April 13, 2009

eLearning. Adobe Captivate

What is Adobe Captivate?
According to the official site Adobe® Captivate® 4 software helps corporate trainers, educators, and business users design engaging, interactive multimedia and Adobe Flash® Player compatible presentations online that quickly communicate knowledge visually and effectively — without skills in HTML or the Adobe Flash authoring application.

Incorporating the best presentation elements of Microsoft PowerPoint slide shows; web, video, audio, and Flash Player compatible content; and an easy drag-and-drop interface, Adobe Captivate 4 is a new, better way to create timesaving multimedia training, slide shows, and skill acquisition presentations.

Taking eLearning to the next level

Adobe Captivate software has emerged as the market-leading rapid authoring tool for creating professional eLearning content with advanced interactivity, software and scenario simulations, and robust quizzes — all without programming knowledge or multimedia skills. The software has garnered raves from customers and industry publications alike, and its awards include a CODiE Award for Best Corporate Learning Solution, a Business Software Satisfaction Award, and a Technology & Learning Award of Excellence.

What could be done?

* SWF commenting

* Round-trip PowerPoint workflow

* Professional project templates

* Customizable widgets such as games & quizzes

* Text-to-speech functionality

* SCORM/AICC/Pens/508 Support

* Visual Scripting, Branching & Scoring

~Import Adobe Captivate 4 projects directly into Flash CS3 or CS4 Professional for additional enhancement, ActionScript coding, or integration into a larger Flash project.

~Take advantage of ActionScript 3.0 publishing to bring Adobe Flex content into your Adobe Captivate projects, and to embed Adobe Captivate movies in your Flex content.

~Edit AVI files of your Adobe Captivate content in Adobe Premiere Pro software.

~Create PDF Portfolios that bring together files of varying formats in a single PDF document, complete with navigation and a customized look and feel, for easy viewing via free Adobe Reader software.

~Send Adobe Captivate audio files to Adobe Soundbooth CS4 software for additional editing and enhancement, and then bring them back into Adobe Captivate.

With all these exciting information the question is why should the developers know how to use Adobe Captivate? Here is some interesting article about the future of education.

Workforce learning in 2019: Finding patterns in a Clouded Crystall Ball

elearning,Collaboration,NetBooks,Performance Support,GenX,GenY,Immersive Learning,rapid elearning

John Medina in his keynote address at the eLearning Guild November 2008 conference talked about how the fundamentals of how a person learns do not change decade on decade – in fact, it is an evolutionary process. Believing in John (and I am not suggesting that we should not) leads us to a scenario where the workplace learning environment will not be significantly different than what we see today. However, our knowledge of this learning process is very far from complete. As our understanding of our learning processes improves, expect to see changes taking place to take advantage of the same.

Crystal ball gazing is hazardous in the best of times, and in the current uncertain times, the ball does seem particularly cloudy. But, let us indulge ourselves and try and look for patterns in the clouds.

Changing demographics

In 2019, the US workplace will be 10 years “younger”! Meaning folks who are too young to enter the workforce in 2009, would have entered by 2019, and the current old folks would have retired. While this change is very similar to any previous decade, the next 10 years bears special significance.

Currently, the digital natives of the GenY generation (less than 24 years of age) constitute around 14% of the US civilian workforce. In 2019 this percentage would have jumped to 35-40%. Importantly, more than 50% of the middle management positions would be held by digital natives, compared to none today, the remaining being filled by the digital citizens of the GenX generation. 30-50% of the managers in 2019 would be having of them having online profiles, and actively participate in social networking. So learning decision makers along with learning consumers will not only understand the technology in learning, but will actually “get” it.

So expect to see continued increase in eLearning in the learning blend (the blend will remain), with increasing focus on embedded learning and performance support systems. I will also stick my neck out and suggest that the current economic downturn will drive a trend of measuring learning effectiveness through business metrics (sales, churn, defect rates, opex etc.) and not simply through LMS scorecards. And this trend will endure. I would expect to see (actually like to see) integration of LMS with ERP systems in larger enterprises, or a totally new brand of talent tracking architecture.


The situation in the education world would however be different. Studies conducted by EDUCAUSE Center For Applied Research (ECAR) on undergraduate students in US found that the number of students wanting extensive use of IT in their courses remaining fairly constant at around 22% when comparing with data collected in 2004, 2006, 2007. So the GenY digital natives seem to continue to have a preference for the human-touch in colleges. Remembering John’s comment at the beginning, I expect that this trend not to change significantly over the next 10 years.

At the same time the studies did indicate that seniors have higher preference for IT. These students are now more comfortable in their colleges, and are able to take advantage of the benefits of eLearning namely self-paced, collaboration with others etc. In the coming years expect this trend to accelerate whereby seniors, post-graduate students will embrace eLearning in a big way and expect the colleges to facilitate this process through improved CMS(Course management systems) and collaboration platforms.

So expect the growth on online universities and universities offering online courses to continue. The challenge here is content creation. Universities may opt out of packaged content, as content will be king and the key differentiator between offerings in 2019 as delivery of these courses become commoditized. While current level of online content creation at most universities remain less than satisfactory, as GenX and GenY increase their presence in the faculty, expect to see a positive impact on content volume.

Authoring Tools

GenY have grown up with rich-media and have a significant difference in attitude from the Gen X. While sharing with an audience, GenX will pay special attention to try and create a seminal document which will be appreciated by ALL in the audience. As I study my daughter’s generation (age 11) I am simply amazed by their willingness to share anything and everything they creates with scant regard for acceptance by the WHOLE audience – they are trying to make connections with people who like their work and simply ignore others who do not. This not only results in a higher inclination to share (of course it does, as has been well documented), but it leads to a greater NEED to create.

People will want to create and communicate and do this quickly and without “due process”. Authoring tools will need to support mashups, but I suspect that tools themselves need to be created as a mash-up of tools. Each constituent tool in the final mash-up relate to a specific media (text, audio, video etc.) and addressed a specific skill level. Not really far-fetched as a technology – look at Microsoft Office or some elements of the Adobe Creative suites. The challenge (technical and business) would be to allow users to do the mash-up instead of the vendors. Will this happen – I do not know. But, tools will drive democratizing of content creation, will drive rapid creation, will have an online presence, and will be available as service.

Mobility and Learning

netBook sales penetration.png Netbooks had a market share of 19% of the laptop market (around 10%of all PCs) in the December 2008, starting at less than 1% in July 2008. This is indeed phenomenal growth, partly driven by the economy, and partly because they provide a solution which is right-sized to the demand – wireless internet access, web browsing and ability to run web applications running on the cloud, and a 7-12” screen. 97% of these run Windows XP though Linux and Google’s Android will make an impact in the coming years. The pricing starts at $299 – and this is ONLY the first year for NetBooks! Expect the price to fall below $100 soon as demand picks up.

NetBooks will have a tremendous impact on how learning is delivered – more specifically how mLearning evolves. The larger screen tackles the problem of the form-factor that sometimes paralyzes mLearning decision making. Content can now be effectively created for the desktop and with little or no change be effectively delivered across a mobile platform.

On the other hand, we have iPhone at around $250. There are a whole range of offerings from NOKIA, HTC which will compete in this space and providing fresh opportunities to mLearning content creation and deployment.

So mLearning will thrive happen in 2019, but it will be simply called eLearning.

Immersive Learning

This is also known as serious games in popular literature. I expect the term “serious games” to be extinct by 2019, and possibly the only prophesy I am willing to put my money on. Calling a learning style as serious games sucks out all the fun from learning and raises images of solemn monks in a far-away monastery reciting mantras, chants, hymns.

Learning through immersive simulation is getting a lot of airwaves, but not much action on the ground. There is good logic to support that GenX and Boomers are challenged in their ability to navigate a virtual 3D immersive world. But, as I mentioned earlier, the audience is changing whereby the GenY generation has been bought up on a healthy diet of immersive casual/core gaming.

There are some challenges that need to be overcome on the creation side. Immersive games today can be quite expensive to create and difficult to maintain in-house. However, I expect to see continued development of templatized approach in creation where it would be possible to create immersive games without first conquering the steep 3D curve. Virtual world are already investing in technology which will allow a wider audience to participate in their world, though I feel adoption of virtual worlds in learning will continue to be flattish.

Collaboration and what -do-we-call-that Learning

Is it not surprising that we are struggling to provide a name to the most natural form of learning that all humans participate in? We have called it informal learning (do not trivialize learning, we are told!), then some non-formal learning (can we define something by what it is not !). Companies has already trademarked Natural learning, Organic learning so we cannot use them. Then, there is a theory on social learning. So, what do we call it ? Let us call it social learning for sake of convenience.

A big push will come from an increasing out-of-office workforce. While the number of people working from home-offices has been on the rise for some time, this economy will give it a definitive push. Companies like IBM claim to already have around 40% of their workforce not working from an office desk. Once companies figure out a way to make this model work, it makes economic sense to continue.

What will this decentralized workplace learning look like? It has flavors of mobile. But, the people are not really mobile, but simply remote to one another. The social learning across cubicles, at the watering holes will no longer be possible. A different kind of social learning model needs to evolve to keep these remote folks remain connected. Effective Multi-channel video conferencing will become necessary, but it will need to be complemented by improved asynchronous collaboration to increase – wikis, blogs etc. These Web 2.0 methods will not remain underground as they are today in lots of organizations, but will become mainstream.

As mentioned earlier, the GenY loves to share/create. I expect that the problem of content freshness that plagues most blogs and websites will reduce, though not disappear. And an active contributor base is a great way to improve the accuracy and relevance of the content.

The old fears around accuracy, control on information will continue for some more time, but eventually fall by the wayside. Someone mentioned to me at one of my sessions at the eLearning Guild Conference that emails are considered mainstream, but does anyone bother to ensure the accuracy of each email conversation.

Wikis and blogs will also go the same way in gaining acceptance – the digital natives will make it happen. While text will continue to dominate, rich media will continue its upward trend. Expect to see a lot more of rich-media commenting, that too in situ!

In a distributed environment, discovery of learning resources both human and electronic will become very important. Search engines currently search HTML. PDF and more recently SWFs, will extend to cover all media (images, video, audio). Current developments do point at possible direction of technology in these areas, but expect to see a holistic search engines in the future.

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