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Toolkit: Online Courses With a Twist – Rapid Course

by Joe Ganci

March 27, 2012

Column

by Joe Ganci

March 27, 2012

“Yukon Learning is breaking some new ground with Rapid Course. If they can find a way to expand both the number of authoring tools supported as well as the number and variety of courses in their library, their products will be an attractive option for eLearning developers.”

The folks at Yukon Learning have followed up on their Cameo learning reinforcement tool with another promising product that provides some unique twists on a familiar idea.

Launched at the DevLearn conference last year in Las Vegas, Rapid Course is an online library of eLearning courses.  That is not a new idea, but there are two key features that make Rapid Course unique.  First is their “Buy the Course, Get the Source” model.  (Figure 1) That means that when you purchase a course from their website, you get not only the published course files, but also the source files needed so that you can customize the course to your needs.

 

Figure 1: The Rapid Course Website

"Buy the Course, Get the Source"

This is a bit of a paradigm shift for many of us who have been in the eLearning field for a while.  Instead of offering only the published SCORM files for the course, your download package also includes all the source files used to create and publish the course.  These files are currently available in the Articulate format and include images, audio, video, and other resources.

Think of it as a cross between an off-the-shelf and a customized course … with you, the eLearning professional, providing the customization.  This can include simple things like adding your company logo or changing the color scheme, to making changes to the actual content and adding your own resources and job aids. It’s up to you.

There are currently forty courses available online at the Rapid Course website.  The courses are on topics that are “universal” in nature, subjects like Communication Skills, Coaching, and E-Mail Etiquette. (Figure 2) The universal nature of the courses means that the content would be relevant to a wider target audience, which quickens the ROI for the user.

 

 

Figure 2: The Rapid Course on Negotiation Styles

To make the courses more visually appealing and engaging, Yukon Learning partnered with a company called Narrator Files to provide images and professional narration.  Some of the courses offer video segments as well.

I have long been a skeptic of ready-made courses because more often than not it seems that the vendors spent more time working on visuals than on instructional design. However, to me it appears that the team at Yukon Learning spent a lot of time up front developing a set of instructionally sound templates to build the courses.  This makes changing or adding new content relatively quick and easy. (Figures 3 and 4) In addition, there are tutorials on the Rapid Course site to help you make these and other changes to your courses. 

 

 Figure 3: The Rapid Course templates are set up to make changing the content fairly simple.

 

 

Figure 4: It is possible to change any or all of the content in the templates.

One price fits all

The second unique feature of Rapid Course is their distribution model.  Unlike many other online eLearning libraries that price courses on a per-seat basis, Rapid Course uses a “one price fits all” approach.  That means that you pay the same price whether you have 100 learners or 100,000.

Prices currently range from $2,920 to $6,580 based on both the content and duration or seat-time of the course.  Volume and other discounts are available as well.  The only caveat is that you can only use the courses for your organization and that they cannot be repackaged, resold, or redistributed to others outside your organization.

The reach of Rapid Course has recently expanded to the United Kingdom with British versions of many popular courses offered in Europe by Yukon Learning’s partner, Omniplex.  The company has plans to offer courses via a partner in Australia later in 2012.

Rapid Course limitations

While Rapid Course seems to offer great value for the do-it-yourselfer, there are some limitations, as is the case with any product or service.

  1. The courses are currently available only in the Articulate format.  While the tools from Articulate are popular, offering the courses in this format alone leaves a lot of us on the sideline.
  2. As a new product, there are only forty courses currently available in the library.  Yukon Learning is partnering with several content providers to expand the library, with as many as 200 courses planned by year end.
  3. To match the audio narration for a given course, you will need to use the voice talent from Yukon Learning’s partner, Narrator Files.  While this is a limitation, you get all of the necessary contact information with your course, including the specific narrator(s) used, and the narration services provided are high quality and affordable.  Since you get all of the course files including audio, you could always choose to record your own narration or use another provider.

Overall, I think Yukon Learning is breaking some new ground with Rapid Course.  If they can find a way to expand both the number of authoring tools supported as well as the number and variety of courses in their library, their products will be an attractive option for eLearning developers.


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