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: