Before I pen off, just want to remind you guys that another holiday is coming Labour Day! May 1st is going to be another public holiday for all of us, so take a break on that day and indulge in everything and anything you love! Remember, enjoy life and treasure every single happy moment!

Anyway, in eLC, things have already begun to heat up as we get busy to research and discuss on what are the topics that we will put up, so make sure you look out for the next issue to keep yourself updated.

Till then, sayonara!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyrights 2008 eLC Private Limited. All rights reserved.

This will bring you to the Scripts dialog box that has a folder for each of the teams that can be created in the game.

 

In this case, we will want to program the SkirmishChina team as the enemy. Therefore we will code the enemy AI into the SkirmishChina folder.

Liew May Gin
Assistant Editor
eLC

Title: Selecting the right media for learning

 

With an increase in the usage of online learning and training, content developers nowadays faces the problem of selecting the appropriate type of media to develop and deliver to the audience.

Video footages are great but the files generated are relatively huge even if it is set on streaming mode, which still depends on the client bandwidth to receive the information. Likewise 2D and 3D animation are used widely for illustrating concepts and ideas but development time can be extensive due to the verification process.

As such, we have come up with a few tips to assist you when evaluating the appropriate media to use for your training application (online or classroom).

Work With in Your Client Environment

Content developers must understand the delivery mode of the training, whether it is held within the client training facilities or in a complete web-based environment. Before the trainees can have any hands on experience on the program, the bandwidth required to load images and files is always an issue.

Having the content hosted within an internal network has certain advantages like controlling the amount of users that is accessing the materials. Whereas web content may need to cater for a wider range of users so file size does matter and developers have to take such environment into consideration.  

Understand Your Target Audience

This is in fact the most crucial point to consider. Always know your target audience and the topics that you are delivering. Imagine if you are teaching a group of mechanic on servicing an engine component, the use of photographs and video demonstration is definitely a must in the delivery of the content. Additional 3D animation will always serve as a bonus as certain view cannot be achieved through conventional video filming.  

On the other hand, getting a group of administrative staff to understand work processes is a different story. Such content would make use of flow diagrams and charts a better choice.

Another important factor to keep in mind is to understand the technical competency of the audience in handling the training program. Keep your content navigation simple and direct especially if your topic is extensive. This avoids the frustration of the trainees while running through the lesson.

Use of Video

As mentioned earlier, using of video content can be a great help showing actual scenarios or demonstrating machine working mechanism. But sometimes the files can be huge especially if the duration is long. One trick commonly used is to export your video clips to streaming format (wmv or FLV) and the other is to cut them out into smaller chunks in accordance to the sequence and process. Avoid the use of special video codes for compressing your video as this might require your client to do extra program installation which is normally not advisable.

Use of 2D/3D Animation

Using of animation is a good way of explaining the flow of information. Such media sizes are also usually relatively smaller than video files. Above that, we are able to leverage on the ability to show multiple views or illustrate concept and flow.

However, bear in mind that a key factor for such media requires content accuracy before any animator can begin production. Verify the illustrated or model diagram before commencement on any large scale animation. You definitely do not want to re-do the entire animation when you realize one important component is missing at the very last part of the project.

Use of Photographs/image   

Using appropriate images can be a good reinforcement to the topics content. It provides good visual effect with minimum file size and gives a clear explanation in accordance to the learning content.

Try to use jpeg or gif as much as possible as the compression rate are relatively small and can speed up the process of loading the content.

Conclusion

The key point is this; getting your trainees to go through the lesson is one aspect, getting them to learn and remember the lesson is another. Always focus on the topics, provide spontaneous learning opportunities and create practice session so as to allow them to revise the key learning factors. Media is an essential tool in the process but setting the right learning methodology is also significant which all content developers have to take note.      

And now you are ready to start playing the customized game that you have created!

 

Note: although the last tab allows you to specify a group of actions if the conditions for the trigger are not met, we need not configure that as we only want the team to react when the timer has expired.

Step 7: Create and configure Team Garrison1

 

Click on Edit Teams option in the Edit Menu. Select [Team] Set to hunt from the drop-down list to select team Garrison1 and any other teams that you have created for SkirmishChina.

Step 6: Specify the reaction of the enemy forces

 

Click on the Actions if true tab. This will allow you to trigger the reaction of the enemy forces with specific event. In this scenario, we want team Garrison1 to begin hunting for its opponents once a certain amount of timing is reached.

Step 4: Configuring the script conditions

 

Click on New to create a new condition.

 

The second tab in the Script configuration window, Script Conditions allows you to setup the trigger to run the script. In this case, we would want to have the enemy attack when a timeframe has expired. The time frame is configured in a script prior to this one. By clicking on New, you can create a new condition or we can double-click on an existing condition to modify it.

Step 5: Configuring timer for trigger

 

Select the option [Scripting] Timer expired from the drop-down list. This will allow you to choose the timer for this trigger.

Step 3: Configuring the scripts properties now.  

 

Click on the Script Properties tab. This will allow you to give a name to the script. It also allows you to specify if a script is a subroutine of another script. You can also check if the script is active and whether to deactivate the script upon successful completion of the script, as well as determine if the script is to be active depending on the Mode of the enemy (Easy, Normal, Hard). This will allow you to cater the enemy response based on the difficulty level selected by the player. It is also possible to evaluate the script at every frame, which is more resource intensive but more intuitive, or after a certain number of seconds.

Step 2: Create new script

 

Click on New Script to create a new script. You can also double-click on an existing script to modify it.

 

Note: In the image below you will see that there are many responses already programmed for the enemy. We will take one of these responses as an example. In this case we will want a Garrison team to attack given a certain event.

Step 1: Getting started

 

Select Scripts from the Edit menu.

         Editor's Greetings

         Words of Wisdom from Our ID Guru

         Tech-of-the-Day

         Design Extras

How time flies by! There goes Good Friday and Easter week.   Im sure you must have all enjoyed a beautiful sumptuous meal and sweet lovely dessert from roast meat to Easter chocolate eggs. Ooh! Im actually missing the gigantic chocolate eggs which are so gorgeously sinful to indulge in the entire thing to myself. How I wish that Christmas was just around the corner, so I can be cooking and savouring some beautiful food like stuffed Christmas chicken, deep fried mozzarella and Christmas Pudding.

 

Oh dear, Im just babbling away and I have nearly forgotten to introduce myself to you guys. Im the newly appointed Assistant Editor, May, and you will be hearing from me more often in future newsletters.

 

Anyway, the first quarter of the year is over and all eLCians are working really hard. Many congratulations to eLC as we have been awarded a major contract to create content that will keep us busy for the next 2 years. Although we are tied up with work, we are still preparing game and graphic tips, and also teaching styles to all our readers. So what are you waiting for? Click that left mouse button and get connected!

Title: eLearning in the right direction?

 

According to the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), eLearning covers a wide set of applications and processes, such as Web-based training, computer-based training, virtual classrooms, and digital collaboration. It includes the delivery of content via Internet, intranet/extranet (LAN/WAN), audio and videotape, satellite broadcast, interactive TV, and CD-ROM.

 

With such a broad scope to cover, the number of eLearning authoring tools available to Instructional Designers is extensive. Hence, newcomers to the world of eLearning can be easily overwhelmed by the number of choices available when deciding on the right authoring tool and for the right objective. As such, in this article, I will be covering some of the factors to consider when deciding on the tool to purchase.

 

As an Instructional Designer, you may have to design, develop and produce training coursewares in various media types while having to incorporate various instructional design methodologies. Increasingly, Instructional Designers are required to take on more of other responsibilities which may previously have been done by programmers or graphic designers. As such, Instructional Designers may have to learn new skills and explore various tools in order to develop content to suit not only the objective but also to consider issues like the targeted audience, timeline, content, etc. Thus skills like photography, narration editing, video editing and many others may be new skills, Instructional Designers need to acquire. This is because in an eLearning setting, the instructional design need to be explicit in the selection, sequencing and in the creation of experiences to facilitate learning.

 

For example, Instructional Designers may need to have knowledge in editing images or animating objects and thus may require skills in simple animation, using animation creation tools like SwishMAX which allows easy integration   to other   authoring tools. Hence, with all these added tasks, it is therefore important that Instructional Designers must choose the correct Authoring Tool to do work efficiently and effectively.

 

Let us now review the fundamentals in choosing an authoring tool.

 

Not all tools are suitable for all kinds of content delivery. Buying an authoring tool without doing your homework can be a costly mistake. Authoring tools generally do not come cheap. The price ranges from USD$399 to USD$3185 per license. However, the cost of authoring tools may be a small amount compared to the cost of implementing a wrong authoring tool. Time, human resource and worst of all, a horrendous experience in implementing a failed elearning initiative is often more costly than the price of the authoring tool. Tools that require programming knowledge are usually more difficult to learn as most Instructional Designers are not technically inclined.

 

Consider this scenario; Alfred needs to roll out an online financial management course. He has over 200 Powerpoint slides of content. He chooses a tool that requires 5 days of training for his development team. Even with the 5 days of training, his development team still requires extensive time and experience to effectively use the tool. In the process of becoming an expert on the tool, his development teams productive rate also drops drastically. As a result, Alfred was unable to meet his project deadline. Hence, Alfred had to face a lot of questioning from his stakeholders and project client.

 

Remember that the right tool can make you effective and productive. Using the wrong tool can cost you valuable time on a project.

 

So how do you choose the correct tool?

 

Before you sign that cheque for an expensive training tool, consider these factors.

Title: Building A New World With Worldbuilder

 

Like to play Command & Conquer, but have already completed all the scenarios? Prefer to create and play your own scenarios?

 

This Tip of the Day will show you how to create your own scenario within 2 minutes.

 

In Command & Conquer Generals, it is possible to use Worldbuilder to design new terrains, specify starting points for each team in the game as well as program the Artificial Intelligence (AI) configuring how the enemy will react in a given scenario or event during the course of the game.

 

In this issue, we will show you how to configure the AI to make your game more interesting.

 

The image below shows a map that already has the terrain built up including the waypoints and paths created.

FACTORS

DESCRIPTIONS

Media Requirements

Generally, the tool should be supported by a wide range of formats for media files. At the most basic level, the tool should support JPEG, BMP,   GIF, WAV, MP3, AIFF, WMV,AVI, SWF and etc.

Human resource

Sometimes, you need to create media content on your own. A team of competent graphic designers and programmers who understand the functionality of the tool can help a lot in the creation of the courseware.

Time

Your projects deadline plays a part too. If you have a tight timeline for completion of the project, buying a tool with low learning curve will be a better choice.

Learning objectives

Your projects learning objectives determine the degree of interaction. Sometimes, simple page turners would be sufficient to meet the clients requirements. However, true e-Learning includes interactivity as part of the learning process.

Delivery Method

The delivery method of your project is crucial. The tool needs to be exported as EXE, HTML, SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004, AICC and CD-Rom format at the very least.

Interoperability

The tool should be able to work with standards compliant learning management systems, for example, Moodle. Successful interoperability is the result of software compliance to technology standards.

Quiz Sophistication

Different authoring tools provide differing range of assessment and quiz questions. Your clients requirements determine the degree of sophistication.

Again, at the very basic level, the tool should provide MCQ questions, True or False and Sequencing.

Besides different quiz questions, the tool should also allow randomization. Number of attempts and time limits are extra settings of quizzes that can be considered as bonus.

Branching

To accommodate different groups of learners, some authoring tools have the capability to create variables, which is an important feature for adaptive learning.

If your courseware requires Open structure of learning, you need a tool that allows adding and manipulating of variables.

Cost of authoring tool

Price for authoring tool varies from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. On average, you should expect to pay between USD$1,500 and USD$2,500 per license.

Generally, companies will buy 1 or 2 developmental licenses for staff to use.

As mentioned earlier, the learning curve of authoring tool also contributes to the cost of authoring tool.

Deployment of Authoring   Tool

Deployment of authoring tool can be client-based or server-based.

Generally, it is recommended to get a client-based deployment tool. Client-based deployment tool allows you to work offline without network connections.   Working offline offers a few benefits like avoidance of server crashes, network congestion and hardware costs.

If the tool is deployed on a server-based architecture, the cost for hardware would be high. Firstly, client PC would depend on the servers technical specifications in order to perform. Hence, your server requirement will be dependant on the number of concurrent users you are expecting.

Due to the high numbers of users, there will be a need to have better security system to protect the server.

 

Now that you know the requirements needed to select your Authoring Tool, you can be confident that you are starting on the right path to creating your eLearning course materials.

 

Have Fun, Au Revoir!

Contributed by:Teo Huey Chin

Contributed by: Ryan Foo

Contributed by: Melvin Ovinis