Converting Captivate and Flash to HTML5 for mobile delivery

I just recently came across a company called Easel Solutions.  They are an Adobe partner that provides eLearning training and consulting in addition to free webinars.  I was a little worried that the Flash webinar I attended would be hype for a product, but my worries were unfounded.  The links to the webinars below can also be found on the bottom of the Easel Solutions blog site:  http://blog.easelsolutions.com/resources/

All of us in eLearning know that Flash to mobile is the holy grail for future training programs.  I’ve been exploring this for a little while now, an I am at a point where I am putting together a plan.  My challenge is to take web based training that is developed in either Captivate or Articulate and republish it so that it can be delivered on a mobile device.  The second priority is to make sure that certain trainings can still be tracked in our LMS, using SCORM 1.2.  Unfortunately, our Cornerstone LMS does not allow me to login with Safari 😦

Mobile eLearning Strategies:  http://easel.adobeconnect.com/p8q3jyjj5lk/
I wish I’d taken this free webinar first, so I listed it first.  It is more of a needs analysis assistant. It poses several important planning questions (stuff in green is where my work is heading with this):

  • Who is asking for mobile eLearning?  How fast is that number growing?
    Not sure how much demand is here.  There may be a business need that would not be recognized by the end user.  For example, having access to a job aid on a mobile device (especially for field jobs) may be a great thing.  Force-feeding a one-hour long knowledge-dump training program that is 70MB (too big!) in size may not be the best way to jump into mobile learning.  For each course intended for some/all mobile delivery, careful planning will be involved, as well as lots of testing!!
  • When is it time to implent? (This is not “If”) If I can wait, will new features become available in the meantime that will make it easier for me?
    A good example of this is the Adobe Labs tool for Captivate that will convert the SCORM zip to HTML5 – which can be read on mobile devices!  It’s only an add-on, but that means that a newer version of Captivate will probably have this as a publish feature.  Very exciting to do now, but it could save many man-hours to wait, instead of doing our own trial-and-error.
  • What can be implemented technically?  Do I need to redesign some or all of my content, or can I use existing Flash-based courses?
    File size, screen resolution, graphic/animation effects, graphics file type considerations, LMS integration, personnel capability, and much more are all factors to consider.  We currently use Articulate for most of our web based training needs.  I love Captivate and am currently exploring republishing some of our material into Captivate.  I have a feeling, Captivate is going to work better with the conversion tools from Adobe, and it already works better with Flash.  However, I am also testing some stuff that is published from Articulate.
  • What makes sense to have for mobile content?
    For my programs, task-based training, user guides, and operations checklists would be a prime example of things that make sense for mobile (instant-need information)… plus, it would free up computer resources for system operators (and avoid IT security restrictions and issues) if a person could access training from their mobile device. 
  • Will this work with my LMS?  Do I even need to use my LMS (yes, if you want to track completions and other stuff from students!)?
    I would love to have a combination of all-of-the-above!  Do I need to track when a user downloads a checklist or job aid?  NO.  Do I need to track when a user has completed a 30 minute course?  YES.  We currently use a Cornerstone LMS solution, which I can’t log into the site using my iPhone.  Does it make sense to put a course out for mobile delivery that requires tracking?  I think not, until Cornerstone upgrades and we adopt the upgrades at work.  It could be a while before we go this route.  In the meantime, it’s important to consider what aspects of a course need the LMS versus what supplemental materials can be hosted externally.
  • What do I need from IT?
    Remember, you need wifi access or a data plan that provides the internet to end users before you can ask them to go online and find your course!  XAMPP (localhost server) is used for testing – would I even be able to get this on my computer, or is it a security restriction?  Do I need sanctioned test devices (iPhone, iPad, Android, etc) from IT? 

Convert Captivate Files to an iPad App:  http://blog.easelsolutions.com/videos/?p=f_XpBm66dQI
I found this video after participating in the Flash webinar (below).  It was exactly what I needed.  After watching this 14 minute training, I was able to successfully publish and convert a three slide test powerpoint to captivate to HTML5.  WOW!  It took about an hour of messing around to do it.  Although there are lots of limitations to the Adobe Labs HTML5 converter, if you think about publishing your training to video formats first and other tricks, it’s absolutely possible to have a successful training conversion.

Optimizing Flash Content for Mobile:  http://easel.adobeconnect.com/p9bpz3dksuv/
I signed up for this a month ago, and I was very impressed with the information I got.  As a bonus, my husband (a webmaster) will also benefit from this as well.  Although I have Flash at home, I do not currenlty have it at work.  I will probably be begging for it shortly, but in the meantime, it gave me a lot of ideas about tools available for converting Flash content.  At the very least, I can publish .swf files out of Captivate, so the information was still very relevant and useful.  This webinar requires more in-depth knowledge of Flash.  I thought it was awesome, though.

Special thanks to Dustin at Easel Solutions for his fantastic, free materials and webinars and great info on his blog.

Advertisements

What does SCORM mean?

Ever wondered what SCORM means?  This morning, my husband asked what SCORM stands for.  I couldn’t remember off the top of my head, so of course the first thing to do is to go to Google.

My google search returned http://scorm.com/scorm-explained/ .  I love this page!  However, scorm.com is actually some company’s website that is not a sanctioned SCORM standards group.  They sell stuff – I was disappointed.  I didn’t look at what they sell. But check out their SCORM page (or their stuff for sale, if you so desire).  It’s an easy-to-understand explanation of SCORM.

I then looked at the ADL site, http://www.adlnet.gov/capabilities/scorm but it isn’t as easy to understand.  However, the extra detail found on the Current Projects tab of the site gave me a great understanding of the different versions of SCORM – we are using 1.2 where I work.

Did you know a project called “Tin Can” is currently underway?  I haven’t read it all yet, but http://tincanapi.wikispaces.com/Tin+Can+API+Specification is the wiki group working on it.  Great info!  I love running into something completely foreign to me.

I don’t really think this will help me be a better Instructional Designer (you never know what little tidbit will help, though!), but it satisfied my curiosity for the morning 🙂