In March, Raptivity launched a beta tool called Raptivity Linker. It’s new from Harbinger Knowledge Products, makers of Raptivity, the leading interactivity building tool. Raptivity, as you may know, offers a variety of ready-to-use interactivities.
The new tool, Raptivity Linker, allows you to link together standalone Raptivity interactions and create short interactive-learning modules. It’s an interesting but logical concept and the Raptivity team has been giving me sneak previews for the past few months, so I thought of taking it for a test drive.
Interactivity: from single interactions to learning arcs
Raptivity Linker essentially allows you to combine different Raptivity interactions to form short, cohesive interactive-learning experiences, or what they are calling Learning Arcs (a term I like). Clearly Raptivity Linker depends on Raptivity itself so you need Raptivity to use Raptivity Linker.
I like the idea of the tool. In fact, I’ve been telling Harbinger for the last couple of years that they needed something like this. Maybe they had already thought of it, but I’ll take a tiny bit of credit anyway. I know a lot of Raptivity fans who love it because of the variety of interaction models it offers. I think Raptivity Linker is your solution if you like Raptivity but feel cramped because of its limitation to creating multiple stand-alone interactions. Now you can use Raptivity Linker to link together any number of Raptivity interactions and build short learning modules out of them.
Making life simpler for developers
I’ve always said that you can’t usually use Raptivity by itself, because you normally need to take the resulting published interactions and place them in Storyline or Captivate or on an HTML page or similar venue. However, Raptivity Linker with its learning arcs will reduce the dependency on authoring tools when all you are looking for is to quickly create short, yet highly interactive, learning modules. Authoring tools have more power, more features, and most offer a small set of pre-packaged interactions but they can be overkill for short sets of interactions.
You don’t need to be a programmer to use Raptivity Linker. Just like Raptivity, it does not require any scripting or programming knowledge to use it. Raptivity Linker is currently in an open and extended beta release. The Raptivity team is considering many feature enhancements in the future.
The test drive
So here’s my take on the Raptivity Linker Beta.
Creating a new experience
The user interface is quite intuitive. You can easily build a new learning experience by simply adding previously created Raptivity interactions to the Linker. Just two clicks and my interactions were added. Of course, you need to create and publish the interactions in Raptivity prior to adding them in Linker. You can sequence the interactions in any order you wish. Linker can produce both AS3- and HTML5-compliant output.
A feature I really like in Raptivity Linker is that it lets you customize the player to meet the requirements of any particular learning module. Player settings are easily located in the toolbar (Figure 1).
- You can change the background or player color.
- The Insert Logo option allows you to add a logo or any picture.
- You can rearrange the table of contents by merely dragging and dropping the topic in the desired sequence.
- You can alter the controls’ height and width.
- Changing font style, color, and size is similar to what you do in any typical office application.
Figure 1: The player settings for Raptivity Linker are easy to find in the toolbar
Overall, the player settings are quite useful and easy to use.
Since Raptivity Linker’s output is HTML5 compliant, it will work fine with mobile devices. I played the Linker sample from the Raptivity website on my iPad and it looked perfect on it. In fact, the sample renders nicely on most tablets.
Ease of use
No doubt the tool is easy to use and learn. Developing learning arcs is a very quick process. Adding interactions is a no-brainer and sequencing them takes just minutes. It’s a matter of simply selecting your preferred color scheme, changing a few settings, adding text, and then you are ready with a fully furnished learning experience.
Some evident drawbacks that I felt could have been avoided:
- You should be able to change the player size.
- Linker should let you edit the interactions directly.
- It would be nice (and faster) if you could link Raptivity source files and publish them all together in Linker rather than publishing them one by one in Raptivity.
- The tool also lacks progress-tracking support, such as SCORM or the xAPI (Experience API), but considering that I will use this for short learning experiences, that’s probably not going to be too much of a hindrance. The Raptivity team tells me that this is a feature they are working on and should be coming out soon.
- Raptivity Linker should be merged with Raptivity itself.
Worth a try
Raptivity Linker is definitely worth a try if you believe in using lots of interactions in your learning, as I do. Linker is unique in that it focuses on creating short modules by combining content and interactivity in interesting ways. Considering this is only a beta release of the tool, I believe Raptivity Linker holds a great deal of promise. However, a lot will depend on how this tool evolves and incorporates some of the must-needed features stated above and other enhancements.
To learn more about Raptivity Linker or to see a sample of a short interactive learning module created using Raptivity Linker, you can visit the Raptivity Linker webpage at: http://www.raptivity.com/raptivity-linker.html
If you already have Raptivity, you can try Raptivity Linker free here: http://www.raptivity.com/free-trial.html