eLearning Software for Blended Learning

This blog is the continuation for this series on the how’s and why’s of developing and delivering a good blended learning experience for the learner. This one looks at the second requirement for the delivery of your blended course, the eLearning development software.

In a nutshell the eLearning development software you use needs two things – it needs to be flexible and it needs to be functionally robust.

1. Flexible

Through or investigations and profiling of our audience and our actual course components we have probably discovered that it is really hard to make one delivery solution work for all of our users, for their training requirements and their technological assets. Any eLearning content that is to be developed must be flexible enough to meet the requirements of our users, otherwise the transfer of knowledge will be inadequate. This flexibility should include:

  • Responsive (and still be functional) across multiple output channels
    • PC
    • Tablet
    • Android/IPhone
    • Stand alone
  • Shareable content templates across multiple developers
  • Supports accessible standards
  • Media and content rich:
    • Video
    • Images
    • Animations
    • Audio
    • Interactivity
    • Real life scenarios
  • Supports multiple platforms
    • Learning Management System (LMS) – but more importantly an LMS/LRS
    • Intranet/Internet
    • Portable storage devices

2. Functionally Robust

Two issues can affect the uptake of online training content – that the content actually works, it opens when required, does not freeze, reports back to the LMS (if required), easily publishes and reports to the LMS and that the design of the content in the screens relays the message to the learner, but does so in an engaging and personally audience relevant to the audience.

When you looking for an eLearning development software keep these things in mind when making your decision.

Of all the eLearning development software in the market there are two main players that make up a huge majority – Articulate and Adobe. Unlike the LMS space, which consists of large and complex database programs, that are harder to upgrade and of little to no interest to the trainer/developer, the eLearning development application market is benefited by the fact that the applications used to build content are lighter and sold direct to the consumers, so the completion for market share quickly drives R&D and the rapid evolution of the products.

Take for instance the latest release Articulate 360. Prior to this release you could purchase the Articulate development products as stand alone, installable applications. Articulate 360 has now bundled all of the development applications together in a subscription and included in that subscription access to the range of developer specific web services such as:

  • Rise – a development app that build mobile specific content (check out a great blog by my colleague Matt Blackstock here)
  • Review – a real time content sharing platform that allows the developer and reviewers to see the course working and create a screen by screen commentary that is viewable by all reviewers
  • Content Library – a large but still expanding catalogue of characters and screen templates

Check out or blog page for some other great articles on Articulate 360.

When taken in context, the full suite of options now available from Articulate, lets a developer can construct an entire blended program with one product set.

For example, let see what we could build for an induction program:

  • Develop a pre-induction piece in Articulate Rise to be sent to a new inductee’s phone with the letter of offer. The content could include company information, videos of the workplace, maps to get there and checklists for what to expect over the induction period.
  • Develop a broad online induction in Storyline 360 to be completed on site.
    • This could be developed in a segmented format to allow for face to face interventions in between eLearning sessions. See my blog on LMS capability to support such functionality
    • Presentations to the inductees in the face to face sessions can also be developed in Storyline or Studio.
    • Inductees could also view and interact with Articulate developed content in these face to face sessions on smart devices.
  • Have the user complete a post induction survey in Studio 360 to gather feedback on the induction experience.
  • Develop further Rise modules to go to peoples mobiles when the induction process or information changes. These modules can focus on the changed aspect only and in this way the staff are constantly touching the induction and being reacquainted with vision and values, through the design of the content, whilst maintaining their compliance knowledge.

I would be pretty happy to go through such an inclusive and supported induction process.

Beyond the flexibility of the tool and the complete functional capability, the final piece to Articulate 360 is its ease of use. Not all of us are full time eLearning content developers. For those of us who wear multiple hats at the same time, we need systems that are designed for ease of use and have accessible support to help troubleshoot the day to day issues that may be encountered.

Certainly, the Articulate suite of products has been designed with all users in mind. The interface of its products follows a user centric and familiarly designed theme that takes away most of the guesswork. But on top of that companies such as B Online Learning, who not only use the Articulate products but also actively support the wider community of users for those products and eLearning industry in general. As the Exclusive Certified Articulate Training provider in Australia and New Zealand, also through our LinkedIn Alumni group, our eLearning professional development, our schedule of free webinars and through our supportive and collaborative client relationship model.

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