How to develop elearning software development for companies, presented in the third part of the “Vision of learning” series was recently published by Google. In this article, the authors describe several approaches to achieve this goal. One of them is to use the Adobe Flash program, which provides a rich interactive learning environment. The second approach is to use the Microsoft Office Front-Page web page development tools.
This series was initiated in response to Dr. Verleger’s keynote address at a recent international conference on learning. His speech, “Software Development – How to Create an Attractive and Entertaining Environment,” was well received. Dr. Verleger described his decade of work as a professor at the University of Utah, where he has been instrumental in the growth and adoption of online education programs at both the state and national levels. His work has influenced the way that many other educational institutions now use technology in their teaching and learning processes. As such, he deserves credit for being one of the driving forces behind the development of many popular learning management systems, such as Managed Learning, Smart classrooms and Engage Learning.
In this second article, we will explore how to develop eLearning software using Microsoft Office applications. Much of what had been reported in the previous series on how to develop eLearning software using Adobe applications was similar to the recommendations made in the first part of the series. What was new in this second article was the consideration of how to develop eLearning applications using Adobe Office applications. The resulting solutions provided unique opportunities for training institutions, colleges and universities that would not have been considered possible using other technologies.
The first article in this series presented the need for a flexible, open-ended solution for teaching students. In this second article, we move beyond the need for flexible licensing options for faculty applications to consider the need for eLearning application development services. The availability of Office software combined with the development tools provided through Adobe’s membership program and its partner community provides educators with a powerful, open-ended learning development solution. This flexible solution combined with the development services provided by third-party vendors can lead to increased productivity, decreased costs, and higher quality learning experiences for all members of the organization.
The need for eLearning application development services was first recognized during the Global eCommerce Conference held in Washington, D.C. in November 2021. Representatives from the World Wide Web Association, Adobe Systems Incorporated, and asee national conference proceedings presented a joint vision to improve online learning. The goal was to create an open-ended, extensible system that would enable instructors and students to collaborate online, using tools such as eLearning modules. Although the vision was embraced by several companies and organizations, no group came close to fulfilling all of its goals.
The eLearning module developed at Adobe Systems Incorporated’s headquarters in Northridge, California, is called Adobe eLearning. eLearning involves creating training modules that are based on individual student knowledge and content, rather than on a pre-existing template. The eLearning module contains a “deck” of instructional questions and topics, and these are selected based on the content knowledge of each instructor. eLearning provides a flexible opportunity for an instructor to interact directly with a live classroom audience. During a presentation at the Global eCommerce Conference, John Diefenbach, Adobe’s director of product management, described the development process of eLearning: “The first step is defining a goal for your eLearning system. Then you need to choose the appropriate technologies – in terms of the complexity of the product, its compatibility with different types of systems and browsers, the system’s performance and reliability – before starting the development process.”
National Conference proceedings began with a keynote address by John Diefenbach, Adobe Systems’ vice president for product management. Mr. Diefenbach presented his company’s vision for eLearning, which he called a comprehensive approach to eLearning. According to Mr. Diefenbach, eLearning requires five key components: a technology solution, a training experience, a certification path, a controlled learning environment and a student team. eLearning software solutions take care of the technical issues by providing an end-to-end deployment methodology that includes infrastructure, templates, digital media and applications. On the other hand, training needs to be tailored to suit a specific student so that the best outcome is achieved.
Speaking of certification, Mr. Diefenbach continued, “After an installation of eLearning software, we found that the most common problem students have is that they have no idea what is out there in front of them”. This issue was addressed by the creation of a certified training experience that includes eLearning design, distribution and usage instructions as well as assessment. The certification path takes learners through a certified eLearning development process where each step is reviewed and practiced until the student is satisfied with his or her learning abilities. Lastly, students were provided with a link to their certification so that they can go back and take it down if needed. Overall, the conference produced a positive and productive outcome on the matter of how to develop eLearning software.
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