Our earlier posts looked at the features, advantages, and limitations of Adapt, Evolve, and Lectora 16 for responsive eLearning authoring.
This time, we’ll take a look at Elucidat, an easy-to-use WYSIWYG tool for authoring responsive eLearning.
Elucidat is a true WYSIWYG editor, which means that what you see as an author is pretty close to what the learner will see. This type of interface helps speed up the development process.
Elucidat supports a desktop-first approach with page turning navigation. It includes a custom theme builder, pre-built templates, and collaboration tools. Let’s take a closer look at the tool features.
Easy-to-Use Interface: The WYSIWYG interface shows the page layout and design as the learner would see it. There are four views (desktop computer, landscape tablet/small desktop, landscape phone to portrait tablet, and landscape and portrait phone); these views span predefined screen width ranges, and you can choose which view/width to display while working in “Edit” mode. This reduces the need to keep generating previews and switching windows. It’s also easy to move content elements on the page to adjust positioning, size, etc. in different views.
The editor’s intuitive layout allows non-technical users to create courses independently with very little or no training. At most, technical expertise may be required where prebuilt templates need to be customized.
Themes and Theme Builder: Elucidat courses are based on themes. In Elucidat, the concept of a theme is extended to a set of functional templates with specific layouts and designs as defined by that theme.
There are 30 different standard interactions / page types, that fall into three main categories: content presentation (non-interactive), interactive, and questions.
You can also go in for Elucidat’s “custom theme” service wherein their team will create a set of templates and designs as per your specifications. You can also approach the Elucidat team for developer training on how to customize or create themes.
Preview: If you want to see how your course will look and behave on a specific device, you can launch it in “Preview” mode and select from the long list of device emulators (user agents) available. This can save considerable testing time.
Collaboration Tools: Elucidat uses roles to allow you to work on a project simultaneously with colleagues and clients. Roles include Administrator (Author), Author, Layout Designer, and Reviewer. You can control Author and Reviewer permissions so that they can access only certain projects.
Multiple Authors can collaborate to add comments for the same project directly in “Edit” or else in “Preview” mode. You can also share a review link with any number of Reviewers.
Authors and Reviewers can add comments on each element of the page. This means that all comments about the same element are automatically collated, helping to save analysis time. Authors can view all the comments in the “Review” section, and can mark them as resolved as they address them. They can also view all resolved comments by selecting the “Show resolved comments” button.
Elucidat also allows you to gift a project to another account holder or client. It retains your version of the project as is, creates a copy, and sends it to a designated email recipient. The recipient will receive an email notification with a link to the project.
Image Library: Elucidat has a huge library of free images and cutouts. It also allows authors to upload images and manage them centrally within the tool itself.
Media: Elucidat supports .ogg, .wav, and .mp3 audio file formats, and .mov, .m4v, .flv, and .mp4 video file formats. Each embedded audio or video file can be up to 45 MB.
You can choose to position the audio player either at the top or bottom of the page. Alternatively, if you don’t want the audio player to be displayed, you can select the “Off the page” option.
You can add subtitles for videos by adding synching cues manually in .srt files, and then uploading the files to the project.
Fonts: Elucidat supports the Google fonts API and provides a list of all the available Google fonts. It also allows you to upload custom fonts (as .woff, .svg, .ttf, or .eot files).
Navigation: Elucidat allows you to define rules for controlling user navigation. You can make completion of specific pages compulsory in order to access subsequent pages. You can also define different page completion criteria.
Gamification: You can use Elucidat’s custom badges, timers, rules, and advanced branching to add gamification features to courses.
You can upload icons or pictures as badges, and set accomplishment criteria – for example, that the learner has achieved a certain goal by reaching a specific page, or has completed a specific page based on the completion criteria defined for that page.
Elucidat supports non-linear navigation and branching. You can use these in combination with different rules to create more complex structures, for example, for exploratory and scenario-based courses, and control learner paths.
Rules for page completion can be based on score, pages viewed, number or percentage of pages completed, or results. You can define properties and values in combination with logical operators (AND and OR) to set different completion criteria; for example, you can define that a page will be accessible only if your learner gets a score greater than 50% on Page X, AND has seen 25% of the course pages.
Quick Deployment: With Elucidat, you can publish SCORM- and xAPI- (Tin Can) compliant courses; you can also publish courses in MOOC format or simply make them available online if no tracking is required.
Elucidat also has a unique feature called Rapid ReleaseTM, which allows you to update the course content in the LMS directly from Elucidat, saving you from having to upload files again and again.
When it comes to xAPI-compliance, Elucidat allows you to configure courses to support private or public authentication. In the case of private authentication, the LRS is inside the LMS. The course is uploaded to and launched from the LMS, which then uses the learner information to communicate with the LRS. In the case of public authentication, the LRS is outside the LMS. The LRS details are entered at publishing time, and the course needs to be designed to capture information from the learner (name, email id); together, these details are used to communicate with the chosen LRS.
Language Support and Localization: Elucidat supports authoring of courses in different languages (including right-to-left (RTL) languages such as Arabic) directly through the editor.
For creating versions in different languages, Elucidat also allows you to export text content from a “master” project into an XLIFF format. The text in this file can then be replaced with translated text in a different language, and the updated file can be imported into a different copy of the project.
Analytics: Elucidat offers built-in analytics that can be used to track learner progress. You can check how learners are responding to content, and use that information to evaluate your content design, question difficulty, etc.
Accessibility: Elucidat’s accessibility feature satisfies Section 508 in the US and the Equality Act in the UK. It fully supports JAWS, Windows Eyes, and OS X Voiceover screen readers. It also supports keyboard navigation and allows you to add “Alt text” labels to all media included in the course.
API Integration: You can easily integrate Elucidat courses with other systems through their API integration support. This can allow you to pass learner data between systems.
Faster Development: Elucidat’s theme-based approach, along with its WYSIWYG interface, pre-built templates, and configurable components help reduce development time.
Elucidat is most suitable for text-based or audio-supported courses. Although you can include audio clips and videos, you cannot use the tool to synch the appearance of page content with audio, nor can you include event-based audio (e.g. audio that plays on click of a button).
Elucidat allows you to use only one font type per course. This can be quite constricting from a design viewpoint. Also, if you’re using custom fonts, large font file sizes can affect content loading time, creating a sub-standard experience for your learners.
If you choose to have your audio player “Off the page”, there is no way to include audio controls into the course interface and hence no way for the learner to play/pause the audio. Also, on mobile devices where browsers cannot auto-play audio files, the learner needs to manually play the audio for each page. In such cases, “Off the page” is not an option.
The design of the default audio player cannot be changed, which means it may not match the look and feel of the rest of the course.
Any change that you make to a pre-built template will reflect in all instances of that template across the course.
When uploading audio and video files, you may find that there’s a time lag until you can see them in the editor. This is because Elucidat will automatically encode the file into a format supported by all major devices.
While you can create courses in different languages, each of these will be a separate SCO or package; you cannot have a single multilingual SCO/package with a language selection page.
There is no separate configurable assessment template. Each question, as well as the opening and results pages, need to be authored as individual pages. This leads to higher development time as you need to custom code to display results and any conditional feedback, and to collate the individual page results into a course score.
Elucidat doesn’t currently include any glossary feature.
The current version of Elucidat does not allow courses to be viewed and tracked when offline.
However, if you don’t need to track any data, you do have the option to download a course onto a desktop computer and view it without being connected. You can also download a course onto a mobile offline player or embed it into a native application. Note that in such cases, the downloaded package will include the entire source.
Elucidat supports the following platforms:
- Chrome (any version)
- Firefox (any version)
- Safari (any version)
- IE 8+
- IE 7 (limited support with some minor functionalities likely to be unavailable)
For mobile devices, it fully supports:
- iPad and iPhone using Safari or Chrome
- Android devices using Chrome
- Windows devices using Edge browser
Note: You can run Elucidat courses on older iPhones; while the courses will function, you will likely find some minor differences in visuals.
Elucidat is a quick and easy-to-use tool for creating text-based courses with non-synched audio and simple entry and exit animations. The WYSIWYG editor helps to visualize page layout as you work, and the ability to select specific device emulators in which to preview courses is a very useful feature.
In case you’re targeting IE7, Elucidat could be a good option. Also its API integration feature makes it easier to link to other systems and share data.
Like Adapt and Evolve, Elucidat may not be the most suitable tool if your content is primarily audio driven, simulation based, or very rich in animation.
Next time, we’ll look at gomo, another proprietary responsive authoring tool.