Getting StartedWhatdoINeed.jpg

You've discovered that learning objects are easy to find and download, but what if they aren't 'quite right'? This section will show you how to get started with basic customisation.....in other words, changing them to better fit your needs.


Basic principles of customising a learning object

Package.jpgA learning object is a complete 'package'....and in fact they are often called IMS or SCORM packages. A learning object is actually a group of files which are bundled together with built-in navigation, all ready for use in the classroom, or uploading to a learning management system (LMS). Most also come with a 'viewer' which means they can be used outside of an LMS within a browser....which means you could simply burn them to a CD for your students, or put them on your organisation's network.

When you download a learning object it comes to you as a zipped folder with all the files neatly packaged inside. If you want to upload them into your LMS, you leave them all zipped up so that they install all together, with everything in the right place. That part is easy.

BUT......what if you want to change something?
Detailed instructions can be found within the Changing Text section, however it is helpful to understand the basic principles of what needs to be done, and how it works. This is 'customising' in a nutshell:
  1. The learning object must first be 'unzipped' so that you can access the separate files and pages.
  2. Then you need to find the page (or pages) which you want to change.
  3. You make your changes by using html editing software (see Tools below)
  4. Finally, everything needs to be 're-packaged' into a learning object again, and for this we use 'reload software' (also in the Tools section)

Summary
Learning objects are not difficult to customise....you only need to understand how the process 'works', and have a couple of (free) tools on hand. :-)


What tools will you need?

Before starting to edit your learning objects you will need to have:Toolbox.jpg
  1. Software to edit the pages in your learning object - a html editor.
  2. Software to 'put it all back together again' - repackaging software.
The following tools are recommended (and used for the video demonstrations in this resource):

If you have your own favourite web page editor and you know how to 'drive' it (eg Dreamweaver, Xara etc) then use that....Kompozer is only suggested as it is freely available and is relatively simple to use. Other options can be found at either:

Exploring your learning object

Explore.jpgYour downloaded learning object will be in the form of a .zip file. The zipped folder contains all the separate files which make up the learning object, all 'zipped' together.

The following is a step-by-step guide to unzipping the folder, taking all the files out, then finding the ones you need:
NOTE: There is also a video demonstration at the bottom of this page.
  1. Create a new folder (perhaps on your desktop or in a location where you can easily find it).
  2. Go back to your zipped folder...RIGHT click...then select 'Extract all' (or similar, depending on which operating system you have on your computer).
  3. You will be asked for the location where you want it extracted to....select your new, empty folder.
  4. Open your new folder containing the unzipped files
  5. Find the one called start_here.htm.....and double-click on it. It will open in your browser.
    StartHere.jpg
    NOTE: If you get an error message saying that your browser can't find the file, this is usually because you haven't unzipped the folder first...see step 2 above.

  6. Explore your learning object, noting where you need the changes and the name of the page that requires customisation. Depending on which browser you use, this process may alter slightly. Here are the instructions for a couple of commonly used browsers:
    • Internet Explorer: RIGHT-click in the middle of the page that needs to be changed - select Properties, then note the web address.
    • Mozilla Firefox: RIGHT-click in the middle of the page that needs to be changed - select This Frame...then View Frame Info...then note the web address
PageName.jpg
7. In the window that comes up, you will see a web address which will look something like the one above. It won't be exactly the same because it will be showing where the file is on your computer. You are looking for the name of the page and in this example the name is pg05.htm

8. Write down the names of the pages which require customisation. You'll need this information to hand for the next step.

Video Demonstration

This video demonstrates the above process:


* Note that the method used in this video to obtain the name of the page is slightly different to that described in the steps above, but the outcome is identical.
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