Welcome back! I hope you had a wonderful time connecting to the various articles. We encourage you to continue to empower yourself and dont let it be infected. In relation to that, we are empowering you to write in to editor@elc.com.sg and tell us what topics you feel should be explored here in future issues.

Copyrights 2009 eLC Private Limited. All rights reserved.

Jhoanna Daria
Deputy
Editor
eLC

Title: Evolution in eLC Content Development

 

Animations from flat schematic diagram or from single direction in a 3D model will soon be a thing of the past for all eLC courseware. With our newly purchased software, GL Studio from DiSTI (a US-based company, www.disti.com), the development team is able to evolve from our current boundaries and push our media creations to the next level.

 

With GL Studio, we are able to have a free-play view and control of the 3D content in multiple directions. This is beyond the conventional layout where animation can only be viewed in a rendered format or direction. Other than this, we are also able to show procedural action e.g. stripping of mechanical parts, flow diagram etc., all controllable by the user.

 

Role playing scenarios can also be injected at different juncture to evaluate the users understanding on the various applications like troubleshooting. Users will be able to move around the 3D content, use control panels, select tools to remove parts or to replace faulty equipment. Relevant feedbacks are given to reflect each actions taken and an option of an after action review can also be shown which allow the user to review the mistakes committed while executing the tasks.

 

The software works hand in hand with Discreet 3D Studio Max where the 3D models can be imported and manipulated according to specific requirements. This includes the animation applied to the models and all such actions can be control by the user while attending the training courseware.

 

With the GL Studio on board, look out for more amazing stuff that the evolved eLC media team can value-add, especially in terms of content development arena.

One of GL Studio Project (Resources from www.disti.com) All control applications in the panel is workable including the keypad. This provide the trainee an in-depth training and familiarisation on the platform)

         Editor's Greetings

         News Flash

         Design for Learning: Tips, Tricks and Techniques

         Tech-of-the-Day

         Design Extras

Empower yourself with eLearning Connection Issue 19!

 

Three eventful months have just past and we are in the 3rd quarter of 2009. Since the flu outbreak, schools have been very vigilant in the implementation of health safety measures for obvious reasons. Going one step further, various schools have used elearning as an alternative as there are benefits to be reaped. Besides being a readily-available option, as Singapore is one of the countries that enjoys both high personal computer and internet penetration rate, elearning in this case also helped to minimise the disruption caused to schools curriculum during quarantine or enforced close periods. Thus, I hope that as this challenging period past, more people will explore and utilise elearning for its various benefits.

 

Continuing the learning spirit, this issue aims to introduce you to better instructional strategies and design to empower you towards content development. Allow us to share with you the effective use or integration of instructional agents in courseware. And prepare yourself with the latest technology from DISTI that allows a free-play view and control of the 3D content. Dont leave this page empty-handed, click now and get connected!

Good news to all Lectora enthusiasts! The registration for the Lectora Competition 2009 is now open. Dig up your files and submit your entries and come Jan 2010, join us at the 5th Lectora Prize Presentation and Carnival which promises a whole lot of interesting prizes and other surprises that awaits you.

 

For those who were not able to join us last year, do not miss this chance. Visit www.lectora.com.sg to register.

Title: Instructional Agent

 

Have you ever encountered any elearning courseware using an instructional agent, probably a human figure or computer-animated character, as an instructional tool to engage its learners? Ever wondered why such instructional agents are used? Instructional agents, an instructional tool, is used to make better design decisions at an intentional level of how functionality, content and sensory elements are structured and presented (Olsen, 2004).  

  

Instructional agents are also referred to as the pedagogical agents which are often used in designing user-centered software where the agent portrays a realistic character with interesting individuality, behaviour and moods to stimulate learners feelings, performance, and other factors associated with learning.

 

Instructional agents not only directly engage the learners but also enhance the appearance of the courseware. These agents can be in the form of an animated cartoon, 2D or 3D graphic that portray interesting and human personas. According to the Wiki, the term persona is derived from Latin and Etruscan phersu that means mask or character. It is a social representation or a character played by an actor. Persona is necessary for the instructional agent because the agent has to be someone the learners can easily relate to. Such personas can act like a mentor, teacher, family, and or a colleague.

 

The use of instructional agent is one strategy that confirms to Vygotskys learning theory. Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist involved with social development theory of learning, affirmed that social interaction precedes learning and that More Knowledgeable Other (MKO) plays a role in this process of cognitive development of an individual. Vygotsky (1978) defines MKO as:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aside from implementing Vigotskys social learning theory, instructional agent promotes one-on-one tutoring that significantly improves learning performance. It provides a more personal instruction to learners. One-on-one tutoring offers a learning environment with less pressure and stress for the learner which is more conducive for learning. The instructional agent may serve as the human tutor who guides the learner though the course and provides appropriate feedback relative to the learners performance.

 

So, how can instructional agents be an aid for effective teaching and learning? When used correctly, instructional agents have proved to be advantages both from the perspective of the author as well as the learner.

 

From the perspective of the author of the courseware, the agent may serve as his voice to reach out to its learners. It is through this instructional agent that the author is able to communicate with the learners.

 

On the other hand, from the perspective of the target learners, the agent not only provides guidance, but also offers help, demonstrates principles and procedures, show examples and gives feedback on the learners performance. The instructional agent adapts the role of an instructor or facilitator that ensures learners are clear with the information content before proceeding to the next learning point. Subsequently, the instructional agent can also motivate and engage the learners through questions with feedback that offers encouragement to move on. Other than having a direct impact on learning, the persona assigned and the overall design of the agent can further engage the learners towards efficient learning.

 

As the instructional agent shows feedback like being happy or sad when the learner passed or failed the course, it actually encourages the learner to care more about his own progress. The same level of enthusiasm demonstrated by the instructional agent is felt and adopted by the learner throughout the course. This boils down back again to the persona the agent is portraying. In the same manner, when the agent has a very interesting personality, behavior or actions, a more positive perception is conveyed to the learners. The learner who enjoys interacting with the instructional agent may choose to spend more time in the learning environment.

 

Similar with other instructional strategies and tools, using instructional agents has its own share of drawbacks. Of course, it is important to look into the learning objectives and see whether adopting an instructional agent would be effective or not. Another factor to consider is the learners background.

 

There will be some categories of learners who may not appreciate the significance of the instructional agent. They may even find it annoying or distracting. We all have our own preferences thus; the agent will be very distracting to those who do not like the personality that the instructional agent is portraying. Digital divide issues also weaken the use of instructional agents. Lastly, creating an instructional agent is very complex, time consuming and expensive to create.

"anyone who has a better understanding or a higher ability level than the learner, with respect to a particular task, process, or concept. It is normally thought of as being the teacher, coach, or older adult, but it could also be peers, a younger person, or even computers."

Hello World! This is such a commonly used example in articles explaining or teaching about Information Technologies (IT).   More often than not, it is used in hands-on tutorial of a computer programming language.   Repeated use of similar examples may decrease the interest quotient during training thus it is time to bring the Hello World example into the 3D level.   In this article, we shall take a look at how to integrate a rotating 3D globe animation into a HTML page using the DISTI GL Studio and Lectora.  

The animations from GL Studio is only deployable in HTML using JavaScript and HTML <object> tag, therefore, only Lectora HTML publishing option will be relevant.

 

Lets take a look at the software requirements to create this unique 3D Hello World example.

 

        Java SE Development Kit 6 Update 13 (JDK 6u13)

        DISTI GL Studio 3.2.2

        DISTI GL Studio Java Code Generator 1.2

        Lectora Publishing Suite 2008

        Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 (Service Pack 3) and above

        Notepad (already available in Microsoft Windows operating system)

 

It is recommended to use the exact versions for the listed software to ensure stability. Now, we shall go ahead to create the rotating 3D globe in GL Studio.

We will now take a look at how this JAR package can be used in Lectora.

 

With the JAR package ready for use, the next step is to create a HTML webpage that uses JavaScript to incorporate this JAR package. Lectora will in turn attach this HTML webpage as an external HTML file.

Title: Hello World with DISTI GL Studio and Lectora

Contributed by: Jhoanna Daria

Contributed by: Ryan Foo

Contributed by: Aaron Neo