While it supports a number of basic eLearning features, Captivate is strongest when the project focuses on screen captures. Otherwise (even in recent upgrades) it’s a bit unwieldy and I find less conducive to customized graphic elements than other tools.
However, when developing 28 screen simulations in a span of a few months, it’s really quite the thing. Some of the tools buried in there, make it easy to clone and customize a course for alternate user groups with minor effort.
Writing Compliance Courses for a global pharmaceutical giant is an opportunity with particular challenges and rewards.
The task requires one to sift through often dry legal documentation and corporate policy statements, and present this information in a more palatable format, conducive to rapid and painless digestion by a broad audience of salespersons, researchers, marketers, etc. who would most likely prefer to be doing something other than taking a compliance course.
I spent the summer down in Princeton, NJ working with a prominent Medical Communications agency writing course content for one of their UK based clients. This material had to convey the seriousness of compliance requirements while avoiding becoming obvious or condescending for an educated and skilled audience. It was critical to develop scenarios and quiz questions that stimulated deeper thinking on the issues over rote memorization.
Sometimes a project really needs to move the audience… and simple slides or even engaging interactions are not sufficient.
I recently worked on one such project, very heavy in flash animation. The animation was effectively used to communicate the story of innovative internal products and services to an internal audience at a global Pharmaceutical Company in NJ.
While video was originally considered, the team decided that animation would be more effective and communicating high level concepts to a broad audience, and Adobe Flash was used to develop the animation, with a dedicated illustrator and team of 3 developers, an audio studio and professional voice talent to turn the project around in a week.
This project was not typical, being more an internal communication that true eLearning, however it brought the role of animation in eLearning to mind. I frequently find that animation is a useful tool in visualizing information and concepts. Motion is a 4th dimension that adds depth to a visual interpretation of a concept or visualization of data.
I frequently find that animating portions of a graph, diagram or table, even in a limited fashion, focuses the attention of the learner using various devices to emphasize process components or the relationship between various roles, phases of a process, etc.
I recently experienced one of those moments as an instructional designer where — not only do I get to design the instruction of a process or procedure, but have an opportunity to re-design the business process being taught.
When I reviewed a SME draft on the project (an e-Learning module on filing medical records), it struck me that the filing system described was overly complex and probably a classic case of a legacy of repetition leading to acceptance. In other words, “This is how we’ve always done it, why should we change”.
As an instructional designer part of what I do is examine an existing presentation and question whether there is a more effective way to present the information. In this case the objective was to teach a system for filing medical records. I observed that the actual process of interpreting the codes on the folders was overly complex… it involved almost a full page of explanation on how to rearrange pairs of digits within the code to figure out how to place the file on the shelf. However, I noticed that the entire process could be reduced to one simple step, simply reading the pairs of digits from right to left (in reverse order). This would reduce the cognitive load of the student and vastly accelerate learning.
The SME was ecstatic that I had discovered a way to refine a cumbersome, multi-step procedure (difficult for trainees to absorb) into a single step, that is both simpler to train and execute.
I am privileged to have been accepted onto the Articulate Storyline Beta team. Taking my first look back in November, I’ve had the opportunity to dive back in to a more recent release.
While I can’t disclose much, all I can say is that it’s very exciting and very good, a veritable game changer in rapid e-Learning development tools.
They are holding off on release until it’s rock solid, which is an admirable approach.
More here http://community.articulate.com/.