Virtual Collaboration Solves e-Learning Issue

It amazes me how learning and collaboration take place via the Internet and the World Wide Web. I thank Tim Burners-Lee for the Web and those who develop applications (Skype, Base Camp, blogs, etc.) to promote global sharing and team work.

tomkuhlmann07102009What inspired this post? Well, every Tuesday, Tom Kuhlmann of Articulate (he’s V.P. of Community) publishes a new post on his Rapid e-Learning blog. I’m one of many who comment on his posts to share ideas, experience, and even lessons learned.

rvmhomejune2009_a

One of Tom’s blog readers read a comment of mine, then clicked the URL to visit my Web site. (http://www.RidgeViewMedia.com/blog) At the time, my Home page had a news notice about an Articulate Quizmaker demo I had created.

I don’t know that reader, but he’s the Training Manager at an insurance company in another state and time zone. He liked the demo so much that he wanted his in-house e-learning team to recreate it for one of their courses. Want to view the demo? Click the link below (Note: Contains Flash, so it’s not HTML5 compliant for iOS devices.)

imgquizdemoswfs_smallClick to view quiz demo.

They began their efforts, and then one of the IDs/Developers contacted me via an e-mail message to ask for help. They ran into a problem with their Quizmaker project file. I asked him to send me their files so I could troubleshoot and find the issue, and he did (removing corporate proprietary information and including only the Adobe Flash SWF file).

Now, I have some experience as a Q.A. Tester, and I determined the issue came from their Flash SWF file. They weren’t quite sure what to do, so I sent them my Quizmaker project file and my Flash FLA file.

That did it!

The *.fla file I sent helped them resolve their roadblock, they successfully published their quiz, and their manager was very happy. (It’s a good thing when your manager is happy!)

Wrap Up

This brief experience with “strangers”, people I’ve never met nor seen, warmed my heart. First, I feel privileged to be a part of the global learning community. This community bubbles over with caring, active, and exciting professionals. As a community, we are always learning so we can help our learners to increase their performance by improving their knowledge, skills, and abilities.

And, all of this happened when a learning professional reached out to me to ask for guidance, and I provided the resources they needed to achieve success. I still feel touched thinking about it. And, in the spirit of learning and collaboration, if you’d like the Quizmaker/Flash project files for your next Quizmaker project, send me a message to: info AT ridgeviewmedia.com

You and I are “Always Learning”, so feel free to share this post with others who use (or are planning to use) Articulate’s Quizmaker ’09 application.

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PowerPoint Library of Edited Images and Slides for Articulate!

Kudos, First, to Tom Kuhlmann!

The Articulate user community of instructional designers, developers, and technical communicators has a wonderful advocate in the person of Tom Kuhlmann, author of Articulate’s “The Rapid e-Learning” blog, and Vice President of Community. This week, he wrote a post on how hiding slides in PowerPoint (PPT) helps you save your edited clip art images and other edited items inside your PPT project file. If you use “layers” frequently when creating animations in PPT, you will appreciate this Hot Tip of Tom’s!

Click the image above to go to his post, “How to Be More Productive when Using PowerPoint for e-Learning Courses”, 30 September 2008, or just click here! )

User Comments

The Comments section of Tom’s post clearly demonstrates the value of Articulate’s user community. Make sure you read through each comment. I did, and saw that some users discovered issues with the hidden PPT slides and their LMS. Gabe Anderson replied that the upcoming Articulate Presenter ’09 resolves those issues.

But, what if a user will not be upgrading to AP ’09 soon? No problem; I have a solution. So, I decided to write this post to suggest a workaround for those users who would LOVE to upgrade to Articulate Presenter ’09, but may not be able to right away due to corporate budget constraints, or any gazillion number of reasons. (Especially in these economic times; what a wild ride we’ve been on in the U.S. for the past 2-1/2 weeks.) And, my idea may also work for you who will upgrade to AP ’09, but you have a different work-flow process for your PPT files that are revised by multiple designers.

Create a PPT Library “a la” Adobe Flash!

Adobe Flash best-practices practitioners encourage developers to create a stand-alone Library file of images and animations. The Library file makes it easy to reuse elements, and quickly makes those elements available to a team of developers working on various projects. This Library file helps make rapid development even more rapid.

We can do that with PPT. This workaround will help you avoid any issues with hidden PPT slides and your LMS.

  1. Open a new PPT file for your Library items.
  2. Save the file as… Library.ppt
    (or, the name that fits your team or your project, for example:
    SharePointPPTLibrary.ppt )
  3. Change the View of the Library file to Slide Sorter View.
  4. Open your PPT project file that has edited elements as Tom describes in his post.
  5. Change the View of the project file to Slide Sorter View.
  6. Arrange the two slide decks so they are side by side. (See image below.)
  7. Drag and drop the hidden slides from your project PPT file to the Library file.
  8. Save both PPT files and you’re done!

Left: Project slides with edited images.
Right: Library.ppt file awaiting slides!

Best Practices:

  • Open the Library PPT file in Slide Sorter View and hide it in the background while you work.
  • When you finish working on your images, drag and drop their slides into the Library PPT file.
  • Use the Title Slide to create a heading for each project’s slides; create one title for each project.

Final Thoughts

When you get a chance, upgrade to AP ’09. I plan to upgrade this year. Gabe and Tom say it will knock our socks off, and I believe them. Why? Because of Articulate’s active user community and the product gurus who listen to those users every day. (And, that includes Justin and his team in the Support Forum.)

With Articulate’s dynamic development team, I’m “Always Learning” new things about Articulate’s Presenter, Engage, and Quizmaker!


May 2016: Minor updates. Articulate now has Storyline 2 for HTML5 output. My business focus is now on writing, instead of e-learning development. However, I still like this post because the workflow described above saved me, and my clients, a lot of time.


 

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