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Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Interview with Janhavi Padture, Harbinger: Innovators in E-Learning Series

Understanding the needs that organizations have for eLearning is challenging, not only due to the rate of change of technology and the high level of uncertainty, but also because of emerging opportunities for careers and new industry directions. Companies and individuals who are in the front lines in satisfying needs are well positioned to provide important insights about the directions of change and opportunities. Welcome to an interview with Janhavi Padture, Harbinger Knowledge Products.

1.  What is your name and your relation to elearning?
Janhavi Padture, VP Strategy & Business Development at Harbinger Knowledge Products, Inc. Harbinger Knowledge Products is recognized as a global leader in interactivity solutions for knowledge-sharing applications including learning, presentation and web development. It is a part of Harbinger Group, which serves customers in over 60 countries through its offices in Pune (India), Redmond (WA, USA), Pleasanton (CA, USA) and through its partner network worldwide. Our flagship product Raptivity is a unique one of a kind interactivity builder that helps eLearning developers to easily create engaging interactions for their online courses.

2.  What do you think are some of the issues that currently concern elearning program developers?
One of the challenges is technology! It is evolving at lightning speed. In today’s day and age eLearning developers are faced with an overwhelming number of technology choices for creating their courses. Would it make sense for them to switch over to HTML5 or continue to support both Flash and HTML5? What devices should they support and how to deal with the differences? How to optimally design for the various devices? Should they bite the bullet and be early adopters of Tin Can or is it too early? And many more questions like this. The difficult thing is that often the choice is not always clear.

Secondly, It may sound cliché but I truly believe that even though the economy is on a rebound in theory, most of the training departments are wary and applying a conservative approach to eLearning spending and development, which means most eLearning developers are still dealing with the “do more with less” challenge. And in this situation, even though developers realize that interactivity is critical to effective learning, unfortunately find that it is also the most compromised aspect because it can be time consuming and expensive. But many eLearning developers have come to rely on Raptivity to help address this problem. Raptivity is a tool that helps make interactivity creation quick, easy and affordable. Moreover since Raptivity keeps up with new technology users can rest assured that they will be able to rely on Raptivity for many of the desired aspects like HTML5 or multi-device support or even Tin Can

3.  What is Raptivity and how does it work?
Raptivity is a rapid interactivity building tool that helps educators and trainers of today to add the most essential and critical element of learning, which is interactivity. Raptivity houses a library of over 180 easily customizable interactions which enable you to create effective interactive learning content without any programming. The versatility that each Raptivity interaction brings forth by helping achieve multiple learning objectives makes life easy for course designers. It’s wide range of interactions covering categories like games, simulations, presentation aids, visual aids, brain teasers and assessments, allow course designers to effortlessly select an interactivity to cater to any learning style. Depending upon how interactive and engaging you want to make your courses, you can select and customize an interaction that will help you achieve the learning objective. Whether it is games based learning, role based simulations, character based learning or explorative learning, Raptivity is the one solution to all your interactivity needs.

4. Please provide two or three examples of how Raptivity has been used  
[Here is the link to the case studies that we have published. This shows the work by some of Raptivity users.

5. Describe plans for future developments in Raptivity.
There are a lot of new and exciting new developments that are happening on the Raptivity side. For one, Raptivity now supports AS3. This is part of our ongoing effort to make sure that we keep up with latest developments in technology. It will also ensure better compatibility and integration with other tools like Captivate that now produce AS3 output. Hence this was a much awaited feature for many customers and we are happy that we delivered on the promise. At the same time Raptivity will also continue to provide the AS2 publishing output option for use the legacy courses built using older generation tools that do not support AS3. Another thing to look ahead to is the conversion of the complete library of 180+ interactions to HTML5. Currently more than 2/3rd of the library already supports HTML5, including all games and simulations. By the end of the year, users can expect the remaining interactions to also support HTML5.

Raptivity also recently announced an annual licensing option for customers who wish to purchase Raptivity, but would rather pay annually from their recurring budget than get the perpetual license by paying full cost upfront. With the annual licensing model, Raptivity allows you to deliver high quality interactive learning experience to your learners while also staying within your budget.

6.  What is your philosophy of education in a multi-platform BYOD world?
The philosophy is simple… In a multi-platform BYOD world, learners are predisposed to being easily distracted and also have shorter attention spans, so it has become even more critical to ensure that the learning modules are engaging and interactive. Interactivity helps keep the learner engaged, thus producing better learning outcomes. Research has proven engagement and enjoyment has a direct correlation to learning and performance. So whether it is eLearning, mLearning or a combination, eLearning developers need to make sure they plan for and incorporate meaningful interactivity in their online courses or training modules. The type of interactivity to incorporate will vary depending on the situation, whether it is effective use of media in its simplest form, to including simulations and games in a more advanced situation. The flexibility of media allows teachers to readily and easily meet individualized learning needs. Moreover, using devices that they are comfortable and familiar with, empowers students to take greater charge of their learning which makes them eager and engaged learners!

7.  What are two or three books that you'd recommend.
“Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead”, by Sheryl Sandberg
“Telling Ain’t Training” 2nd edition by Harold D. Stolovich and Erica J. Keeps
“The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses” by Eric Reis

Thank you, Janhavi! 
we loved this interview!
Corgi happiness! We loved this interview! 

Strategic Decision-Making: An Online Course
Free preview (OpenCourseWare version // instructor-led course & certification available via AAPG).

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