This week we learned about various computer-based education options. In many ways, computer-based education is not new. B.F. Skinner introduced some of the very first "teaching machines" for learning in the 1950s, though he was certainly not the first. While these machines were not computerized as we now understand "computerized", they were programmable and delivered instruction and feedback based on behaviourist tenets.
Teaching Machine Patent
Present day, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to computer-based education options. And when we specifically consider computer-assisted instruction (CAI) "teaching machines", or those that "drill, tutor, and test students and...manage instructional programs" (Kulik & Kulik, 1991) the sophistication of CAI has evolved by leaps and bounds.
Indeed, while CAI options can be as simple as a YouTube video, increasingly the focus is on "personalization" and/or "adaptive" platforms that are data-driven based on learner interactions with content, activities and assessments.
For our third assignment in MDDE 620 we were asked to "choose to learn the basics of anything that you feel would be useful to you" (MDDE 620, 2016) through engaging with some form of CAI.
Recently, at work, I have been engaged to support two projects requiring the use of a rapid e-learning tool. In one case, the goal of the project is to "flip" an introductory physics class. In the other my role is to support the development of a module for writing instruction using game-based learning and gamification principles to deliver the content in a novel way. After some period of evaluation, I recommended that we consider using Captivate 9 (Adobe, 2016) for each. But wait, how much do I actually know about Captivate 9 you ask? Not much....
lynda.com is a LinkedIn online learning and training platform offering "Over 4000 courses in Business, Technology and Creative Skills taught by industry experts." (Lynda, n.d.).
A quick search led me to "Captivate 9 Essential Training", a 4-hour and 51 minute "introduction" to the tool. Now, Captivate is a fairly complex program from what I have heard, and I'm not all together sure that this training will be comprehensive enough for my needs, but using my organization's account, I logged in and set to work.
I quickly realized that while I will need to methodically work through the full training (and then some?!) for the purpose of my work projects, that for the purpose of completing my assignment for MDDE, I needed to focus. As if delivered by the assignment gods, an email arrived in my inbox from one of the projects' principle investigators:
"Finally, a specific question: How do you insert a "scenario into a new, responsive project?"
I decided to figure it out using lynda.com, at the same time using it as an opportunity for a "meta" activity of also learning how to create a screen capture "simulation" in Captivate also. Below is evidence of my learning. Click the button to open the page!
First, my ambitions above about using this as a meta-activity to also learn how to create a simulation in Captivate were dashed. For the life of me I couldn't figure out how to do a simulation OF Captivate WITH Captivate....more time and research required! But I was able to capture a brief overview of the process - dead simple - using Jing.
But, otherwise the process was quite simple. Captivate 9 comes with hundreds of free e-learning assets, and by visiting the online "store" you can simply download, making sure that, in this case the scenario, is configured to be responsive. The learning object is then imported into an existing or new project. You can edit almost anything in the scenario - text, graphics, images etc. I expect I will download many more options in the weeks ahead as we go into production on the aforementioned projects.
I also learned that sometimes these things don't go as planned in more ways than one. While completing this project I had to uninstall and reinstall Captivate 9 as the software kept freezing and crashing...or simply failed to load. Somewhere in this process I ended up with only a "trial" version and not the full version (still figuring that one out) and as a result I couldn't publish my project as a .swf file as I had hoped - as I also used CAI in the form of a YouTube video to learn how to embed my project here on Weebly...stay tuned as I will not be deterred, assignment be damned! (EDIT: I have now included a link to the .html page above in place of a .swf file as it would have relied on Flash - but I have left the text above to evidence the trials and tribulations...and to make the point that sometimes YouTube is just as reliable as any fee-driven CAI option!).
I really enjoyed using lynda.com, though admittedly, without a "premium" account, it is nothing more than a series of YouTube videos - with the upgrade you get access to the "Exercise Files", which would have been entirely helpful. I did end up toggling back and forth between Lynda and other video-streaming CAI options if I needed another perspective, or more depth on a topic. That being said, I would recommend Lynda to other students as its benefit, in my mind, is that you are saved the process of wading through heaps of content - the assurance of quality is there and this is not to be underestimated as the Internet continues to swell.
While I chose to focus this assignment on a "basic" and discrete task as suggested in the guidelines, I will continue to work my way through the rest of the training out of necessity for work, and so do check back for more "evidence" of my learning!
Captivate 9 (2016). [Software] Retrieved from http://www.softchoice.com/
Casas, M. (2011). Computer Keyboard [Photograph]. CC BY 2.0. Retrieved from https://flic.kr/p/99xKiL