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Update on eLearning Guild Conference

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The eLearning Guild Conference here in Boston is getting more interesting and fun every year. I know I should have blogged earlier and whatever I write is old news as soon as I hit "publish" ...

Quick belated update on the sessions I spoke at: The first was a panel of "The future of rapid e-learning tools" with Adobe Captivate, Articulate, Qarbon, and Jay Cross. I think you can get a good impression by reading Clive Shepherds blog for Wednesday 4/11. His observation and the comment to it are a good reflection of the audience in the session and my own experience with Adobe Captivate users: Some instructional designers want SMEs to use rapid tools to create rapid eLearning, some would not want them near an authoring tool. For me it seems less a discussion between rapid eLearning that SMEs develop content or not, it's rather rapid eLearning developed by IDs (Instructional Designer) with the SMEs (SMEs start by capturing the knowledge, IDs add the ID) versus the informal learning SMEs like most of my coworkers produce using rapid eLearning tools - they don't call what they do "rapid development" nor "rapid eLearning". They create demos or tutorials. So how do we reach SMEs who don't know that tools like Adobe Captivate even exist and don't even think they have a need for these tools until someone (e.g. ID) shows them how they could save themselves a lot of time?

Regarding the future of rapid eLearning and the tools? I can't wait for the day when I turn on my computer and quickly get the info I want and need Just In Time. This brings me to our blogging tool we are using at Adobe - how can it be that in 2007, you have to use HTML to add a picture to your blog?!? Mark Oehlert mentioned to me that I can change the right hand side of my blog - I want to add links to different blogs. Why do I have to work with tags? I am a SME in my field, not HTML, and I don't want to dig around on the blog site to figure out how to change the style of my blog and add a list of links to other blogs?

At least by using Contribute for editing my blog entries, I can add rich media via simple drag and drop. Thank you for making my life a little bit easier :) but why doesn't the blog tool have this functionality built in in the first place? ...

My other session on informal tools covered Adobe's rapid eLearning tools where I demoed Adobe Captivate, Contribute, and VlogIt. To me this is the ideal rapid eLearning toolkit for under $1000: interactive Flash content and simulations without having to learn Flash, HTML editor without having to deal with HTML, and cool video broadcasts without even having to buy an expensive camera. VlogIt rocks! If it's not part of your toolkit, get it asap - it's only $29 and maybe the easiest step to your next raise!

During the Q&A, I noticed there are a misconceptions about our products - so here are some answers:

  • Adobe Captivate is not a pure screen recording tool. You can add interactivity and you can create more than just screen demos (e.g. soft skills, import existing PowerPoint slides, quizzes including matching questions, etc.)
  • You can create branched soft skills or scenario-based learning content. Adobe Captivate 2 even has a branching view that shows you all the learner paths in your project.
  • You can record animations using Adobe Captivate - switch to full motion recording (check out your recording options for the function keys or to change the keyboard shortcut)
  • You can import library objects from other projects (version 2)
  • Screen demos should be around 3 minutes or less - that's all the attention your learners will give to your content. For longer demos, give them control via a menu and string multiple pieces together.
  • Adobe Contribute can be purchased and used standalone as your main HTML editor. You don't have to buy or install Dreamweaver on your machine to use Contribute. I can do all my content authoring and editing in Contribute. It's fast and easy! Your SMEs can handle it.
  • Vista as well as the new version of Flash and Flash Player 9 will be supported with Adobe Captivate 3 (I'll let you know through the blog when we start looking for beta testers)
  • Adobe has an entire ecosystem of tools that can be used in combination, not just Adobe Captivate, Flash and Connect. Ellen and the rest of our eLearning team will be working on more info on that. Until then, take a look at your daily workflow and you'll see that we cover the ground from rapid to traditional, static to dynamic, passive to interative, informal to formal, asynchronous to synchronous, and informational to serious games.

Hope this helps ...