A few years back, I found myself hitting the limits of my rapid eLearning software’s “interactivity” toolbox. I’m not a programmer, and have had to self-learn most of the eLearning tools I’ve used over the years. It was at that point that I discovered Raptivity.

Raptivity was a beautiful discovery for me since I found it to be really intuitive, and it gave me the opportunity to rapidly create “variations on a theme”—the themes being a broad collection of interactivities including games, reveals, questions and answers, branching scenarios, and quizzes.

The one challenge that I constantly faced with Raptivity was the inability to chain interactivities together; they could either be deployed alone, or could be dropped as finished objects into another authoring tool through Flash movie addition. I’m delighted to say that I’ve now found the solution for my challenge: Raptivity Linker.

What is Raptivity Linker?

Raptivity Linker is desktop software that enables the stitching together of a series of Raptivity interactivities and parts. It is intended to resolve the problem of interactivities that stand alone.

Raptivity Linker‘s first full version out of beta testing has just been publicly released. The team has obviously learned from its beta release and made some wonderful adjustments. This new tool creates “experiences”—or a collection of parts from Raptivity interactions—and it is a snap to rapidly chain together parts to make a whole eLearning lesson, module, or course.

User experience of Raptivity Linker

The software presents an easily understood user interface. To explain the paradigm concisely, Linker creates a navigable wrapper that sits around the interactivities. The visual output of the navigable interface (the “Linker”) is similar to what can be created with tools like Articulate Presenter and iSpring Presenter.

Importantly, I found that configuration of the color and background of the “Linker” interface has been greatly simplified compared to the editing process associated with other rapid eLearning tools. With just two mouse clicks, I could change colors and even apply a background image for slides in the Linker. Intuitive placement of logos and insertion of Raptivity interactivities through double-clicks on the obvious part of the Linker interface made for easy and rapid builds of experiences. Changing a screen’s name happened right where you would expect it—in the table of contents list, with in-spot editing.

Raptivity Linker has provided the ability for the eLearning designer to create text and image-based slides right in the interface. Standard templates are available for text slides, image + text slides, and video + text slides. Video incorporation includes the ability to link to YouTube and Vimeo using their embed codes.

Creating my first Linker Experience

I was able, in 10 minutes, to pull together a short experience about my business using just the built-in slide types—admittedly, that’s the boring part (see Figure 1).

Figure 1:
Raptivity Linker environment for the build of a quick corporate presentation including both image+text slides and video+text slides (i.e., pulling a corporate promotional video from YouTube) 

A Preview option, with selectors for the entire experience rather than from a point in the experience, allows you to rapidly see and adjust your work.

The published output is rapidly built, and faithfully reflects the design positioning of the customized Linker wrapper when viewed in a browser (Figure 2).

Figure 2:
The Raptivity Linker build of my rapidly developed corporate presentation, showing the pull of my corporate video from YouTube

Output from Raptivity Linker is in HTML5 format, which means that those engaging with the experience will not have to rely on their browser having the Adobe Flash plugin installed. Output will play on tablets. And Raptivity Linker allows eLearning developers to set up tracking through SCORM, so that published experiences will effectively communicate with the LMS and LRS.

What can be done better?

Of course there is room for improvement. I can immediately see an opportunity in the next release to include audio in the Linker-generated presentation-type slides, and the ability to play with colors in the background of the title bar and the buttons. I miss the ability to add a glossary along the top bar, to bundle some files with the interface for learner access and download, and a dedicated area for a presenter biography.

Concluding remarks

Raptivity, as the best collection of off-the-shelf, yet customizable, interactions for build in the eLearning market, earned a place in my eLearning development arsenal in its own right. But with the introduction of Raptivity Linker, things just got a whole lot more interesting.