The Customer Spotlight section of this blog features a whole variety of content — business quizzes, African travel promotion, technical training at corporations, and more. Today’s spotlight brings a whole new twist: A presentation from a college that examines the tools used by the training department, and details its search for the Instructional Holy Grail — all in a well-produced and feature-rich presentation. Any guesses as to where the quest will lead?
Dr. Michael Fimian, Instructional Technology Design Specialist at Providence College, explains:
“After years of striving to provide quality instructional services and resources to the PC faculty, I had to the opportunity to meet with peers of mine in 2004. It was an eye-opening experience to see what others in New England colleges were experiencing. The consensus among the members was that we really wanted the Magic Bullet, the Answer Handed to Us on a Plate. What we desired most was — the Instructional Holy Grail. Thus, my quest began…
“We pitted the highs and lows of instruction-dom to find the Instructional Grail. The earliest stages of the Quest represented my attempts to figure out just what we needed, what we wanted… We needed a way to present our material so as to: be small-profile, modular, bandwidth-friendly files (SWFs); be viewable, usable on both PCs and Macs; be produced easily and quickly; make use of, or link to a wide variety of file types; use extant training materials — including PPTs; be FTP-able as well as be distributable on CDs, if needed; allow for quick and easy content upgrades; allow for the inclusion of extant audio, video and Flash files; and be easily navigable, allowing for non-linear jumps. Oh, and we wanted it to support attachments, be searchable, email-able, and bookmark friendly.
“What we needed was a platform on which we could orchestrate the dance among a number of other products, all these differing file formats. We had the bricks, what we needed was the mortar to piece them together — and make them stick…
“We encountered a mention of a product called Articulate on a discussion board. A plug-in for PowerPoint, Presenter expands the use of PowerPoint exponentially, allowing developers to storyboard, then flesh out a project in PowerPoint, then export it to a series of Flash files that are held together by an XML menu automatically generated by the product.
“The clincher for us was that Presenter also let us import Flash files onto PowerPoint slides — thus we were able to use extant QuizMaker, SwishMax, and other exports — essentially adding a Flash movie to a slide that would work in concert with the text and graphic objects in PowerPoint — all of which would be exported as a single Flash file for each slide. Since it works well with PowerPoint’s animation features, the developer has great control over display of objects in the resulting product.
“Articulate Presenter provides ease of use, shallow learning curve, is narration-friendly, and gives you Flash exports. What more can you ask for?“
Thanks for taking us along on your quest, Michael, and hopefully your experience will lead future adventurers to the same Holy Grail that you’ve discovered in Articulate Presenter.