Month: January 2012

Get Engaged with Animated Learning Agents

Posted on Updated on

Learning agents present training materials to the learners, present scenarios, ask questions, and much more.  A learning agent might be a character in eLearning, much like a teacher guiding you through a lesson.   There are also downfalls to using learning agents such as, you cannot ask an open ended question and receive a response.

You will often see static learning agents within eLearning courses.  Static agents are images of the agent, sometimes accompanied with audio.

Examples of software with animated agents includes: CodeBaby, NOAH animated character technology and AlterEgos; just to name a few.  Animated agents can be placed within eLearning software such as Articulate, Captivate or Lectora.

CodeBaby

CodeBaby is a software in which you can select from 30 characters to add engagement to your training.  The character will lip sync with your voice and gestures can be added.  There are even different camera settings for your CodeBaby; you can have the camera zoomed in on the face of the CodeBaby or even zoomed to see the CodeBaby’s entire figure.  The developer has the option to place an .jpg image behind the CodeBaby as a setting.  Below is a video example of what a CodeBaby looks like.

NOAH – animated character technology

NOAH animated character’s can also be placed within eLearning software.   NOAH characters are Flash based and can be customized by the company.  The characters can highlight parts of eLearning and they can bring up movies.  The NOAH characters have more of a .gif animated look rather than 3d avatar characteristic. NOAHx is only available as part of the custom design services offered by the parent company TelSim Software.  NOAH’s avatars can also be used on web-pages.  Check out a NOAH presentation at: http://www.noahx.com/NOAH/

AlterEgos

Like CodeBaby AlterEgos also uses lip syncing. The avatar used is a head-shot showing head, neck and shoulders of the avatar. The avatar can be saved as a .swf, .avi, or .flv file format to be placed within training or standalone.  There is also an option for your AlterEgos avatar to be published to YouTube.  Below is a 5 minute demo of AlterEgos found on YouTube:

In the past, I have enjoyed taking eLearning courses with an animated agent, especially if the agent interacts with the eLearning’s content.  Do you think that animated agents aid in training, create confusion, or make no significant impact?

– Melissa.

What is Augmented Reality and Does it have a Bright Future in Training?

Posted on Updated on

What is Augmented Reality and Does it have a Bright Future in Training?

Webopedia defines Augmented Reality (AR) as: “ Augmented Reality is a type of virtual reality that aims to duplicate the world’s environment in a computer. An augmented reality system generates a composite view for the user that is the combination of the real scene viewed by the user and a virtual scene generated by the computer that augments the scene with additional information. The virtual scene generated by the computer is designed to enhance the user’s sensory perception of the virtual world they are seeing or interacting with.”

Have you ever watched the film Avatar? If you have try to remember back to the scene where they are looking at the map of the Na’vi’s tree, that is augmented reality!

Or how about those QR (Quick Response) codes you are seeing everywhere nowadays?  QR codes are becoming more popular for storing information like URLs and ads for companies.  A new trend that is occurring is QR codes that tap into augmented reality. Imagine scanning a QR code with your mobile device and being able to interact with an application using augmented reality.  In the training world, perhaps QR codes could be used to open up tutorials on site that are AR based.  In the video below you can see how QR codes might open up an AR application:

Is augmented reality just a technology fad or will it become a permanent part of everyday life, including training?  The browser Layar for iPhone and Android allows users to view their world augmented with guides popping up on screen for restaurants and even historical facts about places.

In the future using something like interactive holograms, a multimedia team could create training replicating the environment and situation of the learner with little to no repercussions.   Click the link below to check out the video created by Ivan Tihienko showing interactive holographic projections.

http://www.psfk.com/2008/10/augmented-reality-using-holographic-projection.html

What’s your take on AR and its future in training?

– Melissa.