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eLearning Innovation Relies on MadCap Flare to Streamline the Process of Delivering HTML5-based Online Courses that Capture Analytics

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eLearning Innovation

Mt. Vernon, NH

Industry:

  • Education
  • eLearning
  • Training

Goals:

  • Streamline the process of updating and maintaining HTML5-based online learning
  • Facilitate content reuse for different courses and audiences
  • Monitor and track user information through content analytics for insights into enhancing the user experience

Solutions:

  • MadCap Flare native XML single-source, multi-channel content authoring software

Benefits:

  • Taking advantage of Flare’s capabilities for single-source publishing, eLearning Innovation can create content once in Flare, publish it to its content server, and link to it directly from an LMS, streamlining course production and maintenance.
  • Snippets, variables, and condition tags allow eLearning Innovation to easily customize content for different roles and audiences.

Since 2003, eLearning Innovation, has been providing instructional design services to higher education, K-12, corporate, government, and non-profit organizations. Specializing in experiential learning, eLearning Innovation creates active learning environments that inspire and educate. Today, leveraging Madcap Flare’s single-sourcing functionality, along with its own custom integration, eLearning Innovation delivers robust online courses directly to a Learning Management System (LMS).

A New Course of Action

For many clients, course content is first developed in Microsoft® Word. To add the content to the LMS, the Word content has to be cut and pasted into an HTML editor in the LMS, a process that is both time-consuming and open to errors.

"Whenever we build content in that method, it is trapped in the LMS. It is labor-intensive to maintain and make edits, since someone has to manually go into the LMS to make a change," remarked Laurie Pulido, eLearning Innovation founder and president.

As the company has grown to develop hundreds of new courses, eLearning Innovation realized it needed a better solution. In April 2014, the company began searching for a product that would help streamline processes and advance its offerings. MadCap Flare emerged as the clear choice, providing a method for single-source publishing that would increase automation and scalability.

"MadCap software hit all of our points for a streamlined, cost-effective, and innovative solution," observed Eric Eberhardt, eLearning Innovation chief technology officer.

Screenshot of eLearning Help Topic
College for America Learning Module

Faster Content Customization

Now, to quickly produce and update course content, eLearning Innovation takes advantage of MadCap Flare's native XML architecture and functionality for content reuse. eLearning Innovation uses snippets and variables to improve the consistency of course content and uses conditional tags to create variations for different audiences.

Ms. Pulido observes: “The single-sourcing features in Flare offer us tremendous flexibility. The fact that we can create different Flare targets to generate variations of the same content with different branding is a huge time-saver for us.”

Sylvia Eastman, eLearning Innovation senior instructional designer and senior editor, adds, “Even basic functionality like being able to easily output the same content to HTML5 and Word is a bonus.”

From Flare to Content Server to LMS Seamlessly

eLearning Innovation (EI) develops content in Flare, using HTML5 templates that it has created and imported into Flare. EI then uses Flare to publish the content to EI’s content server in an eLearning ready format.

Once the course content is published to EI’s content server, the course content is served directly from a link in the LMS using eLearning Innovation’s proprietary technology. The custom technology is based on the IMS Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) specification, an integration standard for linking systems. From the learner’s perspective, he or she is simply clicking on a link within the course, and the content displays seamlessly in the LMS.  

Whenever there is a need to update the content, EI can update it in Flare and then republish it to the content server. “With Flare and our custom integration, we’ve eliminated the problem of having to go into the LMS to make a change,” remarks Pulido.

Screenshot of eLearning Documentation about Instructional Design
Internal Training Lesson: What is Instructional Design?

Adding Analytics Triggers to Flare Content

eLearning Innovation’s technology also collects analytics as the learners interact with the content.

Pulido explains: “We can see what page someone is viewing, how long they stayed there, what browser they are using, what type of device, and more.”

eLearning Innovation is currently extending this capability to evaluate learners progress against course outcomes or competencies.

“Our platform has a curriculum mapper, where learning outcomes can be associated with quizzes, surveys, and performance-based assessments. We are in the process of creating an embed standard to link learning outcomes with real-time analytics. For example, we will be able to add proprietary embed code into Flare content, that when viewed via our integration will display a quiz, a survey, or a performance-based assessment and its associated grading rubric. With these embed codes, we are adding the trigger to tell our proprietary platform to collect the analytics,” explains Mr. Eberhardt.

Pulido notes, “For example, when a learner completes a quiz, the analytics will be captured in real-time, showing the learner’s progress toward learning outcomes. If a learner completes a performance-based assessment, the analytics are collected as soon as the instructor grades the assessment using the associated rubric.”

Eberhardt adds, “Flare comes into play in this scenario as well. We’ll leverage the condition tag feature along with the functionality that we get with LTI, which allows us to determine the role of the user, so we can display different versions of the content, as appropriate for the different roles. For example, it allows us to show different versions of a rubric to a learner and an instructor. The student can view the rubric, while the instructor has an interactive view, where they can grade the student’s work.”

Expanding eLearning

Based on its own success using MadCap Flare, eLearning Innovation is now encouraging clients to adopt the software and its mode of development.

“We want to continue inspiring innovation,” says Ms. Pulido. “By ramping up our clients with Flare, we can improve our collaborative approach to course design. And with Flare’s integration with source control, we know we can easily keep track of versions.”

Mr. Eberhardt notes, "We want to grow our use of Flare both within our company and across our clients, taking the possibilities of eLearning to new heights.”