What Do You Do With Your Evaluation data?

Donald Kirkpatrick created the four-level model for training evaluation, which most organisations claim to cherish. For those unfamiliar, the four levels are as follows.

  1. Reaction – this answers the question what did the learners think about the training. We measure reaction through surveys conducted towards the end of training (sometimes called smile sheets)
  2. Learning – this answers the question what did the learners learn during or immediately following the instruction. We measure learning most often through a quiz or a skills demonstration
  3. Behaviour – this answers the question did the learners implement their new knowledge or skills back on the job
  4. Results – this answers the question what impact did the training have on the organisation. We measure results most often with financial reports. However, results can also be things like customer satisfaction.

In my last full-time job (before I became a freelance designer/developer), the facilitator or designer/developer would review his or her level 1 evaluations and retain this data for their semi-annual review. Occasionally the team manager would look at them, but more often than not, the team administrator would stuff them in a file cabinet, never to be seen again.

As a designer, I would look at the odd results from our level 2 evaluation reports. Unfortunately, our LMS wasn’t sophisticated enough to tell me which questions were proving to be difficult for my students. Had I known those types of results, I would have looked more closely at first the course content that would affect those problem questions and secondly I would review the question itself. I would ask myself was it written in such a way that could make it difficult for students to answer correctly?

I’m afraid to say that in my previous organisation we didn’t perform any level 3 or level 4 evaluations at all. There just was no demand for this information and very little time to conduct the research needed to get these results. Instead, our executive was more concerned about completion reports.

When I started working alongside Adobe, they granted me a complimentary license for Adobe Captivate Prime for a period. I was impressed with the simple yet effective level 3 evaluation tools built into the LMS. Each time an employee completes online training from Adobe Captivate Prime, the employee’s manager will receive a notification at a later time asking them to evaluate the on the job performance. Level 1 and 2 evaluations are great but what matters are behaviour and results. If you can combine the level 3 results provided from this LMS along with your company’s financial reports, you could say without too much uncertainty if your company’s learning strategy is effective.

Shortly after I trialled Adobe Captivate Prime I created the following video. It’s a couple years old now, but I think it’s still an accurate assessment of Adobe’s LMS product and how effective your learning can be.

Alterando o tamanho de palco em projetos em branco

Como está, espero que bem!

Vamos a mais um tutorial Adobe Captivate 2017, vamos tratar do assunto tamanho de palco, como alterar.

Sempre que iniciamos um novo Projeto Vazio, definimos o tamanho de tela logo no inicio, vejamos a imagem a seguir apontado pela seta.

Captura de Tela 2017-10-20 às 17.39.19

Quando você define o tamanho do palco e depois resolve mudar o tamanho se pergunta, como faço para alterar o tamanho do palco? Muitos fecham o projeto e iniciam um novo.

Vou mostrar que não é preciso encerrar o projeto criado para poder alterar o tamanho de palco.

Com o projeto aberto, clique sobre Modificar > Reescalonar Projeto, vejamos a imagem a seguir:

Captura de Tela 2017-10-20 às 17.32.19

Em seguida, teremos a janela para modificarmos os valores do palco.

Onde temos o circulo sobre os valores, indica valores atuais do palco, caso queira definir um novo valor, poderá alterar por porcentagem % ou Largura ou Altura.

Vejamos a imagem a seguir:

Captura de Tela 2017-10-20 às 17.32.32

Utilize sempre este caminho para fazer alterações no tamanho do palco sem a necessidade de encerrar e criar um novo.

Até um próximo tutorial.

Abraços

 

Fabio Olivieira (Fojool)

 

 

 

 

 

Using JavaScript, PHP and MySQL to Log Captivate Variable Data

Many Captivate developers use a Learning Management System to log E-Learning Interactions.   The variable data in a Captivate project holds very useful information about how the user is progressing in your E-Learning Course.    Definitely Learning Management Systems are great and Adobe’s Prime LMS is excellent but what if you just want to log some simple user variable data and you don’t feel the need for a full LMS.   I am going to show you how to use JavaScript and PHP to capture Captivate variable data into MySQL tables.   Once the data is posted to the MySQL tables it can be reported on using PHP or a PHP Report Generator.

This instructional video will show you how to do this:

As shown in the instructional video the JavaScript $.post command passes the Captivate variables to the PHP program.   The PHP $_REQUEST command receives the Captivate variables into the PHP program where the data is processed and stored in the MySQL table where it can be reported on.

Example JavaScript:

$.post(‘http://mindarrive.com/phpcode/startdatetime2.php’,{vemail:ls_email, vstartdatetime:v_startdatetime, vtitleno:v_titleno, vincludeintro:v_includeintro, vcompanyid:ls_companyid}, function() {});

Example PHP:

<?php

$email = $_REQUEST[“vemail”];

$startdatetime = $_REQUEST[“vstartdatetime”];

$titleno =  $_REQUEST[“vtitleno”];

$includeintro= $_REQUEST[“vincludeintro”];

$companyid= $_REQUEST[“vcompanyid”];

$conn = new mysqli($servername, $username, $password, $dbname);

$sql = “INSERT INTO userlog (email, startdatetime, titleno,includeintro, durationtime) VALUES (‘$email’, ‘$startdatetime’, ‘$titleno’, ‘$includeintro’, 10)”;

$conn->close();

?>

Hope you find this implementation useful and it helps you with your Captivate course development.

Showcase Captivate Project:

Feel free the try out these relaxing Captivate Online Meditations at:

http://mindarrive.com/zenwithlen

Enjoy!

-Steve Lewis

Beyond the LMS: A Mobile First approach to learning using Adobe Captivate, Formative Assessment, Google Analytics, HTML5 and Google Firestore

welcome-home

 

Hello Adobe Captivate Community!  I’m excited to hear from you and welcome your ideas and input on the work I am about to describe.  Your tutorials and forum posts have helped me tremendously in getting to completion on years of work and I am proud to share it with you today.

I discovered Adobe Captivate 4 years ago when searching for a way to reach people on mobile devices. I needed to replace a platform I had developed with a mobile first solution.

Enter Adobe Captivate: Captivate’s responsive design capabilities solved all my development needs.  The genius of fluid boxes in the latest update made it easy.  My need for Captivate did not originate from the need to build courseware.  For me, Captivate was a tool to create complex HTML5 presentations that branched in order to depolarize groups and build consensus.  Using Google Analytics I could assess every click and how the user got there.  I could provide instant feedback to the participants.  I could work across any device.  After 30 years of building CBTs (we used to call it Computer Based Training), websites and designing lots of stuff, Captivate became the tool to pull it all together … and more.

18-relationship-with-the-enviromment

This is a fluid box containing a background image, and 3 horizontal fluid boxes contained in it. The top and bottom fluid boxes contain smart objects used as buttons. The center contains a smart object that holds text.

Enter Google Analytics:  In order to do the consensus building work, I needed data.  For example, in the screen above there are 3 branches … 3 decision trees.  I needed to show data around these groups.  Adobe Captivate and Google Analytics worked perfectly together. I could show every single click, and not only that a learner clicked a smart object button, how they got there.

events

Captivate’s HTML5 output puts DIV IDs around every element on a screen. When those elements are a button, they can be tracked in Google Analytics. We can not only see that the item was clicked, but the learner’s choices on how they got there.

 

Enter Formative Assessment: As a freelancer it was natural for me to go out and find work in Adobe Captivate after mastering a big chunk of it.  (Thank you Captivate community for sharing your techniques.)  I lucked into discovering a client that was highly skilled in adult learning theory. He looked at my work and contextualized it by putting adult educational theory practices around what I had been tinkering with online for 25 years.

israel-palestine

Using skip actions in Captivate allowed me to speak to different audiences and find consensus points in the gray area of very complex issues. I didn’t know I was doing mobile online formative assessment.

 

Enter Fluid Boxes: The genius of fluid boxes is that, in my opinion, Adobe created a WYSIWYG editor to mimic bootstrap.  Having designed websites for years, it was an easy leap to make in Captivate … easier than hand coding a website.  Mostly I use simple rows, and squeeze smart objects in them.  I love being able to wallpaper the fluid boxes with background images and overlay transparent smart objects inside them.

fb-full

This screen has 4 rows, with the 3rd containing 4 columns. Smart objects as buttons allow for various states that dim and light up to reveal the background. Photo Credit

fb-tab

As the screen reduces in size the 4 columns are set to flow underneath each other, while the other rows are set to squeeze. Photo Credit

 

fb-mobile

The toggle advanced action is used to assign a variable of 1 to each selected item, and if tapped again, change it back to zero. Advanced actions are used to check which item is set to 1 and which item is set to 0. If the user gets the answer correct on this knowledge check, they branch one way, if not … another. FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT! Yay!! Photo Credit

Enter Firestore: Building with mobile in mind means that there is a good chance learners are going to access your course on different devices.  Captivate has a tutorial here in how to use JavaScript for local and session storage, and I highly recommend using CpExtra from Infosemantics to automate this task (and much more), but for real data persistence, you need the Cloud.  Google Firestore was released in Beta last month.  Techcrunch talks about it here. It not only can handle storing captivate and custom variables but you can use authentication and push notifications with it as well.  This can easily help  you turn your Captivate responsive project to a real html5 application.

 

The features supported by Google Firebase (and Firestore too).

 

A few more things, because this is getting long …

1.  The power of HTML5 and Captivate’s web object allow us to embed anything on a screen!  I’m using it to embed HTML pages on Captivate screens. The pages are created using the Uikit framework from Yootheme.  (Yootheme stuff is part of Joomla / WordPress world.)  Here is a link to the Uikit framework.

2.  PhoneGap works perfectly with your mobile layouts.  The only thing you’ll need to do is open up your index.html page and make it conform to the latest version of PhoneGap.

3.  I think LMSs are a thing of the past.  Sorry.  But …  if you want to use one, thanks to Captivate, everything I wrote above will work on any LMS and if you want to focus on the LMS reporting, instead of Google Analytics, you can!

4.  One of the advantages to setting up your Captivate project like a web site, with multiple projects loading into each other, is that you can link anything to anything.  It is very difficult to move backwards due to SCORM standards and let the user jump around like they are reading the NY Times.

5.  Jumping around like they are reading the NYTimes … yes.  I’d love to talk to you all about educational theory and stuff … but I believe in a truly nonlinear experience for the learner.

6. Just more thing … Thank you for Typekit integration!  Not only can we choose from a huge library of fonts, but they do not fluctuate in size the way a standard web font might from browser to browser.

 

pages

Uikit pages embedded in a web object. This one has responsive pagination for unlimited text. We can put up a few words, a few pages, or an entire publication.


Javascript powered audio player embedded in a Captivate Web Object for responsive layout and unlimited audio tracks.


 

wevboth

Our smallest layouts in responsive projects will perfectly package up to an HTML5 app using PhoneGap. Modify the index page to add all kinds of app-like features.

And Finally:  Thank you.  I love Adobe Captivate and want to thank the following folks who have helped me incorporate this tool in my own way.  You don’t know you helped me, but I already feel like I know you.  Thank you Pooja Jaisingh, Paul Wilson, James Kingsley, Lieve from lilybiri.com, Michael @ cpguru.com, Rod and Tristan at Infosemantics,  and Ajit Kumer at Typekit support.

I’d love to dive into any of the topics on a much deeper lever.  Please feel free to comment and we can see if this goes anywhere.

Adios for now. – Brian

 

 

Calling all eLearning experts: Free passes now available for Adobe Learning Summit (ALS) 2017

Do you want to know about the latest innovations and what’s new with Captivate and the e-learning industry? Attend the Adobe eLearning Summit 2017 in Las Vegas.

Here’s what makes you eligible for a free pass

  • Share your e-learning or Captivate-based learning, best practices, or an instructional video in the Community Portal. Here are a couple of blogs as references for the format and style of content:
  • Update your profile. To update your profile:
    • Mouse over on your profile on the top right corner of the page.

Edit profile

  • Click Edit My Profile.
  • Make the required changes and save them.

Start writing!

Why attend the ALS?

  • Learn more about Captivate and the latest innovations in eLearning
  • Meet and listen to Captivate power users and interact with them
  • Enhance your knowledge and sharpen your skills

For more information on ALS, refer the Summit blog.

Refer the attached pdf for rules and regulations of the contest.

How To Measure The ROI Of Online Training?

Today, most organizations use eLearning as a significant part of their training delivery. As traditional eLearning moves towards mobile learning or mLearning and provides learners the flexibility to learn on the device of their choice (notably tablets and smartphones), the eLearning adoption is gaining further momentum. eLearning and mobile learning provide several benefits to organizations. However, the focus is now shifting to determining its impact and the Return On Investment or ROI of online training.

Measuring The ROI Of Online Training

In this article, I will begin with a quick summary of the benefits that eLearning offers, what ROI is, and how you can measure it. I will also outline the ROI methodology we use.

What Are The Advantages Of eLearning?

I am quoting extensively from my earlier article Return Of Investment (ROI): Are You In?. This article had originally appeared in CrossKnowledge’s Learning Wire Blog. It also outlines the measures to maximize the ROI.

Over the last two decades, most organizations have made investments in eLearning primarily for the following benefits:

    • Anytime, anywhere access (on demand availability).
    • Self-paced, interactive, and more engaging learning (learner perspective).
    • Less disruptive delivery (in contrast to ILT).
    • Cost-effective (particularly when reaching out to a large audience).
    • Consistency of message and easy updating of content.
    • Easy tracking of learner progress and completion (business perspective).

While the eLearning advantages are well accepted, increasingly organizations are seeking ways and means to determine its impact on learners as well as on business. Let’s see what Return Of Investment (ROI) is and how you can assess if your eLearning or online training initiatives are generating the required ROI.

What Is ROI?

ROI is the return on investment that an organization makes (ROI = Gain or Return/Cost). It can be determined through two factors namely the Investment made (or cost incurred) and Value/Gain accrued (or return).

A successful eLearning initiative should be able to demonstrate gains that are more than the investment.

How To Determine Costs And Assess Returns?

Costs are fairly easy to define and would normally include the cost of eLearning course development as well as associated costs of team members (including teams that are associated with the development process and Subject Matter Experts).

Typically, there would also be associated costs of the supporting delivery (Learning Management System, Administrative cost of managing the initiative, and other related infrastructure required for delivery).

Determining the “value” or “gain” is far more tricky. We nail this by looking at the gains for the organization as well as for the learners.

  • Organizational perspective.
    Let’s begin by re-looking at the gains most organizations seek when they adopt eLearning and see how many of these translate to reduction in costs and hence improvement in returns.

    • Less disruptive delivery.
      This translates to man-days available now to the organization that would have been allocated to travel and training in the ILT mode.
    • Reduced travel costs.
      These can be determined easily.
    • No associated costs for trainers.
      These can be identified easily.
  • Learners’ perspective.
    Next, let’s take a look at the gains that accrue on account of effective eLearning course designs:

    • Immersive and engaging learning translates to better assimilation. This in turn leads to proficiency gain and a tangible increase in productivity.
    • More learners across the organization can be trained in lesser time (while they get the flexibility to learn at their own pace).
    • Coupled with tracking, the eLearning initiatives can be scheduled and completed faster as compared to ILT sessions.

What ROI Methodology Can Be Used?

Most of us are familiar with Kirkpatrick’s model of evaluation. In today’s context, adding Phillips’ ROI calculation as the fifth level makes this framework even more useful and relevant. By using Level IV evaluation data, we can convert the results into monetary value. Then we can easily compare them against the cost of the eLearning program and determine the ROI.

EI Design Kirkpatricks Model

To give you a sense of how it can be practically used, let me summarize the approaches we typically adopt:

    • Level 1:Reaction is measured by taking feedback from learners. We have used online surveys in the past but now we add features of “Like the course” and “Recommend the course” options within our eLearning course framework.
    • Level 2: Learning can be easily measured through scoring patterns in the end of course assessments.
    • Level 3: Behavioral changes are certainly more difficult to assess. We use a combination of techniques to assess how much of the newly acquired learning is being applied on the job. This could be measured through improvements in efficiency or doing the same task with a new approach.
    • Level 4: Business impact is generally measured through productivity gain, impact on quality measures through reduction in re-works, getting higher number of work assets first time right, and so on.
    • Level 5: ROI is normally calculated by converting the business impact gains (as shown in level 4) to a monetary value.

I hope this article was useful in understanding the ROI definition and more significantly, what ROI methodology will enable you to measure the ROI of online training. At EI Design, we do workshops that can enable you to adapt the standard ROI methodology to your organization. Do reach out to me if you need further details.

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/how-to-measure-the-roi-of-online-training/

What is social learning and how can you use it to foster collaborative learning

What is social learning and how can you use it to foster collaborative learning

As learning professionals, most of us are familiar with the 70:20:10 Model for Learning and Development that describes how learning happens. According to this, most of us pick:

70 percent of our knowledge from our on-the job experiences
20 percent from interactions with others
10 percent from structured or formal training


It is no surprise that today more and more companies are using some form of social learning solutions in their learning strategies that enables employees to learn from each other. In this article, I will touch upon the concept of social learning, its benefits and how can it be used meaningfully in an organisation to enhance collaborative learning. I will also share some best practices.

What is social learning?

In simple terms, social learning is learning with and from others. This can either happen online (for instance over popular social media tools like LinkedIn, Twitter and so on) or offline (during group discussions, over coffee or during conferences).

What are the aspects that most of the popular social networks provide that can be used to learn or collaborate and learn?

All of us use their standard communication and collaboration features like comments, posts, instant messaging, group discussion boards, wikis, video chats and so on. As an extension, you can bring a semi-structured approach to encourage this collaborative learning by building virtual communities to encourage them to provide a forum to share ideas, share knowledge and curate new inputs into a knowledge centre.

What is the relationship between social media and social learning?

Social media provides basic technology to connect people. All of us use it to keep in touch with our friends or for networking with business contacts and often to share our thoughts and opinions. But its capability does not end here. It can also be leveraged as an effective tool for collaborative or social learning. The key being, how we use this meaningfully to encourage exchange of ideas and knowledge sharing.

How can social learning help people learn?

According to Mason and Renniet (2008)*, there are four major benefits of learner-generated content that these tools provide:

  • Users have the tools to actively engage in the construction of their experience, rather than passively absorbing existing content.
  • Content will be continually refreshed by the users rather than require expensive expert input.
  • Many of the new tools support collaborative work, thereby allowing users to develop the skills of working in teams.
  • Shared community spaces and inter-group communications are a massive part of what excites young people and therefore should contribute to users’ persistence and motivation to learn.

Is there a flip side?

The jury is still out on determining the value of social learning and the time it takes to create an impact. While it is true that the process of going beyond individual learning to learning collaboratively can take time, it is still a worthwhile approach.

Are there any best practices that can help?

Yes. Some of these best practices can make your online Learning design initiative a success are as follows:
Facilitating a social learning platform where learners are spaced apart; this will help:

  • In distributed problem solving whereby small problems could be nipped in the bud without being allowed to cause bigger challenges later on
  • Nurture a creativity-fostering environment
  • Form temporary workgroups to tackle business challenges
  • Create a flexible work environment

Encouraging learners to build collaborative knowledge base of their own rather than depending on others’ assistance.

Bridging the distance gap between learners and fostering team spirit through:

  • Increased participation
  • Projecting them as representatives of the corporate brand
  • Developing a community

Providing them adequate motivation and learner engagement as it is a prerequisite for any learning to take place

How to use social learning meaningfully?
Social media has a number of benefits and uses. Some of the ways in which it can be used to good effect are:

  • It can serve as an auxiliary element to formal learning in the form of discussions, sharing of experiences, lessons learned and so on.
    • It can be used as a tool to encourage employees to generate, gather, explore, get access to, learn and relearn and review knowledge and skills to unravel hidden information.
    • It can also help learners with “personal knowledge management” or “smart working”. For example, they could use blogs to gain that extra bit of information or learn on demand using forums such as Wikipedia or YouTube to seek answers to any queries that they may have.
  • It helps create “Communities of Practice” for groups such as those of new employees, teams, project team members or other similar groups.
  • It facilitates the creation of a structured social learning framework. With social learning, one can accumulate informal content from learners and extract useful ideas and find solutions to problems that formal training may not be able to address.
  • With social learning, managing the inflow of informal content effectively and measuring of the benefits accrued on account of the same is possible.

I hope this article was useful in understanding what is social learning and how you can apply it to foster collaborative learning. Do contact me if you have any questions on how you would like to supplement it with your current learning strategy.

Source: https://www.eidesign.net/what-is-social-learning-and-how-can-you-use-it-to-foster-collaborative-learning/

7 Must-Have Features For Your SMB Learning Management System

There are a lot of different Learning Management Systems out there these days. So, how can you possibly choose the one that will work best for your small to medium-sized business? While each Learning Management System is unique, they are not all created with the same core features. Here are 7 critical features that you need to make sure your SMB Learning Management System has before you sign on the dotted line.

1. Tracking And Analytics

You need to know that employees are getting the training done. Tracking is the simplest way to monitor their progress and performance. SMB Learning Management Systems give you the ability to access reports on their individual status. You won’t have to simply assume they have completed the necessary training. You will actually know it is being done and that it’s up to par. Sometimes online training needs to happen outside of typical office hours. Having a tracking feature can also help you track which employees are on top of their online training, even if they are thousands of miles away meeting with a client.

2. Customizability

This is your online training course, and no one else’s. You want it to reflect your business’ unique look and feel. This means having a branded online training course that is distinct and aligns with your brand messaging. Your employees should log into it and immediately see a reflection of your company’s image. If the online training course looks generic or lackluster they may assume it includes general knowledge and glosses over things. Find an SMB Learning Management System that falls in line with your brand, and your employees will take notice.

3. Responsive

On-demand online training needs to be flexible and adapt to your employees’ needs. While they might have access to a standard computer at work, they might not at home. Give your employees the freedom to train using technology that they use on a daily basis. In the modern business world, a lot of employees have a smartphone, tablet, or wearable device. A good SMB Learning Management System must be responsive and give employees freedom of choice to access the online training material from any device they have available.

4. Notifications

Employees get busy and training can often fall to the wayside. Training is important, but when stacked on top of work deadlines and pressing project tasks, it might be forgotten. You should set deadlines for employees to complete their online training. The SMB Learning Management Systemshould then enforce these deadlines by giving employees helpful reminders. These notifications can help them to stay on track with their online training. It can also cut down on excuses that they weren’t aware that an online training assignment was due on a certain date. Notifications can also be incredibly helpful when you make adjustments to online training content or add new modules. If your employees need a yearly refresher, the SMB Learning Management System should be able to inform them. That way, everyone is current on the latest information.

5. Built-In Online Assessment Tools

This feature should go beyond simple quizzes. You need to be able to create complex online tests that will tell you if the employee is ready to advance. This is especially true if they are attempting to earn a critical certification. Testing your employees will help you know if they are actually assimilating the information. Sometimes people think they can zone out and breeze through online training. This isn’t acceptable, and their scores will reflect the lack of dedication. These online training assessments let you know if your online training is working, as well. If too many people score below average on certain online training modules, you might need to find a better way to present the information.

6. Supports Diverse Online Training Content

Every employee is different and they all have unique learning preferences. The SMB Learning Management System you choose should allow for such differences, that is to present the information in multiple formats. You should be able to get creative with your online training content and help your employees enjoy learning by offering them alternative formats of the online training material.

7. User-Friendly Interface

We have all encountered computer programs that just aren’t intuitive. When you run across something like that, it is easy to tune the information out and disconnect on an emotional level. The SMB Learning Management Systemshould be helpful and create a space where your employees can learn easily. If they have to wade through endless menus or dig for incomplete online training modules they will get frustrated. Instead, the LMS platform should be inviting and simple to use. Anything else will get you sub-par results.

These 7 features will help you build online training that your employees will find memorable, relatable, and intuitive. Additionally, you will be able to tell where they are in the learning process. You may not know if your favorite SMB Learning Management System will meet your needs until you really start using it. That is why it is a good idea to find an SMB Learning Management System that allows you to take it for a test drive. Some of the most popular LMSs give you access for a certain period of time to see if you like them. If you are not sure about it, it is always a good idea to get a free trial before you buy the full SMB Learning Management System.


Originally published at elearningindustry.com on July 28, 2017.

How To Improve Online Collaboration In eLearning Projects

top-tips-improve-online-collaboration-elearning-projectseLearning courses place a big emphasis on flexibility and versatility. But is your eLearning team up to the task? In this article, I’ll share 6 top tips to streamline the online collaboration in eLearning Projects.

6 Top Tips To Improve Online Collaboration In eLearning Projects

The nature of eLearning is that online learners and instructors are rarely in the same physical space. Often, this concept stretches to the eLearning team that develops the eLearning course. They might be working from different locations at different times. Even in situations where they have a single office, they may have separate eLearning projects. eLearning projects may run simultaneously, and one process may interrupt another. eLearning Project Management is essential to find an effective way of keeping eLearning course development on track. Below are 6 suggestions on how to facilitate online collaboration in eLearning projects.

1. Know Your eLearning Team One-On-One

As an eLearning Project Manager, it’s important to have an individual relationship with every one of your eLearning team members. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you get personal with them, or even that you interact outside the office. With a remote eLearning team, this is rarely possible. However, it’s essential that the eLearning Project Manager knows each team member’s weaknesses and strengths. They can use this knowledge to assign tasks more effectively. It makes work more enjoyable for the eLearning team, and it ensures a better final product. It also enhances the efficiency of the eLearning project, since everyone is doing what they do best.

2. Stay In Touch With Everyone

In all human interaction, communication is a deciding factor. People talk to each other all the time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are communicating. When it comes to virtual tasks that require online collaboration, everybody must know what is going on with the eLearning project. Team members might get stuck in a particular section. They could be unaware of how their colleagues’ work affects their portion of the eLearning project. Clear communication channels help everyone stay on par with each other. Potential challenges and gridlocks can be identified and ironed out. While verbal communication is a great way to connect, it may not be optimal for eLearning projects. As much as possible, keep things on email so that there is a trackable record of progress.

3. Keep It Running On The Cloud

Better still, use an effective Project Management online platform. Virtual teams do have an advantage over physical teams. While they may not be in one physical space, they are all working online. The team leader should ensure there is a central online hub where everything operates from. There are lots of software options available for online collaboration projects, so pick one that works best for you and youreLearning budget. Some existing applications can be tweaked and tailored to suit your eLearning team’s needs. Another important thing to remember is to always have a back-up. Data is generally safe on the cloud, but it doesn’t hurt to have a contingency plan in place. Keep your back-ups in a physical location that is distinct from where the eLearning team is working.

4. Schedule Regular Meetings To Chart Progress

When tasks are broken down into individual components, it can make eLearning projects run faster. This system of work takes advantage of the unique skills that each team member has. It allows them to focus on their specialty. They can make sure their section of the eLearning project is done to the highest quality level. The challenge comes in putting these separate elements back together. Team members will have worked in individual silos. They might not have given much thought to where their part fits into the overall eLearning project. To rectify this problem before it threatens to derail your eLearning project, the eLearning team members should have group meetings once a week or once a month, depending on the size of the eLearning project. It helps to keep everything on track and fix any minor problems before they become major ones.

5. Assign Clear Task Lists And Define Expectations

In a related matter, certain tasks might be overlooked, especially on a big eLearning project. It’s important that the eLearning Project Manager creates a comprehensive list of every little thing that needs to be done. They will then assign individual tasks to specific members of their eLearning team and check in periodically. During the scheduled group meetings, it’s helpful to go through the task list and cross out what has been finalized.

6. Work With Realistic Deadlines

Few things scare adults like looming deadlines. The danger of setting timelines is sticking to them. Put them too far off and you risk leaving things until the last minute. Make the deadlines too tight and the eLearning team feels pressured and ends up producing poor work. The eLearning Project Manager should speak with each team member individually so that they can give a workable time estimate. The eLearning Project Manager can then review the eLearning team as a whole, the project scope, and the time available. Using that information, they can develop timelines that keep everyone reasonably comfortable.

Teamwork is always a challenge, especially when it comes to online collaboration. Positive group mentality is a skill that needs to be consciously nurtured. To ensure that eLearning projects run smoothly, it’s important to harness this spirit of teamwork. Get to know your team members, what they’re good at, what they’re not, and assign their work accordingly. Meet with your eLearning team regularly to monitor progress, and use an online portal to keep track of everything. Maintain open communication lines and set realistic deadlines. Ensure everyone knows what’s required of them, and finally, be nice to your eLearning team. Reward them for work well done, knowing that the success of your eLearning project comes from even the smallest of details.

Become a Captivate Swatch-buckler in No Time!

Hello, all! I recently realized that when creating a project in Captivate, it can be rather burdensome to find just the right colors to match your full brand spectrum. Thankfully, Adobe Captivate has you covered!

Follow these simple steps to customize the built-in Swatch Manager, and make the default palette walk the plank!
1. Open a Captivate project file.
2. From the top menu bar, select Window, and scroll down to Swatch Manager. The default should look like this.

3.  From the Swatch Manager viewing pane, click on Clear.
4.  Click ‘OK’ in the subsequent warning box that appears (Don’t worry, your project itself won’t lose any colors, only the Swatch Manager color selector will be affected). Swatch Manager should now look this.

5.  Next, click the small color wheel icon in the top left corner of the Swatch Manager to begin customizing the palette (you could also use the eye dropper icon to do this, but this tutorial will use the color wheel). See image below.

6. For this tutorial, I’ll be making a Primary Colors palette, but feel free to choose any colors you like from this point forward.
7. Select a color and click ‘OK’.
8. You will be prompted to give the swatch a name (NOTE: This name applies to that single color only, not the entire palette we are creating. So for my example, I’ll name this one ‘Primary Red’. Click ‘OK’ and you should see something similar to the image below.

9.  Repeat steps 7 and 8 until you have added all of your custom colors. Once complete, move on to the next step.
10.  When all is said and done, your Swatch Manager should look the image below (I like to have black and white bookends around my custom colors because it’s incredibly rare to not find a need for their use in a project).

11. Click ‘Save’ and give this palette a distinctive name (For mine? You guessed it…PrimaryColors), and save it in a location you won’t have trouble remembering in the future – I keep all of mine in a folder called, ‘Cp Custom Palettes’.
12. To check your work, click on any shape in the open Captivate file.
13. From the Properties panel click Fill and choose the Swatches icon marked in the image below to begin using your newly customized color swatches!

14.  Finally, give yourself a nice pat on the back.  You are now a Captivate Swatch-buckler!

NOTE:  You will need to load the saved file into each new project you open (see the ‘Load’ button in the above images).  Also, I like housing these saved palette files in my project assets folder for efficient future use.  If you are looking for something a bit more permanent, however, stay tuned for my blog on customizing Captivate themes which have a considerably broader reach!

Pro Tip:  The file extension, .ase, stands for Adobe Swatch Exchange, and is compatible with other Adobe products.  So what are you waiting for? Import away!

Until next time folks, “Go be the yond!”

Adam

P.S. This blog was originally posted on my website at:  elearningprose.com/blog