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e-Learning, e-Learning Software, Easygenerator

Easygenerator: the next 12 months

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Easygenerator: the next 12 months

Last week, after months of intense development  and user testing we  launched our new Plus Plan . The Plus Plan makes it very easy for teachers and subject matter experts to create engaging learning material quickly,  without a learning curve. . The Plus Plan includes  5 new Question Types: (Drag and Drop Text, Drag and Drop Images, Single Select, Multiple Select and Fill in the blanks), Co-Authoring and an Adaptive Learning Template.

But there’s much more in the pipeline for the coming 12 months: easygenerator  will roll out a new release every 8 weeks and add:

  • 10 more question types
  • Collaboration options
  • More templates
  • Content pages
  • Scenario based eLearning
  • Custom Templates

So what can you expect from easygenerator over the next 12 months?

August – Starter Plan

The goal of this release is to complete our Starter Plan. In August you’ll be able to  easily import PowerPoint presentations and quickly add pop quizzes and curated content to  immediately asses if students understand the learning material.

Easygenerator will have:

  • Two new question types:
    • Multiple Choice Images
    • Text Matching
    • Two improved Question types:
      • Fill in the blanks
      • Drag and Drop Questions
      • Content Pages: Curate and Create context for your students

 

October – Growing the Plus Plan

In October the Plus Plan will get an update! Teachers and subject matter experts will be able to create instructionally sound eLearning with two new question types, a new type of course and extended media options:

  • Two new question types:
    • Hotspot question
    • Statement
    • Glossary
    • Scenario based courses
    • Video & Sound upload.

 

December – Plus Plan finalized

In December, teachers and subject matter experts will benefit the full potential of the Plus Plan. Co-authoring will be extremely easy and clear with, to do lists, checklists and email notifications for every author involved.

Expect the following features in December:

  • To Do and Checklists for Co-Authors
  • Email Notifications for Co-Authors
  • Question Type: Match images
  • Question Type: Drag and Drop image
  • Question Pool: Draw questions
  • Voice Over: Add Voiceovers to all content and questions
  • Point and Click Graphical Interface for Creating Scenario Based Courses

2015 – The year of Pro

The current pro version is for Windows only, but we are bringing easygenerator Pro to the Web as well. Instructional Designers will have all easygenerator features available:

  • 14 question types
  • Create your own publishing templates,
  • Advanced content management features
  • EPub and CMI5 publication
  • Set languages for publication

Subscribe to our newsletter to be t notified when new features are added!


e-Learning Software

The new easygenerator is called Plus Plan!

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It has been an exciting  few  months for me and the easygenerator team since we  released our Starter Plan of our e-Learning software. Today I am happy to announce we have released the Plus Plan: an advanced web-based version of easygenerator.

So What’s New?

  1. 3 extra question types:
    • Drag and Drop Text
    • Single Select
    • Fill in the blanks
  2. Co-Authoring: Invite co-authors to work together seamlessly on course material !
  3. Personalized Learning Template: Teach  more effectively by creating personalized courses based on student assessment results.

For all the details check out the Easygenerator Release Notes Free starter and plus July

Important Note for Current Pro (Windows) Users!

Easygenerator is moving completely into the cloud. As a user of our Windows edition, you now can get free access to the web-based environment. You will receive  an email from us, or one of our partners, explaining the details of this offer. This also means that if you are a Web Plus edition user, you can get a Windows Pro license for just $10 per month extra! If you are interested, please mail us at support@easygenerator.com.

Hope you like the new Plus Plan, and it helps you to create even better  courses!  Let me know your thoughts on the new plan!

Try Plus Plan Now!

Check the Plus Plan deepdive:


e-Learning

New easygenerator template adds personalized study advice to courses

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In easygenerator you can create eLearning courses based on learning objectives. This approach has many advantages because of the importance of learning objectives in elearning. Now, easygenerator has added another advantage –  you can create a smart course that provides  the learner  personalized advice. This new feature  works on all your existing courses.  All you have to do is select the new ‘Personalized’ learning’ template in the design tab and publish the course. You can check out a live example of this course type. In this post I will walk  you through the main steps of using the Personalized Learning Template, to give you an overview of how to do it.

Step 1. Apply template
You can use this template for all your existing courses or new ones.

  1. Just go to the ‘Design’ tab in easygenerator
  2. Select the ‘Personalized learning’ template

That is all! After this you can publish it in your preferred way to the easygenerator server, to your own web server or to any learning management system.

adapt01

The Learner

From the learner’s perspective it works like this, after starting the course (on the web or LMS) the introduction page will show:

adapt02

The learner clicks Start pre assessment and  all the questions from the course will be presented in a long list:

adapt03

 

All the learner has to do is go through the list of questions, answer them and click  the ‘Submit’ button. After this a page is presented with a list of all learning objectives.

 adapt05

 

For each objective the result is shown. In this case there are 5 objectives. One of them is completed, it is shown at the bottom. The learner already proved  he mastered this objective, so he can skip it. For the other objectives a ‘recommended’ readiing list is available. When the learner clicks Recommended Reading, a screen is  displayed with only the remaining incorrectly answered questions of that objective.

adapt05

adapt06

In this case there are 2 questions left. The reader can go to the question by clicking Start. The question isn’t shown direct, but   the learning content associated with that question is. The learner  can read the information  and then can answer the question correctly, found at the bottom of the page.  After answering all questions for this objective, the learner returns automatically to the ‘Study advice screen’. When all the questions are answered correctly, the learning objective will show a score of 100% and will be added to the list of  completed objectives.

 

 

adapt06

The learner can repeat this process for the other objectives. When he is done he clicks  ‘Finish course’ and the final result page is shown, with the overall score and the score per objective. These scores can be reported to an LRS (XAPI) or any LMS (SCORM).

If you have an easygenerator  account try it out. If you don’t have an account sign up and experience the advantages  smart learning!

 


e-Learning

Kasper Spiro on eLearning Chat

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Two weeks ago, Easygenerator’s CEO, Kasper Spiro, made his second appearance on eLearning chat, the show led by eLearning expert Rick Zanotti. Since Kasper’s appearance last year, a lot has changed for easygenerator. Easygenerator has developed and rolled out a web version of its tool, and introduced the new Starter Plan, which allows non-eLearning experts to create engaging courses and quizzes.

Rick asked Kasper to share what he sees as trends in elearning and where the industry is headed. Kasper responded that change is key – businesses are responding to multiple changes and elearning must keep up. This is one reason why it’s important for elearning to work in an agile development environment of short development cycles or sprints, as they’re called. Easygenerator has succeeded in adapting its product to be closer to business’ needs in less than a year since Kasper was on eLearning Chat, because of how its development team works.

Zanotti commented on how a small company such as easygenerator, has achieved so much and how the eLearning development community can learn from easygenerator and Kasper’s achievements.

Last but not least Rick and Co-host Dawn J. Mahoney asked Kasper to demo the new Starter Plan, asking questions of Kasper and putting easygenerator under the microscope!

Watch Kasper on eLearning Chat:

eLearnChat 127: @KasperSprio on #EasyGenerator from RELATECASTS on Vimeo.


e-Learning

A How to Guide on the Principles of the eLearning manifesto

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elearning signatoryFour of our renounced thought leaders (Michael Allen, Julie Dirksen, Clark Quinn and Will Thalheimer) launched the serious eLearning manifesto on March 13th.  They believe  we should do a better job  in creating learning experiences that are effective,  improve performance and  live up to the expectations we all (should) have of eLearning. They identified and wrote down 22 principles of elearning, that if you use and apply correctly, your eLearning will be up to standard.  

This initiative is well received. However, when I talk with people about it, I get two questions: “Great, but how do I use these principles” and “How do I convince my boss or client that we should apply them.” This sparked the idea to write a post on each of the principles, with my answer to these two questions outlined on each principle. I have so far written 4 posts on my personal blog (www.kasperspiro.com). 

I hope to get support from you. Please send your ideas, comments, best practices and whatever you can think of to k.spiro@easygenerator.com or put a comment on this page next to the article (or at one of the original articles). If it adds value I will include them in the posts. If you’ve sent something on a topic already covered, I will update that post. 

Here is a summary of the first four posts:

 1 Do Not Assume that Learning is the Solution
I worked in the online help industry (EPSS) for many years. What I found however was that I was creating fixes for bad software when I thought the solution was ‘better software’ instead of more online help. There is a similar problem with learning. When there is something wrong with the organization or product: learning is not the solution; improving the organization or product is.

 2 Do Not Assume that eLearning is the Answer
In this post, I wrote about the approach of Bob Mosher and Conrad Gottfredson. They have an impressive and clear model for learning. They have defined the 5 moments of learning need which can help you determine what learners’ need and when they need it. The five moments of need are:

  1. Learning for the first time
  2. Learning More
  3. Applying what you’ve learned
  4. When things go wrong
  5. When things change

In this post, I also included Clark Quinn’s story about learning needs.

3. Tie Learning to Performance Goals
In this post I wrote about two eLearning champions; Cathy More and her action mapping approach, and Jay Cross and the internet time alliance. It’s all about integrating learning into the business and using learning to achieve company goals.

4. Target Improved Performance
This post refers to the most recent post, but adds the importance of, and role of middle management (based on a presentation at ASTD by Charles Jennings).

So these are my first 4 posts on the principles — 18 more to go. I do want to hear from you, so please share your ideas, best practices and any insights you may have, with me! You can follow the progress on www.KasperSpiro.com.

 


e-Learning

Curator; A new role for the instructional designer

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We all know  the world of learning is changing rapidly and with that new tasks and roles will emerge. One of the most important  roles  is Curator. You will see more and more subject matter experts taking on this role and I believe  all eLearning developers should also develop curation skills.  In this post I will look at the curation  role in more detail and  show you how easygenerator will facilitate the curation process.

Curation and the role of a curator

There are a lot of definitions and interpretations of curation and  curator. So let’s first define what we mean by it, which  I can best explain  with an example.

An art museum typically collects  paintings. Since the museum is  not able to show all its  paintings,  someone is needed who can make a selection of the paintings  that will be part of an exhibition. That selection is often based on a theme (a period, a style, or a person). It is the role of the curator to determine  a theme that supports the   selected paintings. A  good curator however, will do more, by  adding context.. For example, showing the artistic development of a  painter by exhibiting  paintings chronologically from him from every year of his live. Also content will be added to this exhibition. Info on the painter, his live, info on the paintings, relations with other painters, related art movements et cetera.

Gaugain exhibition in the MOMA.

Example of curation: a Gaugain exhibition in the MOMA.

In short a curator:

  1. collects (or uses an existing collection)
  2. selects (a part of the collection)
  3. adds context (or a story)

Curation will play an increasingly important role in eLearning and ePerformance.  One of the main challenges today is to find the correct information. Everything is available through the web but it is a hell of a job to find that piece of information that is what you need, is accurate and true.  So you need a middleman to help you find that information. There is software who does this in a way, it is called aggregation software. It can collect information on the web en order it based on keywords. The website elearninglearning.com is a great example of a very good aggregator. But that is only step one (collecting). The selection and context need to be added by a human. Someone you can trust and someone with knowledge on a specific topic. This role can be fulfilled by an subject matter expert with specific domain knowledge, or an eLearning developer.

On my personal blog I wrote some posts on curation, you can read them for more background:

 

Curation solution
Creating the “exhibition” is one step but then you have to display it. Easygenerator will provide a solution for that. Our curation publication will be added to our tool this summer. It will help the curator to organize, publish and share his curated collection.

I have included a mock-up, it is a sketch of the possible solution in pdf. It will give you an idea of our plans. Feel free to check it out and if you have any remarks, comments or ideas, you can leave them at this post or email me at k.spiro@easygenerator.com.

 


e-Learning Software

One simple thing can make your e-Learning better!

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And that is voting for the question type you want us to implement in easygenerator! You have probably noticed that we are working hard on adding extra features to our authoring tool. On May 6th we will bring out another update, with a lot of usability changes and extra templates. We do want users to be involved in the development of our tool and therefore we decided on this road map series of blog posts. There’s only one thing you need to do and that is to vote for the question type you want to see in easygenerator

Vote Now!

Decide what new question type will be added.

Easygenerator has been working hard at adding extra features to the Starter authoring tool on live.easygenerator.com. There will be another update on May 6 that includes lots of usability changes and extra templates.

The current Starter edition only has one question type — multiple choice/multiple select. Based on user feedback, we will split this into two separate question types– multiple choice (one correct answer) and multiple select (more than one correct answer).

So the question is, what question types should be added? Outlined below are the possible question types and options. For each question type there is a short description and in some cases, there is an image with a question example (these are taken from easygenerator’s Plus edition).

Question types

Fill-in-the-blanks

Fill-in-the-blanks
The learner is presented with text and is asked to fill in words by typing or selecting them from a list.

Fill-in-the-blanks

Multiple Choice Images

The user is shown several images and must choose which image is correct. There is only one correct answer. See the sample multiple choice images question about choosing the correct template for adaptive learning.

Multiple Choice

Text question

The learner has to type in a text (for example a sentence) that will be compared with the correct text.

Statement question

A statement question is also known as a correct/ incorrect question because it ??? . The learner is presented with a statement and a list of options. For each option, the learner can choose correct or incorrect, or Yes or No (as in agree or disagree). The image below shows how the statement question looks.

ms

Hotspot question

In the image below, the learner identifies one, or several specific spots on an image by clicking on the right location(s).

Hotspot Question

Drag and drop question

The learner drags images or texts to the correct location of another image, or drags outlined steps to reorder a process into its correct sequence.

Drag and Drop Question

Text matching

The learner is presented with two lists of words and is asked to match the words that go together (as can be seen below) or to match up a word with its definition.

Text Match

Image matching

Similar to text matching, the learner is presented with two images and is asked to match the correct images.

Ranking question text

There will be a list of text on the screen, the learner has to put them in the correct order.

order

Likert question

A survey question where the leaner selects an answer that shows levels of agreement or non agreement with a specific statement.

likert

Open Question

A question where the leaner types in an answer that will be scored by the teacher after submission.


e-Learning, e-Learning Software, eLearning Software

Creating eLearning Content around Learning Objectives with Simple and User-friendly Authoring Tools

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The research was conducted and analyzed by our marketing colleague Rayna Topalska.

In March 2014, easygenerator conducted a survey to identify trends in the eLearning arena. Research results indicated how eLearning professionals perceive the latest developments in the field, what challenges they face and what demands and requirements they have.
60 participants from 16 nationalities spread over 5 continents took part in the survey. Most respondents are experienced in the field of eLearning. They are mainly employed as instructional designers (32%), consultants (23%), or teachers (13%) mostly in the education and IT sector. The study relies on a combination of quantitative and qualitative research perspectives. The major outcomes are presented in the following sections. More detailed information about the research can be found in the PDF document attached under ‘Useful links’ at the end of the article.

5 eLearning Trends

In a recent article, Kasper Spiro outlined five eLearning trends that he thinks will lead to the end of the Learning Management System (LMS). The article was well received and stimulated a lot of discussions on the topic. This wide response was one of the main drivers to conduct this survey.
As Figure 1 demonstrates, the survey results align to Spiro’s expressed opinion in the article. Participants highlighted the importance of personalized (adaptive) learning that is based on the outcomes of previous activities, or on creating smarter personalized courses based on learning objectives. Furthermore, the survey showed that eLearning is moving toward mobile learning. Specifically, respondents identified that eLearning materials should be available anywhere, anytime, and on any device. As learners can find courses and content almost everywhere, this creates the need for more specialized content. Additionally, according to survey respondents, massive open online courses (MOOC) do not add value to the learner. The participants also agreed that curation is an important factor affecting the learning process. As learning becomes more self-directed and learner controlled, the job of learning professionals will shift from creating courses and scheduling events, to collecting information and learner generated content. The survey outcomes emphasized that learners will be taking more and more control of the learning process, including deciding for themselves where, when and how to complete courses to gain new skills or knowledge.

Figure 1: 5 eLearning trends (answers reported on a Likert scale ranged from 1=‘strongly disagree’ to 7=‘strongly agree’)

Figure 1: 5 eLearning trends (answers reported on a Likert scale ranged from 1=‘strongly disagree’ to 7=‘strongly agree’)

Creating eLearning Courses around Learning Objectives

Further important outcome of the survey relates to the eLearning course development process. For 60% of respondents, the most important first step in developing eLearning is creating learning objectives. This is followed by designing course structure, selecting content materials, and formulating questions. The final step is developing a timeline for the course. Figure 2 provides detailed information about the individual steps in the authoring process.

Figure 2: Steps in the process of creating eLearning courses

Figure 2: Steps in the process of creating eLearning courses

When developing learning objectives, it is important to use Bloom’s taxonomy. The theory is a classification of different levels of cognitive learning. It is used as a guide when developing curriculum or learning assessments. Of all survey respondents, 81% indicated they are familiar with Bloom’s taxonomy, and for 77%, it is helpful in the process of creating learning content. “Bloom’s taxonomy is essential as the basis for good instructional design”, commented one respondent. Although Bloom’s taxonomy is widely used, several participants indicated that it is not truly understood and at times, even misused.

Tin Can API

The survey results shed light on the popularity and usage of Tin Can (Api) technology. Tin Can is a new specification for learning technology that facilitates data collection on a wide range of learning experiences an individual completes, both online and offline. These learning experiences are recorded in a Learning Record Store (LRS) that can exist within traditional Learning Management Systems (LMSs) or on their own. Despite the value and advantages Tin Can provides, 56% of survey respondents have no familiarity with the Tin Can technology. Moreover, the majority of professionals who are familiar with the technology have only researched, read, heard, or discussed it, but do not use it in their work. Mostly because they are bound to their LMS that also records learning experiences.

Simplicity and Usability

eLearning professionals use a variety of tools to develop courses, that are mostly PC-based and web-based authoring tools. However, usability and simplicity are the leading factors in their choice of an authoring tool. Other important factors are the design and technical features, as well as the opportunity for creating personalized and responsive publications. Additionally, due to shrinking budgets, price is another important factor. Moreover, survey respondents the importance of tool compatibility and portability with other systems and eLearning platforms. Surprisingly, the established reputation of the tool is the least relevant factor, which demonstrates the market is open to new tools that would meet customer demands.

Figure 3: Challenges while creating eLearning content

Figure 3: Challenges while creating eLearning content

As Figure 3 demonstrates, the biggest challenge for eLearning professionals is the complexity of current eLearning authoring tools in combination with the fast changing eLearning environment. Therefore, respondents find it difficult to choose the most suitable tool to meet their needs. Further issues include the lack of human resources and time. And finally, shrinking budgets should not be underestimated as a current industry challenge.

Conclusion

This relatively small survey highlights several important factors currently impacting eLearning development. Looking to the future, personalized and specialized eLearning content that is accessible everywhere and anytime will continue to become more important. Also, there is a need for more user-friendly and simple tools which support the development of eLearning courses around learning objectives.

Survey Results

Useful Links:


  • Adaptive learning, e-Learning, e-Learning Software, Uncategorized

    Improved adaptive courses with easygenerator’s Plus edition

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    Easygenerator and its partner, Inbrain, together have collaborated to create a completely new adaptive master page (template) for the Windows based Plus Edition of easygenerator. The adaptive template integrates easygenerator’s unique approach to aligning course learning objectives, questions and content pages. It will provide the learner with an at-a-glance view of the course, including location in the course and what additional pages and activities the learner must complete to reach their identified goal. Read more »