More ways to develop e-learning material

Corporate training and learning is vital to an organization’s growth, but for a smaller organizations the cost and burden of maintaining a Learning Management System and develop high-end e-learning modules is hard to justify. ROI calculations may look good on paper, but the cost outlays at the onset are often too high. There are  generally other business priorities that get in the way.

Nevertheless, training and on-going leaning are essential to the long-term success of an organization. Fortunately, there are many affordable tools that can help disseminate knowledge to staff. Some of these may require a little more technical skills, but they can either be learnt or you could hire a freelancer to develop the material.

In this article we’ll discuss three such tools: Apple’s iBooks Author, 3D Issue Flipbooks, and Kotobee. Here’s a quick rundown of each:

  1. iBooks Author: Apple introduced the free software in January 2012 and its designed to be an intuitive way to create, design and publish interactive ebooks that can be viewed on Apple devices. There are a few interactive widgets that come with the software, but it’s main strength, besides ease-of-use, is the ability to import custom HTML widgets. These can pretty much be pretty much any interactivity developed using HTML5, CSS, and javascript. While the level of skills required to create these custom widgets is fairly high, you can create very advanced ebooks with the tools that come with the software. The big disadvantage is that the ebooks produced can only be viewed on Apple devices. There are no readers for PC or Android.
  2. 3D Issue is an Irish company that developed a software designed primarily for recurring publications such as magazines, but we have used it to create stand-alone interactive ebooks. You import a PDF and add interactivity such audio, video, image galleries, etc. In that sense it’s very similar to iBook Author, except that you start form a PDF and once the content is loaded into 3D Issue, you can’t modify it. And this is a big problem unless you are absolutely sure you are dealing with the final version of the content. Nonetheless, it’s a fairly easy software to learn, and that also means if you want to hire a 3D Issue expert, it should add too much to the total project cost.One advantage it has over iBooks Author is that you can produce an ebook that is viewable on the Web, an iOS device or an Android device, using the free 3D Issue Flipbook viewer app. It does require an extra step for the user, but well worth it if your users are using multiple types of devices. One note: It’s a rather expensive solution if you’re going to create a small amount of ebooks.
  3. Kotobee:  company based in Egypt, Kotobee has a similar workflow to create ebooks as 3D Issue. You start with a PDF and add interactivity to the imported pages. Although you can start from scratch, like you do in iBooks Author, and design the material directly in Kotobee Author, in our opinion, it doesn’t have a powerful enough editor to do that. One nice feature for advanced users, is that you can look at the HTML code it generates and change it on the fly. Just like 3D Issue you can view the produced ebook on a Web browser, but you can also view it as a native Mac, Windows, iOS  or Android app. That’s right, you can create apps that you upload to the respective stores. Now, it’s not perfect and may require some trial and error, but it does work quite well. It’s pricing model is more reasonable than 3D Issue.

So, as you can see, there are a few ways to use different tools to create e-learning material for your end-user. If you know your users have Apple devices, the easy choice is iBooks Author. However, if you user base is using different devices, then the main options are 3D Issue or Kotobee, and the choice depends on your specific needs.

E-learning module for staff mentoring program

A large international organization asked us to develop an e-learning module for their mentoring program. The objective was to not only replicate but enhance an existing set of presentation slides and create a SCORM-compliant module to be used in their LMS. The module takes about 40 minutes to complete and takes the user through the concept of mentoring inside the organization. It covers in-person as well as virtual mentoring and distinguishes mentoring, supervising and coaching. The module contains a series of exercises to reinforce the learning material.

In addition to e-learning modules, WPA has extensive experience in developing all kinds of business learning products such as explainer animations and training ebooks. Contact us for a free evaluation of your learning and training needs.

Case Study Explainer video

As part of their on-boarding process, our client has a presentation designed to teach how their financial instruments are used to complete a project. The session is centered around a case study that exemplifies how a typical project is analyzed and executed. The problem was that the introduction of the facts of the case, while an important part of the presentation, failed to grab the attendees in a way that would spark an animated discussion on how the project should be handled.

We developed an explainer video using Adobe Captivate which set the stage for the presenter. The facts we clearly explained, using animation that captured people’s interest. Because it was very visual and engaging, attendees retained more elements of the case and were able to come up with creative ideas during the brainstorming session that followed.

“We really like to develop products that keep audience engaged and connected during a presentation, while reading an ebook or running through an e-learning module,” Said Stephan Beauchesne, founder of WPA Consulting.

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E-learning Modules Quality Analysis

Our client, a large international development organization, uses e-learning as an efficient way to train their staff about its processes and new initiatives as well as part of its on-boarding program. These online courses follow a very strict storyboard, design development and test cycle which requires multiple iteration. During this process, many errors can occur and a thorough quality control ensures that the product delivered matches the specifications established at the start.

WPA Consulting has been engaged to oversee the testing steps. This involves the following tasks:

  • Test all functionality and links
  • Ensure compliance with user experience guidelines
  • Compare content to source
  • Approve modules

“We are very fortunate to have our client entrust us with this very important step in the production of their e-learning module,” said Stephan Beauchesne, WPA Consulting founder. “We normally perform these steps as part of our own development process, so it’s a role we feel very comfortable in playing.”

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