As a teacher, trainer, or subject matter expert, you want to transfer your knowledge or share your skills with other individuals. Easygenerator can help you! We offer a simple and affordable online authoring solution. Our goal is to help you create instructional sound e-Learning by creating e-Learning based on learning objectives. This video explains the didactical principles behind easygenerator and shows you how you can apply them creating courses. Enjoy the video. We hope it helps you reach your goals in building eLearning courses.
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
- 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
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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.
- Just go to the ‘Design’ tab in easygenerator
- 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.
From the learner’s perspective it works like this, after starting the course (on the web or LMS) the introduction page will show:
The learner clicks Start pre assessment and all the questions from the course will be presented in a long list:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
Four 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 email@example.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:
- Learning for the first time
- Learning More
- Applying what you’ve learned
- When things go wrong
- 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.
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.
In short a curator:
- collects (or uses an existing collection)
- selects (a part of the collection)
- 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:
- A presentation at ASTD2014: 4 ways to use curation in learning
- A presentation by David Kelly on Curation at ASTD 2013
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 »
My recap of the whole conference is summarized in the title. I attended great presentations on 70:20:10, agile development, mobile (TinCan), serious elearning, performance support and learning ecosystems, but the gap with the audience was huge. When we were just talking before the start of a session, someone said: “I get all this and I want to do it, but I’m also getting frustrated because my clients want 1990 eLearning”. That really says it for me. We do have to move away from courses and into performance support, we have to grow ecosystems and the the formal learning that we create must be of a higher quality (applying the 22 rules of the serious eLearning manifesto). Read more »
Here is my recap of LSCon day 1.
I kicked the day and the conference of with a morning buzz session. These sessions are not presentations but an opportunity to talk/discuss/share experiences on a certain topic. We talked about agile development under the guidance of Don Bolen. We had a very good attendance (about 25 people) and had a nice conversation. My best recap is:
- All the attendees do see the problems and limitations of the current working methodology (ADDIE or other waterfall models)
- They have heard of agile (thanks to Michael Allen)
- They know they have to change
- And they took their first sniff at agile.
After this we had the formal opening (1500 attendees, 30% up from last year) by David Kelly and the Keynote from Soren Kaplan about Leapfrogging to learning breakthroughs and innovation. The essence of his story is that good breakthrough business ideas always have a form of surprise in them. He had an example of a café in Paris that is regarded the number one place (from 30,000 competitors) to be. He found to his surprise that is was a café, that the owner bought all her beans directly from the farmers. That she had made a whole business of selling these beans and that she had an academy where she was training people from all over the world to learn her concept. Not something you would expect in a café. This sparked the idea of surprise that he investigated more. Other examples are a clothing shop that sells cloth by the pound, a cinema that sells monthly subscriptions et cetera. His conclusion ‘Surprise is essential for all breakthroughs. And you will find that surprise outside your normal comfort zone. He gave a number of nice tips:
- Fall in love with problems not solutions
- People love innovation but they hate surprises
- Rethink your role (what is your added value)
- Learn to live with uncertainty
- Look outside your own culture
- Get your customers inside your processes
- What is your business really about?
For more check his presentation, you can download it from his website. Interesting reading and he is an entertaining presenter.
Next was a presentation from Marty Rosenheck. He jumped the 70:20:10 bandwagon. Core message the formal learning (10) is served by the LMS what do you do with the 90%? He is really big on apprenticeships and has a nice vision of that (learning in the real world without the bog claim on experienced people so you can make it scalable).
He has created a solution (Trek) based on TinCan that supports this kind of learning.
I attended the serious elearning manifesto session. As expected it was a recap of the launch from last week. I really do support this initiative and I do thing that we should do a better job. At the ame time you hear more and more critical sounds: that the initiative brings nothing new to the table. They made it very clear that their goal is the raise the general level of eLearning in order to make it more effective, it is not about innovation, but about applying the stuff we already know (or should know).
This year there is a second conference next to Learning solutions: Ecosystems 2014. It is more on a strategic level. You have to have a special upgrade in order to attend the sessions, build the guild was kind enough to allow me to party crash a session. The session I attended was about ecosystems and was presented by Lance Dublin. For him the term ecosystem was also new, so he took us on a journey to discover it with him. I got from it that an ecosystem is a living and ever changing thing that enables and facilitates learning. It should contain four elements: Process, people, Technology and content. So it is not an architecture (that is part of the ecosystem) but the whole thing. The reason we have to thing about this is the increasing speed of things, our old ways (LMS learning with courses) do not work anymore. We need something that delivers Performance at the speed of need. He gave s an impressive list of opportunities/changes, developments that should be part of an ecosystem: Mobile, Moocs, Cloud, social learning, serious games, Big data, personalization and much more. He also defined the goal of an ecosystem: Performance. He promised to share his presentation, but is is not available now. I will share it with you when I can.
This was a really nice session although it didn’t bring me what I expected from it. It was presented by Megane Torrance. I did expect her to make the connection between agile and lean. I do know about agile, I wrote a whole bunch of post on it. I know a bit about lean and was curious about the connection. Instead she took us through the eight wastes of lean (Transport, Over-processing, Time & Intelligence, Motion, Waiting, Overproduction, Inventory, Defects) and she challenged us to come up with waste on these topics and solutions for them. Based on the info she gathered she will create an article for the learning solutions magazine. So we sort of crowd sourced an article in an hour. Really inventive and informing.
So this leads up to the conclusion of day 1. As I wrote in the beginning of this post. I have the feeling that change is reaching eLearning. But I see only the first signs of it. People are aware that they need to change and that raises more interest in topics like TinCan, Agile, innovation. But most of them are just investigating, it will take a while before they can act on it.