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e-learning is so much more than word documents

September 24th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

Quick rant.This sort of thing worries me greatly:

“The award winning, patent pending, software “Metamorphosis” is a world first! It converts a Microsoft Word text document into a fully fledged elearning course with assessments in minutes.

This development process is fully automated. It includes the insertion of text relevant graphics on each page. The library contains 25,000 images and can be expanded. Voice and video clips can be added as well.

Every kind of course assessment is possible. Multiple choice questions, fill in the blanks, completing of paragraphs and part identification on an image are some of the possible assessment types.

The files will be ready for deployment as a standalone, LAN based, web based course or as an addition to your LMS.”

Now anything which makes for easy authoring is very important in that it faciliatates teachers and trainers creating their own e-learning material. But the idea that e-learning materials comprise of a word document with some pictures and simple tests added is exactly what we are fighting against and just what makes so much e-learning boring and a turn off for learners. And for that matter we could do with less of the award winning, patent pending, world first hyperbole.

2 Responses to “e-learning is so much more than word documents”

  1. I tried Metamorphosis after seeing a tweet on it. I gave it a document from a Word-based programming tutorial. The translation was straight forward and it put my graphics in reasonably sensible places. The big problems were: it lost the different fonts I was using (I show programs in a different font to the normal text); I had numbered the steps and they had got lost; the breaks weren’t where I expected them. To make the tutorial into a useable elearning resource I would have to spend quite a bit of time tweaking things. Also I am not sure my students would appreciate the tutorial online, we have only single monitors on our PCs and the programming environment takes up a full screen.


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    Interesting research on student centered learning and student buy in, as picked up by an article in Inside Higher Ed. A new study published in PLOS ONE, called “Knowing Is Half the Battle: Assessments of Both Student Perception and Performance Are Necessary to Successfully Evaluate Curricular Transformation finds that student resistance to curriculum innovation decreases over time as it becomes the institutional norm, and that students increasingly link active learning to their learning gains over time

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