About a year ago I took the plunge and purchased Articulate, an e-learning development package. Articulate enables you to develop your own e-learning modules without the need for expensive design and programming. Having said that, the finished output depends upon the creativity and understanding of instructional design. If you tackle this as a solo developer, rather than one of a team of experts, expect for it to take longer than you think.
Articulate is a great product and has a great support community, but for me there has always been one nagging issue - output is exported to flash, and flash does not run on ipads. Yes there are now plenty of android powered ipad-like products, but the growth in ipad sales and loyalty of their users makes this a sector you can’t ignore. ( yes yes I know, I have always been a mac person)
I have been wondering how Articulate would respond to this. And now, a year after I purchased Articulate 09, out have come 2 new Articulate products, both of which publish to Flash, HTML5 and iOS which runs on ipads. The first new product upgrades Articulate 09 to Articulate 12, which still uses PowerPoint as its base. However Articulate Storyline is a completely new product and promises to be a very exiting Rapid e-learning development platform. I cant wait to free up some time, download the trial versions and take them for a spin. And then comes the decision, which to buy?
We used to call it CBT or computer based training, learning modules that you progressed through, sitting at your computer. But now its e-learning (electronically supported learning) as growth in the internet, and alternative means of accessing it, have flourished. We have dabbled in CBT over the years, from Macromedia Director developed modules for operator training, to Computer Based assessment tools. Now that computer based, or should I say electronic based, learning interventions are becoming more popular, we have decided to dive in head first and offer this as one of our skill sets/product lines. Our first e-learning module, on Fire Safety, will be ready in a few weeks. We are offering 3 months free access to it for all companies who send a delegate to our upcoming (3 May) Health and Safety course. All we ask in return is some feedback on the module. Here is a link to the flyer.
I've always been a fan of Computer Based Training (CBT). Fifteen years back the MD of the Biscuit Manufacturing Company I worked for asked us (the training department) if we could develop something he had seen whilst on a business trip to England. It was an early form of CBT - a slide projector was linked to a computer with touch sensitive screen. The operator touched a simulated control panel and the slide showed the results of the action. We developed a similar product but were very soon overtaken by technology. Determined to stay ahead of the game we invested in a Mac with two linked screens. We used Macromedia Director and later Authorware to develop realistic simulations for our machine operators.
Things have come a long way since these days and there are now many alternatives for developing and using CBT and CBE on stand alone computers, company intranets or over the internet. Despite this, when I visit clients or prospects in the field I am yet to see the predicted figures for the % of training conducted through CBT (if I remember correctly some were talking of 80% by this time.) What I mostly see is the odd CD Rom or DVD sitting in the training room, and a perhaps a few employees registered with distance learning providers. Perhaps that is enough, and let's face it, there will always be a place for face to face training. But are Companies making the most of CBT opportunities?
I would value your thoughts and comments on the CBT you are using, the pros and cons, what you would like to see developed in this area etc.