Mobile Learning: What I’ve Learned

Mobile Learning: What I’ve Learned

Back in January (lowers head in shame) I started a series about mobile learning. I wanted to know more about it. Well, here we are… finally. After quite a bit of research and my own learning over the last few months here are some things I think could be helpful. What is mobile learning? Mobile learning or mLearning is a vast topic. There are a lot of different ways to interpret it but I’ve chosen to start with its simplest form. Mobile learning is any type of content a learner can or might access while on the go. It doesn’t have to be formal learning but it can be. What does that look like? Videos Does anyone need to know how to take apart their dishwasher to find the filter? Last month I did. I pulled out my phone and brought up YouTube. A simple search for my dishwasher model and I found exactly what I needed. Mobile learning – on demand! Articles Have you ever accessed Wikipedia or a news site from your phone or tablet? Have you ever looked something up while on the go? I’m sure you have. Most of us do. I Google constantly. It’s a verb now! It’s not just the name of a major tech company. Not to mention how often I see the new slang LMGTFYLet Me Google That For You in Facebook groups and comment threads. Photos and infographics There are thousands of photos and job aids available for all kinds of information. Need to learn the periodic table? There’s an infographic for that from the Royal Society of Chemistry. What...
Mobile Learning: what’s it all about?

Mobile Learning: what’s it all about?

I’m tackling at least one new learning trend, tool or idea each month this year. It’s all part of my efforts to grow my own skills and bring more to our clients. Mostly though, I need to start being a “lifelong learner” again – something I haven’t been very good at in the past year. This month, I want to learn more about mobile learning. We all know mobile learning or mLearning about learning on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. I know that my favourite authoring tool (Articulate Storyline) publishes to mobile-friendly formats like HTML5 but what’s really involved in developing successfully for a mobile learner? So, this month, I’m going to dive a little bit and answer a few questions for myself and hopefully for you too. Sure, I’m not the first one to discover this… it’s been a trend for a while. I’m allowed to catch up, right? My questions Here’s a few questions I want to answer: What exactly is mobile learning? I’m going to explore more examples and see how “traditional” learning is converting to mobile. Why are learners looking for mobile solutions? Do they need on-demand learning or is it just convenience of having their phone wherever they are? What should we do differently if we know some of our audience is mobile? How do we design (and develop) for both mobile and non-mobile learners? When and how do we consider learners using multiple devices? How am I going to answer them? Google is my friend but I also have bookmarks from TD.org and Allen Interactions to take a look at. Of course, I’m also going...

Articulate Storyline – Format Painter

Format painter seems to get forgotten in the long list of so many excellent Articulate Storyline features. I know several of the Articulate folks have mentioned it and Jeanette Brooks even did a great tutorial about having multiple hotspots in a quiz question where she mentions format painter. As someone considered an Articulate Storyline consultant in Canada, I use this tool so often that I felt it was worthy of its very own blog post. What is it? Format painter allows you to copy the formatting from one object (any object in Storyline – text box, shape, buttons, etc.) to another object. What’s so great about that? Sure, just copying formatting isn’t enough to knock your socks off. In addition to copying the styles (font, colours, lines, shadows, etc.) it also copies the states from one object to another. This is where format painter becomes my favourite tool. Example please? Imagine that you’re building a slide with several images. When the learner hovers over each image it will highlight the image by changing the colour, adding an outline, and even a text description underneath. This is a “hover” state. You also have a state for when the learner has visited that image (clicked on it). That’s a lot of states to create on each image on a single slide. Without format painter you’d have to add each of the states to each individual image and also add all of the styles to those states, plus the text boxes, etc. Cue format painter. Format your first image, add all the states and format those including adding any text boxes (like...
Dress Code – An Instructional Design Case Study

Dress Code – An Instructional Design Case Study

For quite a while I couldn’t really talk about any of the many eLearning and other instructional design projects I was working on because they were covered by either a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or other restrictions. I really wanted to start building my portfolio so I embarked on journey to create a fictitious company with a fictitious performance problem. The company’s name is Gas Eight. You can read the company profile I created here. In short, the fictitious company was having challenges with employees not following the dress code. The end result was that employees needed a refresher on the dress code and managers needed new ways to discuss infractions with their employees. In another post I’ll go into more about some of the reasons why I chose the performance improvement plan that I did. For now, I’d like to let you see the demonstration of the simple, scenario-based course I designed to relaunch the dress code to Gas Eight’s employees. The course isn’t complete in the demo but I’m sure you’ll get the idea. Why did I choose scenarios? In this case, scenarios would allow employees to explore various situations that were common dress code violations at Gas Eight. By presenting employees with choices and then asking employees to back up those choices with further choices, it allowed employees to demonstrate and practice. Why not just make them sign off on the policy and review key points? Wouldn’t that be faster? In cases like these, employees often have been asked previously to read the policy (doesn’t just apply to dress code; this can apply to any policy) but...
Articulate Storyline 2 – review

Articulate Storyline 2 – review

I’m so happy Articulate decided to come out with a new version of Storyline and even happier that they worked in some amazing new features.  I’m a little late to the game since Storyline 2 was released last September but I figure “better late than never” right? I have yet to explore all of the cool new stuff but a few things I’ve found I thought I should mention. Animations This is one of the big new features and they don’t disappoint. I can’t wait to play around with the new motion paths but even just the new basic animation options are a huge improvement on Storyline 1. I don’t use a lot of animation in my courses but Storyline 1 was very limiting even for the small amount I need. I’m happy to say that I haven’t run into any limitations just yet. Import I was working with two older Storyline files that even have some old Articulate Engage interactions in them. The import into Storyline 2 went very well. I do have to say that the first couple of times I tried the import it failed but then I read this knowledge base article about not working off of a network or USB drive. Once I moved my files to my desktop everything worked flawlessly from there on. Easy Transition  I created a new course from scratch and found it just as straightforward as before to work in the tool. I had no trouble orienting myself to where old features are now nor did I have any trouble with the new features. However, as I worked, there were...
Moodle LMS and Large Files

Moodle LMS and Large Files

Recently I needed to test a very large file using Moodle to ensure the completion settings I chose were working correctly. The file was published as a SCORM 1.2 zip from Storyline 2 and I tried several times to get it into Moodle. The problem was that the PHP settings on the server where my Moodle is hosted don’t allow file sizes larger than 128 megabytes. I won’t get into the details of PHP settings since I don’t intend for this post to be that technical. Instead I chose to create a repository on my server and then upload my 330 MB file there and then access it from Moodle. There is a great resource in Moodle docs on how to set up a file repository on your server. Note: to do this you need administrator access to your Moodle as well as access to the server location where you want your files to be stored. You can even set up Dropbox to be a repository. Then you just upload your file to Dropbox and you can access it from your Moodle site. Here’s the Moodle doc for that option. Once again, you need to be an administrator to be able to enable this option. In the end, the ability for your Moodle site to manage, process, and serve up large files is dependent on how robust your server structure is where Moodle is hosted. I happen to have my Moodle site on a shared server that doesn’t have very much power. As a result, even using a separate file repository, Moodle just didn’t like my 330 MB course file. That’s not...