LINGOs to Upgrade to Articulate 2009

For those of you who subscribe to the Articulate Word of Mouth Blog or the Rapid e-Learning Developer Blog (both are highly recommended) –   you have been hearing a LOT about the new release of the Articulate Rapide e-Learning Development Suite 2009.  The LINGOs team has been following the new release with great interest and many of  the new features for Articulate Presenter 2009  (in particular) are especially exciting.  For example, the new audio recording utility allow developers to circuvent the process of editing sound files in a separate application; the new interface design allows developers to edit audio, animations and scripts in a single window; and the 2009 version allows courses to be outputed directly into a podcast format!

I know many LINGOs members share our enthusiasm for the new version, since I have received a number of inquiries over the past month regarding LINGOs’ plans to upgrade.  Good News!  Last week we completed a discusson with the Articulate team and LINGOs will be upgrading to the new version before the end of January.  More information about the exact date and the upgrade process will be forthcoming.  In the mean time, be sure to visit the Articulate site to learn about the new features included in all of the products that make up the Articulate Rapid e-Learning Development Suite v2009.

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

A 60 Minute Masters in Instructional Design

One of the more insightful assessments I have heard regarding technology assisted learning came from a colleague after he attended his first on-line synchronous meeting.  He said, “This is an incredible technology!  I hope we don’t use it to host more bad meetings.” 
This assessment has become my guiding principle as I continue learning and working in this field.  While recent innovations in technology are truly incredible (on-line classrooms, rapid e-learning development tools, RSS feeds, streaming video, YouContent, collaboration software, etc.), we must be careful not to become blinded by the “wow-factor” of the technology.  The secret to high quality learning, remains high quality content. 
Clive Shepherd, a UK-based e-learning designer who has worked with LINGOs and its member agencies, asserts that a central requirement for high quality content is high quality instructional designers.  Furthermore, he recognizes that for many organizations it is the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), with little or no training in instructional design, who design the majority of training content.
To help organizations improve the instructional design skills of their SMEs, Clive (and a group of professional instructional designers from around the world) has created a course entitled “The 60 Masters”, designed to train SMEs in the basics of instructional design ( Note- Originally Clive set off to create a 30 minute masters, but soon realized that even a high-level overview course would require 60 minutes.)
I highly recommend these materials for a number of reasons.  In addition to the fact that they are excellent, relevant and freely available (although you must register to access the content), Clive also outlines an articulate argument why organizations should invest in building the capacity of instructional designers.  Furthermore, the course (built in coordination with Kineo) is a great example of good instructional design employing Articulate Presenter and Articulate Engage  . 
Link 1:  Clive Shepherd’s Presentation on “Why We Need More Instructional Designers”
Link 2:  The “60 Minute Masters” Course (audio enabled; registration required)
Link3:  The “60 Minute Masters” Course (no audio; no registration required)