Free Tools for E-LearningUpdated on August 15, 2013 // Created on June 23, 2013
As the world swiftly turns its attention to new ways to enable individuals to access learning using new technologies, more commonly known as 'e-learning', we see numerous UAE government and non-government organisations looking for these opportunities too. Derek Hartshorne is a learning and development professional of more than 20 years and specialises in e-learning and learning technologies. Here he present a series of free tools to help you on your way to e-learning success.
Top Tips - Free technology to help you create your own on line course-ware.
Are you still a classroom-based trainer/educator but want to move into e-delivery? Here’s how you can quickly become an on-line learning Guru through the application of the techniques of ‘Rapid e-Learning Development’ (ReLD).
Four good reasons for providing on-line resources:
- Your customers/learners expect it – especially the digital natives.
- Additional resources are an essential part of a blended learning approach – multi-channel access is now the norm
- You can increase the number of learners you can engage without increasing the demands on your time
- Promote yourself and your offer more effectively
Isn’t e-learning courseware very expensive to create?
It’s true that in the dim and distant past of the 20th Century it took a whole team of experts to create e-courseware; for instance, a learndirect project I worked on in 2001 took more than 8 months to complete and cost about £70,000! However, this is definitely no longer the case. If you wish you can still pay a fortune to have e-learning created, but the advent of new technologies, better home computing and cloud-based services mean that you can easily create your own engaging material in a matter of hours. There need be no cost other than your own time! These 3 Top techniques provide low cost easy entry routes to help you transform your delivery options.
Your Top 3 ReLD techniques:
(Please note that no payment or commission is received from any of the tools mentioned)
1. Voice over video – universally available to all educators with a little technical knowledge this is the single most powerful technique for disseminating what you know to the world. Voice over video can be entirely free to create and to disseminate if uncontrolled / informal access meets your needs. If formal access is required then you will need some additional technology support through a VLE or similar technology.
Check out this maths video from Khan Academy to see how simple and yet how powerful this technique can be. The founder of Khan Academy is Salman Khan who started creating his maths tutorials using Yahoo’s Doodle Notepad to tutor his niece, but has gone on to deliver more than 250 million learning experiences. Further information about Salman Khan and his thoughts on using video to transform education are in this 20 minute video.
To master Voice over Video you need to develop your Screen Capture skills.
2. Flip Books – Free options are available, but few are yet in a form that I would totally recommend due to the intrusion of advertising, however, check out Axmag, a tool I have used to good effect. Other systems are available at a low cost that most training organisations would be able to afford. .
Flip books are probably the easiest way to publish text and image-based hard copy resources on the web and make them engaging to your learners. You can even embed videos and links to assessments and other resources. We all know that a ‘word doc’ or ‘PDF’ file can be really boring to read on the screen – so why not liven up your material like this!
This is definitely the simplest, quickest and most effective method to turn old paper resources into accessible on line materials – minimal technical skills required!
3. Meet Pamela – web-casts / podcasts and recordings of online sessions are all valuable additions to your library of learning resources. A range of free tools such as Skype, Adobe Connect, Google Hangouts (and loads of others) can all be used to present courses to your learners on-line – recording these sessions and making them available in your library of resources is a great way of providing extra value. The learners who were in the session can review what was said, new learners can ‘sit in’ on previous sessions.
So how do I do it, and who is Pamela?
Pamela is the free utility that works seamlessly with Skype to enable you to easily record the session and re-use your resources. There are loads of other options – Adobe Connect has built in recording facilities, or you can use other screen capture tools as in ‘Voice over Video’ noted above. Simply start your on-line delivery or coaching session, hit the recording button and your new recording will be ready and waiting when you finish your lecture/presentation. What could be simpler? Add your new material to your library of resources and publish it to your VLE or video cloud-service. This is a technique anyone can master in less than an hour!
That’s it for now – what’s stopping you from trying this right now?