Enter the eCourse (via Adobe TCS4)
Continuing the thread from my last post, I am currently using Adobe TCS 4 to build am eCourse that I will be able to publish in a wide variety of formats. Currently, I am testing 10 different formats in order to determine the limits of each. The links from the launch page are not public as this time, but I am working hard to sort out a few details at this point.
What is an eCourse? Why Adobe TCS 4.
In ‘08 while working on a large project for ATT, I had an interesting discussion with a colleague, Kevin Yeoman, who was both a Classroom Teacher and an Instructional Designer. At that point Adobe had released the specs for PDF file creation and had also upgraded the product to include both images and animations. At the time my team and I were developing “training streams” for ATT which included both online and classroom components. The notion to add multimedia to the PDFs in addition to links and the search capability seemed to expand PDF formats into what Kevin and I called a Course Container.
Fast forward to ‘10 and I began to use RoboHelp 8 with AirHelp output to hold all customer facing and knowledgebase documentation for the tech support team that I supported @ McKesson Pharmaceutical . The combination of multimedia support plus full search capabilities of the Air module seemed most promising. Add the fast desktop response time lead me to the notion of using AirHelp as a course container for eLearning and mLearning project.
Alas, shortly thereafter the Oracle of Apple decreed there shall be no flash on iDevices. Now almost 3yr. later HTML5 along with newer ePub 3.0 and Kindle formats, provide new options for my eCourse notions. .
My primary design decision
In a prior post I made an argument for basing the target device decision for eLearning and mLearning delivery on the display and interactivity requirements of the content. Since ‘10 when I bought my NookColor, I have liked the size and screen aspect ratio on 7” Tablets for CP simulations and movies. As the prime mover on this project, I decree, “There shall be NO CP on Smartphones!”
In effect, the various Tablet formats are my modal selections, meaning that I expect more learners to use these formats for eCourses than others. As with everything the truth will emerge from the data as opposed to any opinions voiced by the chattering class.
When learners get access to one of TCS based eCourses, they will have several flavors of the content to choose from. The core content consisting of the narrative text, relevant images and resource links will be available in all formats. The highly interactive simulations and assessments will only be available on.
- Desktops & Laptops
- Tablets via HTML5
- PDFs (read on desktops/laptops)
Since learners will have access to multiple formats, limiting content delivery in this manner does not seem to be a hardship. When I imagine a learner with a tablet, I seem them sitting in a corner, on their bed or easy chair, but likely in a study mode. On the other hand, learners viewing content on their smartphones are more likely on the move or killing some time waiting in in a queue for something. The interactive CP content requires a different level of attention and more active responses than the typical smartphone can support.
Unlike retailers who need users to be able to place orders from all devices and desktops, mLearning developers can more easily segment content delivery by device. If stakeholders insist that all content reside on all devices, the the developer is functionally limited to the specs and display characteristics of smartphone tech. For CP simulations this requirement seems a bridge too far! Soon developers will see my results so they can better see the excellent solutions to Learning development provided by Adobe TCS 4.
Cheers for 2014!