In Part I of this three-part series, Susan Landay identified the best ways for face-to-face trainers to add a component of e-learning to their repertoire. She reviewed software tools that are affordable, have minimal learning curves and focus on lively and interactive tools—specifically addressing authoring and course development.
Here in Part II, she explores the range of games and "interactivities" that can easily be created and posted for online learning reinforcement; selection criteria for the various offerings; plus some features and benefits of a few reputable, cost effective solutions. Part III looks at tools for web conferencing, as well as learning-management systems. —Editor
Games and interactivity e-Learning tools are not for creating entire courses, but rather they are useful for quickly and easily loading games and other "interactivities" into existing courses, presentations, a website, or webinar. If you prefer to stick with PowerPoint as your primary course development tool, these add-ons might help you include new dimensions of interactivity and game-play to your existing materials.
In general these tools let you create and edit games, which can be saved into a file format that is easy to integrate into a presentation, email to learners, post or link to online, and embed as links in authoring tools and Learning Management Systems (LMSs).
Just to be clear, let's clarify a few words.
Interactivity: any exercise in which the learner must interact with your content and do something with it—play a game, answer a question, sequence tasks, match answers, etc.
Flash: refers to both Adobe Flash, the software program used to add animation, video, and interactivity to Web pages; and to the type of files created with Adobe Flash software. Flash files saved as .SWF (shockwave Flash or "swiffs") can be read and used with a Flash player, for those who don't own the Adobe software.
Criteria for Choosing Solutions
The evaluation criteria for choosing a software package are fairly straightforward:
- How many different types of interactions are included in the package?
- What is the quality of the graphics?
- Do you prefer to create the games online or off?
- Will games be used for self-paced learning or in a guided webinar?
- Do you need to track results and integrate with a LMS?
- How costly is it?
Here, I've divided product solutions into three sets:
1. Interactivities you can post online or link to in a presentation.
Raptivity by Harbinger
Raptivity software has won a ton of awards from the eLearning Guild, Training Media Review, ELearning! magazine and others. Raptivity may have the most robust library of "pre-built" interactions that allow for customized content to add pizzazz into your e-Learning courses. "Interactivities" include learning games, simulations, videos, puzzles, animations, interactive diagrams, page-flipping books, interactive questions, surveys, brainteasers, flow diagrams, whiteboard simulations, and tons more. The various bundle options make it slightly difficult to navigate the Raptivity site. So here's a simplified overview: To get started you need to purchase either Raptivity Essential (with 35 interactions) or Raptivity Zest (with 12 interactions). Then, you can add on "booster" or "turbo" packs. The packs most useful in keeping with brain-based learning techniques are the Booster Pack 1, Games, Mindplay, and Wordplay.
Claims to fame:
- Great graphics and ready-to-customize, pre-built templates.
- Easy to track completion status, scores and responses for each interactivity.
- Embeds interactions into hundreds of authoring tools, LCMS, LMS, CMS and live collaboration systems.
Interactivity Creator by Sealund
- Zest is $395 and Essential is $550.
- Most turbo packs are $295 each.
- The Learning Games combo pack includes Essential, plus Booster Pack 1, Games TurboPack, Mindplay TurboPack, and Wordplay TurboPack; it is available for $1249 (reduced from $2130).
Interactivity Creator templates include15 different question games: Matching; Rollover; Sequencing; Fill-in-the-blank; Hangman; Dictionary/Glossary; Question Spin; Image Reveal; Maze; Trivia Game; Block3; Answer, Pass, Score (a football game); Connect3; Fun Feud; and PaddlePass (an air hockey game). The interface is very simple and lets you save games as standard Flash files, before posting them to your website or inserting the game into a presentation. The games look great, are easy-to-create, and the price is right.
Claims to fame:
- Super low-cost.
- Quickly creates custom interactivities.
- An option to integrate with a LMS, for results tracking.
Quizpoint by Learningware
- The price for a single user license is $299.
You can efficiently create and post online quizzes and games, using pre-formatted templates that let you control the number of multiple-choice answers (between two and six), font size, style, and alignment. You can easily import pictures and sounds into questions, as well as during the quiz introduction and on the info screens; including the right/wrong answer sound is also an option. The games can be hosted on Learningware's server or your own. And because the player is Flash-based, students can access your games and quizzes from any Web browser—no additional software is required. Quizpoint includes two game formats. Participants can get instant answer feedback and the facilitator can track all results.
Claims to fame:
- The invitation wizard lets you quickly distribute the quizzes.
- Easily track how each participant answered each question and how a team did collectively.
- Host quizzes on LearningWare's secure server or your own.
- QuizPoint will keep track of the quizzes that are online and will remind you to update the online quiz after you've made changes on your computer.
Thinking Worlds by Caspian Learning
This template-driven software program, launched in April of 2009, allows you to quickly create 3-D games set in a range of pre-designed locations (office, shop, etc.). You can insert people, objects, and questions; and export games to the Web or use them as stand-alone interactivities.
Claims to fame:
- The only 3-D quick development tool I've found!
- SCORM and LMS compliant.
QuickLessons by Quick Lessons LLC
- The annual license is $1,499.
This is a 100 percent online and hosted platform. Users can develop online courses at anytime, anywhere. Using the intuitive interface it only takes a few hours to get started. QuickLessons has a library of templates for exercises and quizzes, and 16-plus game templates (Hangman, Cryptogram, Did you Know (like Jeopardy), Time watcher, Clues, Pairs, Millionaire, Fortune Wheel, etc.). It allows for the management of media and educational content; incorporates pre-developed characters with set-up actions and customization options; and lets you export fully Flash-based eLearning courses that can be posted offline, online, and in LMS compliant formats.
Claims to fame:
- Multiple authors can collaborate.
- No software installation is needed and all your games are stored on the Quick Lessons server.
BRAVO! Web by C3 SoftWorks
- Individual: $99 per month per user.
- Corporate: $149 per month per user (allows for collaboration).
Create beautiful, engaging, training games—Quiz Show (like Jeopardy), Showdown, Billionaire, and Spin Off. BRAVO! Web Lite promises easy-to-use game board templates that walk you through the simple steps of creating a game. You type in a category, insert questions, and in seconds, you have a game. You can also post and host games. Bravo! Web lets you develop and deploy SCORM compliant games with incredible ease and integrate games with your LMS system. The interface is among the most flexible and comprehensive of the many training game builders. Each game lets you identify the percent of correct responses required for passing, send score data as points or percentage, e-mail results, and create printable certificates.
Claims to fame:
- Most customizable option (colors, logos, sounds, etc.).
- Not just an online tool—you can use games both in the classroom and online.
- Post online, host on C3 SoftWorks site, or load onto your own website or LMS.
E Learning Flash Game Templates by ELearning Brothers
- Bravo Web Lite is $995.
- Bravo Web (LMS integration) is $1,500.
If you have Adobe Flash but are not an expert in programming, these Flash-based e-Learning game templatesare super easy to customize and update. The eight templates included in the "Big Bundle" include: Millionaire, Shootout, Boardgame, Pyramid, Bootcamp, Spy Challenge, and Golf Challenge, and Gameshow challenge. They are made to work within most rapid e-Learning software systems (Articulate Presenter, Adobe Captivate, Rapid Intake, Adobe Presenter, Adobe Flash, PowerPoint and more).
2. Interactivities you can conduct in a webinar.
AllPlay Web by Learningware
The software lets you create games that can be used to make a live webinar more interactive and engaging. After you create game-show type questions, you invite participants to your webinar with GoToMeeting or Webex. You'll host the game on your computer while attendees play on their own—working alone or in teams. One of the nice features here is that you can customize the look of the game with your own logo, etc.
PING by C3 SoftWorks
This solution combines BRAVO's four TV-style game shows (described above) with some "virtual" response pads, so all of your webinar attendees can stay engaged by "PINGing" in their answers. The game automatically collects the results so you can track results during and after the event. You can use a connectivity/Web conferencing tool, like GoToMeeting or Webex, to launch these games.
3. Additional stand-alone tools, worth mentioning, that enhance interactivity.
Camtasia Studio by TechSmith
The screen recorder and editor tool allows you to record what you see on your computer screen. You can include audio/video if you have a mic and/or webcam; easily edit, produce and share "screen shot movies"; and include "picture in picture" treatments, callout text boxes, or basic shapes like arrows.
Snagit by TechSmith
- The PC version is $299.
- The Mac version: $150.
A neat little program that lets you capture screen images from photos, scrolling windows or videos; and add annotations, arrows, and more.
Flypaper by Flypaper Studio, Inc.
With this unique software application you can quickly create interactive content and presentations—complete with Flash animations—interactive pages and menus, special effects, transitions, interactive forms for collecting viewer data, branched stories with navigation, and much more. Programming expertise is not needed, and it is much easier than PowerPoint to coordinate timing and animation on slides. Flypaper also includes hundreds of templates.
Instant Video Presenter by ej4, LLC
- $795 for the desktop version.
- $1,495 for the professional version.
You can create and edit videos with a green screen background, which makes overlaying the new content with any other background a simple process.
About the Author
Susan Landay is president of Trainers Warehouse, a women-owned business that offers hundreds of effective, innovative and fun products for trainers and educators across all industries. Prior to joining
Trainers Warehouse in 1997, she was a consultant and trainer in the field of negotiation and conflict resolution. She is a graduate of Yale University and The Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Her early work experience included being a professional clown for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.