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Chapter 1. Introducing eXeLearning

Backgrounding eXe

The eLearning HTML5 & XHTML editor (eXeLearning) is a web-based authoring environment designed to assist teachers and academics in the design, development and publishing of web-based learning and teaching materials without the need to become proficient in HTML, XML or complicated web-publishing applications.

The Web is a revolutionary educational tool because it presents teachers and learners with a technology that simultaneously provides something to talk about (content) and the means to hold the conversation (interaction). Unfortunately, the power of this hypertext medium is constrained in educational settings because the vast majority of teachers and academics do not have the technical skills to build their own web pages, and must therefore rely on the availability of web developers to generate professional looking online content. The eXe is being developed to overcome a number of identified limitations:

  • Traditionally web-authoring software entails a steep learning curve; it is not intuitive and the applications were not designed for publishing learning content. Consequently teachers and academics have not adopted these technologies for publishing online learning content. eXe aims to provide an intuitive, easy-to-use tool that will enable teachers to publish professional web pages for learning;
  • Currently, learning management systems do not offer sophisticated authoring tools for web content (when compared to the capabilities of web-authoring software or the skills of an experienced web developer). eXe is a tool that provides professional web-publishing capabilities that will be easily referenced or imported by standards compliant learning management systems;
  • Most content management and learning management systems utilize a centralized web server model thus requiring connectivity for authoring. This is limiting for authors with low bandwidth connectivity or no connectivity at all. eXe will bedeveloped as an offline authoring tool without the requirement for connectivity.
  • Many content management and learning management systems do not provide an intuitive wysiwyg environment where authors can see what their content will look like in a browser when published, especially when working offline. eXe will mimic wysiwig functionality enabling users to see what the content will look like when published online.

Overview of eXeLearning tools
With eXeLearning, users can develop a learning structure that suits their content delivery needs and build a resource that is flexible and easily updated. The Outline pane of eXe's graphical user interface enables users to design an outline that reflects their own preferred hierarchical structure and taxonomy, i.e. topics-sections-units, or books-chapters-verses, etc. This can be established at the outset or can develop as the resource is built.

The iDevice (instructional device) pane consists of a collection of structural elements that describe learning content. Some of these include, objectives, pre-knowledge, case studies, free text. Learning content is compiled by selecting iDevices from the iDevice menu and entering your learning content. A learning resource may consist of as few or as many iDevices as required to deliver the learning content effectively. New iDevices are in development and recommendations for additional iDevices are being sought from the wider learning community. An iDevice editor enabling users to design their own iDevices and templates has been released in an experimental format as work continues on its development.

eXeLearning offers the ability for users to customise their published content by selecting from a range of graphical style sheets.

eXeLearning’s Export facility allows content to be packaged in a variety of ways. Learning resources can be packaged as:

  • IMS Common Cartridge
  • IMS Content Package
  • SCORM 1.2
  • SCORM2004
  • self-contained web sites
  • a single web page
  • simple text file
  • ePub3

The Common Cartridge, Content Package, SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 2004 formats allow you to deploy your content into any standards-based learning management system (LMS).

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