Case Study: How to Use iSpring Suite for Blended Learning in Schools

Nalin Dubey is an e-Learning Architect in New Delhi, India. He has been an iSpring User since 2009. Nalin has been developing and delivering rich media courses for offline school education on CDs and DVDs using iSpring, while being sure of content security with iSpring’s remarkable protection features. Let’s discover his success story first hand.

How did I discover iSpring?

Being an enthusiastic e-Learning developer for a long time, I have been a part of various online e-Learning development communities. Many of those who shared their experience in using e-Learning authoring tools mentioned iSpring as an easy-to-use software which allows hassle-free course uploading even with a poor Internet connection. They also demonstrated their iSpring-created presentations published online. This is how I learnt that iSpring might also help me in creating courses of stunning quality. Impressed by those outstanding features, I decided to test iSpring further.

I started with iSpring Free, which has proved itself to be useful, even though it features only the most basic capabilities. However, it was enough to feel the initial touch: I can say that anyone who wants to start working with a PowerPoint add-in should use iSpring to get a better idea of content conversion. After that, I installed a trial version of iSpring Suite. All the components Suite includes (Pro, QuizMaker, Visuals) were so perfectly engineered that I immediately realized they were necessary for my future projects. Finally, we have become the proud owners of a full iSpring license.

Our Project

In a developing country like India, the concept of e-Learning is new to most people. The majority still depends on a traditional learning system, which implies textbooks and regular classroom teaching. As for using Internet for education, an Internet connection is often not present, or of a low quality.

Another issue is that most students are not very Internet savvy. Their computer knowledge is basic and it takes them much time to load e-Learning courses published online. Hence, learning via the Internet certainly turns out to be a poor learning experience, and establishing an online learning platform meets with lots of challenges here.

We have been working on developing e-Learning courses for Science and Math classes. We have created learning materials in PowerPoint, but still doubted what format and what platform (online or offline) we should choose to deliver them to learners.

Students and School Academic Management always require an offline learning resource, so that students are able to access it from any computer at any time and enjoy an uninterrupted learning experience. It also should be easy to use and affordable. Another challenge was to develop offline e-Learning products on particular subjects that could be recorded on CDs and DVDs. As people in India mostly stick to an established order of things, it was rather difficult to introduce our offline e-Learning products and make people realize their practical benefits.

Besides all that, we were concerned about piracy and were eager to discover some piracy prevention options. It was also extremely important for us to be able to set time limitations in order to get new customers every time.

Development of this kind of project with traditional tools like Flash Professional or .NET would take too much time and effort, to say nothing of subsequent content updates required by the above-mentioned software.

We had little time and a lot of work, so we needed an easy-to-use tool which provided the least possible learning curve and could convert our pre-created content to a desired format. After a careful research, we finally found a solution that had all the other capabilities needed to bring our project to life, and that was iSpring Suite.

How did iSpring help us in our project?

With a PowerPoint draft ready, we still had to manage our audio narrations, insert quizzes and interactions, and customize the look of the player the learners would see in the output file.

With iSpring Suite, recording and synchronizing audio narrations with animations is as easy as that. Its Narration Manager is perfectly engineered, and the interface is super simple: all slides are easily editable one after another.

At the end of each chapter, we wanted to insert interactive content to increase the learners’ interest and engagement. We managed to achieve that by using iSpring’s Flash feature: it allows us to insert separately-created .swf files (Flash content) into any slide of a presentation. Along with that, iSpring Suite also includes iSpring Visuals (formerly known as iSpring Kinetics), which provides 4 presets of stunning interactions which are customizable in many ways.

iSpring provides a variety of player customization options, so the look of an output file can be easily fine-tuned. It is a really impressive, practical, and beneficial feature. In our project we used the Interactive Course outline: a learner can navigate to any chapter of the course. Notes and search options can also be included in the same way. With the search option, the learner can search for a keyword and thus navigate to any part of the course directly.

For every slide, a separate presenter video can be attached, and the learner can switch the video and the content to enlarge it. Another feature we use is custom branding. It helped us brand our courses with the company logo and information. We also did this for schools which were our customers in order to provide the students with a personalized learning experience.

iSpring also has unique and outstanding offline publishing features, which are probably not available in any other e-Learning authoring tool on the market so far. It gives you the option to publish your content as a standalone and independent Flash file (.exe output) that works well even if the client doesn’t have Flash Player installed on his/her computer. It is possible in many other tools, but it always requires Flash Player to be able to view a presentation.

Once published, the output can be launched in a browser with customizable window size and in good resolution.

The course module runs with many valuable features like Full Screen HD, marker tools, etc., and works without any hassle. The marker tool contains a pen, highlighter and eraser to make illustrations on the slides, take some notes, or highlight a certain object during the training.

As for content protection, iSpring Suite offers superb multiple protection features that make it absolutely safe to distribute or broadcast content. With the password protection feature, we set a password to be sure that only those with the password can access the course. In addition to that, we also use time limitations in order to set the time period (e.g. July 1st – August 31st) when the course is available for learners to view.

With iSpring Suite, it took us only 40% of the estimated time to complete the project.

Currently we issue e-Learning courses on CDs and DVDs and deliver them to the students with complete peace of mind. We retain full control over our content, and the learners can access the courses only with the password we provide and only during the time period we set. This is very effective for us from a business point of view, as we can always attract new unique customers, and our current users buy the updated content instead of referring to an older version. After distributing our courses, we conducted a comprehensive survey among learners to find out how they liked their learning experience. We got highest marks from all of them, as well as from the Academic Administration.

iSpring Customer Support

It is not enough just to buy the product. To provide a great user experience, any product should also be complemented with effective customer support. iSpring certainly has that. The thing I like most about iSpring’s Support Team is that they patiently listen to the problem and carefully analyze it before coming up with a solution. Even when the case is resolved, they always follow up with me via email to make sure the issue doesn’t recur.

If the issue is connected with project development, not with the product, iSpring’s user community is a very helpful resource for getting practical guidance. The community is administered by iSpring’s subject matter experts, who show a very high level of expertise in e-Learning and Instructional Design. They have a very rich knowledge of the current e-Learning trends, and I have found taking advice from them really beneficial for a number of my projects.

I also would like to recommend some of the iSpring Support Team members I have worked with, as it was a really pleasant experience.

Let’s start with Polina, iSpring’s Community Manager. From the very first time I worked with her, her professionalism and sincere willingness to help really impressed me. The way she communicates is really efficient and her ability to understand the issue right away is really outstanding. She also keeps me updated on the latest news and Knowledge Base articles that have become an essential part of my work.

Elena is a Customer Care Manager at iSpring. I have worked with her most of the times I had any product related issues or questions. Though iSpring hardly causes any technical issues, Elena’s outstanding in-depth knowledge of the subject always helped me with any questions about updates or product usage. Her patience is extraordinary and even if I ask the same question again by mistake or due to my novice character, she answers it as if it were being asked for the first time.

iSpring is a unique example of complete commitment towards customer satisfaction and product quality.

My Verdict & Recommendation

iSpring Suite is a perfectly engineered, world-class authoring tool. It is an all-in-one solution for creating high-quality e-Learning content, which comes with the least learning curve. Anyone who already knows how to work with PowerPoint will need very little time to learn how to use iSpring.

With modern e-Learning content being delivered for mobile devices, iSpring Suite 7 meets the challenge with its outstanding HTML5 publishing feature.

Digital education is rapidly overtaking traditional classroom learning. The e-Learning industry has a very bright future and offers a huge scope of business opportunities. Creating an e-Learning course is usually a challenge, but it goes easy with iSpring, as it can catalyze your development process and make it much easier. iSpring is a must-have software for e-Learning developers and Instructional Designers who want to create and deliver high-quality learning content as a cost- and time-effective project. It is not only essential for companies, but also for freelancers. iSpring offers affordable software at a lower price than many other similar products on the market.

Go for iSpring! I can assure you that it will certainly help you make the most out of your business.

Posted in Case Study