Anyone becoming familiar with a new software application will soon come across features that make you ask “what the?”, or will find themselves in a corner wishing a certain feature was available. Our experience with UPK is no different.
Following are an unsorted list of peeves and wishes from our first endeavours with this robust little tool.
(1) Give us some transferrable publication versions
UPK allows you to quickly and easily generate content for users. The problems start when you try to publish that content anywhere online.
Each of the published formats generates enormous numbers of files. Across multiple, nested folders. This makes them veritably impossible to publish on most CMS (including Sharepoint) where you have to upload files individually or by folder.
For example here are the file and folder counts from a simple publication (1 process, 20 steps):
> 60 files across 8 subdirectories (HTML Pages)
> 639 files across a whopping 44 directories (player package)
It wouldn’t be hard to provide a single exe version of the player package (Captivate offers an export as EXE option), or a streamlined HTML site structure, that would then be easier to transfer and use.
Currently the only way to distribute the player package on Sharepoint (without going mad) is to zip the entire package, upload as a zip, and require the user to download and unzip before use. Not the best user experience.
Granted this could be a strategic decision to encourage us to run a UPK server. However that’s not always available.
(2) Add text formatting to template text
Minor peeve with the template text as supported in UPK is that it all runs on as a single paragraph. If wanting to include carriage returns in text the only method is to click the “edit template text button” and then edit as required.
Would be nice if it supported common shortcuts for carriage returns and perhaps tabs.
Enter the appropriate information in the  field. nnEnter “12345″.
Enter the appropriate information in the  field.
Here’s what happens if you try that today:
(3) Be consistent over concepts
Issue when publishing to LMS is that it ignores any top level content. If you publish all your content within a single module, and add an introduction/welcome concept to that module, it is ignored in the LMS version. However it does appear in the other publication formats.
Top level concept defined in the UPK source.
Powerpoint export – concept appears.
HTML export – concept appears.
Player export – concept lost.
(4) Let me rename Concept topics
This is another issue particular to the LMS package.
UPK lets you define additional concept topics at any level of a module (module, section or topic). However the limitation is you have no control over the name of such topics. Within their main window they always appear with the title “Concept”.
Would be nice to be able to edit these names. For example “Welcome”, “Introduction”, “About”, etc.
Note: I did find that I could edit the topic names in the LMS package by editing content directly. A little painful however, and something you need to repeat every time you publish.
(5) When I publish a selection, only publish the selection
The UPK publishing wizard is great in allowing you to publish just a selection of your library. However the problem is when you do publish a selection, the player package still develops the navigation tree to reflect the complete library and the location of your selection within it.
(6) Currently the only way to “just” publish a selection is to re-organise the library to put the selection at the top level. Then publish, then put it back in its place.
(6) Let me rename the simulation modes
In the spirit of renaming, might be nice to be able to rename the different simulation modes. Not important, but came up in a recent project where different terms had already been agreed for scenarios (what UPK calls “Try It” had been named “Learn It”).
(7) Measure Know It performance based on number of missteps, not as a percentage
As an alternative assessment method let me be able to define the number of times the user is helped (i.e. you get 3 strikes per scenario). This is clearer to users than a percentage. You were unsuccessful because you needed assistance twice is easier to grasp than “you scored 72%”. It also ensures the same meaningful success standard applies across multiple simulations.
Currently, while trying to use the “number of times helped” measure we have to convert that to a different percentage figure in each scenario dependent on the number of steps it contains. ie missing 2 steps in a 10-step process sets a pass rate of 80%. But missing 2 steps in a 20-step process now has a pass rate of 90%.
(8) LMS customisation
Generally the LMS export option does a fantastic job of delivering a SCORM-compliant package to push process simulations to the learners. But it does not do such a great job over the wrapping and presentation of those simulations:
- no inbuilt table of contents/navigation – need to rely on the LMS to provide this (and some do it better than others)
- “unwelcoming” navigation/status within each simulation
With menu enabled, rudimentary (but ugly) navigation available.
With the menu disabled, the course is non-navigable.
(9) Richer web pages
When you create a new page as a concept you only get very rudimentary editing options.
No reason why they cannot embed a richer HTML edit component so we get full control over the content and the ability to add much richer material.
Granted you can add rich HTML content by creating as a page within a package, and linking to the topic from there. But this seems an unnecessarily arduous process when the “create web page” button is front and centre when developing content.
There’s nine quick requests to make UPK even more useful than it already is. Go for it Oracle! Before we think of some more.