Last month, at the Midwest Moodle Moot, I attended a workshop by Melinda Kraft of Albion College. “The Moodle Mash – It’s a Web 2.0 Splash” covered many free (or inexpensive) and easy-to-use online applications that you can use to add more connectivity, interaction, and interest to your Moodle courses. I’m splitting this into two posts: this one on multi-media and a second one on collaboration and interaction. Both build on previous posts…if you have time, read them all!
Create your own multi-media for your content. These will make your eLearning GREAT without breaking the budget on production costs. You don’t have to be an artist, but a little creativity helps…Here are some of the applications Melinda demonstrated, with my business content take on them. Warning: some of these examples are, uh, rough around the edges. I would recommend more polished versions for real courses.
- GoAnimate.com Create cartoons for memorable lessons. So much business training is so dry, so boring. Lighten it up with a cartoon here and there (don’t overdo it) to highlight really critical messages you want students to remember. Or, use them to offer a mental break after a particularly intense topic. Watch Zeb help Gerry remember the things to look for in a 10 Second Inspection in the Fort Swampy course at BeeLearn.com.
- Xtranormal is another site that allows you to create animated movies online. There is also a desktop version. There is more functionality here than with GoAnimate.com, but you’ll have to pay for everything after the initial test. Here is my first creation; crude, but not so bad for ten minutes worth of my time.
- Aviary.com Super easy online image editing. A picture is worth 1000 words and every eLearning course should contain some! I have spent hours searching for just the right stock image or trying to adjust an existing image with Photoshop.
I don’t recommend dressing your logo up like he’s been out on an all-night bender, but you can do it in a few minutes if you choose. You can get a free screen capture/editor as a browser extension, too. A great time saver when you are building content.
- Create and edit more than images with AviaryTools. Obtaining a license to use copyrighted material in a commercial project (which applies to eLearning courses used by all business, for profit or not), can be expensive or forbidden. These online tools are affordable and useful when you want to:
- Include music in your content. Create your own score!
- Add sound effects (including your own voice) to your Engage animations, GoAnimate or Xtranormal videos, or as stand-alone content in your courses.
- Add comments or otherwise mark-up screen captures and images.
- Snagit and Jing by TechSmith – Easily create “how-to” videos, narrated slideshows, and other objects to show your students, comment on what they’ve done, and help them collaborate with each other.
- WidgetBox.com Mix up the way your content is presented by displaying it in a widget (copy the code into any HTML area in your course). Some ideas for displaying content in a widget:
- Quizzes like this one on basic fish care.
- Slide shows and videos.
- Quick references, such as this Seafood Watch from the Monterey Bay Aquarium or this pill identifier by WebMD shown in the Sunny Hospital course at BeeLearn.com.
- “Hands on” lessons, such as this very cool mini piano or this self-hypnosis widget.
- BrainPOP was not covered at the Moot; Brent Schlenker tweeted this one about Hurricanes (given the current event of Hurricane Irene threatening the east coast of the US and Canada). Very, very nice…
Most of these come with widgets and buttons that you can place in your content to direct students to create their own as part of assignments.
Mobile Widgets at WidgetBox.com. This is a fee-based service, but you can try it out for 30 days. Offer your clients a free app that supports your training content. Even if one already exists, customize your own with your logo and contact information, specific to your training content and expertise:
- A mobile version of a quick reference like the Pill Identifier or Seafood Watch (above).
- Things to look for in a 10 Second Inspection; any checklist or guide that would be helpful to people when the job takes them away from their computers.
- Calendar with important events. Include your “office hours”, required web meetings, chats, and even assignment due dates.
- Assignments. This app could provide details on the assignment, links to resources, quick tip guides. This is especially helpful if your course requires field work, whether it be in a hospital, a mall, the manufacturing floor, or literally a field.
- Features of GREAT eLearning. My flagship post on how to make eLearning something people won’t call boring.
- A Few Words About Using Collaborative Activities to Jazz up Moodle Courses. Using built-in features to encourage collaboration and engagement.
- Game Building Applications for Business eLearning. Another dimension to GREAT eLearning.
- e-Learning Audio, Video, Flash, & Screencasts- What Tool Do You Need. This post covers applications such as Articulate Engage and Screenr.
- Web Accessibility and How It Will Affect eLearning. Whether it’s a widget or a video, use accessibility standards in your design.
- The companion post to this one, based on Melinda Kraft’s 2011 Moot Workshop, More ways to Jazz up Your Moodle Courses with Collaboration and Interaction.