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Getting to the Hart of learning technologies


Jane HartToday we launch a new column by Jane Hart, who will be writing a monthly overview of news from the training and elearning software market in both the UK and globally. In her first column, she points readers to some free trials, and looks at web conferencing, elearning via the PSP, screencasting, podcasting and a new online encyclopaedia.

Enhanced web conferencing
Adobe Systems has announced a new version of Adobe® Acrobat® Connect™ Pro the company's web conferencing and elearning solution. Acrobat Connect Pro includes many new features for web conferencing such as options for archiving and editing recorded online meetings; new presence capabilities that supports integration with popular instant messaging (IM) clients and compliance and usage reporting tools. Elearning enhancements include break-out rooms to let students in virtual classes initiate separate conversations online; rapid authoring of video-based content; integration with Learning Management Systems (LMS) from Blackboard and SumTotal and tools that track and organise online classes. Users also can tailor training sessions or meetings that help capture participants' attention and increase knowledge retention, resulting in an online learning experience remarkably similar to an in-person class.

Elearning via PSP
Atlantic Link's rapid elearning authoring software now allows courses to be designed specifically for the Sony PSP Slim & Lite. The courses can be deployed locally (from the memory stick duo) or from the internet, giving users a full mobile learning experience. Quizzes, games, activities, audio, video and Flash animations are all supported, giving users a rich course experience. Content producers now have a method for producing huge volumes of highly interactive content for the Sony PSP in hours instead of weeks.

All-in-one screencasting
TurboDemo™ and ALLCapture™ are now offered in a new software bundle, balesio Screen Capturing Suite which supports full-motion recording as well as screenshot-based screen capturing. ALLCapture™ records any screen activity in real-time to create full motion videos. TurboDemo™ on the other hand, makes slide-per-slide demos and tutorials based on a series of single animated screenshots. Whether for video, animated demos or interactive elearning tutorials, the Suite opens new creative possibilities.

Encyclopaedia Britannica online
Britannica Webshare is a special program for web publishers, including bloggers, webmasters, and anyone who writes for the internet. You get complimentary access to the Encyclopaedia Britannica online and, if you like, an easy way to give your readers background of the topics you write about with links to complete Britannica articles. The purpose of the program is to make Britannica reference material generally available to the people on the internet whose work and missions have a close affinity with Britannica's - that is, publishers who engage in discussions and conversations about the great range of topics and issues of interest to people today.

Microsoft training courses
CB Learning a division of Computer Bookshops, has announced the availability of a suite of new online Microsoft training courses. CB Learning already offers over 500 online training courses, available from and covering the full range of Microsoft products. The official course content has been developed by Microsoft professionals. CB Learning's Learning Management System (LMS) allows learners to access the courses via a standard web browser and managers to track learners' progress.

Short, engaging training videos
Digital Training Videos (DTV) launched at HRD 2008 last month. It delivers engaging and up-to-date business skills videos direct to desktops, providing access to an extensive library of affordable, on-demand videos. By focusing on communications, teamwork and leadership, DTV provides users with key knowledge for professional self-improvement. DTV offers bite-sized videos of up to 10 minutes in length, which are available via licence packages or pay-per-view. DTV can also be deployed as an employee performance support system (EPSS) for large organisations and academic institutions to provide JIT (just-in-time), JE (just-enough) and JFM (just-for-me) learning programmes for employees who are geographically dispersed.

Free interactive timeliner
Dipity, recently launched, offers an easy way for elearning content producers, and others, to make and share interactive timelines – and it's free to use.

Microsoft's new elearning tool
Microsoft has just released a free elearning tool, called LCDS – Learning Content Development System. The tool lets users create high quality, interactive, online courses by completing easy-to-use LCDS forms that generate highly customised content, interactivities, quizzes, games, and assessments - as well as Silverlight-based animations, demos, and other multimedia. With the LCDS, you can distribute your content via the web or in a learning management system, since the content produced is SCORM 1.2 compliant.

Sales podcasts
Richardson, a sales training and consulting firm in the US, has launched the first edition of an electronic audio book series, NanoSalesBooks™. It consists of 15 minute podcasts that focus on essential sales topics and can be listened to on most portable audio players, online, or downloaded to a computer. The NanoSalesBook™ Series is available for sale to corporate clients via a site license.

Web-based task management
Projjex a web-based collaborative task manager that helps small teams share their work, has just been released. Users can share their tasks, documents, notes and meetings with their colleagues and clients, track their time and get invoice advice and costing reports. It can be used in meetings to get automatic, personalised minutes, and text reminders can be sent directly to phones. A free trial is available.

More interactivity templates
RapideL-i the internet-based rapid elearning tool, developed by Brainvisa, has just been upgraded to include 50 Flash-based templates and 50 HTML-based templates to create engaging elearning with high interactivity. The new pre-programmed interactivities have been created in order to provide high learning value to the course and at the same time make it simple to use for the course creator. The templates can be used to create an engaging experience for the learner, be it in a presentation, an assessment, a game-based learning module or even a certification.

Jane Hart is head of the Centre of Learning and Performance Technologies. For more information go to
Or you can email her
For a daily item of elearning interest, take a look at her blog, Jane's elearning pick of the day.


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