Legacy eLearning courses are the courses developed in the 1990’s or until 2012. This is a generic approximation made based on the fact that new eLearning technologies have emerged from 2012. The courses developed prior to this period are considered out-dated or legacy courses and needed enhancement to meet new learning requirements and challenges like responsive and mobile compatibility.
A Snap-shot on Modern History of eLearning Industry Evolution
Since 2012, eLearning industry has witnessed a significant evolution in two major areas; one is in course development and deployment technologies, and second in learning approaches to address mobile learning platforms and millennial learners.
Until 1999 when Trivantis Corporation released Lectora as elearning development tool, it was dominantly an era of Adobe Flash (prior to 2005, it was known as Macromedia Flash). With the advent of laptops and handheld smartphones, Flash started losing its share because it was made for desktop computers and causing multiple problems for other devices such as over-heating, battery drain, poor web security, etc. In 2012, Adobe Captivate 6 and Articulate Storyline 1 stared creating its space in the industry. On the 28th of October 2014, HTML5 was released as an alternative to Flash with all required features to create a secure, responsive and engaging elearning course.
Specific Reasons for Legacy Course Migration
Following list includes critical as well as important reasons for legacy course migration:
Previously most of the courses were developed using Flash; today it is less used or not used as an eLearning development tool
Though Flash provides flexibility to create varied types of interactions, quality graphics and animations, it negatively affects performance on laptops and smartphones. However, it is not responsive to mobile devices and poses security threats to launch courses on the web using Learning Management Systems. These are the critical reasons for the Flash to HTML5 conversion.
Outmoded instructional approach
Though the basic instructional science remains the same since ages, the evolving workplace requirements and academics need newer instructional models. So, it is preferred to update instructional approaches of legacy elearning courses. For example, globalization of education and the advent of mobile devices needs an instructional approach for anywhere anytime learning.
Poor quality visual elements
Though the images, graphic elements, and videos used in legacy courses are relevant to the content, it is very important to update them on par with the current quality standards of visual design – this is to keep the learner interested and motivated in the course. The latest cameras and graphic development tools can produce high-resolution graphics and create animations that surely have a greater impact on learner motivation.
What Involves in eLearning Course Migration Process?
Following are the two major areas involved in eLearning courseware migration:
The technology includes the courseware development tools, sound recording software and Learning Management System (LMS).
Let’s discuss each one-by-one.
eLearning Courseware Development Tools:
There are multiple options available for development tool such as Articulate Storyline 2, Articulate Storyline 360, Articulate Rise, Adobe Captivate 17, Lectora Inspire, Lectora 17, Elucidat, etc.
Following requirements dictates what tool to choose for legacy course migration:
- Variety of interactions required to engage learners
- Graphic animations
- Development time required
- Compatibility with Learning Management Systems (LMSs), etc.
Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator have a crucial role as supporting tools to create good quality graphics. In combination with image editing tools, Articulate Storyline can produce stunning graphics (for both still and animated). Moreover, stock animations are available to download and use.
Today, we have the following elements as ready-to-use graphic assets:
- Abstract as well as concept related animations
- Abstract as well as concept related images
- Modern infographics
- Slide templates or layouts
- Color themes, etc.
Sound recording software:
Generally, the voice-over narration is outsourced to capable recording studios or artists. Few large organizations have recording studios in-house. In either case, an elearning developer requires sound editing software handy to make required changes in voice lengths, memory sizes, volume, etc. The most preferred sound editing tool includes Sound Forge, Audacity, etc.
Learning Management Systems (LMS):
Learning Management Systems are software applications used to launch courses globally on the internet. Learners can log-in from anywhere anytime using their preferred type of devices such as desktops, laptops, iPads, tablets or smartphones.
LMS helps you deliver almost all types of digital learning content. More importantly, it also helps in student evaluation or tracking based on whether the learner has taken the course or not, performance in assessments, time spent on each topic or slide, etc. The eLearning course developed in HTML5 can best sync with the latest LMSs and its features.
Instructional design is an art and science of creating effective elearning courses. It is an evolving concept to meet new workplace requirements and make use of new eLearning technologies. The legacy course migration provides the best opportunity to update the outmoded instructional approach.
The common setbacks of instructional design done in the 1990s or until 2005:
- More onscreen text and still images
- The linear flow of the course
- Fewer instances for formative assessments
- Fewer gamified elements to engage learners
- The monotonous or less simplified approach of explanation
Following are the examples of new instructional approaches:
- Explainer animations
- Decision-making scenarios
- Content chunking into smaller learning capsules
- Rewriting the content as per new content writing trends such as succinct sentences using common in usage vocabulary
- Use of modern infographics to easy assimilation and longer retention of processes and procedures
- New strategies in creating Formative Assessments such as Relearn to Answer Correctly, feedback for all possible learner responses, etc.
- Gamification, and so on.
The migration of legacy eLearning courses is to create mobile-friendly eLearning courses for global audiences. However, you can update the course content to meet new learning requirements and improve the visual appeal of the course.