CAPDM can help you design, develop and deliver successful programmes of flexible and online distance learning, maximising the return on your investment while minimising the risks. With more than 25 years of experience in this demanding environment, we can provide learning providers with all the resources, skills and quality of service they need for a decisive competitive advantage in any online distance learning programme.
CAPDM has more experience at building successful flexible and online distance learning programmes than most universities and colleges. This experience is now available to you, packaged into an affordable service solution.
We specialise in the production of large-scale domains of distance learning materials. This requires a professional, scalable solution that is best optimised for this substantial business process.
We provide custom services and technologies, not systems. We are not a vendor of boxed elearning systems or virtual learning environments. If you have one of these systems, we can help you to extract maximum value from it by creating more effective learning environments.
We use our services and tools to construct a shared solution with you and your team. This solution includes all your existing resources and capabilities and preserves their value. We handle all aspects of programme development, freeing your people to concentrate on those areas where their skills lie.
Our tried and tested programme development service will help you to access new student markets more quickly, with highly credible products.
Our materials management will protect your assets, future-proof your materials, and keep your programme ahead of the competition.
Our Courseworker® technologies can enrich your current VLE, create custom performance support environments for your authors and customers, bring you your own professional book and journal publishing capability and asset repository, and make language translation projects cost effective.
CAPDM has built up a first-class reputation in distance learning. We produced the world’s largest, truly international distance learning MBA programme for the Edinburgh Business School.
Distance learning programmes are increasingly relevant in the post-Covid environment. If properly managed and professionally developed, as well as offering fallbacks for on-campus teaching they will become valuable sources of additional revenues for educational institutions. But good programmes are not cheap to develop, and they require specific and extensive resources and talents to produce them in a user-friendly form, while retaining academic credibility. Our services and technologies deliver a complete solution to these problems. When shared with our customers, they provide a complete programme fulfilment capability.
Our programme development service uses cloud-based tools for producing and managing all types of learning materials. It is based around the creation of cherished master source files which are held in an online repository and formatted with industry standard, extensible markup derived from modern information standards. It tracks production workflow, and generates high quality PDF outputs and online course packages from single sources. We use it to produce and maintain hundreds of courses, allowing ‘push button’ production to multiple delivery formats, packages and media. This approach is faster and more consistent, and at least equivalent in cost to older less flexible production approaches.
XML is an open standard that was born not long after the web. Its goal was to improve how information can be encoded and exchanged by allowing intelligent formatting (mark-up) and independent distribution. Journal, news, automotive, aircraft and many other industries have learned that the best way to publish and distribute content is to format your single-source masters using open standard XML for text, assessments, books, manuals and many other types of learning publications.
HTML tagging designed primarily for web pages uses simple headings and paragraphs:
<h1>The headline caught our attention</h1> <p>The journalists seemed to have developed the idea and presented the conclusions.</p> <p>The aim was to allow readers to assess the differences.</p> <p>What are the required changes?</p>
Semantic XML tagging allows content to be cleanly repurposed for online, print and rich, interactive learning environments:
<case-study> <title>The headline caught our attention</title> <outcome>The journalists seemed to have developed the idea and presented the conclusions.</outcome> <p>The aim was to allow readers to assess the differences.</p> <question>What are the required changes?</question> </case-study>
Working with CAPDM means adopting open standards and XML. We will create XML single-source masters of your learning materials, or help you to do the same. The new assets are all yours and we will help you to develop and get best use from them in the long term.
The cost of investing in XML is usually no more than the typical costs of producing both print and online versions of courses. If it is done well, it is a one-time investment that leads to a drastic reduction in ongoing maintenance and updating costs, typically of the order of 40-60%.
Semantic, or descriptive, mark-up, embeds additional information in a text file by applying labels to fragments of text. This information can be interpreted by software in all kinds of useful ways such as to generate an index or to create automatic hyperlinks to specific learning contexts. It allows great flexibility, allowing multiple output formats to be batch produced from a single marked up source text.
Semantic mark-up is the foundation for knowledge management in educational institutions. It enables knowledge capture, reuse and efficient retrieval. For researchers looking into the next generation of semantic learning environments, it places whole domains of programme materials at their fingertips for experimenting and exploring new teaching and learning methods.
Extensible mark-up language (XML) is one of the most important semantic mark-up languages and is used extensively for documents and publications. It provides a solid foundation for learning materials, giving them longevity and reusability. The electronic formats used by CAPDM are based on open standards and are non-proprietary – so there is no vendor lock-in. Efficient production processes and capabilities substantially reduce updating and development costs. The resulting materials are of much higher quality – consistently fit for purpose for all delivery media and languages.
CAPDM is committed to making online learning systems and materials accessible to as many people as possible. We produce content conforming to the W3C Web Content Accessibility guidelines to ensure that as many people as possible can benefit from your elearning resources.
In recent years many countries have passed anti-disability discrimination legislation, which may place legal obligations on content providers to produce accessible materials. In the UK the legislation affecting accessibility includes the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2001/10.
We produce learning materials using a single set of XML masters and can deliver to multiple output formats, including accessible web pages and text-only versions. Our approach enables you to respond to legislative changes quickly and efficiently, and to offer specialised versions of your learning materials cost-effectively. We closely monitor developments in the area of accessibility and encourage our team to follow interest groups such as the W3C Web Accessibility Interest Group.
The first area where we can help is in improving the student experience. The need for academic support can be much reduced if courses include features like a robust self-assessment capability, with detailed answers and cross-references back into the original learning materials. We can help you design and build your courses to answer student queries first time around.
Administrative and communication issues can be eased by a managed central information and contact point. We can reduce this burden on your resources by integrating frequently asked question lists with your materials. We can also provide tools which help you to store and track new questions for quick and efficient incorporation.
Our tools also allow you to keep track of areas in the material that students or tutors have highlighted as needing updating or review. Once these revisions have been completed, the tools can provide you with a historical record of what modifications have been made to each release.
We can improve student retention with our progress tracking tools which allow students to measure their own progress and tutors to monitor and offer proactive help to those not making progress.
Finally, we can provide an online collaboration system, to help you to stay in contact with all your tutors and students and keep up to date on any issues they have highlighted.
All of these tools relieve the academic support burden, releasing time to focus on the small percentage of student questions which require subject expertise.
Most organisations have in-house production capability, and we are able to work with them and integrate into existing processes, while driving up efficiency and productivity. We can take up the slack when there is a glut of work, or free up staff to work on other projects.
We can also license our Courseworker tools to your institution and train your staff to use them. This will give you all the benefits of single-source production and enable you to deliver materials in a variety of formats quickly and easily.
Not at all. Now is an ideal time to start using CAPDM. It means we can help you create and manage the quality learning materials you want to put into your new learning management system, in parallel with producing your existing paper materials.
Using the CAPDM production approach gives you a single source production solution for all delivery environments (paper, your LMS, eBook, etc.). This means that the cost of developing your courses is reduced, and repetitive and time-consuming hand-builds of courses become a thing of the past. It also gives you greater freedom and flexibility to change your delivery environments at will – a healthy independence from any one vendor, including CAPDM.
Lecture notes or class handouts are a good foundation but require a substantial additional work before they can do the job of distance or learning materials. Lecture notes often take the form of ‘memory joggers’ for you and your students, but do not contain all the pedagogic components of your personal delivery methods used to deliver teaching points, to generate testing questions and consolidation exercises. Lecture notes are an incomplete framework for ensuring your students succeed at a distance.
Distance learning materials, on the other hand, can always be used in a classroom, tutor-assisted situation. Their preparation demands far more planning and attention to detail, so that distant students can work through them, understand them and assess how they are progressing.