Review: mLearning Studio by Rapid Intake

Rapid Intake has come out with a rapid development tool for creating mobile learning that is SCORM compliant, and the HTML5 compatible courseware output will run on both Apple iOS and Android OS mobile devices (no version for BlackBerry yet).

Click this link to learn more from Rapid Intake’s mLearning Studio page.

I Test Drove the Demo

With my iPad in hand, I decided to take their demo for a spin. As an attendee at The e-Learning Guild’s mLearnCon in June 2010 (San Diego, CA), I sat in on a few sessions on HTML5 and “HTML5 vs. Adobe Flash”. The excitement buzzed around the fact that, yes, HTML5 is an infant, but it is quickly going to learn to crawl, walk, run, and then compete in the Olympics of mobile learning development. Some pretty big names with huge wallets are funding the HTML5 Working Group, and those big names are investing heavily in the future success of HTML5.

Before you read my review, please know that although I confess that I am a MacGrrrl and a bit of an Apple FanGrrrl, I can do basic interactions in native Adobe Flash. I am an OS agnostic, and I might end up getting an HTC Droid smartphone instead of the Verizon iPhone… maybe.

For mobile devices, I do prefer tablets over smartphones due to the larger screen size. However, some learners, such as field technicians and sales representatives, will use iPhones or Android smartphones over tablets because the device fits easily in their hands (pockets and purses).

That said, I was happy to see the invitation on Twitter to review an m-learning development tool that uses HTML5 to output to any mobile OS device, especially for tablets!

Caveat: This is Rapid Intake’s early, early release, and I’m sure their development team has a ton of upgrades already on a long list. However, I’m going to provide an honest assessment of what I saw tonight on my iPad.

My first screen grab with comment:

Sample Content Screen | Intro - Rapid Intake

Nice interface for the iPad. Menu on the left. Gesture sensitive content screen on the right (Landscape, my preference). But, the Swipe gesture wasn’t consistent. I ended up using the Next arrow in the lower right corner.

I did feel disappointment that the Swipe gesture didn’t always swipe. User error? I don’t think so, I’ve had my iPad since early May 2010, and I’ve got Gestures down.

Dirty iPad screen? Umm… maybe. I think the mLearning Studio App just needs to get a few bugs out.

My second screen shot:

#2 screen shot of Rapid Intake

At first, I felt disappointed. After using Articulate Studio (and PPT 2007) and Adobe Captivate to develop elearning, this mLearning Studio screen made me think of the early days of ToolBook Instructor and linear e-learning. I really, really hope Rapid Intake is working on some more interactive and engaging templates.

I caught myself and halted my critical gene. As a first-generation HTML5 rapid e-learning development tool, sure, the initial templates will be basic. Heck Rapid Intake is having to work with what HTML5 can do… today, February 2011. Sure, this screen reminded me of some ToolBook Instructor courses I developed some years ago: Text on the Left, Image on the Right. Click… Next! But, I set that aside and thought about what this new App is doing… on my iPad. I think it’s pretty darn cool… for a start. However, honestly, with Lectora as a competitor in the HTML5 mobile learning market with Lectora Inspire, and Adobe making HTML5 tools, Rapid Intake will have some pretty big shoes to fill in terms of engaging and interactive course templates. (We who are Articulate FanGrrrls and FanGuyzzz are waiting PATIENTLY for our next upgrade for an iPad-compatible tool…hint, hint. However, today, @GetAdam tweeted the need for a Web App tester…. please, please, hoping, hoping!)

My third screen shot:

#3 screen shot of Rapid Intake

Again, a static template, but this time the image is on the left and the content is on the right. The WARNING message at the bottom is not interactive; it’s static content.

From this screen, I see some variation in the mLearning Studio template. I’d like to know if the Warning message at the bottom is an image file in its entirety (exclamation mark plus text), or is it an area in the template where I can insert and image file and enter content into a text field. It would be fun to see behind the screen. After viewing the demo, I did add my name to Rapid Intake’s email list. (And, to make things clear to the FTC, I have no business nor personal relationships with anyone at Rapid Intake, and I receive no benefits from them, nor do I expect to.)

My fourth screen shot:

#4 screen shot of Rapid Intake

For the “8 Steps to Awesome Service”, this is Step #1 – Answer the Phone.

Again, this screen in their demo is quite plain and linear. What I’d like to see is a template that will allow me to insert an iOS-compatible video, for example. And, mLearning Studio does have a video template page. If I were using this template page, I’d like to insert an image file or two to build visual scenarios. Or, I’d use the Quiz template pages to challenge the learners on the 8 Steps instead of a text dump. But, that’s an instructional design decision and not a comment on the HTML5 functions of mLearning Studio.

My fifth screen grab (Quiz screen):

#5 screen shot of Rapid Intake

This is a basic T/F quiz template screen. mLearning Studio also offers a multiple choice template.

The simple demo provided samples of one T/F question and two M/Cs (multiple choice). Will mLearning Studio also have templates for M/R or multiple response questions? Can I add images or iOS-compatible video to this page?

It will be interesting to see what other quiz templates are available. And, again, I’m sure the mLearning Studio team has a long list of enhancements in mind.

My sixth you-know-what:

#6 screen shot of Rapid Intake

The feedback template page is adecuate, but I’d like to learn more about what I can do with it other than enter text.

I liked seeing the feedback box appear as an overlap in Landscape mode on my iPad (my only testing environment for this review).

From a design and development viewpoint, can I change the color from gray to another color? Can I import image files or a video file to reinforce the intrinsic feedback?

I do understand that we’re working with HTML5 today. Who knows what tomorrow will bring in terms of new development options… especially for the iPad specifically.

My seventh screen shot:

#7 screen shot of Rapid Intake

Nice Quiz Results page. And, it’s nice to think of how happy the SCORM-compliant LMS will be. Not too mention the customer service managers. ;-)

When I saw this page, I began to think of the possibilities of LMS reporting and tracking from mobile devices! When I felt my excitement rise inside of me, I realized I need to go outside and get a life… enjoy smelling flowers and petting puppy dogs in the park.

Seriously, as an attendee of a mobile learning conference in 2010, I am so excited about mobile learning, I just can’t tell ya!

My final screen grab:

mLearning Studio | Product Page - Rapid Intake

I found it funny that on my iPad, I couldn’t view the demo vid of mLearning Studio because it’s a Flash video (see gray text on the right side). They could have used Articulate’s Screenr to create an HTML5-compatible MP4 vid file. :-)

So, I’m cheering on Rapid Intake and it’s mLearning Studio HTML5-compatible development tool. This was a nice first look, and there’s lots of room for wonderful growth.

(As an independent consultant, I need various tools in my tool box. So, I cheer on just about any tool maker because my clients typically select and use only one or two tools. What they use, I use.)

Thank you, Rapid Intake, for your first steps with an HTML5-compatible rapid mlearning tool (for the iPad!) for mobile devices. As a consultant, I do look forward to your future success.

(And, as garage door broken boca raton disclaimer as a consultant, I am happy to review anyone’s new tools, without remuneration to keep the FTC happy, of course.)

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9 thoughts on “Review: mLearning Studio by Rapid Intake

  1. Pingback: Elearning for iPad/iPhone? - Articulate Community Forums

  2. Great review, Jenise. I had a conversation with InTake last week and they presented me this product. It seems really interesting and yes, the fact that it’s HTML5 based makes it more interesting too, a different set of options than Flash-based tools for mobile. I am not a fan of HTML5 vs. Flash, I am just considering all the benefits and downsize of each path.

    Keep on posting such interesting things! :)

    Un saludo, m.

  3. Hi Jenise, thanks for taking the time to review mLearning Studio. You make some really good points that we are working on (such as improving the swiping for example…the challenge there is when you can scroll vertically and swipe horizontally, finding the happy medium so it works well for both).

    (Yes…I agree, it is kind of strange that our video on our website isn’t compatible with the iPad. We’re still getting our own processes in place for our corporate website content to be viewable in all mobile formats.)

    I just want to let you know that we have plans to add a lot of additional interactive capabilities. So far we’ve been building the platform. What we’ve accomplished so far is a robust HTML5 player that behaves like a native app experience inside the mobile web browser so that the learner can launch and track content directly from the SCORM or AICC LMS. We’ve also built support for text, text and image, video, and quizzes (T/F and Multiple Choice). Quizzing includes capabilities like randomization, quiz review, retakes, etc. So it’s fairly robust.

    That said, we acknowledge there is much more to be done and we’re working on it incorporating a lot of great suggestions from our best testers. You can now beta test the authoring environment. If you or any of your readers would like to join the current beta test including where you can author your own courses, you can apply here: http://www.rapidintake.com/products/mobile/mobile-learning-studio/ (link near the bottom of the page).

    Thanks again for the review.

    Garin Hess
    mLearning Studio Product Manager
    Rapid Intake

  4. Hola Marcello, y ¬°gracias por la visita!

    I need to reach out to Rapid Intake, and I do enjoy watching what various companies are developing for the mobile learning space. Come back again!

  5. Garin,

    Thank you for visiting my post on your mlearning product, and I apologize for my late reply. (I’m going to explain that in a new blog post.)

    Thank you for the link to your Beta test. I hope it’s not too late for me to give it a test drive. I believe there’s an email in my Inbox from you.

    Will be in touch!

  6. Pingback: New User | Ipad Compatible Courses queries

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