Course Building Strategies

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  Below are four scenarios which illustrate realistic online training projects, each with their own goals and objectives.  Although the names and facts here are fictitious, the underlying methods and techniques are representative of how real-world training is developed and implemented.

Scenario 1: Software Training, Screen Captures

linkimage Scenario 

Tom has been assigned the responsibility of developing training material for the rollout of a new accounting software product.  The students will be spread across several locations and will use a variety of computers with various software configurations.


Tom wants to be able to show his learners the actual screens, and actual user activity, that this accounting software involves. 


Tom has a limited budget and won't be able to hire outside consultants to create his screen-based in-motion learning content.  Also, the fact that his online students have different computer software on their desktops means that "plug-ins" for the users machines would be undesirable.


  1. After doing some research, Tom decides that he will use Flash movies to show his 'live action" software captures.  Flash streams well over the internet, and students will already have the Flash player integrated into their web browsers.
  2. Tom chooses Adobe's Captivate product to perform the screen captures and create the Flash movies (there are other products available).  He breaks his course outline into small, digestible sections that each cover one activity that users perform in the accounting system.  He saves all the screen "movies" in Captivate and uses a simple interface in Captivate to create the Flash movies.
  3. Tom likes the narration concept, and he records a set of narrations on his multimedia-enabled computer and saves them in the efficient MP3 audio format.  One narration matches each of the movies he created earlier and turned into Flash.  Tom uploads the Flash movies and the MP3 audio narrations into the FlexTraining Media Library.
  4. Finally, he builds learning screens in FlexAuthoring that include the Flash movies and the appropriate audio narrations.  He also builds several learner exercises, using the provided templates, to insure that his online students are engaged and learning.  




Scenario 2: Soft Skills, Video Clips

Flash-delivered text with an image Scenario 

Starting this year, Deborah's company has a new strict policy against sexual harassment.  She has been asked to prepare an online course to help educate employees on the nature of, and ways to recognize, behavior that may be inappropriate.


Deborah feels the best way to communicate simulated "soft skills" interpersonal behavior is through the use of full-motion video.  She wants to record employees interacting with other staff and customers in typical work scenarios.


Deborah needs to have something ready to use in a couple of weeks, without breaking her budget with high production costs.


  1. Since planning is essential, Deborah analyzes various ways to capture video and present it over the internet.  She has access to a digital movie camera and a tripod, and connects a standard microphone.  She writes several scenarios and assembles her "actors" who are actually co-workers.
  2. Videos are recorded and saved in the Windows AVI format.  She chooses a movie size of 480 pixels wide by 320 pixels high, which will fit on the screen easily and allow some room for text below it.  Some of the videos have to be shot a few times before Deborah is content with the visual and sound quality.
  3. Afterward, she edits the videos on her computer, adding transitions (fade in and out) and on-screen captions for a more professional look.  When she has finished editing, she converts the videos to Flash format, using the standard Flash development tool.  She could have chosen to convert the videos to the streaming WMV format, which is also bandwidth-friendly.  She knew she could not actually use the videos while they were in the AVI format, because the AVI files were very large.
  4. Once she has created all her Flash movies, Deborah uploads them into the FlexTraining Media Library and incorporates them into her learning screens.
  5. Deborah also has some PowerPoint presentations she wants to use.  She converts these to Flash as well (using the PowerConverter software from PresentationPro, one of several tools available for this purpose). From there she uploads them to the media library and utilizes the flash movies as multimedia items in her course's learning screens.



Scenario 3: Safety Training, Simple Text and Images

Basic Text with a Learner Exercise Scenario 

Tony is in change of safety training at his manufacturing company.  He sees education costs rising as people are brought in from distant locations to attend classroom training.  He does not have a large staff to support his mission - only one administrative assistant is available to him.


After careful consideration, Tony decides that the best way to cut costs and still offer effective training is to deploy an online training system like FlexTraining.  He wants to have a set of courses up and running in three weeks.


Tony realizes that many of the staff who will utilize the online training will be using dial-up lines to connect to the internet, and some will not even have speakers attached to their computers.  Therefore the training material needs to be bandwidth-friendly and should not include multimedia.


  1. Some of the handouts and PowerPoint presentations that were used in classroom training contain images and text that will be useful in online courses.  Tony reviews these materials, and pulls out many photographs, charts and text material related to safety rules and practices.
  2. Tony lays out each course in a simple Microsoft Word document, placing images and text in a logical flow in order to get his ideas across to the learner.  These scripts will form the basis of his individual learning screens within each course.
  3. To quickly add interactivity, Tony inserts a learner exercise after every third learning screen.  These are also part of the course outline he creates in Word.
  4. Tony uses FlexAuthoring to create the actual learning screens for his course, choosing various templates to add some variety.  He also edits and re-sequences the screens until he is content with the final result.  He builds a multiple-choice test at the end of the course to assess the level of learning being accomplished.
  5. Finally, Tony uses the FlexTraining Scheduling Wizard to publish the course and begins enrolling online students.


 Scenario 4: Technical Training, Extremely Tight Deadline

Lesson Preview Screen Scenario 

Lisa has a just been handed an online training project with a very tight deadline.  She is concerned that the quality of the training material will suffer because of the super aggressive schedule.


Management has decided that online courses need to be available to sales personnel in one week.  The FlexTraining software just arrived yesterday and was installed on the company web server this morning, so no FlexTraining work has been done yet.


Lisa will not have any help in building her courses, and has other responsibilities besides the online training project.  She needs to build her course content as quickly as possible.


  1. The built-in authoring tool provides excellent navigation, bookmarks and flexible templates.  However, it is not unusual for customers to create courses outside of the authoring tool simply by assembling existing files.  Knowing this will allow her to build courses almost instantly, Lisa begins to look for existing files to use. 
  2. Lisa finds a collection of documents that cover her desired material.  The documents are in PDF format and include text and imbedded images.  She knows that having pre-built documents will save her the work of building learning screens, even though this technique does not always produce the best learning experience.
  3. She confirms that her learners will all have the Adobe PDF reader on their computers, so they will be able to view the material in the online courses.  She would have the same issue to deal with if she had chosen to use PowerPoint files, Word documents or Excel spreadsheets.
  4. Lisa uploads the documents to the FlexTraining Content Library and assembles them into courses using the menu-driven Content Builder.  FlexTraining provides basic navigation, tracking, bookmarking, testing and reporting, even for file-based courses like Lisa's.
  5. The courses are scheduled using the Scheduling Wizard and Lisa meets her deadline.  Management agrees that when time allows, Lisa will go back and gradually revise her courses. She will re-create her material in the authoring tool, lesson by lesson, for better navigation and interactivity.  She can work on one course at a time without shutting down her active training system. 




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