Multimedia learning resources are highly effective for web-based learning, but are expensive and time-consuming to produce. Rapid e-learning tools are software tools that allow the creation of on-line multimedia learning materials directly from other applications such as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint. Most often they convert content produced using these applications into Adobe Flash or HTML(web page) formats. They are particularly useful for tutors who are familiar with standard word processing and presentation applications, but who do not possess the technical expertise or time to develop Flash movies or HTML documents.
This section outlines selected types of rapid e-learning in use with the School of Nursing, with links rapid e-learning tools, practical tutorials (where available), and examples developed and deployed by non-technical teaching staff.
Microsoft PowerPoint is probably one of the most commonly used software application used by lecturers to create and present learning and teaching content. A range of tools is now available that allows the simple conversion of this content into Flash movies that can be delivered over the web. The tools retain the animation sequences produced within Powerpoint and provide a means to add a narration to the slides. They also provide a user interface that allows the learner control over the progression of the materials.
There are many applications for these tools including a means to produce "on line lectures" to the production of multimedia learning objects which include user interactive elements and self assessment elements.
Tools such as Camtasia and Captivate allow non-technical authors to record screen actions as a 'movie' or video clip. These are used extensively in training applications and Help documents to illustrate screen actions graphically, and are particularly useful where text descriptions would be over-long.
A wide range of utilities, free and commercial, are available which allow non-technical authors to easily create simple interactive e-learning features, such as assessments, crosswords, drag and drop exercise, and so on.
These applications enable you to quickly develop small interactive websites for teaching purposes.