLearning project I just finished. I was trying to create a scene of the inside of a room and was struggling to make it look realistic with 3D perspective so I turned to the Articulate community for a little help by adding this Articulate forum post and they came through with some quality tips as you can see by the before and after image. This blog post takes you through the development of this scene, and describes some of the lessons I learned along the way with a little help from fellow eLearning developers.

The eLearning course was developed using Articulate so most of the work was done in Power point. I did use Photoshop to create the floor and wall textures but other than that it's all Power point.

I started out by creating floor and wall textures in Photoshop to create the scene in Power Point. You can find images of floors and walls on sites like istock or create your own. In my case I used an image of carpet for the floor, and I created the walls by following the steps in this tutorial to create a drywall texture. You can also find textures on this Flickr site that David Anderson (@eLearning) referred me to. Once you have the images you are going to use for the floors and walls you are ready to put your scene together in powerpoint using the 3D formatting and rotation options. This is where you will need to spend time tinkering with the 3D options to give your floors and walls the correct perspective. The video below describes what 3D options I used and how I got started creating this scene.

After posting the Screenr video in the Articulate forum I got some great tips to make the scene more realistic. I learned that there are many different ways to do the same thing and ended up using a variety of tips from multiple contributors to the forum post that helped to improve the scene. The lessons I learned and used to improve my scene are described in the points and videos below:
  • David Anderson recommended removing the shadow underneath the wall, moving the floor and wall higher, and adding a person to the scene to add perspective.
  • Andrea05, and David Anderson all recommended adding depth and perspective to the room by using a larger image of the carpet and drywall that is not so focused, shrinking the baseboard, adding more objects to the scene, and adding a side wall.
  • Jeanette Brooks recommended adding a dark to light gradient on the carpet to add perspective and depth to the room.
Tom Kuhlmann demonstrated and described how to implement many of these ideas with the Screenr video embedded below. This was a big help in making the ideas happen.

(Click Here to view Tom Kuhlmanns suggestions)

Bruno De Pace (@evolve4success) suggested an alternative way of adding perspective by using side walls. This is also a great tip that may be a little easier to develop than what Tom suggested. Like I said, there are many different ways to do the same thing and this video proves that point.

Posting this question was a very educational experience for me and I hope others can learn from it. Although I learned a lot about design and power point one of the most powerful lessons learned for me is to not be too proud or embarrassed to ask a question. There are a lot of eLearning all stars out there more than willing to make a contribution to the eLearning community. That being said, I'll bet some of you have more ideas or questions about how to attack this situation. If you have a tip or a question please post it as a comment here, post it in the Articulate forum, or even better do both. I also highly encourage you to jump on Screenr and show us what you are talking about with a short demo. Help make the eLearning world a better place by sharing your thoughts.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

SCORM Problems Caused by Moodle Review Mode

I ran into a problem this week involving Moodle and SCORM and wanted to share the problem and solution for my own good and for the good of anyone else out there who may be having a similar problem. What I was trying to do is relatively common so I am sure I am not the only one running into this problem with using SCORM on Moodle no matter what authoring tool you are using.

The Problem:
The problem was with a SCORM based course not tracking scores correctly in the Moodle gradebook due to it forcing learners into "Review Mode" after their first attempt. The "Review Mode" feature is designed to allow the user to review the eLearning course without their score being tracked in the gradebook. The problem I was having is that for this course I wanted to allow unlimited attempts and have their highest score tracked in the Moodle gradebook but Moodle did not make that easy on me. Moodle was forcing the user into "Review Mode" on their second attempt no matter what their score was on their first attempt. This was no good because it did not give the user the opportunity to improve their score after their first attempt like I was hoping for. The gradebook only reported scores for the users first attempt due to them being forced into "Review Mode" on their second attempt. This lead me into a scavenger hunt for information on how to disable "Review Mode." What I ended up finding is a better solution.

The Solution:
After digging through Moodle forums I discovered that "Review Mode" kicks in after the user has received a "Passing Score" on the course. At first this didn't make sense to me because in Articulate, I had the passing score set to 100%. If the passing score was set to 100% then why is "Review Mode" kicking in for lower scores? Then I realized that the Moodle gradebook has a "Passing Score" option also. After this light bulb kicked on I set the passing score in the Moodle gradebook to 100% and voila, "Review Mode" doesn't kick in unless the user has scored 100% and at that point who cares because they can't score better anyway. If you have run into this problem you can change your passing score by following the written or video instructions below.

(Click Here to view Video Instructions)

Changing the "Passing Score" to avoid Moodle's "Review Mode":
  1. The settings on the SCORM activity can vary depending on your preferences but in my case I used the settings below:
    1. Grading Method = Highest Grade
    2. Maximum Score = 100
    3. Number of Attempts = Unlimited
    4. Attempts Grading = Highest Attempt
  2. From the Moodle Grade book, turn editing on.
  3. Click on the edit icon located in the column for the SCORM activity
  4. After clicking the edit icon you will see an option labeled "Grade to Pass." Set this to 100 or whatever you would like the passing score to be.
  5. Click Save. After changing this option the user will not be forced into "Review Mode" unless they have received a passing score.

Related Posts:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Using SCORM with Adobe Captivate and Moodle

If you are thinking about using Moodle and Adobe Captivate together one of the first things you need to take into consideration is the use of SCORM. Both Moodle and Adobe Captivate are SCORM 1.2 and 2004 compatible. What does this mean? It means that you can create an eLearning tutorial with Adobe Captivate that will communicate the users scores and other information to the gradebook in Moodle. If you were ever wondering how to track completion of flash based eLearning tutorials, SCORM is the answer. You could drive yourself crazy drilling down into the details of SCORM but the most important thing to know is how to make it work. This post answers one of my most frequently asked questions from blog readers by walking you through the steps of using a SCORM based Adobe Captivate tutorial in Moodle. I've included a video from Dave Mozealous (@dmozealous) at MoodleTuts screencasting the procedure. Check out the video to see the process in action or simply use the written instructions for an overview. Hope this information helps and please leave a comment if you have any suggestions for using Captivate with Moodle or if you have any questions.

Using SCORM with Adobe Captivate and Moodle:
  1. Turn on SCORM reporting in Adobe Captivate.
    1. Go to "Quiz Preferences"
    2. Select "Enable Reporting"
    3. Select SCORM 1.2
    4. Leave other options at default (optional)
  2. Publish the Captivate tutorial with the "Zip Files" option checked.
  3. Go to the Moodle site and add a "SCORM/AICC Activity."
  4. Add a name and description for the activity
  5. Click the "Choose or Upload File" button to add the SCORM package.
  6. Click the "Upload a File" button and Browse to the Zipped SCORM package you published with Captivate.
  7. Click the "Choose" option once the zip file has been uploaded.
  8. Leave the other options as default. Once you get things working I would recommend playing around to see how the different options affect the activity. You'll need to find the correct combination of settings that will work for your situation.
  9. Click "Save and Return to Course" and test the activity. You may need to login as a student to ensure that scores are tracked in Moodles grade book.
Related Posts:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

5 Reasons Why I Decided to Buy Articulate Studio 09

I'm just finishing up my test drive of Articulate Studio 09 and I am sold on driving my own version off the lot. As I discussed in my post "Articulate, Captivate, Both, Or....?", I have been using Adobe Captivate but would like something that integrates with Power Point and speeds up the development process. Articulate has definitely proven that it provides what I was looking for and many other benefits that I was not aware of. Here are 5 reasons why I decided to pay the price for Articulate Studio 09.
  1. Rapid Development - Yes, it still takes time and effort to design and develop a quality eLearning experience but Articulate has definitely sped up the development process for me. I went into this just hoping to eliminate the steps I was taking to convert my power point into a Captivate file but got more than I was expecting with Quizmaker and Engage. I was expecting these tools to speed up development but I was not expecting the quality results. Before diving into this I thought these tools were just for cookie cutter eLearning and not as flexible as you see in the Screenr videos here and here and here.
  2. Community - I had been following Tom Kuhlmann's Rapid eLearning blog for quite a while and have learned a lot from him but I had no idea about all the great Screenr videos, blog posts, and forum posts from other Articulate gurus such as David Anderson (@eLearning), Dave Mozealous (@dmozealous), and Jeanette Brooks (@JeanetteBrooks) all of whom have already helped me troubleshoot an issue or sparked a creative idea for a project after only a month of using Articulate. The community's ability to show me the potential of Articulate products and quickly help me troubleshoot an issue is what truly sold me.
  3. Bandwidth - The learners in my organization are what I like to call "Bandwidth Challenged." You may have read previous posts of mine describing the problems I have with learners computers freezing on SCORM based Captivate projects. This is no problem with Articulate. SCORM based projects are running like a dream even for my "Bandwidth Challenged" learners. I believe this may be due to Articulate producing a package of smaller files compared to Captivate publishing one big .swf file. However, I am using Captivate 3 and I have heard that this is not as much of a problem in Captivate 4.
  4. PowerPoint Integration - I often find myself doing the majority of the work in power point then importing those slides into Captivate to make the final touches and publish. I felt like I was taking extra steps by jumping between the different programs and thought I might be able to save time and possibly get better results using a tool that integrates with Power Point. I was right about saving time and pleasantly surprised about the difference in results of the published files. I have noticed that power point slides with Articulate come out with a cleaner, crisper look and smaller file size compared to Captivate.
  5. Flexibility - Compared to other tools that integrate with Power Point, Articulate is more flexible. There are many more options giving you control of the navigation and behavior of each slide and the overall template. I've only completed a couple of projects so I feel like I am just scratching the surface with all of the customization options available.

I am excited about the potential for future projects now that I am able to leverage the best of what both Articulate Studio and Adobe Captivate are best at. I'm sure not everyone will agree but from the perspective of a busy eLearning Developer in a smallish organization, Articulate will definitely improve the quality of many projects and reduce the time it takes to produce those results. Please help others lost in all the software options by posting your take on Articulate, Adobe Captivate, and other eLearning development tools.

Related Posts:

Monday, February 1, 2010

Distance Education - Ed Tech 650

The Spring semester has begun and I started a new class in the Educational Technology program at San Diego State called Ed Tech 650 "Distance Education" although the name may soon be changing to something like "eLearning Design and Development." I'm excited about the class taught by Dr. Bob Hoffman because it really dives into the development side of eLearning by applying principles from the textbook; "Michael Allens Guide to eLearning." To this point, most of the classes I have taken focused mainly on instructional design topics so I am eager to learn more about the tools that can make those designs happen. I've always taken a "Do it yourself" approach to eLearning development and I am looking forward to learning about different tools and methods from others in the class. Being that I am the lone instructional designer/eLearning developer in my company I don't have as many opportunities to learn from others in a formal learning environment like this class provides.

I love that the structure of the class is flexible and highly project based. Most of the semester is based around completing 2 eLearning projects that can be for any topic, audience, or in any format you would like. I think this is a great idea considering we all come from different backgrounds and have different goals for the course. The first project is to design and develop a "self paced" eLearning course and the second project is to design and develop a synchronous, instructor led eLearning course. At work, I mainly develop self paced eLearning courses so that project will provide the opportunity to use a work project and kill 2 birds with 1 stone. Due to scheduling difficulties I don't have many opportunities to develop instructor led eLearning so I am looking forward to learning more about developing that type of eLearning course in the second project.

Things are off to a good start as I am already working on a needs analysis for the first project and I am looking forward to what the rest of the semester has in store. I'm sure you will see more blog posts throughout the semester updating you on my progress on the projects. I'm hoping to keep the blog posts coming while juggling school assignments so hopefully the class will give me some hot topics to blog about.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Articulate, Captivate, Both, or....?

I've been using Adobe Captivate for a while now and I am very happy with it for technical training projects but I can't help but wonder if other tools like Articulate may be a great addition to my toolbox. Since I already have Captivate, I need to determine whether it would be worth the investment to purchase new software when I may be able to get along just as well with what I already have. I'm hoping you can help me make this decision by commenting with your thoughts on the skill sets of Articulate, Captivate, or a different eLearning authoring tool altogether.

In my humble opinion, Captivate is second to none when it comes to software simulations and technical training projects but I believe there is a little left to be desired when it comes to soft skills projects that don't require screencasting. I often find myself creating most of the content in Power Point, then importing those slides into Captivate to add interaction and publish as flash. Being that Articulate integrates so well with Power Point it makes me wonder if maybe I would be happier with it for certain projects. But then there's that price tag that comes along with Articulate that makes me think I should just stay with what is already working okay for me. So, what do you think, is Articulate worth the investment when I already have Captivate? Before I jump into the trial version of Articulate to test it out I'd like to hear your opinion on eLearning development tools. Here's a brief description of some of the requirements that will come into play in the decision making process.

This is definitely not an exhaustive list of requirements but my main concerns going into the research stages.
  • Works well for low bandwidth users - You could say that my learners computers are bandwidth challenged. I have a difficult time using SCORM with Captivate because of the added bandwidth. Keeping bandwidth to a minimum is a huge concern for me.
  • Moodle friendly - If you've read this blog before you know I am using Moodle so it is important that whatever tool I use is Moodle friendly.
  • SCORM works well on Moodle - I've had my challenges using SCORM with Captivate and Moodle due to bandwidth issues. Hoping a different tool might be able to handle this better.
  • Budget Friendly - I don't have much room in the budget so it needs to be something that's not going to leave too much of a dent in it. The price tag on Articulate is pushing it. Although I do have a student discount so I may be able to find a better deal then what is advertised on the web site.
  • Branching Friendly - This year I will be working on a lot of scenario based branching eLearning tutorials. I'd like a tool that is designed well for laying out a branching tutorial and makes it easy to create menu screens with variables based on the users path.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Moodle 1.9 Multimedia

I thought I knew about most of the cool tools out there for developing multimedia instructional materials but was proved wrong after reading "Moodle 1.9 Multimedia" by João Pedro Soares Fernandes. This is one in a series of books from Packt Publishing that will help you learn the ins and outs of Moodle. If you're looking to take your Moodle courses to the next level with easy to use multimedia tools then "Moodle 1.9 Multimedia" is a great place to start. I have also read "Moodle 1.9 eLearning Course Development" which mainly covers using tools available within Moodle while "Moodle 1.9 Multimedia" covers multimedia tools outside of Moodle that can be used to add a little pizzaz to your courses.

The book starts out teaching you how to configure Moodle so that you are able to take advantage of the multimedia tools that are covered throughout the rest of the book. I was happy to see that the book started out by going over some of the administration tasks involved in using Multimedia tools such as increasing the Max File Upload Size, and embedding flash files as configuring Moodle is crucial to being able to use multimedia in Moodle courses. Once you've got the boring configuration tasks out of the way so that you can use sound, images, and video in your Moodle courses, the book jumps into a variety of tools most of which are freely available on the web. Tools such as Gimp, Google Docs, Jing, Audacity, Windows Movie Maker, and Hot Potatoes are covered just to name a few.

I recommend this book for any Instructional Designer, Corporate Trainer, or Teacher looking to increase engagement in their eLearning courses by taking advantage of multimedia tools. Not only does it teach you about many great tools freely available on the web but it also teaches you how to configure Moodle so that you can make the most out of those tools. Even a seasoned instructional design veteran can learn about a new multimedia tool or two from this book.

Related Posts:

Monday, January 4, 2010

Moodle Pros and Cons

Making the decision to go with Moodle over other Learning Management Systems can be a very difficult decision, especially when you don't have the experience to know the benefits and drawbacks of Moodle. Something that can be very helpful in this decision making process is feedback from Moodlers on the Pros and Cons of Moodle. In an effort to help those struggling with this decision I am looking for your help constructing a list of the pros and cons of Moodle from multiple perspectives and opinions. A list created on my own will not be nearly as complete as a list constructed with your help. Help make the Moodleverse a better place by sharing your experience.

I have kick started the list with a few pros and cons on a wiki page. All you need to do to contribute is click on the link to the wiki page below, click the "Edit" option on the wiki page, and add your contribution to the list. There are a few more details on the wiki page but wikispaces has made it very simple for all of us to collaborate on this list. Also, don't be shy to get a conversation about the pros and cons of Moodle started by leaving a comment here or using the "Discussion" option on the wiki page. So, what are you waiting for? Make the Moodleverse a better place by clicking on the link below and contributing to the list.
I kick started the list with the pros and cons below. These are some of the major pros and cons that stick out for me from the corporate perspective. Hopefully this will spur some ideas for you so that the list of pros and cons can grow. Thanks in advance for your contributions.

Moodle Benefits Moodle Drawbacks
Open Source - Free to download Reporting - There is no simple way to run a site wide report with users grades in multiple courses. You are stuck going into each course site to view one courses grades at a time or using the overview report to view grades for one user at a time.
Great Community - There is a great community of Moodlers more than willing to help you solve any problems you may come across. User management - No easy way to manage groups of students. It would be much easier if there was a way to manage groups site wide rather than on a course by course basis. I need to use groups for position and region which requires a lot of maintenance of the groups in each course site.
Customizable - There is a huge selection of plugins and add ons freely available to help you customize Moodle to your needs. Takes a little tech savvy - Not just any trainer or teacher can download Moodle and be up and running with a quality LMS. It takes a little tech savvy and access to IT Dept resources to implement.

Related Posts: