Animated graphic elements are great to use in training. They're fun to watch, and can get a message across that words or audio (or even video in some instances) cannot. Animation is another element, however, that has to be used appropriately. While animations don't typically require the bandwidth that video does, they still can slow down a Web-based program.
Trainersoft provides some tools to aid in creating animations and even some video. SmartCap is a Trainersoft tool that can be used in software or other computer-screen-type training. It can capture a series of screen movements and export those movements to a video. For example, you could show how to select a specific menu, select the menu item, enter specific information and then see the effects on the screen. Each step, or action, is actually an image that would be converted into an animated video.
Click here to view an example of a video created with SmartCap. The example will open a second window in your browser. To return to this article close the example window.
You can animate almost any graphic image or text you put on the page. This can include buttons that play specific sounds when clicked, or even that change to another image when the mouse moves over them. This is known as a rollover. You've probably seen this type of effect on Web pages. Rollovers can actually do more than just alter an image -- they can bring in another path or choice for the student.
For example, suppose you're creating a game that requires the student to enter an office, find a specific document, then proceed to use the information within that document to perform some action. You can begin with a background photo of an office. Within the photo you could have several "hot spots" that have rollover effects. By moving the mouse over the file cabinet, the student might find a file he needs to proceed. The student can then click on that file, which would take him to the next screen, which shows the information in the file. By mousing over (or clicking) on something within that information, the student might find the key needed to move to the next step of the game.
The possibilities for animations and interactivity are only limited by your imagination.
Incorporating quizzes and tests
Interspersing the course with quizzes that pop up after material has been presented offers good feedback and reinforcement for learning. In most learning situations, the more immediate the feedback, the better -- it's the building effect of learning.
Inserting questions and quizzes using Trainersoft amounts to selecting "Question" from the "Insert" menu and then deciding what type of question you want it to be. Inserting multiple choice, multiple-multiple choice, true-or-false, matching or fill-in-the-blank questions is simple, and feedback can be given immediately after the question is answered. The feedback can be in the form of an audio response or text response.
The answers to these questions can be tracked and used to compute the student's final score and grade for the course. As a course administrator, you can look back and see any areas that caused difficulty and reassign those areas for additional training.