9 Replies
Bruce Graham

It is an ex-concept, it seems dead as a dead dodo..

For Jerry's benefit:


A customer enters an Interaction shop.

     Mr.Praline: 'Ello, I wish to register a complaint.

     (Theowner does not respond.)

     Mr.Praline: 'Ello, Miss?

    Owner: What do you mean "miss"?

     Mr.Praline: I'm sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a complaint!

    Owner: We're closin' for lunch.

     Mr.Praline: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this Community Interaction what I saw half an hour ago from this very boutique.

    Owner: Oh yes, the, uh, the Norwegian Blue 3-D Tic Tac Toe Interaction...What's,uh...What'swrong with it?

     Mr.Praline: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. 'E's dead, that's what'swrong with it!

    Owner: No, no, 'e's uh,...he's resting.

     Mr.Praline: Look, matey, I know a dead Community Interaction when I see one, and I'm lookingat one right now.

    Owner: No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable Interaction, theNorwegian Blue, idn'it, ay? Beautiful plumage!

     Mr.Praline: The plumage don't enter into it. It's stone dead.

    Owner: Nononono, no, no! 'E's resting!

     Mr.Praline: All right then, if he's restin', I'll wake him up! (shouting at thecage) 'Ello, Mister Interaction! I've got a lovely fresh eLearning module foryou if you show...

    (owner hits the cage)

    Owner: There, he moved!

     Mr.Praline: No, he didn't, that was you putting it into a Community Blog!

    Owner: I never!!

     Mr.Praline: Yes, you did!

    Owner: I never, never did anything...

     Mr.Praline: (yelling and opening the Blog item repeatedly) 'ELLO INTERACTION!!!!!Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine o'clock alarm call!

    (Takes community interaction out of the course and thumps it on the counter.Throws it up in the air and watches it plummet to the floor.)

     Mr.Praline: Now that's what I call a dead interaction comcept.

     Owner:No, no.....No, 'e's stunned!

     Mr.Praline: STUNNED?!?

    Owner: Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin' up! Norwegian Blues stuneasily, major.

     Mr.Praline: Um...now look...now look, mate, I've definitely 'ad enough of this.That Community Interaction is definitely deceased, and when I purchased it not 'alf an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of movementwas due to it bein' tired and shagged out following a prolonged bout of branching.....

    Owner: Well, he's...he's, ah...probably pining for the fjords.

     Mr.Praline: PININ' for the FJORDS?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that?, look, why didhe fall flat on his back the moment I got 'im home?

    Owner: The Norwegian Blue prefers keepin' on it's back! Remarkable interaction,id'nit, squire? Lovely colours tho!

     Mr.Praline: Look, I took the liberty of examining that interaction when I got ithome, and I discovered the only reason that it had been sitting in it’s course inthe first place was that it had been NAILED there.

    (pause)

    Owner: Nono! 'E's pining!

     Mr.Praline: 'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This community interaction is nomore! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's astiff! Bereft of life, 'e
     rests in peace! If you hadn't kept him as a menuoption 'e'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory!'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked the
     bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run downthe curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-COMMUNITYINTERACTION!!

    (pause)

    Owner: Well, I'd better replace it, then. (he takes a quick peek behind thecounter) Sorry squire, I've had a look 'round the back of the shop, and uh, we'reright out of community interactions.

     Mr.Praline: I see. I see, I get the picture.

    Owner: I got a new Quizmaker Template.

    (pause)

     Mr.Praline: WELL IT'S HARDLY A BLOODY REPLACEMENT, IS IT?!!???!!?

    Owner: N-no, I guess not. (gets ashamed, looks at his feet)

     Mr.Praline: Well.

    (pause)

    Owner: (quietly) D'you.... d'you want to come back to my place?

     Mr.Praline: (looks around) Yeah, all right, sure.

Steve Flowers

I think the community interactions were a great idea. But I think two factors formed a catch-22. While a forms based input to build up an interaction is awesome in concept, the SDK seemed a little limited to a few constrained pattern models. This limitation seemed to limit the number of contributions, which I believe in turn limited Articulate's incentive to further develop the SDK. Catch 22.

Great idea though. I'd really love to see a tiered model that allowed us to bend the display templates for existing patterns using Flash source (presentation layer). I think that'd be a really great place to focus some SDK efforts. Hitting critical mass with this feature could easily lead into some data layer modifications that bubble back into forms that could be loaded into Engage. The explicit separation of these layers seems the only clear path to wider success - where the SDK is concerned - in my view.

Gerry Wasiluk

Thanks, Bruce, but I have 55+ people here at 3M who paid for and use Engage and who dutifully pay their platinum support each year.  Engage get the least work on new features with the 09 Suite and, for Presenter, Learning Games were not improved again.

That's not a criticism at all but a fact of life in software development--you have to prioritize and choose what you have time and resources to work on based on what folks are asking for and what you think will advance your product sales--you can't do everything.  And Engage Community Interactions seemed a wonderfully fantastic idea by Articulate to try--boy, I was really excited when I first saw it.  But the dice were rolled, and despite everyone's best intentions and hopes, the winnings were slim.

For me to recommend to my folks that because Community Interactions are not working so they must then purchase or subscribe to another software package or service to fill in for lack of Engage or Learning Games going forward "ain't gonna go over well" here.  I may subscribe to the Elearning Brothers new service but that'll be a hard sell for many.  A few here have begun to seriously question the value of their investment in Engage, which I don't want to see.

Most of our folks are SMEs/part-time developers and Engage lets them quickly add interactivity--without it, most of them would probably skip any interactivity at all, sad to say.

I know Articulate cannot comment publicly on future plans--I'm just hoping they have a future "ace up their sleeve" here. I still believe in the untapped the potential of the product (which is huge, IMVHO) and hope it can reach greater heights.

P.S.  Thanks, Steve, for the technical viewpoint.  It does help explain things.

Phil Corriveau

I always loved the concept of community interactions, but have been reluctant to use them because of quality control concerns.  Unfortunately, not every interaction has gone through rigorous testing.  A few months ago, we had to remove content from a co-worker's course in the 11th hour because of an unstable Engage interaction.

Of course, all of the interactions are "use at your own risk," but in a corporate environment where a course can be accessed by thousands of people, I need to be sure that the code is pretty darn close to bulletproof.

Bruce Graham

Phil - completely agree. I just cannot aford to find that things "...don't work but there's an upgrade available". I need to feel confident that what I create works, works well, and works out of the box.

@Jerry - I agree completely with your perspective, and we have discussed it many times. To an extent, my company size, (me..) gives me flexibility, and I can use products like eLearning Brothers Interactions. That said, I would much rather have OOTB functionality from the product itself, there are font and colour/design limitations in these which are limiting.

I too hope that there are some nice surprises this year, however, there is alo (I feel), a bit of catch-up to play from the AP product.

Bruce