Course Building Strategies

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Putting your Courses Together
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You have documented your course outline and plan, decided on what text you wanted to include, created or acquired your images and perhaps audio and video files.  You may have already loaded your multimedia content into the FlexTraining libraries.

From here, you will be using FlexTraining's integrated course development environment to complete the development of your online training.


The centerpiece of your learning content is the material you have placed in the FlexTraining Libraries.  As mentioned earlier, the Content Library is for files to be used as whole training sections on their own.  On the other hand, the Media Library is for audio, video and flash files that will be included in learning screens that you author with the authoring tool.

Assembling Learning Screens and Courses

FlexTraining provides a flexible, easy-to-use course assembly toolset. You can stop at any point and return later, and you can come back and make changes to your content and your courses at any time later. So you can relax - it's very easy to recover from any errors you might make, and to adjust, resize, edit or replace material later on.

The basic steps are as follows:

  1. Make sure you have read, and are familiar with, the FlexTraining Management Guide, and if you are using the authoring tool and have purchased FlexAuthoring, the FlexAuthoring Guide.
  2. Load (or finish loading) your media items and images into the FlexTraining libraries. 
  3. Create your Learning Screens in the authoring tool.  Paste the text from your course plan document, so it will have already been spell-checked.  Typing your text directly into the authoring tool is not recommended.  An advanced user may choose to paste blocks of HTML into the text boxes in the authoring tool, which is permissible.
  4. Preview each learning screen using the Preview tab in the authoring tool and make changes until you are content with its appearance.  Use the Lesson tab to group screens into Lessons, and give each lesson a meaningful name.
  5. If you are not using the Authoring Tool, you can jump right to the following step.
  6. When your learning screens have been grouped into Lessons (or your standalone files are loaded in the Content Library, if you are not using the authoring tool), you are ready for final assembly of your course.  Use the Content Builder to quickly create the sections of your course.  If you are using authoring, each Lesson you created will become a course section.  If not, each of your files in the Content Library will become a course section.
  7. Add tests to your course as desired.  If you have reference material like a glossary or a technical manual, or some other background material, consider adding a Course Guide.
  8. If your course will be taught by an instructor, you might consider adding one or more assignments.  These require review by a human, so they are are really only appropriate for instructor-led courses.
  9. Use the schedule wizard as described in the FlexTraining Management Guide to schedule your course so that students may enroll and begin training.

Success Tips

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When loading your Media Library, use long, meaningful descriptions so you can locate the item easily in a list.  Also, use long file names for Content Library files and any image files you are using.

Resize your video or flash for optimum screen presentation.  When you add an item to the Media Library, you will specify a height and width.  These are the dimensions, in pixels, that the movie will occupy on the screen.  Adjust your height and width for the best appearance - movies displayed too high and/or too wide can look fuzzy and distorted.

Multimedia items are not in any way "converted" when they are loaded into FlexTraining.  The movies and narrations you worked so hard on are left intact, for re-use in FlexTraining, or in any other system. All your FlexTraining multimedia items are totally re-usable.

Resize your images outside of FlexTraining.  Images do not have a specified height and width in FlexTraining - they will display at their actual size.  To resize or crop an image, do so with an image editor like Adobe Fireworks, Paint Shop Pro or Windows Paint.

Maintain consistency in fonts and colors.  Keep your fonts, background and text colors consistent from one learning screen to another.  FlexTraining allows you to use different colors on each screen, but you should do so only for a good reason.

Place a Learner Exercise at approximately every third or fourth learning screen.  It's an easy way to add interactivity.  Record one audio MP3 file with something like "Please choose the best answer below" and add it to the Media Library.  Use it as a narration for every Learner Exercise screen to give your course a more professional feel.

Avoid Scrolling.  Learning screens can be any length you want, but you should keep them short so your students do not have to scroll down, if possible.  This can be accomplished by breaking up your content into smaller pieces.

Keep courses manageable. FlexTraining courses may be of any length and include any number of learning screens, lessons and tests.  Use good judgment in breaking down your courses into digestible screens and lessons.

If you use large streaming video files, you might choose to put them on a different server and use a full URL when defining them in the media Library.  This will cut down on your server load and the traffic on your network.  For example, your FlexTraining server might be in one room, with your video content on another server down the hall or across the country.


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