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You (Probably) Have the Technology

January 22, 2013

As well as our free online Rapid eLearning Development (ReD) course we also deliver a one-day workshop covering some of rapidthe same material. In fact it was from this workshop that ReD grew. Quite regularly people ask us which elearning author tool they should buy, the assumption being, you must have an elearning author tool in order to create elearning. This simply isn’t the case.

With the rise of mobile devices and tablet computers, people increasingly want access to their learning on the move and from whichever device they have on them. The trouble with many author tools is that their main publishing format is Flash, which as you know, Apple don’t support on their mobile devices. Author tool vendors are increasingly embracing HTML5 publishing, however, typically this will only support a sub-set of their functionality and you will be limited by users needing the very latest browsers to run the content.

The self-paced elearning course has been a staple of the industry for many years and yes, they have their place. However, more useful for the mobile user are smaller chunks of material that they can easily access. This is a case where the parts are more useful and flexible than the sum of them! The really great news is that these ‘learning assets’ are quicker and cheaper to produce than courses and can often be created using tools you already have, or ones that are free or cheap. These resources truly can be Rapid eLearning and this is what people learn on our ReD course. Here are some ideas for the sorts of resources you can develop cheaply and quickly:

  • Screencasts – short videos that capture what you are doing onscreen along with your voice. These can be captured using free or cheap systems such as screenr, Jing and Screenflow.
  • Quizzes and assessments – quizzes can be used to reinforce learning as well as test knowledge retention. There are many free and low-cost quiz building systems available. We have used ProProfs, Classmarker and Google Forms for building quizzes.
  • Animated videos – you could use these to get across key points of a topic, give an overview of a subject or explain a diagram or process. You can animate text and images using Microsoft PowerPoint and then publish it out as a video. Powtoon is pretty cool too.
  • Web pages – simple web pages can be used as job-aids or implementation aids, helping people to put their learning into practice or to remind them of key points. If you know HTML you can create web pages using any text editor. If you need a little more help use something like Google Sites.
  • Wikis and collaborative docs – letting people collaboratively work on a document allows them to share ideas, see other people’s contributions and build on them. We’ve used both Wikispaces and Google Drive to do this.

Hopefully this article has helped you see just how much you can do with low-cost tools and that much of it can also be mobile-accessible. Now go forth and have a play!

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