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Web Based Training

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Greg Ball
Web Based Training
on Oct 10, 2006 at 4:57:54 pm

I've got a long time client who I've produced several training DVDs for over the past few years. Now they are talking about producing video for the web.

They have a few hundred franchises around the world. Basically, they would like to have training videos that are interactive, where the viewer can make menu choices, and also take a quiz. For the quiz, they would like some form of record keeping, that would show Roger completed the program and scored 80% on his quiz. They have no IT person on staff.

I don't really know where to start. Any thoughts? Places to look? Companies I can inverstiage? What if I could steer them to CD roms? My thought is to get them used to interactive training first then take the next step.

Of course...I'm an old school video pro. Not a puter wiz. Thanks

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Aanarav Sareen
Re: Web Based Training
on Oct 11, 2006 at 4:08:10 pm

It depends on the type of interactivity they want. I would personally reccomend Camtasia Studio from Techsmith as it offers full-frame screen captures and a lot more. If you want the training to be on the interactive side, ie: user clicks on a button and it takes them to point X; then take a look at Adobe Captivate. Both have trial versions and are pretty easy to use.

Aanarav Sareen

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Mark Suszko
Re: Web Based Training
on Oct 11, 2006 at 4:30:48 pm

Yes, there are software providers out there that have a system that lets you author training with multiple-choice questions that it automatically grades, and if you want to do it, you can set it up so that they are looped back to the relevant sections for review and re-test, or to a more detailed explanation, if they mess up a quiz. Tyically they use text an static illustrations, but they could add video clips if needed.

I saw a demo of this once a couple years ago, it was as easy to use as powerpoint, with a somewhat similar interface. I'm sorry I didn't keep the info on it now, I can't remember the name of the product or company. We didn't need it at the time and such stuff was the baliwick of another department anyway. But it's best feature was self-scoring and tabulation. I think it was all probably coded in visual basic, tying into a spreadsheet.

Try to Google "custom interactive training software" and it should come up in the first couple pages of hits. Having such software makes more sense than contracting out each new test.

When you think about it, this kind of app is the same as the branching menus of a DVD, only a little more detailed. You can also do this directly in Powerpoint with a little patience: you add buttons to the multiple-choice questions on a slide, and then you link each button to a new powerpoint page with the result, and from there, a link back tot he questions or to the next question slide, plus an escape to start or finish. The whole thing can then translate to HTML with a click in powerpoint's authoring environment. Yes, you can do these things in powerpoint!

I once did a demo of this, for a proposed interactive exhibit, because I lacked HTML programming skills: I called it "the advent calendar", because like those, it basically has many little windows that popped open on a master image. They liked it enough to hand it off to a programmer who knew web design tools and coded it as HTML. Worked well.

The concept was a cut-away of a house you navigated to see what energy-saving strategies can be applied to each room.

I had a cut-away illustration of a house with multiple rooms, and each room had hot buttons made for it using powerpoint to take you to an alternate page which was a duplicate of the main illustration except for the "revealed" feature. Rollovers were also enabled, as well as sound files to narrate the links out loud, for anyone with trouble reading or seeing. I basically used about 20 near-identical pages, each one with one special difference called out. The links then just navigated you to the version appropriate for the message. Plus each one had the entire page set as a button: if you clicked anywhere, it would take you back to the master image. I also was able to set a time limit to each page that would re-set to the default opening page/slide if no click happened for 15 seconds, this was to re-set if people just walked away from the display.

For simple quizzes of say 20 questions or less, this powerpoint approach may be the most cost-effective route. The downsides are the complexity goes up big-time, exponentially, as the number of questions and possible responses increase, and you'd pretty much have to re-do the thing from scratch for each change in the test or subject. At athat point you're probably better off coding it in HTML, java, flash, etc.

The advent calendar house was a display but the format I used is the same for running a quiz. I did a shorter quiz once called "You be the judge" that played three AVI files of show-cows in windows, then you made a choice by clicking the window you preferred, to take you to an "answer" page. That one was "What the judges look for when judging cattle in the 4-H competition". The concept was for city folks to play judge and learn what characteristics score highest on the cow, hog, etc. Then they try to out-guess the judges' decision in awarding the blue ribbon. If you get it wrong or are stumped, it branches to other avi files like a day in the life of a 4-H kid raising a competition animal, or the judge himself describing each item that's scored, and what to look for. Makes city folks appreciate what they see at a state fair. It never got past the proof of concept stage though, wish I could finish that some day...

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Re: Web Based Training
on Oct 12, 2006 at 2:34:56 am

For the interactivity it sounds like you require, I'd recommend using flash video. For tracking you'd have to use some sort of LMS (Learning MAnagement System) which would track results and anything else you'd want. My company specializes in E-Learning. Our use of video for the web is still dependent on bandwidth, but if the product were to be delivered on CD/DVD you could get awesome looking video connected to an offsite tracking system.

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Re: Web Based Training
on Oct 12, 2006 at 4:53:08 am

You could build the training around a web based course delivery system like MOODLE (open source - - )and add your videos as part of the training program. Moodle has built in modules to build quizzes of all types. It also has a built in commerce piece so your client can sell the training programs right through the interface.

The advantage of a courseware product like MOODLE is that you can add discussion forums, essay questions, certificates of completion (pdfs download) and countless other modules all of which can be pre-requisited - so a user needs to finish one activity before thet are allowed to move onto the next.

The dis-advantage is that it somewhat regimented in its design and is really geared to academic institutions, but I've had some good success making it work for myself and some clients. Intregrating the video was easy. If you are not much of a web developer, you will most likely need a web savvy person help you get it up and running. But remember - it's FREE.

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