Effective e-learning content preparation can reduce your go-to-market activities by 20-30%.

About e-learning content


  • Any document file, presentation file, audio file or video file can be considered as e-content.
  • E-contents are used as study material or lectures, assignments, projects, test questions, question-answer bank, practice exercises.
  • E-learning contents are created through various content creation tools – some of them are the day-to-day desktop tools we use and some are specialized ones requiring minimal to high levels of expertise.
  • In e-learning environment, learners normally prefer audio-visual contents for study material purpose, while text contents are generally used for learner take-aways, assignments, projects, practice exercises and question-answer bank.

Overview of e-learning content preparation process





DESIGN


  • Analyze the need and learning objectives.
  • Visualize the curriculum, gather associated learning material and assessment criteria.
  • Prepare an outline and organize it into a story board.
  • Prepare a project plan and monitoring schedule.

DEVELOP


  • Prepare design elements like images, presentation slides, videos, and quiz questions. Prepare assignment documents and test questions if required.
  • Use content assembly tools including rapid authoring tools to combine slides, audios, videos and quizzes to produce interactive e-content.

DEPLOY


  • Create a curriculum structure for the course and associate various contents to the curriculum elements.
  • Prepare and publish question papers for online tests. Similarly, do for the assignments, if needed.
  • Specify score card rules. Enable other interactive tools provided by the LMS, if needed.

Tools to create e-content


Everyday Desktop Tools

For documents, presentations, videos



  • Microsoft Office for Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, and Videos
  • Adobe Products for PDFs and Images.
  • Various other popular desktop tools.
  • Easy skill availability for using these tools.

Dedicated Authoring Tools

For 'Presentation' type e-content



  • Tools like ISpringSolutions, Articulate, Adobe-Captivate etc.
  • Merge PowerPoint presentations, audio files, and quizzes.
  • Anybody can get basic proficiency on using them within 2-3 hours.

Screen Capture Tools

For 'Demonstration' type e-content



  • Tools like Camtasia, Cam Studio or Adobe-Captivate etc.
  • Preferred tool for capturing white-board writing and software demos.
  • Require practice of few hours to around half-a-day.

Video Production Tools

For lecture videos



  • Digital Camcorders/Mobile Phones for video recordings.
  • This is the preferred mode of content now-a-days because of ease of video production and availability of no-cost (YouTube) or low-cost video hosting solutions (Vimeo).

Programming Techniques

For highly customized content



  • You need technically qualified people for this.
  • Knowledge on pedagogy principles will be an added advantage.
  • This process can generate highly customized content but can be very expensive and time consuming.

Animation Tools

For graphical visualization



  • Specialized tools are available to make 3D animations using Autodesk Maya, Studio Max, or Mental Ray etc.
  • Requires high level of effort and hence is an expensive proposition.
  • You need trained technicians to create animations.

More about content authoring tools



Everyday desk-top tools for 'Presentation' type e-content


  • Use Microsoft PowerPoint or similar tools.
  • Embed audio narrations, external videos, screen capture videos, video narrations as required and export as video.
  • Typical output files: mp4.
  • This is one of the simplest and most cost-effective techniques for majority of e-learning content production.


Dedicated authoring tools for 'Presentation' type e-content


  • Use authoring tools like ISpringSolutions, Articulate, Adobe – Captivate.
  • Typical output files: html5 based packaged content.
  • These kinds of contents are for delivering presentations, lectures etc., with or without embedded videos or quizzes.
  • Output may or may not be SCORM compliant.


Screen capture tools for 'Demonstration' type e-content


  • Use screen-capture tools like Camtasia, Cam-Studio, Captivate, Microsoft PowerPoint along with a drawing/painting tool and a stylus.
  • Typical output files: mp4.
  • These kinds of contents are typically used for simulating white-board writings (for mathematics, science or similar subjects) or software demonstrations with or without additionally embedded videos.

E-learning content standards





E-learning content standards help incorporate the decision rules for learning paths within the content so that, different LMS platforms deliver the course through a consistent interface by implementing the APIs defined by the standards body.

  • AICC: Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee Standard
  • SCORM 2004 (4th Edition): Sharable Component Object Reference Model - incorporates decision rules, book marks, completion status etc.
  • TIN CAN API: Also known as Experience API or xAPI - in addition to implementing SCORM 2004 standards, also incorporates complex learning paths to make the learning experience more personalized.

Critical Questions


Is it necessary to have SCORM/Tin Can (xAPI) compliant content?

No. You can use the LMS functionalities to define a course curriculum and associate various e-contents like pdfs, power point slides, mp3 audios, mp4 videos, and html5 files. With the growing popularity of videos in e-learning, the usage of SCORM/xAPI based packaged contents have lost the ground to a large extent.

Is it simple to produce SCORM/Tin Can (xAPI) compliant content?

No, it is a fairly difficult and complex process. But the real problem is not the difficulty part of it, but the inability to quickly change the content based on the continuous feedbacks received from learners and teachers. Many popular and large cloud LMS platforms have decided either to phase out or not to have SCORM/x-API compatibility.

Deciding which types of content is most appropriate


  • Type of content is dependent on the subject to be taught and the learner profile (age, past education level etc.).
  • One need not have contents of one type only; it becomes boring to the learners.
  • Presentation based contents are easier to edit; white-board capture and video contents are difficult to edit.
  • Camera shot videos are very large in size compared to contents prepared through authoring tools. But videos are the most preferred by learners.
  • One does not need professional videographers to create good quality video content in most situations.
  • Almost all kinds of content creation activities except animations and programming based content development can be done in-house with the help of adequate amount of training.

Which route should you take



DEVELOP

If you have either in-house content development capability or can invest in in-house resources.

OUTSOURCE

If you can identify a content development partner who is reliable, trust-worthy and cost-effective.

PURCHASE

If you do not satisfy the other two criteria and want to deploy online learning as early as possible.

We provide training for your in-house content development



  • Free 3-hour training on content authoring tools - after Professional Plan sign-up.
  • Paid training packages are available for advanced users.
  • Trainings are conducted in both online and classroom modes.
  • All trainings are conducted by our in-house engineers.
  • Trainings are conducted for customers in India only.

Content development by our partner companies



  • Quampus has a team of independent content development partners who assist our customers in content development activities.
  • Content development partners have expert team of domain experts, instructional designers, voice artists, graphics specialists and software professionals.
  • They also have well laid out processes for communication and tracking of progress.
  • They can do full IPR transfer as per customer requirement.
  • All commercial transactions are between the content development company and the customer.

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