If you find yourself in the interactivity doldrums, check out the latest version of Raptivity, an interaction creation tool. The full package provides a library of over 190 interactive templates for various audience groups.
These pre-built templates provide a way to quickly assemble an interaction and publish it. Many interactions are appropriate for adult learners as well as children. You can use Raptivity to create a stand-alone interaction or you can import the published file into another tool, like Articulate Presenter or Captivate.
Libraries of Templates
The full product is the Raptivity Suite, which provides different categories of interaction models, like Brainteasers, Presentation Aids, Interactive Diagrams, Interactive Questions, Games, Software Simulations, Quizzes, Surveys, Glossary, etc. Within each category, several templates are present to give an insight towards interactive learning. For example, in the Brainteasers category you will find templates for jigsaw interaction, flash cards, analogous pair, wild cards, classification exercise and more.
You can use the interactions as discrete activities for discovery or practice. For example, stand alone interactions are appropriate for hybrid learning experiences or Thiagi’s Four-door Model. You can also insert the published interactions in a course made from any authoring tool that accepts SWF or HTML5 files. See the types of templates below.
One of the things that makes Raptivity unusual, is that it provides just-in-time support right in the design template. Over time I’ve come to appreciate the assistance. Essentially, the documentation for using the template is on display as you work. It is a unique approach.
Another unusual feature is that the product is immersed in instructional design models. As you browse through the library of templates, you can choose by the category types mentioned earlier, or you can browse by various instructional design paradigms, like Bloom’s Taxonomy, Gagne’s Nine Events, Keller’s ARCS Model and Experimental Learning. See the screen capture below. Even if you are not familiar with these models or not interested in them, it does point out that someone at Raptivity is thinking about instructional design.
In this newer version you can clear a template and start with a clean slate, which I did to build the game, Name Me. Name Me allows the designer to ask a question about an image and provide multiple choice options for answers. My plan was to create a simple lesson teaching visual design concepts. There are much more complex interactions, including ones with scenarios and branching, but I chose a simpler one for the purposes of this article.
To get started, I accessed the User’s Guide through a link. The guide walks you through much of the process. The key to creating an interaction is the Select Parameter’s section of the screen in the lower left. I’m not sure why Raptivity continues to use technical terminology like “Parameters” rather than “Settings,” which seems like a friendlier approach. But strangely, they didn’t check with me about this.
To build an interaction, simply go through the parameter settings shown below and customize them for your needs.
There are additional options in the menu bar at the top of the screen. Each option is represented by an icon (see below). To find out what an icon represents, you can rollover each option for a tool tip. If I were designing the user interface, I’d use text rather than icons here (or both), as text menus are a convention to which users have grown accustom.
Building an Interaction
After you build the interaction, the objects on the screen may not be placed where you want them. See below.
To remedy this, you can select individual elements and drag them around to rearrange the screen. This was not in the instructions, but was fairly easy to discover. Two features that would be nice to have while dragging objects around are: 1) the ability to drag more than one object at a time by holding the Shift key (a Windows standard) and 2) the ability to Align elements through a menu option. Still, it was easy to rearrange objects and my new layout was more effective (see below).
Switching Between Modes
In Raptivity, there are two main modes for working on an interaction—the Interactivity Editor and Quick View. While designing and building an interaction, you are in the Interactivity Editor. A Quick View tab at the top allows you to see how the running interaction will work. You can easily switch between these two tabs in the upper right of the screen.
When you Save the interaction or click the OK button, however, you are automatically placed into another space, the Interactivity Viewer. In the program’s hierarchy, this is a level up from where you build and view the interactions. You need to click either the Detailed Customization or Wizard-based Customization buttons at the bottom of the screen to return to the design/build space (see below). I’m unsure why there are two ways to see the interaction, but I vote for always using the Quick View tab while you’re still creating the interaction. Then you never leave the workspace.
Preview the Interaction
When I finally constructed a mental model for how things worked, it was easy to build the rest of the interaction. As I added new images to the interaction, however, the screen before me didn’t change. I discovered that you need to use the Quick View tab to check how the interaction looks.
I wanted to try adding this interaction to Articulate Presenter, so I created one that was larger than Raptivity’s standard size. Preview mode comes in one size only, so if your interaction is larger than the standard size, you have to use scroll bars to view it. Their responsive technical support people filled me in on this. Again, that Quick View tab seemed like the way to go for previewing large interactions.
Publish: SWF and HTML5
Publishing the interaction was fast and easy. There are several options for publishing to the SCORM standard. All of the interactions publish to SWF format and many of the interactions also publish to HTML5.
Inserting into Articulate Presenter
I then inserted my interaction into Articulate Presenter and it ran fine. I found the settings shown below were required to make it run.
You can see many samples of Raptivity Interactions on their site, including those that publish to HTML5.