Monday, 18 September 2017

Options SAN can take when venturing into Blended Learning

Prepared by Alphonso Hendricks (IMT)


  1. Materials Development and Software


  • iBooks Author (available free on any iMac (standalone PC) or MacBook Pro (laptop)

The iMac or Macbook are what are known as development machines. They produce content offline, and once published, the content can be accessed online via any web-enabled device. The device does not necessarily need to be connected to internet for content to be accessed but a far richer learning experience results when the device is connected while accessing the learning material. Then url hyperlinks become live and Youtube videos play etc.


Development machine new:     

 iMac – R19 000

Specs: Apple iMac 21.5" Display Core i5 2.3GHz / 8GB / 1TB / Intel Iris (Desktop computer)


Macbook Pro – R14 000

Specs: MacBook Air 13" Intel Core i5 (Laptop computer)


The iBook Author software can produce ePubs (essentially aimed at Windows computers or Android tablets and cellphones) or iBooks (essentially for Mac computers or iPads and iPhones). The main difference is that there are fewer templates available for ePubs. There are also fewer learner interactions available for learners in Epubs than in iBooks.

By interactions we mean the following:

  • gallery (of photos)
  • video
  • hyperlink (to other websites such as YouTube etc)
  • pop-over widget (something appears when mouse hovers over item)
  • mathematical equations (using Latex)
  • presentations (e.g. Keynote or PowerPoint)
  • 3D objects
  • widgets (such as those produced in GeoGebra)
  • embedded real-world maps

Only a subset of these are available for Epubs. The full set is available when producing an iBook.

iBooks Author can also publish content as PDF’s. Then all interactions are dead links –obviously.

Ease of use – very high. Within a day – someone trained how to use this software can start producing high quality products.


  1. Articulate 360 (available for annual licence – R13 211 –

(discount available for educational non-profit institutions)

Includes RISE (online cellphone development app)

Produce content within a day, deployed directly to users cellphone.


Software feels and looks like PowerPoint which makes content development a bit easier. Highly rated Quick Authoring Tool. Should take about three days to work through most of the facets of this software. Production made easier because of ready available (free) templates shared by online user group.


Provides for many opportunities for learner interactivity (quizzes, engagements, video clips etc.). All of this possible with little or no programming skills required by content developer.


Can be used to produce ScreenCasts.

Once content has been developed, users can access it via a web browser (no internet connection required).

Content can also be published to CD and distributed that way. Interactivity intact.

Content can also be published as a pdf. Interactivity intact.


  • InDesign (available from Adobe – annual licence R3 180)

The industry-leading page design and layout toolset lets you work across desktop and mobile devices to create, test, and publish everything from printed books and brochures to digital magazines, eBooks, and interactive online documents. This is not a Quick Authoring Tool and requires many hours of intensive training before any content can be produced.

All content published in HTML5 format. Can be published as pdf as well.

 offers Creative Cloud purchase options.


  • SpreadSheet Converter (perpetual licence – R2 100)

iPhone and Android version (its that’s the delivery platform you focusing on)

Converts forms produced in Excel into HTML forms.

Can be used to produce online calculators or

Online feedback forms.


Quick and easy to use. Up and running within a day.

Add an extra day to learn Excel basics.


  • WonderShare Filmora (perpetual licence – R2 400 multiple licenses)

The Best Video Editor Software Alternative to Windows Movie Maker & iMovie

Very often video clips need a bit of basic editing to make them look more professional.

About 1 days training required.


  • PhotoFiltre (Shareware – free)

PhotoFiltre 7 is a complete image retouching program. It allows you to do simple or advanced adjustments to an image and apply a vast range of filters on it. It is simple and intuitive to use, and has an easy learning curve.

Blended learning material is image rich. Images have to look good and that’s where PhotoFiltre comes in. Photoshop too expensive.

Less than 1 days training required.


  • Tumult Hype (perpetual licence – R1 300)

Tumult Hype's keyframe-based animation system brings your content to life.

Produces animations in HTML5. Can be dragged and dropped into iBooks once produced.

Takes about two days of training before user can start producing anything.




Used for


Training required





Articulate 360


Online courses

R13211 p.a.

1 week

InDesign Adobe

Online publications


R3180 p.a.

4 weeks

Spreadsheet converter

Feedback forms.

Online calculators

R2100 (once off)

2 day

Wondershare Filmora

Editing movies

R2400 (once off)


1 day


Editing images



1 day

Tumult Hype

Producing animations

R1300 (once off)


2 days


There are other software such as GEOGEBRA, EASITEACH, MATHEMATICA CDF’s

But more about that later. These require an advanced knowledge of either maths or physics.


  1. Delivery of Content

Decide upfront how content will be delivered. Security level also factors into this decision.

Remember that by far the most learners will have smart phones (web-enabled devices).

Some will have tablets (iPads or windows tablets)

A few might even have laptops and/or stand-alone desktops.


Decide on a delivery platform of choice and develop once.

Fluid design templates means that once content is finished produced, it will look half decent on any other size screen.


Remember that you can also decide to simply pdf content – after designing it for say a cellphone (or tablet). And then hand out printed version – minus interactivity. Works well for learners that prefer to scribble notes on their hard copy notes.


You can deliver content via internet or local intranet. Quick and easy to update. Distribution a breeze.

You can choose to publish direct to tablet (time consuming but possible). Have to repeat process every update of content.

You can publish content to CD and distribute these. Problem arises when you want to update content though.



  1. Content Management System (CMS)

Free version available – JOOMLA

Huge online community who will assist with all problems encountered. This is only required for administrator of course. One administrator can manage a number of “teachers” courses for them and simply print weekly reports on content usage.

Big university campuses have paid versions of CMS’s. e.g. SQUARESPACE etc.



  1. Learner Management System (LMS)

Free version available – MOODLE

This software monitors your students. How often they accessed what piece of blended learning material. How well they did on online quiz etc.

Big university campuses have paid versions of LMS’s. e.g. BLACKBOARD etc.

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