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November 30, 2007

Online Educa 2007 - Some interesting tidbits ...


Online Educa is over and my brain is suffering from information overload. Here are some random notes from the conference:


  • It was a busy conference with 2,000 attendees and over 100 exhibitors from all over the world. The sessions can quickly be confusing to track with sometimes 6 different presentations in 2 hours. However - it forces presenters to get to the point ;)
  • I love the international aspect of this show - it's rare for me to meet so many people from so many different countries!
  • Many games and Web 2.0 sessions that were usually quite packed.
  • Due to meetings I didn't have time to attend any of the opening sessions but Andrew Keen (known for his book The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Truth), has been quite controversial based on the comments I overheard e.g. comparing bloggers with monkeys and raising the issue that more authority is neededAgent for etraining.eu for resources like Wikipedia. Haven’t seen too many blog entries about it other than Wilfred Rubens’ who titles his entry “I am an ape” :) (FYI: it’s in Dutch though)
  • Met Kevin Corti and saw some pieces of the serious immersive games his company PIXELearning develops. I wish I had access to some of these during business school...
  • Caroline Winning from eBay showed how they are using Questionmark Perception for their assessments and include Adobe Captivate simulations as questions.
  • Saw learning content by etraining.eu all  based on Adobe Captivate recordings. Watch a sample simulation for PowerPoint training. If you know Adobe Captivate, you'll probably recognize the animated highlighters. The Playback controls are completely customized. I also like how they are utilizing images for the mouse to help you see which mouse button to click. There must be hundreds of tutorials - great example of rapid authoring! (on the right you see their tutor Jennifer that guides you through the setup - it's all running with text to speech - not sure which engine they are using).
  • Enjoyed the presentation closing the participation gap by Prof. Karsten D. Wolf from the University of Bremen. Packed with interested stats on wiki authoring vs. usage.


Some Flash apps I have seen:


  • PebblePAD for creating online portfoliosPebblePAD - a fun way to create online portfolios. I enjoyed seeing this application since I am creating my own portfolio for the Educational Technology courses I am taking at SDSU. At 15 pounds/year quite reasonable, especially since it allows users to extract the content. So if you use it in an educational setting, your work is not lost if you decide to move to another system after graduating. It's easy to use and you can request a PepplePad test account.

  • Talking Letters – share your pictures with audio by adding your stories. Integrates with Facebook.


If you were at Online Educa, please comment your impressions.

I am off on vacation ... Bye for now.

November 25, 2007

Heading to Online Educa in Berlin ...

I am heading out to attend and speak at the Online Educa Conference in Berlin. Horst Krieger from ipcenter.at will also be showing their work with Adobe Captivate during the session Serious Online Games in the Workplace (Harnessing the Power of Electronic Learning Simulations to Shorten Training Cycles and Improve Employee Productivity).

We are sponsoring a reception - hope to seeing you there!

November 20, 2007

Looking for case studies

We are looking for new case studies around Adobe Captivate to publish early next year. The last one we published was WebAssist - take a look so you get an idea what's involved. The work is really on our side and we write everything up after interviewing you.

If you have a success story you can share, please add a comment to my blog with a basic overview of:

- the problem you were faced with
- why you chose Adobe Captivate (and potentially other tools in combination with it)
- what the outcome was
- a link to your website
- your contact info
- the country you are in

I'll forward your comments to our PR team who will make a selection. I will not publish these comments unless you make a note that it's ok to share as part of the blog. Looking forward to hearing from you!

I often also refer to case studies in my presentations - might be your 15min of fame! :)
And as a result of a great case study, you might find yourself in a video like this one.

PS: Talking about your experiences with Adobe Captivate - Amazon has been updated and we also have our feature tour on YouTube. Just search for "Adobe Captivate" and rate or comment.

November 19, 2007

eLearning Guild - free industry reports

If you need up to date industry reports, the eLearning Guild is a great answer. During DevLearn, they have announced a change in that electronic versions of the printed research reports are now available for FREE for all paid Guild members and all associate members that complete the survey related to a particular report.  

The following links to completed reports will work if you are logged in as a member (the links also validate if the member is entitled to the report):  

One of the next reports is most interesting to me: Authoring and Development Tools Survey.

However, the guild needs more people to complete the Simulations, Media, and Combining & Deploying portions of the survey. So please log in and complete those sections today so we can all benefit from a report that correctly portrays our industry.

November 16, 2007

Need Adobe Captivate experts for hire

I have received a comment from a reader:

Can you point me towards designers who are experts in Adobe Captivate 3? I want to hire someone to do a project for me.

If you are an expert interested in project opportunities, please submit a comment with your complete contact info, a link to your website, and a link to an Adobe Captivate example.

I get questions like this all the time but have answers limited to the consultants or service providers I personally know. And I know there are a lot more experts out there :)

November 14, 2007

Adobe Share accepts more beta testers!

Just heard from the team that they are accepting more testers - this is great news.
You can register here.

During the DevLearn Conference, I have heard again the request for a free online service to host eLearning content. Maybe you can turn Share into that?

November 13, 2007

Hotel Conflicts Conceptual Simulation


Scenario-based simulation created with Adobe CaptivateDuring the conference, I showed a new example I received: Hotel Conflicts. It's a conceptual simulation where you are faced with a realistic scenario and access to experts (great use of the new slidelet feature) - although, you may not always want to follow the suggestions of your coworker.

Flash Video pieces are well integrated so you can get a full experience - especially when the guest starts to get annoyed if you make the wrong choices. The body language tells you what's going on.

I have tried playing this inside a Connect meeting room and it works great.

Have fun playing.

This sample was developed by Joe Ganci from Dazzle Technologies Corp. Thanks Joe for providing it and allowing us to share with Adobe Captivate users :)

November 12, 2007

Portable Recording Booth


Portable Recording Booth to record narration in Adobe Captivate

Shane Matthews, who I met at the Breakfast Bite session at DevLearn, followed up with a picture and some info on his portable recording booth he uses with SMEs to record audio narration for Adobe Captivate projects. From Shane:


Attached is a photo of the first iteration - I've since updated with a small desktop stand to hold the microphone, rather than the boom stand. I'll send another image when I get back home.

It was pretty simple to build … take a small collapsible clothes hamper, which you can buy at any Wal-Mart, and line it with acoustic foam. In my case I got the foam from a local company who had recently built a recording studio and had some left over. I didn't even spend money on a pop-filter … I just made one with a hanger and a pair of nylons (not mine <grin>). By then it was a matter of principle to do it cheaply - ha! The microphone is a condenser microphone I had, which is best for capturing vocal audio.

The result? I have a "quick and dirty" portable studio that I can bring to an SME if need be. It prevents any unwanted background noise (within reason) and any echoes from flat surfaces.


Thanks for following up! This is a great idea.

Rumors ...

During the conference I have heard two rumors and I'd like to let you know that neither is true:


1. Adobe is taking over the eLearning Guild


This one was quite funny to me and it makes me wonder, how rumors like it even start ...


Adobe has partnered with the eLearning Guild since the event was held in San Jose, head quarters of Adobe. We have been working with the Guild for so long already, we figured it's a great opportunity to tag on our first Adobe Summit for eLearning. We have no plans to 'take over the eLearning Guild.'


2. Adobe Captivate 4 will be released in Spring


This one would be an absolute nightmare if true and I would not have had time to attend the summit at all or any other conference or have a life. We just released Adobe Captivate 3 and our release schedules are usually 12-24 months. Adobe Captivate 3 seemed to be an exception with 9 months after version 2. To me, it was like catching up to our normal release schedule after version 2 was delayed so much due to the acquisition. Our team is currently in the process of gathering feedback to determine the best feature set for version 4. This is a good time to let the team know what you are looking for - go to Adobe.com and search for 'wishform' to get to the feature request form or use this direct link.


See you again next year!

Adobe Summit - Day 2

I attended the morning session with Ellen and Tom King speaking to Authorware users about our plans. Brent Schlenker has provided a great summary. If you were not able to attend this session but you are interested in hearing more, we are repeating this session this week in an eseminar: Adobe Panel Webinar on Solutions for Authorware Users Register here.


We ended the conference with an interesting Stump the Expert session. I was the only expert though who actually got stumped by the audience asking very technical questions on Adobe Captivate (I am sure our QA or engineering team could have answered).


Questions were great and ranged from the future of standards or if Adobe is trying to sell an LMS (answer is no) to product related questions such as normalizing audio in Adobe Captivate.


Overall I really enjoyed the conference and already received some feedback from attendees that they got a lot out of it.

November 8, 2007

Adobe Summit - Day 1

Keynote at Adobe eLearning SummitThe Adobe Summit today was kicked off by Ellen's keynote with Naresh Gupta , our SVP, calling in from India in the middle of the night on a holiday! It was a great start of a very special conference to us since it's the first eLearning Conference that Adobe is holding.

Ellen also showed a video of our customers talking about our tools - Watch the video.

The Adobe Captivate Tips & Tricks session was quite packed and I was lucky to have RJ Jacquez join us, the Technical Communication Suite and eLearning evangelist. I learned quite a bit from his part of the presentation. Not covered in the PPT is his tip on changing the standard.htm file (found in C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Captivate 3\Templates\Publish) which changes your published HTML file. I'll ask him to start a blog to explain it.
RoboHelp and FrameMaker are great tools for eLearning and several people were asking about the eseminars we offer - I recommend: Bring your Information to Life with 3D and Adobe® Captivate® 3 in the new Technical Communication Suite! - it's free, it's live and RJ will be presenting.

Right now I am in the executive panel session on technology road maps and it looks like attendees are interested in Flash Lite output (mobile important for about 5-7 ppl), standards support, video (1/3rd in the room develop video and several people want to do more than 50% of their content as video), a YouTube Learning type site (I rather would personally see a service like Adobe Share to turn into that - Share has the benefit of supporting interactive content so I think it's a bit more practical than a pure video service), collaboration (important for all).

Heading off to our reception ...

PS: If you leave a comment, please include a real name/address.

November 7, 2007

DevLearn 2007 - Day 2

Right now I am presenting my session More then rapid where I show a multitude of rapid authoring tools including

At this point, I am showing how to blog with Contribute using my live Adobe blog. The demo includes inserting text by dragging a word document into your blog entry, inserting an image and inserting Flash files.

The conference will end with the Adobe Summit and we hope you can join us for that. Especially Thursday night: it’ll be fun with a beer and wine tasting reception. Find out more on our site – here is a demo how you get to the right page:

Here is a comment from Dave, one of the attendees:

"Silke is a wonderful instructor and this was a great session!"

Update after the session : I had planned a lot more tools in the session and unfortunately ran out of time. Thanks again Amy for playing with us with Visual Communicator and I am sorry that my system was a bit overloaded and slow. Here are the slides if anyone is interested in all the links. Heading to DemoFest now...

November 6, 2007

DevLearn 2007 - Day1

This was a long day ... but definitely a fun one. There are over 1,000 people here and everyone I met seems very excited and eager to learn and share.

As promised, here are some files and info from my sessions:

Breakfast Bite session: Is rapid eLearning getting a bad rep?
It was very refreshing to hear about the very successful rapid training stories where SMEs are involved. Thanks for all of you who attended this early in the morning and provided your insight in creating great eLearning using rapid tools. Here are some of your comments I jotted down:

  • Great and animated ILT SME freaked out when asked to create recording of his session "there is no audience, I can't record."
  • We fedex a laptop to the SME with all the rapid tools installed.
  • If the content is too technical, we accept a little less quality but gain efficiency and get the training done.
  • Bad audio often creates the perception the training is bad. It's easy and cheap to create a portable studio (using a hamper and acoustic foam). Shane - please send me the photo and I'll include in the blog!
  • We had great success with rapid tools. I call rapid tools "Expert Enablement Programs" - I love this ;)
  • We are spending 1:1 time w/ the SME. Some SMEs don't know PPT and can't get out of their comfort zone.

I had mentioned this white paper we have recently done with Jennifer De Vries- it provides some tips and ideas on working with SMEs. FYI: Usually white papers are posted on our Adobe eLearning site - we are adding this one soon.

Research in Action: Evidence-based Guidelines in e-Learning, a session by Ruth Clark and myself, was well attended. You can find her white paper directly on our website including some of the samples shown in today's session. I totally spaced in the session to thank Joe Ganci from Dazzletech who had provided a great conceptual simulation we showed. I'll blog when I can make it available online (see img on the right).

I also really enjoyed the keynote by Sir Ken Robinson - he is a very entertaining speaker and quite thought provoking. To get an idea, check this out (includes link to TED talk video). He definitely put things in perspective. Tony Karrer posted his notes.

With that - good night!

November 2, 2007

Share now playing Flash files :)

Sweet - I just checked out Share and noticed that it's playing my Adobe Captivate file. Check it out.

PS: Hope to seeing you at DevLearn or the Adobe Summit next week. If you are planning to attend, please leave a comment. Would be fun to meet in person - I have several sessions including a breakfast discussion table Tuesday morning.