This tutorial will show you how to incorporate Articulate Engage interactions into Lectora. We had to write these procedures out for someone on our team anyway so we thought we would pass them on to you.
Here at Pinched Head, we like Articulate Engage for some things because it’s fairly easy to use. They have focused their efforts on creating a select number of high-quality flash-based interactions that can add a lot to an otherwise static elearning project. We’ll write a more detailed review of Engage at some point down the road. For now, here is a Camtasia screen movie of the process followed by a summary review of the steps.
My narration is no James Earl Jones but I hope it is helpful.
Summary of Steps
Create your Engage interaction.
Export your Engage interaction to web output.
In the folder where Engage exports your interaction, rename the “engage.swf” to <whatever>.swf
Also rename the “engage_contents” folder to <whatever>_contents (the same name you chose for the .swf. We do the above two steps in order to differentiate between multiple Engage interactions that we include in our Lectora title. It would simplify things if Articulate named these other files uniquely (it always names them “engage.swf ” and”engage_content”) but that is a subject for our future product review.
On the Lectora page where the Engage Interaction will go, add an Animation to the page either by selecting the Animation icon at the top or by going to Add>Object>Animation.
Place the Engage Interaction <whatever>.swf on the page.
When embedding a .swf file to a Lectora page, put the following parameter in the flash animation properties: wmode=opaque. This ensures that any menu that you create on the page will appear on top of this flash movie (see earlier post on adding a slide-out menu to Lectora). This applies to engage movies, flash movies and any Camtasia or Captivate flash videos that are embedded directly on the page.
Important: Place the folder named <whatever>_content in the /images folder so that you can preview the interaction while working in Lectora.
Important: After publishing the Lectora title, place the interaction folders also in html/images (or in scorm/html/images for SCORM titles.) for each Engage interaction.
Have you heard of anti-marketing? Anti-marketers believe that traditional methods of marketing no longer work, and instead advocate the idea of disruptive innovation. Radiohead’s pay-what-you can online launch of In Rainbows is a perfect example ofdisruptive marketing. They gave away their music and made millions doing it. Wouldn’t it be great if elearning developers could be a little more anti-eLearning. They always talk about thinking outside of the box, but I want designers who don’t even believe the box exists. – Scepticism gives one a critical eye and unleashes creativity. This may shock you but, I personally don’t enjoy spending hours going through eLearning courses. I prefer to play with a product and learn how to use it on my own. I also prefer, short bytes of information rather than long comprehensive programs. Consequently, I strive to make eLearning as painless as possible for someone like me. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for Instructional Design Methodologies and degrees in higher education that explore advances in learning strategies, but sometimes when people entrench in a subculture, they focus on theories and ideas that are not always practically applied given time and budget demands. Instructional Designers can sometimes get bogged down in the search for pedagogical perfection instead of practically figuring out how to do something that gets an idea across effectively.
I had a thought, maybe a business degree would not be such a bad compliment to a degree in Instructional Design.
In addition to the thick skin of an elephant, an eLearning designer needs the investigative skills of a reporter. Much of eLearning is about getting the scoop on how things really work. It may be a topic area, software functionality or whatever, but to get it right a designer must have a relentless desire to root out the truth about a product or idea and not be satisfied with the handouts from the experts. Cut and Paste doesn’t quite’ cut it. There must be an innate perfectionism about getting it right and really understanding what the eLearning product should be teaching.
(Note: Other qualities included in Quality 4 are: the sleeping habits of a bat, the reflexes of a lynx, the nerves of a sloth, the dedication of a person in their mid-fifties playing WOW, and the stick-to-it-ness of a Moray eel – not necessarily in that order.)
Effective eLearning designers require grounding in Humanities and the Arts. They must take into account the many facets of human behaviour and have a connection with popular culture. Designers in tune with these things can effectively incorporate humour, audio, video, and social conventions that are relevant to our culture. They also need a keen eye to visualize the best way to convey a concept or idea on the screen for our current generation of learners.
Again sometimes designers are guilty of regurgitating what they have been given from subject matter experts who have developed a very narrow view of their area. It is precisely this narrow focus that makes these SME’s great. However, it is the job of the eLearning designer to take this information and to connect it to a larger picture for a particular audience. This takes consideration of the great big world beyond the boundaries of the subject area.
As I said, I don’t necessarily look for experience in specific tools when hiring a designer. What I want is someone who can prove that they can pick up almost any tool and learn it in a reasonable amount of time. I want a person who plays with things and can begin to do something with them quickly – without needing 3 weeks of formal training. (If they have self taught xbox skills even better)
The ability to play with technologies is essential because so much of what we do necessitates quickly understanding new technologies, abstract concepts, software programs, and hardware configurations. Things change fast these days and we just have to keep up. Playing is a great way to do it.
We use many different tools in eLearning and those tools change over time as things evolve. An eLearning designer must have a good comfort level with new tools and technologies and be someone who explores these things on their own.
This quality not only means that a designer can use the tools of the trade but also will be able to easily understand a client’s system and therefore be able to represent if effectively.
I may be biased (ok I am biased since my degree is in English Lit), but I believe this to be the most important skill for an eLearning designer. eLearning designers must be able to write clear, active, succinct, and visual prose. So much of eLearning is about taking complex concepts and making them simple. For many years, I worked as a technical writer and our biggest challenge was taking Engineer-Speak and creating something that people could actually use. Far too often, I have seen eLearning designers take text from subject matter experts and plunk it in without rewriting it or even understanding it. An eLearning Designer must be able to write and write well.
So much of eLearning is about succinct writing, even if it is not a text based course. Audio narration also requires people that can write effective, jargon-free pose. It is not only the ability to write that is important, but also the ability to edit what others have written. Designers constantly take feedback from experts and plug it in. Most of it needs a makeover.
An eLearning course is kind of like a little movie and the designer is the screenwriter who must, not only write the dialogue, but also describe succinctly what should appear on the screen. I have written a couple of movie scripts myself that are still gathering dust on my shelf, but one thing I learned from reading all those “how to be the next William Goldman” books was the “show – don’t tell” principle of screenwriting. Like screen writers, eLearning designers, need to write for a visual medium and must always be visualizing.