VR AR eLearning design

VR AR eLearning design

VR AR eLearning design.

We’ve finally gotten around to testing Adobe Captivate’s 2019 release of the much-bandied-about 360 video augmented reality and virtual reality feature set.

Adobe Captivate puts a powerful authoring tool into the hands of many

Adobe Captivate gets a lot of criticism for being buggy, hard to use and just plain unfriendly to eLearning developers. Yet the rapid development software remains at the top of the list for those looking for an easily accessible authoring tool. I’ve used Captivate for over ten years. And it continues to evolve along with the changing technology, from responsive authoring to motion effects. Captivate has contributed a great deal to the eLearning industry by putting a powerful authoring tool into the hands of many. It also continues to add to a growing list of frustrating issues.

Adobe Captivate is buggy but usable

Just scan the internet for Captivate problems and you will see plenty of issues, from browser incompatibilities and publishing problems all the way down to statements calling for a total rebuild of this go-to development tool. Yes, there are bugs. But I believe most of the criticism comes from those with more experience using Articulate Storyline. When they jump to Captivate, nothing works according to their expectations. Then after a couple of hours of clicking around, most of the anxiety goes away.

Adobe Captivate 2019 new release

Captivate may now see more Storyline developers coming their way because of a much anticipated upgrade that attempts to answer the growing demand for making VR AR eLearning design accessible to the average eLearning developer.

When news of Captivate 2019 hit the market, there was much ballyhoo over the new possibilities of VR (well, VR, AR, MR, 360 video). Walking the trade show aisles of DevLearn, you’d swear VR was a brand new invention. In fact, the first VR headset was created in 1968! Really, the big headline here is that VR in eLearning has become even more accessible to the masses. This is also due to the multitudes of new and inexpensive 360 cameras on the market today.

So I quickly put together a fun Captivate 360 video of an interior of a Porsche 911 (991.1). I found many limitations. Nevertheless, it’s a fun addition to my eLearning toolkit. Click below. (REQUIRES CHROME BROWSER.)

Captivate 360 sample

Cheap VR AR eLearning headsets

Cheap VR AR eLearning headsets

Cheap cardboard VR AR headsets for eLearning: As I was exploring the variety of sessions and expo booths at DevLearn this year, one thing stood out from the rest: VR/AR technology in learning. Accessibility to this technology is the biggest hurdle. VR is very expensive and takes a lot of time to produce. The high-end headsets are pricey as well. Consider trying to outfit a workforce of many thousands with a $3000 headset. The e-learning world has been very slow to adopt this technology, even though we’ve been hearing about VR for decades. 

However, it looks like this technology is finally ready for the e-learning masses, most especially AR because it is easier to create than VR. (Here’s a refresher on the differences between AR and VR: https://www.fi.edu/difference-between-ar-vr-and-mr). Rapid development tools such as Trivantis’ CenarioVR and Adobe’s Captivate now offer easier-to-use software for creating AR and VR.  (As of this writing, we are still waiting for Storyline.) In fact, the Trivantis booth at DevLearn was giving away “Cardboard” headsets. These cost around $6 each. Check it out! Many of us are looking for cheap cardboard VR AR headsets for eLearning.

Design an Intrinsic Learning Experience in Your eLearning

Design an Intrinsic Learning Experience in Your eLearning

Consider an intrinsic eLearning experience: Think like an advertiser on Madison Avenue.

Design an Intrinsic Learning Experience in Your eLearning: Elearning must be simple, accessible, fun and effective. Let’s face it, an employee watching a training project for a fast food restaurant does not have much intrinsic motivation (the stuff that comes from within) for learning how to flip a burger or smile at the cash register. Many of these employees are high-school aged in their first job – a means to $10 an hour and their parents off their back. On the flipside, there may be an external motivating force that encourages them to focus on their training and score better as this extra effort may translate into better hours and tipping opportunities. There are plenty of ways to create an externally motivating training experience.

However, it’s the intrinsic eLearning experience that requires much more creativity and imagination from the ID. Entertaining and emotionally inspiring situations will cause anyone to turn their head, pay attention and buy-in to the message.

Good corporate eLearning must also be user-friendly and timely. It cannot be too long or complicated to complete. The employee must also believe that the course is important and relevant to their job, whether it’s busing tables, serving food or washing dishes.

And finally, there must be a trigger. The trigger is the trainer’s last call to action, which is to be a happy, qualified employee that contributes to the continued success of the company. It’s a happy ending in a video that caps the message with the final take away: “Enjoy yourself!” After all, if the learner is not happy, neither will be the customers.

Creating a great eLearning course is no different than creating a great product. I personally like to call them inventions, and this puts a lot of pressure on ourselves to keep reinventing new ways to sell our training message.  It’s no different than inventing a product to fit a demand, whether consumers know they need it or not. Consumers or end users are constantly barraged with new products and services, most of them useless in their eyes. It’s when the consumer is dealing with a problem (and sometimes may not even know it) and a solution comes their way and suddenly they engage. Not only does eLearning need to be timely and user-friendly but relevant. So consider designing an intrinsic learning experience in your eLearning!

Designing eLearning for the Mind

Designing eLearning for the Mind

Have you ever heard a song or seen a movie that gave you goosebumps? How about a comedian you identified with? I found an interesting read the other day: Victor Yocco’s Design for the Mind: Seven Psychological Principles of Persuasive Design, and it made me recall different events in my life where I believe something was designed for my mind and I became inspired, moved and persuaded. This has everything to do with training. After all, eLearning is most effective when your learner believes in your message.

Try to recall times where you may have experienced something that was designed for your mind. You should have felt a tinge of euphoria when you decided to take that leap of faith into believing something. For example, if you ever happen to shop at Nordstrom, you will notice that the cashier will go out of his way to support your purchasing decision with words like, “Oh, yes, you do need this”; or, “This does look good on you.” These are common phrases being parroted throughout this store chain, and is by no means an accident. But don’t be afraid, they are only trying to make the medicine go down more easily. For better or for worse, you were made to feel good about your decision.

My point is that we want to be happy with our decisions and not languish sitting on the fence. It’s tiresome. Like Yocco (2016) says, “People look around at what others believe about a behavior as a reference for whether they should engage in a behavior.” A Nordstrom cashier is not necessarily considered an influential friend, however, it’s easy to buy-in to the shtick when you happen to be looking for a reason to feel good.

For instance, Yocco (2016) uses a young woman considering buying a laptop as an example. She worries about what other people might say if she makes this grand expenditure. Yocco knows it is a rarity for human nature to be so bold as to go against the grain of our peers and make this leap. But we as educators (and really marketers) need to seize on this human weakness in order to put our best foot forward with our own line of thinking. Perhaps she will finally make up her own mind and realize that she does have a job, and thus can afford to purchase a new laptop (Yocco, 2016).

I’m glad to have come across this reading if not for the interesting psychology but the notion that as eLearning providers we are also marketing professionals who must consider our audience.

Yocco, V. S. (2016). Design for the mind: Seven Psychological principles of persuasive design. Shelter Island, NY: Manning.

Add A Little Extra

Add A Little Extra

I was recently reminded of the real world of IDs being faced with certain compromises during development.  Sometimes IDs become discouraged when they believe project stakeholders are putting the importance of course completion ahead of actual learning. Sometimes there’s a push to sacrifice storytelling, video, interactive features, and even challenging quiz questions in order to save time and money.  The idea is to just get the job done, which is to force successful course completions and move staff members through the LMS and back to their desks and real jobs.

But it should never be this bad. In these cases, sometimes it’s good to speak up and share some insights on how to add a little something extra and improve the learning experience. With only a little more work, a course can sparkle. This can be as simple as adding text based scenarios that test a hypothesis.

In its simplest form, the idea is to consider creating a multiple-choice quiz that challenges students to think. Of course, a nuanced question could lead to fewer successful completions, but that may be okay and even preferable. The so-called incorrect answers are not necessarily incorrect, but just not the best answer. The user is now curious as to why what appeared to be the best answer is not really the best. The feedback is delivered and the learner is forced to reflect on their decisions. Now the student actually has to stop and think a bit!

This added effort has turned a dull page turner into a thought provoking learning experience.