[Press Release] Easygenerator, an easy to use eLearning authoring tool that has been widely adopted in Europe, launched its presence in the US market at DevLearn this morning with release of its latest version. The new version adds content reuse features, workflow management, version control, and great functionality that applies some of the latest and best information we have about learning, in a way that will redefine the usage of learning objectives.
We sat down with Kasper Spiro, CEO of easygenerator, the day before launch to talk about the tool and his role in its development.
A tool with a mission
This is a tool with a mission. Spiro says, "Our goal with easygenerator is to get eLearning to the next level: to get eLearning to reach its potential and to be far more effective. There are three developments in eLearning today that we are focused on. First, we think that in the next stage, eLearning should be more about learning and less about 'e-' -- a didactical approach. We do this by placing the learning objectives and the didactics at the heart of the authoring process, and at the heart of the learner's experience. Second, we see a development among our customers: where corporations used to buy courses off the shelf (and they paid a lot for them), now they want to do it more themselves. The third change is involving Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) more and more into the process. There is a change in the role of the professionals in the eLearning corporations, more in the direction of one who guides the customer and helps the customer, giving didactical advice and helping to structure and perfect the eLearning. So you create a team that builds the eLearning."
Team development and outcome learning at the heart of easygenerator
Easygenerator addresses those issues by placing the learning objectives and the didactics at the heart of the creation and publication process. Spiro feels strongly that eLearning creation tools should be able to support SMEs who hardly know anything about learning. Easygenerator makes it possible for these experts to start working within the tool without any further explanation. Because doing this within a team requires collaboration, easygenerator has workflow controls and version control built in.
Much of the functionality of easygenerator is built around a concept that Spiro refers to as "outcome learning," which is itself adopted from output management ideas proposed by Belgian psychologist and change management expert Filip VandenDriessche. "Start with a shared vision. If you have a problem, set a goal to solve that problem, set requirements for the solution, but you don't mingle in the solution at all. In this way, any solution that matches your criteria will be fine for you. This allows you to steer development in a different way. When I looked at problems in the eLearning world, I saw that many of the things he talked about were valid in this world as well. I combined the principles we had for eLearning with his thoughts, and the result was the idea of outcome learning."
The result of this philosophy is a set of innovative features and functionalities, such as the objective dashboard, which sets up the connection between learning objectives and the content of the eLearning. Easygenerator separates content from presentation in a way that facilitates re-use and supports localization and translation to other languages. Learners are able to see their progress on individual objectives, in the form of progress bars. They receive specific guidance about improving their performance, including suggestions for further study. Other features make it possible to talk about ROI for a course in a realistic way, related to measured changes in knowledge. Version control facilitates iterative development and team management.
Not a tool that tries to do everything
Spiro does not believe that one tool should try to do everything. He is very much a believer in the "best of breed" concept, in which developers choose the best tool to do each task. This means that easygenerator will always be just a part of the solution, a very specialized part, working together with other tools. This means that developers can use the tools they have, rather than duplicating them.
One example of this collaboration is the connection to A New Spring, another company that offers a tool that supports adaptive learning and spaced repetition. (A New Spring will be exhibiting at DevLearn, and co-presenting with easygenerator.) Partnerships like this make it possible to add features to easygenerator courses that guide the learner, by giving information about what the learner knows and what the learner doesn't know.
The bottom line
Easygenerator marks significant changes of concept, both in authoring and in learning. By focusing on the process of design and development, eLearning becomes better for the eLearning professional, for the SME author, and most of all for the learner.
At DevLearn 2011, Spiro will be presenting easygenerator and speaking on the concepts of outcome learning and adaptive learning paths. Attendees will be able to see demonstrations of the tool in Booth 421 in the Expo.
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