Developing eTextbooks-An Ideal Approach
Most of the Learning is Digital now and hence there is an unanticipated and urgent need for the Academic Publishers to develop and distribute eTextbooks/Online Textbooks. Interactive Books have come into prominence with evolving technological advances and changing pedagogical practices although eBooks have been around for quite a few good years.
Interactive Books provide real-time context to the content, ensure effective knowledge sharing and gradually shift the control from the Facilitator to the Learner, thus paving the way for engaging the learners more with interactive and intuitive content and its various forms.
Factors to Consider while Developing an eTextbook:
The most important aspect is to understand the Target Audience – These eTextbooks are for Pre-Primary, Primary, Secondary or Higher Education Students of Institutions on par with their Understanding of the Present Level of Technology in Use, for eLearning purposes.
For Junior Level of Students, whilst Instructor-led Teaching/blended learning is preferable, for Higher Level of Students, Self-Paced Learning is the Best Fit.
Determining the Age Group of the Students will assist to Choose the right resources, right methodology, activities to be involved/implemented and the preferred support for better learning outcomes, for eTextbooks.
Educators would need the resources limited to media elements
Upskilling/Reskilling requirements would need simulated activities
The Layout the readers/learners choose will depend on the type of eTextbook. Layout could either be Fixed or Reflowable.
- Fixed Layout – is an exact rendition of the printed pages – works best for textbooks with images and illustrations
- Reflowable Layout – is fluid and flows to fit the size of the viewing devices – works best for text-heavy chapter books and is ideal for large content distribution
Microlearning is a concept that divides large pieces/portions of content into small manageable bytes of code that students can consume and assimilate within minutes.
Designing Micro-learning Content involves an effective use of technology to present content to increase students’ engagement and interaction.
Content needs to be short, simple and effective to hold the attention of its readers, whilst designing an eTextbook. As people’s attention span is very less, eTextbooks should no longer necessarily be to read through lengthy chapters, rather, lessons retain the main concepts summarized, explained and delivered in as concise a way as possible.
eTextbook in comparison to its print counterpart can link content in an eTextbook to a whole library of internal and external resources. So, if the subject of the eTextbook is X, these lessons can link certain concepts to simulated or 3D models that help learners/students to visualize and better understand the concept in a more elaborate and effective manner.
A hyperlink to a video relating to a particular topic/lesson, a related PDF and internal & external cross-references can always be included, as a further enhancement.
With Digital being on the evolving forefront, classroom learning and instructor-led virtual learning have taken a backseat. Smartphones have made learning mobile, empowering students to access secure content anywhere anytime, thus ensuring continuity in learning.
Interactive eTextbook for use on a mobile app or a desktop app is the only solution. To design an effective interactive eTextbook, it is important to ensure that students can access the content on the smart device of choice.
An eTextbook can be made interesting and engaging via digital rich media content through various media types such as audio, video, infographics, graphics, simulations, game plays etc.
The use of technology will depend on the content type, the objectives to achieve and the end-learners – their existing knowledge and the skills to update in whichever case, technology should support storytelling and not become the story itself and should effectively communicate the message but not become the message.
The high demand and usage of the Internet is posing a continuous threat where copying, downloading and sharing the content is a piece of cake.
eTextbook is a proprietary intellectual property which can be monetized. As traditional copyrights downplay the role, with digital, DRM is the digital key to lock the content and prevent piracy or any unauthorized use or access. With DRM protection, one can securely distribute eTextbooks over various digital publishing platforms or on the website.
Education and learning arena has been redefined with emerging technologies and evolving pedagogical practices. Initially there were only simple PDFs, in the traditional environment. Now the technology has led altogether a different way – with eTextbooks included with cross-referencing and digital rich content.
eTextbooks have evolved in a timely manner. Not only eTextbooks now provide interaction and boost engagement, but also provide optimal learning experiences via making use of the Learning Management System (LMS) / Learning Experience Platform (LEP).
What sets digital eTextbooks apart from the traditional eTextbooks is the art of narrative storytelling being used in digital technologies.
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