Aniket (Exult) interview with Sven (myself)
by Sven Laux - Friday, 10 July 2015, 12:54 PM


I was interviewed by Aniket from Exult (official Adapt collaborators) in my role as the Adapt Project Lead about the project.

While it feels a little strange putting this on here myself, I thought there might be some interesting information contained in the answers. Please add your views - I'm always keen to get the debate going!


Aniket: What is the purpose of Adapt?

Sven: The main purpose of Adapt is to enable people to build courses, which work on ('adapt' to) multiple device types. Adapt enables us to create a single course, which works on all devices - there is no need to build, publish and maintain several versions. This reduces the overall build and maintenance cost and also makes it much more easy to report on usage (seeing as all tracking data - e.g. SCORM - goes against a single object in the LMS)


Aniket: Why 'Adapt'?

Sven: Why not :-)

Adapt has been developed by the market leading, commercial, bespoke learning producers and as such offers functionality, which is regularly demanded by clients who pay for bespoke development. Because of this, we consider Adapt to be quite sophisticated compared to the output of many existing proprietary tools in that is has had direct input from Learning Designers, is a proven technology (in the sense that it has been developed directly for clients) and uses the most modern set of technologies, combined wit the proven responsive design approach on the web.

Adapt is entirely free and unencumbered (you don't even need to register or tell anyone your email address) - there are no strings attached and everyone can freely take the ready made technology and concentrate on developing and delivering learning. I have heard people call it a game changer, which will enable the global L&D marketplace. Open source also helps in that it's vendor independent and that clients can work with multiple companies who understand and work with Adapt. In theory, this should level the playing field, reduce cost and set a new standard in the (e)learning content industry.


Aniket: Why Adapt as a solution compared to other responsive solutions?

Sven: Adapt is the only responsive, learning-focused technology framework, which is also free and open source. This means it is entirely free of charge to those who want to install, host and develop themselves.

Commercial service models based on Adapt are already available from the official Adapt collaborators.


Aniket: Why this user experience is better or why did we choose this user experience for learning?

Sven: With Adapt, we have put mobile devices (and scrolling) at the heart of the design, as opposed to scaling down something that works well on laptops or desktop computers.

With the establishment of smartphones and tablets, we (as users of technology in the broadest sense) have become used to mobile devices and scrolling to navigate. Information "below the fold" is no longer considered an issue and Adapt also allowed us to do away with the next button and page-turning approach, many of us have previously bemoaned in eLearning.

That's not to say that we no longer need to think about engaging the user. Considering the learner and designing good learning still very much need to be at the heart of creating great, engaging content and a good user experience. It is equally easy to develop an awful learning experience in Adapt as it is in the more traditional tool sets!


Aniket: Why vertical scroll?

Sven: Scrolling has become very natural since the introduction of smartphones and tablets. The innovation in hardware (especially good touch screens) has had plenty to do with this new way of interacting with the hardware and approach.

When we think about it, using hand gestures is a much more natural thing than 'driving' a mouse. It's just that we have been conditioned by traditional computers and their limitations much more that we might be aware of. In summary, vertical scrolling makes sense on the types of devices on which we expect users to consume Adapt content.


Aniket: What should be the right 'size' for a course?

Sven: I take it this mainly refers to the amount of content and duration of learning.

In summary, the industry has been moving towards shorter courses. The days of one-hour courses is far behind us now and we have been thinking much more about learning object (remember that term?) reusability and consumption in-situ / on demand as mobile devices enable us to do. I imagine that the sweet spot for course durations is in between 5 to 20 minutes.

Another consideration with Adapt is not to put too much content onto a single page. It should be relatively easy to get a feeling for what's too much, especially when putting prototypes or wireframes in front of real users (e.g. via user trials). I think a really sound approach is to try and deal with a particular learning objective on each page, rather than comparing pages to each other and trying to make them roughly the same length.

There are some real life examples on this page. I'd say the course for the Scouts Association is a great early Adapt example to look at...


Aniket: Any statistical data that might be of interest?

Sven: Yes, plenty :-)

I admit I am often glued to the analytics of our community site. At this point, we have reached more than 51,700 unique visitors from 181 countries worldwide. Our top four visitor countries are:

  1. The US
  2. The UK
  3. India
  4. Australia

(followed by lots of entries from Europe and South America)

Our website traffic is significantly increasing since we have delivered our pilot release of the authoring tool and we're really beginning to target and reach the non-technical audience. Our biggest play is now to grow the community and create a great resource focused on responsive learning. We'd love for everyone to come here to discuss the subject and see what is being said, whether they use Adapt or not.

Naturally, the focus of the project is now the Adapt Authoring tool (as soon as we have the version 2.0 release of the Adapt framework out of the way, which is due during the week of the 20th of July). We're kick starting the next period with a real push on the tool on Monday. Suffice to say there is plenty of work to do and we're always keen to get more community members involved in the project. We have a great and helpful team and more than anything, we're seeing more individuals join the project, who are making a huge difference.

There are also some other interesting stats on Openhub (a registry for open source projects). According to their analytics, our codebase took 23 years (in terms of effort) to develop. This shows you how much our team rocks - we only started the project on September 2013!


Aniket: To what kind or type of learning is Adapt best suited?

Sven: Most things, maybe with the exception of systems training. Video and media resources work very well in Adapt and we see a lot of the collaborators using them...


Aniket: What are the vision and roadmap for the Authoring Tool?

Sven: The best place to look for this is the vision statement the concept document and the detailed requirements document...


Aniket Dharia
Re: Aniket (Exult) interview with Sven (myself)
by Aniket Dharia - Friday, 10 July 2015, 1:28 PM

Thanks Sven. This is really helpful information.