201: The Mobile Learning War is Heating Up - Review

By Dan Keckan published June 16, 2014

eLearning, , , , ,

It’s no secret that mobile learning is a hot topic at every training conference we attend, blog article we read and webcast we watch.  You would think that with so much customer demand, authoring tool companies would be on top of this trend.  However, so far, it’s led to some painful learning experiences.

For the past few years Lectora, Captivate and Articulate have advertised that their products are compatible with mobile devices.  And those advertisements are true, they are compatible.  However, do they create engaging, performance-driven learning experiences?  I think most of the people reading this would agree when I say, “No.”  Furthermore, the use of the term mobile devices is used way too loosely. Smartphones may be fine for performance support, but their screens are too small to effectively display traditional eLearning courses. So for sake of this article, we will consider our experiences with the iPad.

Recently we developed courses for a client that included video-based soft skills simulations.  After having very little luck with Lectora and Captivate to provide an engaging, performance-driven learning experience on the iPad, we turned to Storyline 5.0.  Until May, 2014, everything was rainbows, cotton candy and unicorns.  Then…

Within a 30 day time span, Apple updated iOS to 7.1.1 and Adobe came out with Captivate 8.0.  With the new iOS update, Storyline courses began exhibiting three major bugs.  Frustrations with the courses included videos not playing consistently, text and voice-over narration out of sync and intermittent tinny-sounding audio.

After many frustrating emails with Articulate tech support, we decided to redevelop the same content in Captivate 8.0.  The Captivate-based courses respond much more favorably on the iPad.  The audio sounds great, videos play every time, and lastly, the text syncs with the voice-over narration.  The only glitch we have experienced is that when completing a knowledge check, you can’t go back and answer the questions a second time unless you complete the course, log out and take the course again.

So for now (iOS 8.0 release date is rumored be September, 2014), Captivate 8.0 appears to have won the battle, but the war still wages in this product’s development life-cycle. And, I’d like to add…it’s about high time we move out of infancy and into real mLearning growth.

Cinecraft designs and develops engaging custom eLearning and video solutions for Fortune 100 clients throughout the United States.  Cinecraft has been corporate storytellers for over 75 years.