The ToolBar, Episode 13 — The Bitter Episode

Logo for The ToolBarOops! I’ve forgotten all week to post this here: Brian and I recorded Episode #Lucky13 of The ToolBar, aka The Bitter Episode. Listeners have since commented that it’s “bitter veneer wrapped around a good cause”, “not as bitter as expected” (kinda like Brian’s beer) and “not so much bitter as whiny”. Clearly, your mileage may vary. But at least you get to hear us gripe about one listener’s new favorite term: Navigation Rage.

I drank Chainbreaker White IPA and Brian drank Angry Goat.

New Features Released in Claro

A few weeks ago, dominKnow announced that new features have been added to Claro. I haven’t gotten my hands into it much yet, but from what the guys at dominKnow showed me at DevLearn and after, it seems like it’s been in very active development since I did the overview in T+D earlier this year.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • Linking to other pages within the course. This is a huge step up in interactivity because it enables branching. Woot!
  • Interaction templates. Think Engage/Quizmaker-type interactions and other common types. You can also create your own.
  • Characters and clipart. They’ve licensed eLearning Brothers and other clipart packages to provide a variety of characters, clothes, and poses, as well as general clipart. I really like the design of the “People Browser”; they’ve put a lot of thought into the usability of it, particularly the filters that remember your choices on a course level so that it’s easy to come back and choose a different pose of the same character you’re using.
  • New, extensive template library.
  • Tables and shapes. Just what they sound like.
  • Various usability additions such as find/replace, new keyboard shortcuts, a color picker, and the ability to change formatting on lists.
  • Easy reviewing on a mobile device. I think you’ve always been able to email a link to a course for review, but now you can also pop up a QR code, point your device at the screen, and review. Just like that.
  • Ability to copy and paste pages between mobile and regular versions of a course.

Other enhancements since the review include publishing to SCORM Cloud and, most impressively, a much more developed separation of the content layer from the navigation and visuals. If you aren’t familiar with it, so I’m going to suffice it to say (for now) that if you have content that resides in several courses, it’s possible — and easy — to update it once and have those changes reflected in multiple places.

All in all, this software is becoming more and more interesting to me. It still lacks variables and highly customizable actions, but for people who want easy, usable, reviewable online, and HTML5 publishing, I like how it’s shaping up.

Update: An earlier version of this post stated that Claro included an eLearning Art package instead of eLearning Brothers. Thanks, dominKnow, for notifying me of the error!

The ToolBar, Episode 8 – This One Time… At DevLearn…

Logo for The ToolBarEpisode #8 of The ToolBar is now live!

In this long-overdue episode, Brian and I chat about DevLearn 2011, the stuff we learned there, the sessions we presented and some of the ones we attended that are still on our minds, HTML5, Claro, ZebraZapps’ much-anticipated launch, and… probably more.

And… we now have theme music! Big thanks to Scott Unrein for composing and producing it.

Promising Tools for HTML5 Development

Cover of T+D Magazine for October 2011I’m pleased to share that I have an article in this month’s T+D: Promising Tools for HTML5 Development. (Click on the New Tools for Mobile Learning title on the cover; though that’s not the primary focus of the article, this has not yet been edited on the cover.)

Update: Regular PDF version here.

In the article, I look at two “mature” tools that have been on the market for years — decades, even — and two that are brand-new. Lectora and ToolBook are the ones you may already have, and Claro and mLearning Studio are two new ones that you may want to consider if you’re interested in developing for HTML5 delivery. I’ll be continuing to develop this topic at DevLearn in a couple of weeks, on Learning Circuits in December, and beyond… so as always, let me know if you know of new tools that come onto the scene.