Digital learning authoring tools - which one?
Are you in the Captivate camp, or are you a loyal Articulate Storyline eLearning hero? Maybe you are a unique (well financed!) hybrid? Captivate and Articulate have dominated eLearning and digital learning content authoring for the past few years. And - the result is that eLearning has taken on a kind of homogeneous look-and-feel – particularly if it is developed in-house.
The good news is that because attitudes are shifting away from a one-sized fits all approach to digital learning content, there is a better range of digital learning content authoring tools now available. Multi-device, mobile ready content now seems to be standard.
Over the next few months, we'll share our experience and insights into the best digital learning content authoring tools on the market by cutting through the jargon and buzzwords to give you practical, down to earth tips.
Appitierre digital learning content authoring tool
Evolve by Appitierre is one of our favourite eLearning authoring tools. It is highly customisable, packed with useful components and lets us rapidly develop engaging learning that looks great across all devices. Here are some simple tips that will help you get the most out of this excellent tool.
Theming in Evolve allows you to add your branding to your eLearning projects (and keep the design and marketing guys and girls happy!) The level of detail in the themes is amazing, you can apply your own styling to almost every part of your course.
The multitude of options may be daunting at first but the developers have thankfully included a default colour palette which allows you to add your brand colours in one place and the changes will be rolled out across the whole course instantly.
The Themes section also includes ‘articles styles’, allowing you to create up to 10 custom styles to apply to individual articles. This is handy for creating different looks for certain types of content, like key points or knowledge checks.
2. Hero images
In Evolve, these are more than just an image! We would not recommend hero images for every page, but a well placed hero image can really bring a page to life. If hero-image sounds a bit jargony - think about when you go on to a website and the first image you see is carefully chosen to make a big, usually emotional impact, on you. That is a hero image.
Evolve has options to overlay text and a floating image over your hero image and you can adjust the layout of these objects to suit your content.
On course pages you can also enable the ‘parallax’ effect on your hero image which creates a stylish 3D scrolling effect when a learner scrolls past the hero image. This is an example of a hero image for the opening page of a course.
3. Branching scenarios
A recent addition to Evolve is the branching component (August 2017). This allows you to create branching scenarios using a combination of images, video and/or audio. Learners can journey down different paths based on the decisions they make and can even be scored on how well they do. In the past, we had to build branching scenarios from scratch or use expensive authoring tools. With this new feature, you can build engaging, mobile responsive scenarios in record time without even leaving Evolve.
4. Column layouts
Here at Logicearth, we love scrolling content - it provides optimal viewing for our learners on all their devices. However, scrolling content can quickly become blocky if everything is the same width. Luckily, Evolve gives creators a few options to break up the content horizontally.
Many components have both half and full width options, meaning you can have two components sitting side by side. If you look in the ‘behaviour’ section in the block settings you can also set the column width to ‘two-thirds left’ or ‘two-thirds right’ which gives you even more variation.
Another technique we use sparingly is to centre a half width component, disrupting the vertical blocks and adding some white space to your page. What is exciting about this design feature is that it moves us away from the standard format eLearning and introduces a greater variety of engagement.
Here are some mixed column layout examples.
5. Video intro extension
The video intro extension launches a pop up video when the learner first opens the course. With an interesting video you can grab the learner’s attention and build engagement. An intro video is also a perfectly timed opportunity to introduce the Evolve interface and ensure a smooth and enjoyable user experience, even for Evolve newbies.
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