We just entered the 2nd half of the year. Whoosh…Father Time just raced past me. What’s his hurry? I know I know he is having tea with Father Christmas to catch up on the latest gossip of who is naughty and nice and is running late. They do have a schedule to adhere to. What? Just like NDP (National Day Parade), they do have to prepare way in advance so I am totally within logical sense. Hahaha…I know, it is just my wishful thinking that Christmas is around the corner and I can indulge in shopping without the guilt. (Obviously the GSS – Great Singapore Sale – has burned a hole so deep in my pocket that my guilt is so overwhelming to the extent I need to blabber out to all you people. A note of sympathy anyone?)

Anyway, I will tighten my purse strings but not for long…This is because we are going to the Land of Smiles and it will be “horrid-gible” if I do not grace the pristine shops of Siam Paragon or the stores of Chatuchak Market. How can anyone resist?!  

So just Smile and Connect!

Finally! The registration for Lectora Competition 2006 has begun and has been opened for a month. We want to acknowledge the participants from 2005 for all their efforts and fun presence at our prize ceremony. Also, it is very heartening to see familiar names registering this year again and supporting our event. What can I say?! You people are great!

For those of you who just join me here, log on to
www.lectora.com.sg for more details and start creating now! J

FYI - JUST SO YOU KNOW!

We are also pleased to announce that the 2nd book from our ID Guru’s rich knowledge stable, 'Study Less, Learn More!', is coming to a store near you!

There is only one thing befitting to end this note on. Altogether now, “hip, hip, hurray!”

Contributed by: Benson Soong
Title: Motivation and the Engagement of Learners

Introduction
As some of you may know, I’ve completed my book (entitled
‘Study Less, Learn More!’), which will be hitting all major bookstores by end-July 06. Targeted mainly at teenage students, the book tells the story of teenagers Kim and Ming, and how they learn from their tutor and cousin, Veronica (who specializes in educational psychology). Through the learning adventures of Kim and Ming, readers will improve their learning speed, problem-solving skills and personal effectiveness.

In all honesty, the story’s main ‘setting’ largely revolves around Kim’s and Ming’s study room in their Punggol HDB apartment; not exactly your “Harry Potter” or “Nardia” fantasy setting. And yet, many reviewers found the book to be ‘very interesting’ and ‘engaging’. How can this be, when the setting mainly revolves around four square walls? Looking specifically at eLearning, can a ‘page-turner’ eLearning courseware be equally interesting and engaging?

About Motivation

Besides writing style and other peripheral techniques, the answer to the questions I posed above mainly circle around what we would term as ‘motivation’. As learners ourselves, we all know how a course, book and even eLearning courseware engages us; by supplying us with motivation. And what happens if the course, book or courseware supplies us with motivation? We continue to listen, read and open our minds, which is a prerequisite for learning!

How to Supply Motivation?
So, the follow-on question then would be, ‘How do we supply motivation?’ Without providing you with a treatise on this subject, the quick answer is to ensure that the content we have for our learners are relevant to them now and in the future. When you deliver content that is relevant and immediately beneficial for learners now and in future, what happens in the learners’ heads go something like this, “Wow…this is good stuff and it would actually help me…tell me more!” This is the stuff intrinsic motivation is made up off.

Can You Supply Motivation for all Courses?

So, as an instructional designer/trainer/facilitator, can you always supply motivation for the courses you are teaching? Well, most of the time, the answer would be ‘Yes!’

Take for example a course like the Basic Highway Code (e.g. warning signs). How would you supply motivation to such a ‘boring’ or ‘knowledge-only’ lesson like this?

Well, how about starting off by showing learners accident reports and personal liabilities charges? Gory pictures, million-dollar law suits and criminal proceedings all send the message, “If I don’t take this lesson seriously, this might happen to me!” and so there you have it; intrinsic motivation!

Conclusion
As Roger Schank wrote in his book,
‘Designing World-Class E-Learning’, a good course must supply learners with motivation'. So, have you supplied motivation today? J



Live Well,
Benson Soong
Contributed by: Chai Hon Shang
Contributed by: Ryan Foo
Web Development Pointers using Lectora.

Well, I got to admit that Lectora is one of the greatest software for content creation! With its flexibility in the publishing option, content created can be exported in various formats that include web publishing.

It’s a true fact that there are certain stuff in the web that we cannot control like traffic and bandwidth while loading the website. But there are certainly work- around to make your published content in the web to be able to load more smoothly. More than often, content creators will always like to enhance their website using graphics and pictures which in terms make the overall file size “heavier”. This inevitably causes the website to load at a much slower speed.

In this issue, I will be touching on some web pointers that I hope it will help designers and content creators while developing their courseware or website.

1.        Keeping graphics files SMALL
         
 

Use “jpeg” or “Gif” file for all images if possible! The compression rate for this file format works reasonably well for all web content. (See examples)

BMP Format – 100KB
GIF Format – 21KB
Jpeg Format – 25KB
PNG Format – 57KB
TIFF Format – 114KB

2.        Use Streaming Media
          
         Animation and videos are one of the greatest multimedia gimmicks to be          inserted into any content. It allows the creator to better explain certain          procedures comparative to using still pictures. As the saying goes
a picture          tells a thousands word!

         But this could also be a
killer to your website as it will takes a sizeable          amount of time to load. Therefore use SWF (Flash format) as much as          possible to create your animation. The vector images exported in this             format are relatively small in file size and allow it to stream as loading takes          place.         
  
         As for video content, convert it to
WMV(Windows Media Video) streaming          format. This streaming format allows the video to play before it is fully            loaded therefore allows us to buy some time before the user get really          frustrated while waiting.

3.        Use Common Font

         
         Websites will normally display fonts available to the person accessing the          pages. Therefore using special fonts in your content as part of the design          may have implication when shown on other computers. This can be quite          drastic as the overall look-and feel may be completely different, alignment          can be offset; images in the table may be readjusted.

         But of course, we have a work-around solution for this. You can convert all          the text content to static images but bear in mind, images occupied space,          so use wisely.

         Another possible solution available is to load the fonts onto the viewer            computer even if its not there but this method is not highly recommended          as its not very stable and it is dependent on the browser.

Beside Popular and Kinokuniya, you can lay your hands on a copy of “Study Less Learn More” from eLC! J

We are thrilled to offer you at a special introductory price of
$12nett before it hit the stores. This is only applicable for the 1st 50 books. Do not hesitate; I know it will be a great gift for all my cousins, nephews and nieces and friends children of school-going age.

What’s more?! The first
10 books hot off the press will be specially autographed! Swoon…

Talking about NDPs, our Nation is celebrating her 41st Birthday in August which is coming very soon. Bring out your flags; adorn yourself with reds and whites. I always love the face paintings on children and adults alike and the great atmosphere throughout the day. It is such a good time to cuddle with your loved ones in front of the TV too if you are not one of the fortunate few to score some tickets to the event. I know I will.

And best of all, we all get to look up to the great black sky for a moment and admire all the fantastic fireworks that are vying for attention along with the stars…awww

So the moral of the story is (I always have one): take a moment, enjoy the experiences and little things in life, even the “burning holes in pocket” ones because it means you are alive and spending!



Ring me up another sale; Ka-ching!



YEE HAAA!




Shandy Ting
Editor
eLC
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