When learning a new subject or skill, especially if self teaching, a continual and easy access to learning resources is a fundamental part of the process. This is particularly relevant in pan global, multi language and multi cultural situations where connection to the internet or provision of modern computer equipment may not be available.
In my own experience, it’s a huge benefit to have manuals, tutorials, video all at hand so I can instantly cross reference from one media to another, mix animated demonstration or video with detailed study in text form and listen to audio description without having to consider the Internet. As, whilst an almost inexhaustible library of research material, it can also be quite frustrating. Setting aside the issues of connectivity and bandwidth, for the provider the cost of delivering constant access to such large quantities of media rich applications on a continual basis going forward can be prohibitive. For the user constant online access over a long period of time to media rich material can also be expensive consequently the benefit of having everything on your hard drive in your own computer is clear.
A company with huge expertise in this area is International publisher Macmillan Education. With over 150 years of publishing experience and operating in over 130 countries they work with local teachers, students, institutions, and educational authorities to develop high-quality coursebooks, supplementary materials and digital products to suit the needs of classrooms around the world.
At the end of 2010 Macmillan asked Lemon Digital and Applause to provide an interactive DVD resource for two of their forthcoming projects; ‘Learning Teaching’ a training manual first published in 1994, now revised as a third edition and to be complemented with a DVD training video produced by MTJ Video in Oxford and a range of digital publications provided in pdf format; ‘The Business’ a DVD resource bank at pre-intermediate to advanced level, containing a massive resource of video, worksheets, teachers notes, authentic listening activities, Powerpoint and more.
Both interactive Enhanced DVDs were to be distributed world-wide and required accessibility across a wide range of media platforms, basic DVD player, PC and Macintosh computers Applause were asked to develop the programmes which would then be exhaustively tested across virtually all known combinations of hardware and software by Testronic Labs in London. Both titles passed out with flying colours and are now available on Macmillan’s website.
Guy Jackson at Macmillan commented “The Enhanced DVD was a steep learning curve for us but Applause worked tirelessly and patiently on both projects taking complete responsibility for the builds. We handed over the assets and let them get on with it!”