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Adapt Learning | The story of development, delivery and design

Deborah Limb,COO at Learning Pool, gives us a quick summary of what Adapt Learning is.

Adapt Learning is an innovative new approach to e-learning that provides learners with an exceptional experience on whatever device they are using. Fully responsive, Adapt Learning allows you to undertake your learning as and when it suits you on a PC, tablet or smartphone. With deep scrolling pages – and no page turning – Adapt Learning is highly visual and interactive.

So what’s Learning Pool’s involvement been in this project so far?

Learning Pool were founding partners in the Open Source Adapt project since Autumn 2013. Adapt Learning has 2 key elements: the Framework, the underlying technology and the Builder which provides a user-friendly interface with the Framework enabling subject matter experts and instructional designers to quickly produce highly polished and effective e-learning content. Learning Pool has been heavily involved in developing the Framework to version 2.0 (released to the Open Source community in August 2015) and has led on the design of the Builder v1.0 (released to the Open Source community in January 2015).

Has the instructional design process changed because of your use of Adapt? What have you learned in the last 18 months of using this tool?

The learning design process is broadly the same – what makes for a memorable and engaging e-learning experience still stands. At Learning Pool our learning designers are strongly focused on performance improvement – what is it that we need our learners to DO to be effective? So our e-learning has always been strong on interaction, ‘real-life’ scenarios and storytelling with lots and lots of use of questions with detailed feedback.

We do have to be more aware however that we are creating one module which will be published to multiple devices so careful attention has to be given to how content will appear and work for the learner on a smartphone as well as a tablet and a PC. Adapt Builder helps a lot with this with additional fields and instructions for those working on touchscreens.

Alternative visuals can be presented for a smaller screen giving the instructional designer a lot of control over the user experience. The deep scrolling page presented by Adapt Learning also means that the content design isn’t constrained by ‘what fits on the page’ – this provides us with complete freedom to focus on the learning outcomes and the optimum way to deliver great interactive content.

You mentioned that graphics have a bigger role to play in e-learning content produced in Adapt. What has been your experience of changing the production process to accommodate this at Learning Pool?

Adapt Learning looks gorgeous– it really does! Our instructional designers have worked very closely with our talented graphic designers to create a number of Adapt themes that look great and work well with different types of content to really make building visually stimulating e-learning content achievable for those who aren’t artists themselves.  The Adapt theme drives the overall look and feel of the e-learning content and the components (the content elements) overlay this. We have also built comprehensive theme customisation options to enable instructional designers to change colours and background visuals easily.

There is absolutely no need to add any visual to components that doesn’t add value to the learning experience as the theme provides a strong visual context and consistency throughout the e-learning. The Asset Manager within Adapt Builder enables the instructional designer to manage their in-course media – photographs, icons, audio and video content. This is simple to use making building visual components quick and easy to do.

What can we expect next from Adapt?

Adapt Builder is actively being used by 150 of Learning Pool customers and by our team of instructional designers – between us we have created over 500 responsive Adapt e-learning modules! We’re not finished yet though and have ambitious plans. We’re introducing xAPI functionality to Adapt and I think this has the power to revolutionise how content is published and tracked by organisations and users. Our team has reviewed the tech landscape to come up with a great solution that will unlock the power of the analytics generated by consuming the content. It also brings the reality of offline learning closer which for many of our users will be hugely welcome.

Something that really excites our instructional designers is Learning Pool’s ambitious roadmap of Adapt components offering new types of interaction. In August 2015 we have released the Stacker component – A two-step component that allows for selection and ordering – ideal for testing knowledge of processes; and a Branching component – great for storytelling – learners make choices and see the consequences of their decision making unfold. This is a really useful component for putting questioning skills into practise, for customer service training or for developing interviewing techniques. There are plenty more components coming down the line and we can’t wait to get our hands on them!

And what do you think the future of Adapt looks like?

I really believe that Adapt Learning has the potential to become a new standard in e-learning production for the whole industry. Because it’s open source it’s a really accessible technology and there are lots of great stories out there of production companies who are using the free version to deliver value to customers. I hope we can build on that and create a vibrant development community around Adapt. Of course I always look at what the long term value is for Learning Pool customers and I think we’ll see some really interesting developments around video sooner rather than later. Having cracked the branching challenge the next thing on our list is introducing branching video to deliver a rich, scenario based learning experience.

And why have you made the decision to go to DevLearn to introduce this new product?

We’re very excited about the opportunity to come to DevLearn and talk about Adapt. We’ve had a lot of interested in the open source project from the US so it made perfect sense to go there and build on some early stage relationships. We’re also looking forward to meeting new people and understanding how Adapt Learning can provide them with value so that the project continues to grow and grow.

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