It´s time to review the second tool for the 10 Tools Challenge. After describing the benefits of HTML5 web technologies some days ago, this time I decided to test a set of products that work by converting PPT-based courses and presentations into HTML5: iSpring Converter 6 and iSpring Pro 7.0 (beta version). This approach may seem quite simplistic if you usually design more sophisticated learning courses, but, with a spark of creativity and iSpring Solutions you can also create engaging experiences that can be accessed from different devices.
Almost Impeccable Conversion
This is what I like best about iSpring products:
- From the product installation to the content publishing process, you will have a fast learning curve. iSpring Converter and iSpring Pro display as tabs in a PPT ribbon. From there, you can manage your course assets and slide properties.
- You can flexibly customize the player and design a user interface that matches the way in which learners interact with different devices.
- Unlike other PPT converters, both of these products can efficiently reproduce most of PPT animations and slide transitions (only one animation didn´t work in the demo below).
- Advanced interactivity is possible not only because you can use a handy built-in feature for branching (iSpring Pro) but also because hyperlinks, triggers and actions are precisely preserved in the final output.
- As regards screen sizes and orientations, you can use any canvas size in your original PPT file and the final output can be viewed in landscape as well as portrait modes in mobile devices.
- Simple yet effective touch-based actions. Although the publishing preferences include very simple mobile navigation options such as “enabling zooming with gestures” (iSpring Converter) and “advancing animations on tap” (both products), they work perfectly well in the final product.
- iSpring Products support Tin Can API, which means that you can easily integrate data across contexts and platforms since this specification recognizes different types of learning (mobile, social, experiential, collaborative, offline) and activities (simulations, virtual worlds, serious games, real-world tasks).
- Finally, the conversion and upload processes are really fast and I didn´t run into any issue when converting or uploading my files.
Some issues I encountered with iSpringPro
- I had some problems with the multimedia elements (a video and an audio file) and also with the font I used but I quickly found work-arounds since the product is very flexible and easy to use.
- In order to test the performance of embedded web objects, I designed a quiz at http://www.imagequiz.co.uk/quizzes/212030. When I tried it on my iPad it didn´t work as expected. However, iSpring´s QA team promptly answered my questions on this regard and, when they tested the quiz, they couldn´t identify any issue. [Note: Please, let me know if it worked well at your end because this might be a performance issue associated to specific mobile devices.]
Having said, this tool is still under development, so I am sure that iSpring will solve these problems in the upcoming versions of the product.
About the demo
Two years ago, I designed a PPT-based course to teach ESL (English as a Second Language) students the Simple Past Tense. I recreated part of this interactive story to test iSpring products´ features. You can see the demo here. I used iSpring Pro and iSpring Converter in combination: iSpring Pro proved to be very useful to create the scenario and to manage all the elements as well as slides properties, and iSpring Converter offered a more stable HTML5-based output.
All in all, iSpring products are reliable tools if you seek to start creating your first interactive PPT-based courses and presentations that can be accessed through different devices. With a little bit of tweaking to make your content more dynamic and iSpring products, you can produce very powerful results.