Here’s an Easy Way to Update an Old Course Without the Source Files

convert Flash to HTML5

“Help, I need to update my course, but I don’t have the source file. All I have is a link!”

This is a common issue. Here’s a solution that may work for you and it’s generally easy to do.

In a previous posts, we looked at how to copy text from old Flash courses and how to transcribe them using into new slides.

How to Convert the Course to HTML5

The secret to all of this is screen capturing your old e-learning courses. You can do what I am going to show with a number of tools. For example, Storyline has a screen capture feature where you can bring in one screen at a time. That works fine for smaller courses.

For this demo, I am going to use Screen2Gif because it works well for this demo that has a lot of slides, it’s easy to use, and it’s free.

View the detailed tutorial on YouTube.

Below are the basic steps. The video above has more detail. Essentially, we’re going to capture the old course screens, bring them into PowerPoint as images (because we can do a simple batch import), and then we’ll import the PowerPoint slides into Storyline.

Once inside of Storyline you can add interactive elements and additional content.

Basic Steps for Converting the Old Course

  • Determine the original course slide resolution. Don’t include the player; just the slide. Most courses are usually 4:3 or 16:9.
  • Create a PowerPoint file at the same resolution as the course images.
  • Create a Storyline file at the same resolution as the PowerPoint file.
  • Go through the course using a screen capture application. This will capture all of your course screens. If you have interactions, you’ll go through those as well. You want a copy of every possible screen. Just click on everything clickable. I’d even go through the quizzes, just so you have the screens. You can use that content later.
  • Review the screens you captured and get rid of duplicates.
  • Save the separate frames captured as image files.
  • Batch insert the screen capture images using the album feature in PowerPoint. I like to force them to fit the slide. That way I don’t need to do any adjustments. Things should be aligned.
  • Import the PowerPoint slides into Storyline.
  • From there, it’s a matter or making some edits and adding interactions, quizzes, and whatever else the course requires.
  • For example, you could take the screen for a tabs interaction and combine them into one slide with layers for each tab. Then add hotspot triggers to the layers.

Example: Course Converted to HTML5

I created an example course using the steps I outlined above. For the demo, I copied the old course screens and created new slides Storyline. Then I published in HTML5. It only took about 10 minutes and considering the time spend, looks pretty decent.

It’s definitely a good solution for a lot of the old compliance training that needs to go from Flash to HTML5, or if you need to update a course and don’t have the source files.

convert to html5

Click here to view the example HTML5 course.

Obviously, the best solution is to rebuild the course from scratch. That works fine if you have a handful of courses. But if you have dozens (or hundreds) that need to be converted to HTML5, then this is a viable solution for many of those courses.


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How to Improve Your E-Learning Course Design Skills

build e-learning skills

I’m a big fan of the e-learning challenges posted each week in the e-learning community. Here’s one on game show style templates and another on various drag-and-drop interactions. They offer good examples and creative ideas for building e-learning courses.

Compliance training drives a lot of the demand for e-learning content. Unfortunately, most of it is linear, click-and-read content. Which means you don’t get to try new things or develop your skills in new ways.

The initial goal of the e-learning challenges was to get e-learning course designers to play around with the software and try new things. They aren’t expected to be big (or complete courses) and they’re designed to learn new production techniques.

Here’s what’s real for many of you. You may build a hundred courses, but you’re not building a hundred different courses. You’re just building the same course one hundred times. That means your skills may not grow and you’re probably a bit bored doing the same thing over and over again.

The weekly challenges are a great way to move out of the same-course rut.

  • Commit to do at least one challenge per month. That’s my goal. I don’t always make it, but it’s still my goal. At a minimum, review the entries every week (posted on Thursday). There are some really good examples and creative ideas you can glean from others. Here’s a list of all previous challenges.
  • Use the challenges to pad your e-learning portfolio. It’s important to have a portfolio where you document your skills and show your growth. Most people can’t share their current work for various reasons, but the challenge demos are yours and work perfect for portfolios.  The challenges provide a way to show diverse course development skills and experience.
  • Build your professional brand. Start a blog or portfolio site. Show off your examples, share the sources files, and offer tips on how you created what you created. Many in the e-learning community can attest to the power of sharing your expertise. And you don’t need to be the best expert, just enough of an expert to share what you know. There’s always someone who can learn from you. And they don’t need to be revolutionary tips. Often the challenge entries remind me of things I already knew but just bring them back to the forefront.

As I stated, my goal is to participate at least once per month and from there I’ll share what I learned or some production tips that may help others.

Hope to see you in the e-learning challenges.


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Who will become the Uber of packaged elearning content?

Nun, dass der Markt für E-Learning-Kurse wächst und dass es eine steigende Zahl neuer Anbieter auf diesem Markt gibt, ist noch keine große Neuigkeit. Aber was ist der „Uber of packaged elearning content“? Er bietet, so der Autor, am Ende des Tages keine eigenen Kurse und Programme mehr an, sondern betreibt einen Marktplatz, auf dem Kurse und Lernende zusammenkommen. 

Der Autor zitiert hier LinkedIn Learning, das im November 2018 seine  Plattform auch für Inhalte anderer Anbieter (u.a. Harvard ManageMentor, getAbstract, Big Think, Treehouse and CreativeLive for Business) geöffnet hat. Am Ende des Tages bleibt die Frage, ob dahinter vertraglich geregelte Partnerschaften oder offene Content Curation-Modelle stehen. Im ersten Fall haben Unternehmen und Lernende nur einen Ansprechpartner fürs Finanzielle (hier: LinkedIn Learning), im zweiten Fall wird nur verlinkt.
Conor Gilligan, Training Journal, 29. Januar 2019

Bildquelle: Stock Catalog (flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Jetzt online: Digitorial „Tizian und die Renaissance in Venedig“

Ich hatte es an anderer Stelle schon mal gesagt, aber wiederhole es aus aktuellem Anlass gerne wieder: Wenn es um die Frage geht, wie heute eine zeitgemäße Online-Präsentation von Inhalten aussieht, verweise ich gerne auf die „Digitorials“ des Frankfurter Städel. Jetzt ist wieder ein neues erschienen: Das Tizian-Digitorial, passend zur Ausstellung „Tizian und die Renaissance in Venedig“, die am 13. Februar öffnet.

Natürlich sind die Digitorials kein klassisches E-Learning. Die Kommunikation über die dargestellte Kunst und die jeweiligen Künstler findet außerhalb der Digitorials statt. Und die Betrachter wollen und müssen auch keinen Kompetenzerwerb nachweisen. Aber abgesehen davon: Wie hier mit Bild, Animationen, Farben und Text umgegangen wird, wie der Benutzer geführt wird, wie Angebote zur Vertiefung und Erklärung in den Informationsfluss eingebettet werden, ist schon beeindruckend. Und alles im Format moderner OnePager, also auf einer einzigen Seite.

Die Digitorials sind natürlich nur ein Baustein der digitalen Angebote des Städel Museums. Einfach mal nachschauen.
Städel Museum, Newsletter, 26. Januar 2019

Bildquelle: Städel Museum

 

The evolution of open learning: A review of the transition from pre-e-learning to the era of e-learning

Der Begriff „Open Learning“ („Offenes Lernen“?) wird hierzulande selten genutzt. Im englischsprachigen Raum ist er mit dem Angebot der Open Universities verknüpft und somit gebräuchlicher. Aber auch hier konkurriert er mit Begriffen wie „e-learning“ und „distance education“. Aber ich will es nicht zu kompliziert machen und zur Sache kommen.

Der Autor hat jedenfalls die Sache „open learning“, den Begriff und seine Geschichte etwas näher betrachtet. Dabei hat er fünf Entwicklungsstufen ausgemacht:
1. Correspondence learning (before the 1960s)
2. Distance learning through multiple technologies (1960 to 1985)
3. Distance learning with increasing use of computers and networks (1985 to 1995)
4. Online learning through high-bandwidth computer technologies (1995 to
2007)
5. Interactive online learning Web 2.0, mobile and synchronous technologies (2008 to the present)

Über die Jahreszahlen kann man – je nach Kontinent, Land und Blickwinkel – sicher diskutieren, aber im Kern sind es Entwicklungsstufen des multimedialen Online-Lernens bzw. E-Learnings. Computer und Netzwerke rückten schrittweise in den Vordergrund, und das Lernen wurde interaktiver, sozialer, vernetzter, mobiler.

In einem zweiten Schritt ist man noch hingegangen und hat die Attribute ermittelt, mit denen Definitionen von „open learning“ in dieser Zeitspanne verbunden wurden: vom „offenen Zugang zu Lernangeboten“ bis zu „Online-Kursen“ als festen Bausteinen von „open learning“.

Der abschließende Appell: „The fact that open learning has become just a form of e-learning presents a key challenge to its providers — open universities or other relevant institutions — with their market share and significance in education gradually being taken up by conventional
institutions. It is time for them to renew their unique strengths in social values and functions.“
Kam Cheong Li, Knowledge Management & E-Learning, 4/ 2018 (Dezember)

Bildquelle: Alex Grodkiewicz (Unsplash)

Free Images for Interactive Scenarios

free images for interactive branched scenarios

Here are some free images for interactive scenarios. They go with the other free images I shared earlier. I use them for practice files in our e-learning workshops where we learn to build interactive, branched scenarios. They’re perfect for your scenario-based training and free to use.

These images are focused on hallways and such and a bit more generic with the white walls.

interactive branched scenario

As you can see below, they’re perfect for staging conversations and scenarios and they work great with both the photographic and illustrated characters that come with Articulate 360.

interactive branched scenarios

interactive branched scenario example

As noted in the previous post, one tip is to add all of the images to a single file and then you can dynamically switch the backgrounds as you need. Open the master slide and create a layout for each image. Save the file as a template and you’re all set. Here’s a tutorial that shows how to create templates for reusable interactive scenarios.

how to use interactive branched scenario images

Free Downloads


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Beyond the Industrial Revolution education model: Sal Khan on training and skills in the 21st century

Derzeit hilft die Khan Academy mit ihren Online-Tools, Lücken zu schließen, die das Bildungssystem nicht schließen kann bzw. will. Als persönlicher Nachhilfelehrer, Tutor oder Coach der Lernenden. Aber eigentlich möchte Salman Khan mehr. Er möchte Schulen und ein Bildungssystem, in dem die Lernenden in ihrem eigenen, individuellen Tempo lernen. Also hat er 2014 die Khan Lab School gegründet, „a mastery-based, student-centered model“. Natürlich im Silicon Valley. Und damit steht das Experiment in einer Reihe philantropischer Bildungsprojekte amerikanischer IT-Größen.

Ansonsten: „The founder of online-learning not-for-profit Khan Academy shares what an era of automation and artificial intelligence means for education.“
Rik Kirkland, Interview mit Salman Khan, McKinsey, Januar 2019

Bildquelle: Kevin Krejci (flickr, CC BY 2.0)

How to Transcribe Text into PowerPoint & E-Learning Courses

transcribe text PowerPoint HTML5 Flash

I’ve been playing around with ideas to get old Flash course content into a new HTML5 course. There are tens of thousands of old Flash-based e-learning courses where people no longer have the source files. All they have are published versions of the course and need to convert to HTML5.

Grabbing the media like images, video, and audio is usually not as challenging. But moving all of the text can be a hassle.

In a previous post we discovered how to use screenshots and OCR to extract the text from the old course screens. Another way to get the text into your slide is by reading it out loud to transcribe it and insert into your slide. I like this approach because you it’s easy and you have to go through the content anyway. Reading it out loud may help you think through the tone and some script changes you’ll make in the new HTML5 course.

There are applications you can buy to do the recording and transcription, but I want to focus on tools you already have that won’t cost anything more.

Use PowerPoint to Transcribe Text for HTML5 E-Learning

transcribe text for e-learning with PowerPoint for HTML5 course

The new version of PowerPoint has a dictate feature. All you do is press the button and start to read. PowerPoint transcribes the text and adds it to the slide. Then you make your edits. You can also send the file out to be verified and edited by others who use PowerPoint. Once it’s ready, import the slides into Storyline.

Use Google Docs to Transcribe Text for HTML5 E-Learning

transcribe text for e-learning with Google Docs for HTML5 course

Some of you use Google Docs instead of Microsoft Office. In Google Docs, under the Tools tab, you’ll find a Voice Typing feature. Just press it and it starts to record. If I speak clearly, I find it to be very accurate. Once the text is on the page, send it around to be verified and approved. And then copy and paste it into your HTML 5 course.

Use Windows to Transcribe Text for HTML5 E-Learning

transcribe text for e-learning with Windows for HTML5 course

Microsoft Windows has a transcription feature that works to transcribe text right into Storyline. Press Windows + h keys to open the narration window. Start talking and it will do the transcription. It’s not quite as fast or accurate as the solutions above, but it makes up for it by recording right into the Storyline slide or Rise lesson.

So, there you have it, three easy ways to read the text from old Flash-based courses to get them into your new HTML5 course that you can update and edit as needed. Then publish it for HTML5 and you are all set.


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • February 13-14 (London): Learning Technologies. Swing by booth H50 and say hello.
  • February 15 (Edinburgh): Articulate User Meeting.
  • We're currently working on additional locations and dates for 2019.

 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

 

How to Copy Text from Flash Courses When You Don’t have the Original File

convert Flash to HTML5

Many of you have to convert old Flash courses to HTML5. All you have is the published course but not the original source files. It’s easy enough to extract the media (like images and video) from the published output. But adding text from the old course isn’t as easy because most Flash courses don’t allow selecting text to copy and paste. And who wants to spend hours retyping the text?

Here are a couple of simple ways to copy the text from old Flash e-learning courses that you can add to updated HTML5 e-learning courses without having to retype everything. This works whether you’re using Storyline or Rise.

Use OneNote to Convert Text from Image for Flash to HTML5 Courses

Use OneNote OCR to copy text from image for e-learning

Many of you have OneNote. It’s a great application included in the Microsoft Office products. OneNote has a screen capture feature and the option to copy text from the captured image.

  • Play the old Flash-based course and capture screens using OneNote’s screen clipping feature (or insert an image captured from some other application).
  • Right-click on the image to copy text from the picture.
  • Once you have the text copied, paste into your new slide.
  • Watch the tutorial on YouTube.

Use ShareX to Convert Text from Images for Flash to HTML5 Courses

ShareX is free and works great. I use it quite a bit to do screenshots for uploading to various image sites. It also has an OCR feature where it can pull text from an image that can be copied and pasted into a new slide.

OCR e-learning

  • Choose text capture (OCR).
  • Select the course slide.
  • ShareX extracts the text from the image.
  • Copy and paste the text into the new slide.
  • Watch the tutorial on YouTube.

Those are two free to low-cost options to quickly get the text from previous e-learning courses.  Many of you already own OneNote, and if you don’t, you can always use the free ShareX application to do your screen grabs and OCR text conversion. Once you have the text, it’s easy enough to copy and paste it into your new course.

Obviously, this is still a bit tedious, but it is an easy way to get the text from your old e-learning courses when you no longer have the source files or original content.

I hope that helps.


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

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  • We're currently working on locations and dates for 2019.

 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

 

How to Convert an E-Learning Course into a PowerPoint File

convert e-learning to PowerPoint

The other day someone asked how to convert their Storyline course into a PowerPoint presentation. PowerPoint and Storyline look similar but they are two separate applications. You can import PowerPoint slides into Storyline, which makes it easy to convert some existing PowerPoint content into an interactive e-learning course. However, PowerPoint doesn’t offer a way to import Storyline files.

With that said, there are some ways to convert your Storyline course content into a format you can bring into PowerPoint.

Setting Expectations for PowerPoint Conversion

One of the reasons people like to convert the Storyline content to PowerPoint is so they have a presentation version of the course that they can share with other presenters. If this is something you need to do, I’ll share a few ideas, but you do need to understand that there are some constraints.

  • Storyline content is usually interactive with triggers showing layers and object state changes. PowerPoint presentations can be interactive, but they tend to be linear presentations of content. So it’s not an apples-to-apples conversion.
  • Whatever you export from Storyline will not be interactive. It’ll either be a video or series of images. That means you can’t isolate text boxes, shapes, or other media to edit on the PowerPoint slides. However, the opposite is true if you want to import your PowerPoint slides into Storyline.
  • You can simulate interactions in PowerPoint with hyperlinks to other slides using hotspots, but you can’t get the type of interactivity you get in Storyline. If you really need to retain the interactive elements, then it probably doesn’t make sense to convert to PowerPoint.

With that clear, let’s review a few ideas for getting your Storyline content into PowerPoint.

Save the Storyline Course as a Video

This is easy to do. Publish the Storyline file as an .MP4. As you can see in the image below, you have a number of resolution and quality settings. Once published the final output will be video.

Storyline to PowerPoint save as video

If you do have interactive elements in your Storyline course, you’ll need to set the triggers in Storyline to account for the change from interactive content to a linear video. That includes triggers that show layers and other objects that aren’t initially visible on the base slide.

As far as PowerPoint, all you need to do is insert the video onto a slide.

Screen Capture the Storyline Course and Save as Images

Open the published course in a browser and do a screen capture of the slides (just the slides and not the player). Here are a few options:

  • Capture the slides individually by going from slide-to-slide. This is a lot slower, but gives you more control when capturing.
  • Capture the course as a video and then output the video as images. Most video editing software has a way to export the video as a series of images. You’ll get an image for each frame. No need to capture at 30 frames per second (fps). I’d capture at a really low frame rate like 2-5 fps so you have less noise when pulling out the images you want.
  • Use a tool like Screen2Gif to create a .gif which consists of images and can usually be output as a series of images. It’s an easy process and the software is free.

Once you have the images you need, insert them into PowerPoint slides.

At that point, you can review the pictures and make edits. For example, where you have interactive instructions like the image below, you either add an interactive element to move to another slide or you add a colored shape to cover the instruction.

Storyline to PowerPoint add hyperlinks

I like working with images better than video because there’s more flexibility. Video gives you a single file, whereas it’s easier to work with multiple images. You have more control over some customization at the slide level and can more easily introduce interactive elements in PowerPoint.

The one thing you can’t get in the conversion is a PowerPoint slide with separated text, pictures, and shapes. It doesn’t work that way. However, if you need the content in a PowerPoint format, the options above should work.

In a follow up post, I’ll show how to make the video interactive and how to add interactive elements to the slide images.


Download the fully revised, free 63-page ebook: The Insider's Guide to Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro

Upcoming E-Learning Events

  • We're currently working on locations and dates for 2019.

 

Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for elearning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly elearning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool elearning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This elearning 101 series and the free e-books will help.