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More and more, electronic media are filling a significant task in education and in vocational training. Colleges and other learning institutions are using some of the newest educational tools and computer-assisted vocational training is on the rise. If you're a teacher, you may be concerned about your ability to keep up with the trend of computer-assisted learning, but experts from the Fraunhofer Institutes for Information and Data Processing IITB in Karlsruhe say their Crayons software can help you develop some very slick courses that will aid your students and their tutors in going over class material at home.

Intuitive Use

Such courses can help your students to broaden their understanding of the course material. Crayons allows the user to link up text, video, and images, with course exercises. Daniel Szentesm, who heads up the Crayons project says that Crayons has an advantage in that it can be used intuitively. "The author is given editors for each exercise that function like existing programs such as Word. There is no painstaking effort required of the user in learning how to operate it."

The tutor can link the information from the course with any content he thinks will help illustrate the course material. A course for a student can be tailor-designed to take personal preferences into account. For instance, pupils who like to surf the net to find applications that fit real life experiences, can have courses created for them which allow for this type of research.

Faster Pace?

Crayons is very user-friendly and can be used without any previous knowledge of programming. In order to create or learn course material, the teacher or student need only have internet access and an internet browser such as Firefox or Internet Explorer. Sentesm says that Crayons can be configured to produce a course providing the student with the maximum pedagogical support. For instance, a teacher has a choice of many didactic methods. If a student needs to learn at a faster pace, needs a more whimsical approach, or has a preference toward text as opposed to images, a learning course can be geared keeping all of these issues in mind.

A program designed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology (IDMT) in Ilmenau helps employees get up-to-the-minute vocational training in the workplace or on their own home computers. This eliminates travel time as well as days off at work. Educational Media (EDMedia) is a learning content management system designed just for this purpose. Project head Dr. Fanny Klett says, "Users can draw on all types of media, such as text, images, graphics, video film, virtual worlds and simulations."

User-friendly Interface

EDMedia requires no specialized computer programming language and course designers can enter content through a user-friendly interface that allows them to create links. The course content is displayed in paragraphs and the course author can add in text, images, and audio-content. Klett comments that the software is very adaptable. "It incorporates all fundamental standards and enables contents to be re-used in another context."

Versions of this software have also been created for the vision and hearing impaired.


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