Microsoft’s LCDS

May 14, 2008

Our e-learning team found and installed Microsoft’s new LCDS application recently (Learning Content Development System). It is a tool that allows you to author your own e-learning course structured with modules and topics and populate it with images, quizzes, interactivities, animations and audio/video.

Once you have created your course, you can publish it to the web or an LMS, as a SCORM ready package. It’s all template based and simple to use.

This would be a great asset for teachers who want to create their own e-learning courses. The only downside is that the software uses Microsoft’s own Silverlight plug-in for a lot of the multimedia elements. I uploaded a .wmv movie file and in order for it to be viewed I had to install Silverlight (without installing this it threw up an error and essentially crashed my course and had to start again from scratch).

From what I can gather, Silverlight is Microsoft’s attempt to halt Adobe’s monopoly on viewing interactive web material which Adobe has had for years with its Flash Player. Sadly, this means that if people want use the LCDS they have to install Silverlight – this might sound simple enough but a nightmare if the LCDS was to be used by College staff for students. Entire IT systems would have be updated with this new plug-in.

Continuing research in Second Life…

May 7, 2008

I’ve been trying to explore learning in Second Life a bit more with varying results. I visited Learn 4 Life’s offices at Education UK and various UK Colleges and University areas that they have set up. It seems like there’s a big grab for land just to get ‘on the map’ as it were – but it all seems for promotional/marketing purposes. I’ve also tried talking to people there to try and find out more about Second Life and learning but no one really seems keen to talk. There were some people who seemed to be experimenting with Script – they were trying to sit on a box or something. Maybe everyone is still at the experimental stage.

I’ve found some good links though. John Kirriemuir’s Flickr page on UK Universities and Colleges in Second Life is a nice collection of images complete with slurls that you can jump to in Second Life. I discovered John Kirriemuir after reading an article by him on games in education. He keeps an interesting blog about his life living on a remote island in the Outer Hebrides. Read all about his own research into Second Life here.