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July 29, 2008

Green eLearning - Tips and best practices

I am starting a new category on Green eLearning in my blog and over the next few weeks, I will post several tips that can help streamline workflows and reduce learning footprint (the nice thing: it also reduces cost).

As part of this blog entry series, I would like to highlight organizations that have successfully implemented sustainable strategies in their learning practices. Please submit your green learning stories in the comments field below. I am looking especially for success stories with achieved cost savings and CO2 reductions as well as new hardware that helped meet your goals.

So, here is my first tip:

What's your learning footprint?

learning footprint calculatorThe first step in reducing your learning footprint is knowing how much CO2 you or your group actually generate. Luckily, there are plenty of calculators available online that help you estimate your learning footprint - check out learningfootprint.com.

If you want to go a bit deeper and more detailed, try the following links:

  • Atmosfair.com to calculate flight emissions.
  • Conservatree to calculate how many trees you use e.g.

    1 tree makes 16.67 reams of copy paper or 8,333.3 sheets.

  • Environmental Defense Fund's paper calculator which also gives you info on how many gallons of waste water are produced.
  • MIT Design Advisor to calculate your specific training facility emissions.
  • I haven't yet found a good calculator for hotels but Greenlodge.com provides an estimate of 44lbs/night. I believe it's rather on the low side since merely having a towel washed is already .5lb and many hotels have the room AC set to 68 degrees in the summer, keep all the lights on, and have the TV running before you even arrive ...
  • Climate Savers Computing Initiative to estimate your computer footprint
    From the U.S. PC Energy Report 2007: 1 PC wastes 635.1 kWh x 1.45 lbs or 920.89 lbs of CO2 emissions per year.

If you have more good links specifically for elearning or office carbon footprint calculations, please submit the URLs with a short description via the comments.



July 25, 2008

Tip: Adobe Captivate Audio Output Settings Comparison

Mark Siegrist, one of our certified instructors and Adobe Captivate user, is starting a series of Adobe Captivate audio-output settings comparisons.

"Basically with the goal of coming up with the best settings to use for the perfect balance of filesize-to-audio quality, for voiceovers." Mark

Part One: Encoding Bitrate is now available.

Subscribe to his blog so you'll know when the next part is published.

Thanks Mark for setting this up!



July 23, 2008

Tip: Easily creating video for use in Adobe Captivate

Visual Communicator to easily create video blogs or instructional videoIf you are interested in easily creating videos and adding them to your eLearning content or Adobe Captivate projects, you may want to check out Visual Communicator 3 .

It's extremely easy to use and offers hundreds of customizable graphics, music clips, and special effects to create video presentations that look like a television newscast.

Check out the features or download the free trial of Visual Communicator. It's a very fun product - give it a shot and your coworkers won't believe you created such a video yourself :)

PS: Another option is to go with Vlog It! - It's based on Visual Communicator but designed for video blogging. And it's only $29.



July 22, 2008

Tip: Getting captions displayed in the correct order for print outputs

Adobe Captivate has the option to output your content to print format, which can be very helpful when developing job aids or handouts.

If you have multiple captions in one slide, the stacking order in your time line determines how the captions are listed in the Handout output format. In the following example, the caption that displays first based on timing is displayed last in the handout caption output.

Stacking the captions from the bottom in the timeline ensures correct display order in your handout:

Note: The Step-by-Step output uses a different methodology to generate the print output and captions are ordered based on their timed appearance in the slide.


Thank you Josh for this tip!



July 11, 2008

Tip: Easily localize your project

If you are planning to translate your projects into multiple languages, you can take advantage of some cool features in Adobe Captivate that can save you a lot of money.

Quick and dirty demos in another languagelanguages for autotext captions

Before you capture, you can choose the language for the automatic text captions. Simply select the language you need from the Advanced option in the recording dialog. You can also make changes to the default text or add your own autotext languages - simply check out the CaptureTextTemplates_xyz.rdl files in the C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Captivate 3 folder. This selection is only available before you start recording. To translate after the fact, follow the next steps. XLIFF export from adobe captivate

Full localization

Adobe Captivate offers XML output of your text in the XLIFF format, which is specifically used by localizers and their translation memory tools like Trados.

  1. Make a copy of your project and add the target language to the file name. E.g. if your English project is called "Test", call the copy "Test_Spanish"
  2. Export the text content to XML File > Export > To XML
  3. Have the XML file localized and import the text into the same project
    File > Import > From XML
  4. Check all your captions - some languages use very long words and the sizing or position might be off. Like German - Schaltfläche for button


Note: Text in text animations as well as text of questions inside question pools cannot be exported. So avoid text animations and have your questions translated before you move them into pools.



July 10, 2008

Tip: Easy backup of webpages - cool Acrobat feature

I was trying to figure out how I could possibly make a backup of my blog. Robert McDaniels, our Education SE Manager, sent me a little Adobe Captivate demo that shows how you can easily capture an entire website into PDF using Acrobat Pro Extended. Learn more about the Capture Web pages feature.

Thanks Robert :)



Tip: Create accessible (508) content with Adobe Captivate

Not too many people know about this: Adobe Captivate offers many accessibility features to make your eLearning content Section 508 compliant and we have a page on our site that provides info about

  • the available functionality to make content accessible
  • an FAQ
  • demos on adding descriptions and closed captioning
  • best practices
  • and access to our Accessibility Resource Center.

Find out more: Adobe Captivate Accessibility



July 7, 2008

Call for proposals for ASTD International 2009 - Deadline 7/15

ASTD is looking for speakers for the next international conference in Washington D.C. in May 31-June 3, 2009. It's a great way of showing what you have accomplished with Adobe Captivate. Here is more info if you are interested in submitting:

The deadline for submission for 2009 conference proposals is July 15, 2008.

We are also announcing a new resource to help you navigate the proposal submission process--a video located on the main Request for Proposals (RFP) page at the above link.

1. Submissions are accepted online only between 6/13--7/15/08.

2. There are three steps:

  • Speaker selection/entry;
  • proposal details entry (title, description, etc.);
  • and speaker reference selection/entry. 

3. You must create your proposal in advance using Word or other word processing software and then enter each section in the appropriate field in the template. Be sure you have all required information assembled per the Checklist.

4. Be sure that your proposal matches the requested topics and shows clear application of the content to the participants' jobs.

5. Written instructions are provided for each step as well as a document of instructions with screen shots which you may print.

6. Once you submit, you will see a screen confirmation of successful submission. Please print this screen for your records; it is the only  confirmation you will receive.

7. You may modify a submitted proposal until the deadline of July 15, 2008. 

8. Be sure to update your profile online if your email address or other information changes so that we can notify you.

Please note that all speakers will receive an email notification by 10/31/08 if the proposal has been selected or declined.

>> Submit your proposal



July 1, 2008

Live Online Training for Technical Communication Suite

Technical Communication SuiteOn July 9 (already sold out) and August 6, Iconlogic is offering a one-day online course on Integrating Adobe's Technical Communication Suite, which will cover Adobe Captivate, Framemaker, RoboHelp, and the many neat integration points of the Technical Communication Suite - "you'll put the pieces of the puzzle together and learn to integrate the Technical Communication Suite the way it was intended." Find out more or register at Iconlogic.

There are also virtual classes for Adobe Captivate 3 July 10-11 and August 7-8.

PS: Kevin Siegel, the instructor, has some books published around our tools