Lab 5 Notes

February 25, 2014
Mobile eLearning & Advanced Interactions

Setup
Mac OS X 10.8.5
Memory: 16 GB
Captivate 6.1.0.319

Instructions from assignment (and my resposes)

  1. Describe what your eLearning deliverable is suppose to do, or teach? And which interactions you included. And if there are any special instructions needed for its use?

    This deliverable focuses on the design principle of coherence, which was discussed in Chapter 8 of the Clark & Mayer text, and the idea that "less is more." I attempted to provide only the minimum amount of text and graphics required to meet the goal of the assignment: demonstrating a few Captivate interactions, including text entry, drag and drop, and the use of variables, in a limited number of slides.

    The project is not working the way I woud like at present. It doesn't play well on iOS devices (the button with a hint doesn't work, and the video plays in a separate window, or doesn't play at all). I have not been able to get the project to prevent the user from going forward until they complete the required task.

    The Flash version seems to work better than the HTML5 version.

  2. How did you test your deliverable?
    I viewed it on several different devices, including a Mac, a PC, an iPad, and an iPhone.

  3. What changes to your eLearning product might you want to make, to improve the learning experience on a mobile device? 

    Get the project to work correctly, and get answers to the questions below.

  4. What did you learn this week that might be useful in your own project?  Or in your current work?

    That's a really good question. I've been giving this lots of thought, and I'm not seeing a clear path to using Captivate or eLearning modules in my work. I've been trying to think of meaningful interactions that would enable users to learn the software product I'm documenting, but everything I've come up with seems contrived and not useful. Users don't want to sit through an eLearning module to learn to use my software product. They want to start using it. They need simple direct instructions, preferably in the user interface, that will enable them to start using the product immediately. They don't want to try it out in a demonstration or simulation mode.

    I might try to create a module that provides an overview of the product I'm documenting -- something that could provide new writers with an introduction to the product. However, I'm not sure that an eLearning module is the best way to present this information. The module would be informational only, not instructional, and I am concerned about being able to reference the content (search for information in the module and index information in the module).

  5. How many hours did you spend on the study/lab portion this week? 

    Six or seven.

  6. How many hours developing your deliverable?

    More than 12.

  7. Questions you have?  Concerns? (Yes, I have many.)

    1. Is there any research that has evaluated the benefit of using eLearning modules for different types of training?

      I can imagine eModules might have some benefit for teaching certain things, but I am struggling to see how they might successfully be incorporaed into software training. For the software products I document, users don't want to spend time going through an eLearning module, and they certainly don't want to spend time taking tests in eLearning modules. They want to begin usin the software as quickly as possible. The problem of accessing information contained in eLearning modules (finding something you remember hearing or reading) is a show-stopper for me. eModules would need to be indexed and searchable to be effective tools for documentation. As they are now, they are information silos, or standalone content bins, that require extensive resources to create and maintain.

      I also have many concerns over tecnical aspects, such as animation quality. The animations that I have seen in eLearning modules use "Montey Python" style 2D animation: Objects move, but their movements are not authentic and they don't attempt to be. This can be used to great comic effect, as Python fans will attest. But with all our technological advances in animation and 3D, is this really acceptable in today's world?

    2. When you have a text entry box, is it possible to have the default display text (such as "Type your name") automatically replaced when the user begins typing in the box? In my project, users have to select the text and delete it, otherwise text they type is added to the default text. It would be better if the default display text was selected automatically, the way most text entry boxes work.

    3. In my user variable, I set the text entry to have a 40-character limit, but when it is used on a slide, it cuts off at 15. Why? There is room for more characters in the text box.

    4. How do you prevent the user from continuing to the next slide without entering text in a field? I found some information about quizzes, and I set the preferences to require an answer to quiz questions before users could continue. But I can still procede without answering questions or dragging and dropping. Why?

    5. Can you have multiple audio tracks?

    6. The MP4 video I added doesn't play on iOS devices. Why? I tried a different video format (MOV, exported from iMovie), and this plays. But it takes you away from the eLearning page -- it plays in a separate window. Then the lesson continues in the first window, which is now hidden. Not good.

    7. The class notes for the previous lab mentioned that it was possible to choose publishing settings that automatically adjust the size of the output screen to match the device. I don't see that setting. Where is it?

    8. I attempted to record audio onto multiple slides -- I selected slides, then specified the slides I wanted to record to. But the audio didn't automatically go to the next slide when it got to the end of the first, and I didn't see a way to force it to go to the next slide at the appropriate point.

    9. How do you get an accent mark over the a in voilá? The regular key combination isn't working, and I can't cut and paste the characters (from Dreamweaver, for example).

    10. Can the automated voices read variables, such as a person's name?

    11. I have a text box on the second to last slide of my project. In the HTML5 version, the line breaks occur in odd places. For example, the e in France gets pushed to the next line. I tried using soft returns to force line breaks, but this didn't seem to help. What is going on? The Flash version doesn't have these bad line breaks.