An alternative eLearning Tool: iSpring
I’ve been using iSpring to publish eLearning training courses for the last few months. As a user of Adobe Captivate and TechSmith Camtasia, I was a bit skeptical when my manager first introduced iSpring to me. I enjoyed the full all-in-one record and edit capabilities of Captivate and Camtasia.
iSpring is easy to use, it works as a plug-in to PowerPoint. Many people already know how to create PowerPoint presentations, therefore, there is a small learning curve to using iSpring.
As you can see from the image pictured, iSpring has it’s own tab and the features are fairly straightforward: publish, presentation explorer (timing) links, audio, import audio, insert Flash and YouTube files, among other features.
Another benefit to this eLearning software is that I can use it on any of my computers because it’s a plug-in to PowerPoint. This means that I can develop eLearning courses without a lengthy installation process or it taking up my computer’s resources.
In addition, I enjoy being able to add high quality video and audio files to the PowerPoint presentations. It makes for better content compared to simple text-only slides. Once the course is published via iSpring, the high quality multimedia files can be maintained by selecting the correct quality settings.
My eLearning development process includes creating high quality MP3 audio files and MP4 video files to be imported into iSpring. I do so by using what I think are the best production tools (for a PC). I record narration in Adobe Audition, edit the raw audio so it sounds clean and crisp, then import the MP3 files into iSpring. I do the same thing for the video demonstrations, choosing to record and edit screen captures using Camtasia and then importing the MP4 files.
I also like the iSpring Quiz feature. I use the Quiz feature to create interactive practice activities and course end assessments to evaluate the learner’s knowledge of the content. The Quiz feature offers a variety of question types such as matching, multiple choice, short answer, etc. The question pools make exam creation / variation easy.
When the iSpring PowerPoint is developed, there are several options to publish the files. It can be published for the Web, HTML5 (mobile compatible), or LMS compatible.
The final output includes a navigation pane for learners to advance the class, as well as a Notes section for transcribed /outlined content. These features are beneficial for learners who want a quick refresher of the course content, without committing to the full length course.
The downside of using iSpring is that simulations are not compatible with the LMS publishing setting. However, the simulations are compatible when the course is published as an HTML5 file.
I’m not willing to give up Captivate and Camtasia fully, but iSpring is a simple eLearning developer software that I’d recommend for any instructional designer’s toolbox.