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Quick Take: 8 key points that will make the difference in your eLearning

 
make the difference elearning

In this article, you'll learn...How to apply Robert Gagne's Learning Principles in your eLearning for a succesful development. As well, what to include in your eLearning courses for a more interactive, engaging and motivating learning experience. 

First steps towards mobile technology

 
html5rocks

Probably you should be asking yourself what, then, should be my first steps towards this mobile technology?

First of all, you must learn it by heart. There are a lots of online resources for beginners, intermediates and experts. The W3 SchoolsTreehouseHTML5 Rocks are all good starting points. But also, if you want to go hardcore, you can delve into the W3C Specification, which is the bare bones real deal, so to speak; and the HTML Language Reference.

Three positive outcomes of successful collaborative e-Learning

 
cloud based elearning

Collaborative e-Learning basically happens when multiple users can share and work with content simultaneously. Changes are shown in real time. Therefore, your course creation will definitely be more productive and effective as team members can work on a same course at the same time.  

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Why is eLearning an effective investment?

 
effective elearning

An effective eLearning product that’s developed with instructional design’s best practices in mind can help a company obtain a successful learning process, therefore justifying your investment.

Nonetheless, eLearning has several tangible advantages that increase the effectiveness of your investment. These advantages are: 

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eLearning: the key to developing human capital

 
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Current companies need to compete with products or services that live up to international quality standards and whose delivery is met on time and it surpasses all expectations. Today there’s even more pressure, local markets have become global and there’s a need to adapt to change in order to stay productive.

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6 reasons why you should use games in your eLearning courses

 
games in elearning

These days many companies talk about training while playing working, so maybe you are wondering why? As it turns out, games help reinforce training in the workplace. Therefore, we consider you should know at least six reasons why you should start using games in your eLearning courses.

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Building effective scenario-based learning in SHIFT

 
(With many thanks to Karl Kapp and Robin Yap for providing the inspiration for this article)
"No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee."

John Donne, Meditation XVII
English clergyman & poet (1572 - 1631)

We know that scenarios and simulations have a powerful impact on modeling preferred behaviour.  For users of the new Scenario Engine, there's a few things to consider to turn your scenario plans into an effective learning experience for your intended audience.

SHIFT eLearning Scenario Builder - On Demand Video Demo

 
Shift Scenario BuilderNarrated video demonstration of the creation of a scenario using SHIFT's new Scenario Builder.

Click HERE to watch the video demonstration.

For a more detailed look at the Scenario Builder please contact us at info@shiftelearning.com to schedule a personalized demonstration.

Why is SHIFT easy to use? (2 of 4)

 
SHIFT is easy to use because it automates most repetitive tasks associated with eLearning development.  Through a single login screen, based on profile, the user will have access to only the courses and the roles within those courses assigned to him.  No room for unauthorized people or unskilled people to change things.

SHIFT allows users to create great content with no technical knowledge at all.  No graphic design skills.  A SHIFT user is able to create, for example, a great looking scenario, perhaps re-creating a sales-client interaction, consisting of several scenes, several dialogues and several characters, easily and with zero technical, flash or programming skills.  Creativity is the only required ingredient.

The smart templates (over 250) allow the writers to choose the best interaction for the content.  It's as easy as clicking on a thumbnail.  By filling in the preconfigured fields, the development environment will know what needs to be displayed on screen, what needs to be recorded, what needs to be uploaded as images, video or even what a specialized graphic designer or animator needs to do.  There are no messy word files, PowerPoint or prototypes going back and forth among team members.  SHIFTmanages everything.

SHIFT will select those audios that are for a specific voice talent (for example, male voice #1) and then display only those audios to the male voice talent #1 for recording. Once each audio is recorded (by just clicking a button) the system crops, optimizes and uploads into the course.  It's simple because there is no editing of lengthy audios, no manual optimization and no need to integrate into the course.

Compliance to standards such as SCORM is simple.  When you're ready to publish a course, clicking on the "generate course" will compile the course including all SCORM manifests, navigation, interface, automatically.  Localization is also very simple and straightforward.  Due do SHIFT's database architecture, exporting content, localizing and re-importing into a localized course is fast and straightforward.

SHIFT has free, online, business hours (east coast) tech support, a built in, eLearning course on how to use SHIFT and a downloadable user manual.

The SHIFT experience (abridged) (1 of 4)

 
A few days ago, a group of IT students asked me "What does your company do ?".  I tried to summarize, as non-technical as I could, what the SHIFT experience is.

While SHIFT allows rich media courses to be created, its core value resides in its ability to save significant amount of labor and time for project managers, instructional designers, writers, graphic designers and to eliminate programming.  Lower costs, faster to market, richer experience. SHIFT allows the user to create a course with the features of a rich media course, but with the budget of a rapid eLearning authoring tool.

SHIFT is a development platform.  It's web-based, designed to work in an environment where there are multiple users, with different roles, profiles and access rights, designed to run multiple courses being developed at the same time and in multiple geographical locations. It's designed for organizations where content changes rapidly and needs to be updated, and where rich media is used to enhance the learning experience.

SHIFT has a set of tools that allow easy rich media course creation, including:

250+ preconfigured (as of september 2010, growing by 10% per month), smart templates, some of them that automatically reconfigure themselves based on content. When the ID or writer is creating a course, an XML database is written with the subject matter.  It is independent of interfaces.  That allows the ID to easily interchange interface interactions among families of similar interactions, because the interface is just a manifestation of the content, but not tied together like other development tools.  The 250+ preconfigured smart templates include several families of exploration (animated) screens, exercises, games, system simulation and information screens.

SHIFT also has a built-in scenario engine that allows users to create scenarios with zero programming or technical skills. This engine allows the selection of backgrounds, actors and even emotional states.  The ID writes the dialogue and the avatars come automatically to life, no lip-synch needed as it is done automatically for the ID.

A built in audio recording studio, where voice talent can record a course from anywhere in the world and where SHIFT automatically crops, optimizes and uploads audio, at the same time sorts audio for male, female or any other type of special requirements. For those that do not want to record with a human, a built in TTS engine (Text-to-speech) allows automatic recording of courses with a single click. The TTS engine can be used solely or in combination with a human-recorded course. SHIFT identifies those audios that have been previously recorded by a human talent and would record only the leftover audios with the TTS engine.

To upload images, SHIFT has a build in image editor.  It allows the user to select an image, crop, resize, rotate and flip images.  No need to use graphic design tools.

SHIFT allows for easy allocation of graphic design tasks to different team members.  They could even be outsourced and SHIFT manages the whole process (from assigning work, to uploading, integrating, reviewing and approving).  SHIFT even has RFQ functionality so that organizations can easily engage with outside vendors, seamlessly, through the system, reducing to zero the media integration costs.

SHIFT has an on-line and an off-line edits and bug tracking system so that all parties involved in the development and review can participate.

SHIFT has several built-in security features:  users, based on profile, are allowed different things, including creating, editing, deleting or just reviewing courses.  Project managers, based on their profile, will be able to track the progress and upload documentation, but not edit the content itself. A graphic designer may be allowed only to upload arts, but not edit content and so on. Once a course is done and approved, it can be locked so that no one is able to change it unless given permission.  Daily backups are created automatically in a different network infrastructure for redundancy.

SHIFT' s architecture allows for distributed teams to work together. A graphic designer can log into SHIFT and work on a specific project, assigned to him by the project manager and only on that.  The project manager or the ID can track, in SHIFT's report section, what the progress is on each screen, each media asset, in real time.

SHIFT is also designed for organizations that want to share and reutilize content.  Each module and screen can be tagged and can then be imported into other courses.  Since content is independent from interface, when a module is imported into a new course, all interfaces will be updated to the look and feel of the new course.  No rework is necessary.

Thus, SHIFT can be used as a one-person development environment, with most processes fully automated, or as an "industrial strength" development environment where many people, with many different profiles work together. SHIFT's heavy automation of non-value added tasks will dramatically reduce person-hours needed to develop rich media content, while allowing very fast time-to-market and easy updates and maintenance.
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