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: