Rapid Authoring for eLearning Development
What do we mean by rapid authoring? Well, it is essentially (just as it sounds) an eLearning authoring tool that enables you to develop an engaging and appealing eLearning course, from start to finish, quickly and easily, without requiring you to build everything from the ground up.
When selecting a rapid authoring eLearning tool, there is certainly a huge amount of choice in the marketplace today. But by no means are all of these tools alike, and it very much depends on what you want to get out of the tool as to which one you choose.
It’s important to make a choice that caters for multiple device types (desktop / tablet / mobile phone), so choosing a tool that provides HTML5 output rather than Flash-based output is wise. You also want something that allows your development team to be creative and as they become more proficient in the tool to do more for themselves, rather than be restricted by rigid templates that don’t allow them to explore their own creativity. The term "easy to use, while being feature-rich enough to take time to master" is apt. In addition, wouldn’t it be invaluable to have a rapid authoring tool that allows you to convert legacy training content easily? If you have existing training course material in PowerPoint, it would be great to be able to import these directly into your authoring tool so it becomes trackable in your LMS or LRS and mirrors the look and feel of your new material.
We’ve been using a rapid authoring platform now known as dominKnow | ONE for the past five years that ticks all of these boxes, and more. This blog will demonstrate in a series of screenshots and commentary how quickly and easily you can create a new course using one of the authoring modes within dominKnow | ONE.
1. Getting Started
Start building a course to meet your specific requirements (Flow for responsive or Claro for fixed layout), import from an existing PowerPoint, re-use an existing project (course) or start from a pre-built course template (Baselines).
2. Choose your Theme
dominKnow | ONE provides you with numerous Themes that govern the style, colours, etc. of your course content (working in much the same way as style sheets if you're familiar with web design), which means you can get started with rapid authoring straight away. You can select one of the available Themes either by browsing through 'Player Experience' or 'Learning Experience'.
3. Create your Pages
To create a new page within your course you have two options – start from a blank template or choose from one of the many pre-built page Template sets that ship with dominKnow | ONE.
For the purposes of rapid authoring, you may want to use an existing Template set to create your course pages. The Template Library in dominKnow | ONE is continuously being updated and added to by dominKnow, and as a cloud-based solution you don’t need to install updates to get the latest releases, these are automatically available to you.
When you have chosen your Template set, you can then add to or edit the pages as required.
4. Add Images and Media
When creating a page using a Template set, there are placeholders on the page to choose whether you want to add an image, a video, etc. and you simply click on which you want and select from your library (in the case of image or media).
There’s a multitude of stock art available in dominKnow | ONE, including People and Clipart, and these are accessible when you are creating or using your Templates as well as customising individual pages yourself. As with the Template sets, these images are continually being updated and added to.
There is also a Media Library that stores any bespoke assets (images, videos, audio or documents) that you add to your page. These assets can be shared between Authors, making it easy to re-use an asset that a colleague has previously used on their course, or vice versa.
5. Add Interactions
dominKnow | ONE has an Interactions Framework which means that any element on a page can be the trigger or target of an action from any other element, or the page itself. The ease at which you can set up these interactions is perfect for rapid authoring. Interactions can be achieved very easily using the step-by-step wizard, without any coding. For example, if you are playing a video and want a message to appear at a certain point, you can easily set that up. You could have a waterfall effect so that when one things happens, that then triggers something else and so on. It is very simple and intuitive to set up.
6. Knowledge Checks and Assessments
Rapid authoring feature set also includes the creation of questions that act as knowledge checks or end of course assessments.
As with content pages, these can be created from blank templates or from a pre-built question template.
7. Preview your Page
You can very easily preview each page to see what it will look like to the learner as you are developing your eLearning course.
You can also preview the full course in your browser or even preview it on a mobile device.
dominKnow | ONE can publish your completed eLearning courses as SCORM or xAPI compliant packages. They can also be published to run directly from your desktop, a webserver, an LMS or event that is output as a document such as a Student Guide.
dominKnow | ONE enables you to create professional, engaging eLearning courses very quickly – an Author can create a template-driven course as quickly as they might using a traditional tool such as PowerPoint. However, the benefits to rapid authoring don’t end there. The collaborative functionality of this cloud-based platform enable your entire development team to become much more efficient. dominKnow | ONE enables your development team to work on the same project at the same time, solving the bottle-neck of single-user development. The use of themes and templates ensures design consistency throughout the team and learning resources can be shared and re-used across all projects. Not only do authors save huge amounts of time by using and sharing elements that already exist, they benefit in the future too should that object have to be changed, as all instances are updated in one simple step. I will talk more about the collaborative benefits of dominKnow | ONE in my web-based collaboration blog .
dominKnow | ONE supports rapid authoring with its numerous quick-start features including the one-click PowerPoint conversion and hundreds of fully editable, interactive templates, but it doesn’t compromise on features or flexibility. Its ease-of-use and simplicity doesn’t equate to lack of depth. Authors are not restricted by rigid templates and can design courses from scratch if they chose to do so, or tweak and customise the templates for their specific purpose in order to create engaging, media rich learning experiences with interactions, animation, video, advanced variables, branching, and so much more.
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