Important! New Flash Player Release Might Impact the Performance of Articulate Courses

Today’s posting on the Articulate Word of Mouth Blog   identifies a potential challenge Articulate course developers will have with the newest release of the Adobe Flash Player.  If you or your users upgrade to Flash Player v10 (released today), you may not be able to properly view courses created with Articulate Presenter 5.

The blog post does a good job identifying where the problem lies with the compatability of Flash 10 Player and Articulate courses.  Earlier today, I downloaded the new version of Flash Player, and was able to replicate the problem identified in the blog post.  With the new version of Flash Player, I was unable to view Articulate Courses that were previously loaded to the web and to the LINGOs LMS.

The good news is that the blog post provides instructions on how to ensure any courses you developed previously are accessible by your audience with Flash 10 Player installed.  In summary, Articulate recommends that you do  do the following:

1.       Download and install the new Articulate Presenter 5 Updater for Adobe Flash Player 10, which will update the stealthray.swf file to correctly detect the Flash Player 10 version number.

2.       Review FAQs about this updater in the Presenter 5 Knowledge Base: Why are my presentations not loading with Flash Player 10?

3.       Run the updater (look for the Flash 10 Updater icon on your desktop) on all your local and Web-based Presenter 5 presentations.

4.       Clear your browser cache (and instruct your users to do the same) and view impacted Presenter 5 presentations; they should play just fine now.

Important notes:

  • The LINGOs team has tested the fix identified by Articulate and we find it is working.  NOTE – however that the automatic updater does not appear to correct the problem if your published course files are embedded in .zip folders (which is the norm with LINGOs courses loaded to the LMS.)  To update your published files that are found in .zip files, you will need to republish your course manually (which we did  and were able to successfully load content that is accessible via the Flash 10 Player on the LMS)
  • The newly released Articulate Rapid E-Learning Studio ‘09 (including Presenter ‘09) and other Articulate products (such as Quizmaker 2.x and Quizmaker ‘09) are not impacted by this Flash 10 issue.  LINGOs member agencies are not yet using this version of the product, but we hope to move that direction in the future.

§ The updater will also update your installed Presenter 5 files, so new presentations will not need to be updated

Learn more in the Articulate Knowledge Base

Increase Training Impact Through Mind Mapping

Affinity Diagram ProcessDoes this photograph look familiar?   When international NGOs host training workshops, we rely extensively on brainstorming, flip charts and affinity diagramming (think sticky sheets) approaches as a/the primary facilitation tool.  And yet, I would imagine that many of you have wondered (as have I) what happens to all those sticky sheets and flip chart pages once the event is over?

In theory, the sticky sheet diagrams are photographed, and the flip charts are transcribed so that the data can be converted into knowledge, documented and then shared.  Too often, however, this is not the case!  Whether due to resource limitations, competing priorities, and/or the unwieldy nature of flip chart paper and sticky sheets, often the knowledge from these events is never documented, or is documented and shared weeks later – frequently with significant transcription errors.

MindManager ScreenshotIntroducing Mind Mapping applications – software that allows trainers to easily collect brainstorming ideas,   organize them into visual diagrams, and at the push of a button save the image into a .pdf file.  These .pdf files are ready seconds after your session is complete and can be shared via e-mail, uploaded to your intranet, or distributed any way you would exchange a computer file.  Furthermore, many of these Mind Mapping applications have features that allow you to convert your map into a Word document that is organized in outline format.  Envision your visual brainstorming results converted into a Word format that is immediately ready to embed in the minutes of your meeting or workshop!

There are many mind map software vendors , and a quick Google search will identify at least a dozen options to choose from.  One that I find particularly strong is MindManager (sold by Mindjet  for about $349.00 (windows) and $129 (Mac).)  In the words of Frank Ryan, Head of Library and Information Services at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, “MindManager has saved me countless hours in planning reports and presentations and I have used it very successfully to simplify complex issues. It is very easy to use and Mind Maps can be converted into low-memory PDFs.”

A free, open-source alternative is FreeMind While I have no personal experience using the Free Mind product, it comes highly recommended by the people on the Knowledge Management for Development List Serve.  If any of you have experimented with FreeMind, let us know about your experience by adding a comment to this blog post.