Did you think I was serious?! Did I get you? Of course the wheels of motion in churning out our newsletter are not going to stop just because one of the cogs is missing. Hahaha…Maybe, maybe not…but it was too good an opportunity to miss. How many of us get to do this online? At least I tried. Belated April Fool! J
Anyway, look out for the next issue as there are definitely lots of things heating up for the next quarter. I can't wait for July to arrive…
…leaving on a jet plane…
April Fool! Good Friday! What have you…
The first quarter of the year is over. Things are slightly quiet now comparatively to all the festive spirits in the past 2 issues. This is the time where everyone is in their momentum working hard, reporting on their results for 2007's Q1 or already planning for a mid-year break (most of the parents I know are doing just that for their kids during the June school holidays J). Well, I am not a parent, but I have already planned a getaway in July. Thus, just a heads up for you, as I am so important, there will be no issue in July, sorry folks, see you in October (Cheers from the team resounding throughout the place).
So, quickly connect and get all you can from this issue! Mouse away…
Watch this space for upcoming news on the NEW “YOU CAN Create Interactive Web-based Contents in 2 DAYS using Lectora!” e-Book!
Title: Converting PPT to eLearning
My recent placement as an Instructional Designer in one of the Singapore schools involved helping teachers develop eLearning Content (eContent). This eContent is meant to help them transfer knowledge to learners more effectively. However, most of us who does not have any experience with developing eContent will feel overwhelmed and do not know how or where to start.
A lot of the teachers whom I work with in the school always wonder why they cannot use their PowerPoint presentation for eLearning purposes as they feel the content is all in the PowerPoint presentation anyway (especially when the PowerPoint has lots of content and transitions and thus looks very “nice”). However, if you look at a PowerPoint presentation, it is really designed for the purpose of complimenting an instructor in his face-to-face training or presentation and not designed as a self-explanatory courseware (eContent). The activities and motivation for the learner are from the instructor and not the powerpoint presentation itself.
This is very different from eLearning content whereby the eContent is not just an instructional content but also acts as the instructor. Hence, the content presentation needs to be clear as no instructors are on-hand to clarify. Chunking and sequencing of the information is important to ensure minimum effort and yet maximize learning and retention on the part of the learners; and equally as important is that the content needs to be both motivating and engaging to learners.
Before you can design anything good or relevant to learners, it is important to know what your objectives are. Therefore, the first question I always ask my teachers would be “what do you want the students to achieve at the end of your eLearning Course”. The objectives tend to be missing in PPT because the teachers usually articulate the objectives.
Objectives are important for various reasons. Firstly, it helps the teachers chunk their chapters/topics. Secondly, you will also realize that stating objectives also increase learners' confidence as it not only keeps learners focused, it also allow them to constantly check if they have met the stated lesson objectives. Notice this is also in line with Keller's ARCS (Attention Relevance Confidence Satisfaction) model of motivational strategy - the confidence factor?
Just as a face-to-face trainer would usually start off a class with some attention- grabbing activity, gaining attention at the beginning of an eCourse is also important. Thus, I will ask the teacher on how they would usually grab learners' attention when they teach in a face-to-face setting. Will they then be able to translate the attention grabber to an eLearning environment and still have the same attention- grabbing effect? If not, then how else can we grab learners' attention? I would then suggest to the teachers to insert a relevant graphic, video or sound. If you do not have one of the above, you can also provide a motivational story or anecdote instead. Again, if we look at Keller's ARCS model, attention is also one of the factors that affect learner's motivation. Keller also mentioned that what is equally important is also the ability to maintain attention of the learner throughout the eCourse.
Before content is presented, I would also normally suggest to teachers to provide a short description or synopsis to inform learners about what they will be learning from the lesson and how it will “benefit” them. By providing this information, learners will know the value of the content they will be learning and how it is relevant to them - the relevance factor in ARCS model. Other information I often suggest to teachers to state are pre-requisites to ensure learners have the required knowledge to fully understand the content to be presented and the duration of the course.
Coincidently, what I just explained above is also in line with the first two steps of Gagne's Nine Steps of Instructions: gaining attention and informing learner of objectives. In our next issue, I will explain more about quiz questions, how you can present your content and the satisfaction factor in Keller's ARCS model. See you then!
Title: Moodle Learning Management Systen works well with Lectora SCORM
1.2 Conformant Courseware
Using Lectora, you can easily create SCORM conformant courseware which works well with Moodle Learning Management System. Below are some of the important steps that need to be done for publishing Lectora SCORM conformant courseware.
In order to make your Lectora courseware SCORM conformant, you need to pre-set the Type of Title, under Content in your Title Properties, to AICC or SCORM Published Title, as shown above. Click OK to proceed.
An AU icon will appear in root (left-hand pane) of the courseware as shown above. Click on it to assess the Assignable Unit (AU) Properties.
You can modify the Maximum Score, Mastery Score, and Max Time Allowed, for the course content. If you leave the fields empty, Lectora will set all the above variables to the default values. Thus, when imported to Moodle LMS, it will proceed to use all the default values.
Next, Moodle LMS supports SCORM 1.2 conformant. You can modify SCORM variables in your Lectora courseware to be track-able in Moodle LMS by assessing Action Properties. Below are the SCORM variables details you should know about:
AICC/SCORM variables that should not be modified
This variable contains information used by the Lectora published courseware to properly calculate the score of the student in the current course. If you modify the value of this variable within the content of a courseware that contains more than one automatically graded test, then the AICC_Score of the student may not be properly updated and reflected in the AICC Learning Management System (LMS).
This variable contains the current location within the courseware content. The Lectora published content sets this variable on every page of the courseware to track the current location of the student in the AICC LMS.
This variable contains the total time the student has been on the courseware. Lectora published content automatically updates this value while the student is viewing the course material. If you modify the value of this variable, the modification will be lost when the student exits the courseware. Also, this variable must be in the format of HH:MM:SS.mm to be valid when reported in the AICC LMS.
This variable is only accessible in a SCORM 2004 courseware and determines the point at which the student has actually completed viewing the course materials. In a SCORM 2004 published courseware, the author MUST set this variable at the point in the courseware that the student has been determined to have completed viewing the necessary content.
This variable is only accessible in a SCORM courseware and is used to indicate how or why the student left the course.
AICC/SCORM variables that can be modified
This variable contains the current status of the courseware within the AICC LMS. Lectora sets the value of this variable to "incomplete" and leaves the completion status of the courseware up to the LMS to determine based on the current AICC_Score for the student and the value the instructor used for the Mastery Score when the courseware was published.
Beside these, other allowed values are:
not attempted (usually set by Learning Management System)
This variable has the AICC score for the title that is a sum of all the test scores in the courseware. If you modify the value of this variable within the content of a courseware that contains more than one automatically graded test, the modification
may/will be lost whenever the student completes an automatically graded test.
Lastly, Moodle LMS supports courseware to be presented in a separate window, be bookmarked and also to report on Test Question Interactions. Therefore, when you publish your courseware content to SCORM 1.2 conformant, make sure you check all the above options as shown in Publish SCORM Location window.
Thus, by ensuring you review all these 4 steps, you will be able to publish a SCORM 1.2 conformant or AICC courseware which works well with Moodle LMS.
Title: The World of Fonts
In everyday life, we see millions of alphabets everywhere: magazines, product packaging, comics, reports, emails, websites and so on. Have you asked yourself why some sentences are easier to read while some are more interesting than others? This brings us to Typography.
Everything you need to know about Typography!
Typography simply means the art and process of arranging type on a display. When we say type, we are referring to all characteristics of an alphabet. Consider these 2 alphabets:
Sans Serif Serif
Notice the difference? Letter “A” on the left gives a rather clean and formal look while the right letter “A” gives a rather interesting look as it has variations in its thickness.
Serif Font Typeface
“Serif” means the extra thin stroke at the end of a letter. This type of letters works very well with prints such as newspapers and magazine because they help readers to differentiate the letters clearly.
Sans Serif Typeface
“Sans” is a French word for “without”. Thus “Sans Serif” means “without serifs”. Due to its clean and simple look, this type of letters works well with headlines and surprisingly, they work well for webs and improved reading on computer monitors. The reason is simple. Computer monitors do not have as good a resolution as papers.
Script typefaces resemble handwritten designs. Hence the category “Script.” As you observe, this typeface has very light and airy strokes which makes it very difficult to read at smaller sizes. Therefore, they are best used sparingly in limited amounts of texts, such as in wedding invitations.
Type is measured in points. The greater the points, the larger the fonts are being presented.
The letterforms are made up of strokes. Letterforms with thin strokes look light and airy whereas letterforms with thick strokes seem heavier.
Letter spacing, Leading and Word Spacing
Letter spacing is the space between each individual letter in a word. Leading refers to the space between each sentence. Word Spacing refers to the space between each word in a sentence. Take a look at the following example:
Can you edit this sentence to make it look better?
Basic Uses of Typography
We have so far discussed fonts individually but unfortunately, in our life, they do not exist by themselves. They need to combine with one another to form a meaningful message. Consider the following examples:
Which one do you prefer?
Choosing the right typeface for the right occasion is very important as it can enhance the intended meaning of your design or article, and whether you can retain your readers' interest will depend on the readability and legibility of the body copy typeface.
While there is no actual limit to the number of typefaces being used in a display, it is advisable to take note of the following points:
Do not use 3 - 4 different typefaces in 1 page
Do not change the font in mid sentence unless you have a very good
Sans serif for online, serif for prints
Decorative and hard-to-read typefaces are best used sparingly, normally in
Do not use just because it looks COOL!
Now, you should have an idea of how to choose the typeface for your reports, websites, etc. Do try out different combination of the typefaces and see what you get! In the next issue, we will discuss more on Using Colours with Typography and Layout with Typography.