FreeBee Newsletter #5


FreeBee Newsletter #5

December 2004


  • 3 NEW FreeBees!

  • Major Upgrade to Esprit-LMS Announced

  • 6 NEW ToolBook Add-On Products

  • NEW On-Line Store

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Wow, a long time has passed since the last FreeBee Newsletter.  I have been very busy between consulting assignments and a major move from my lifetime home of Sydney Australia to Port Macquarie which is about 5 hours north of Sydney.  I am now settled and over the past few months have been busy developing some new products and some new FreeBees (which you will find throughout this newsletter). 

Power Book Builder and ToolBook Place 3rd at Shootout

Power Book Builder and ToolBook placed third in interactivity at the PowerPoint to e-Learning Shootout at the Training Fall/On-line Learning Conference in San Francisco in October. Robin McDermott did the conversion using Power Book Builder and was assisted by Denny Dedmore (who created a clever interactive question object that caught the crowd's attention).  Denny was also the guy on the hotseat doing the audio recordings live in front of well over 100 people.  Tomas Lund was there (all the way from Denmark!) to run the debriefing (for those who may not know, Tomas now works for SumTotal Systems sales). We fully converted a PowerPoint presentation into a ToolBook AND deployed it to the web in less than 20 minutes! The PowerPoint included several interactive elements such as question that Power Book Builder converted perfectly into ToolBook question objects, buttons that link to external webpages, and progressive disclosure slides.  Click here to read more about the Shootout and to see the PowerPoint that we converted.

Major Upgrades to EspritLMS

E-Commerce Option Now Available!  EspritLMS now has a fully integrated e-commerce front-end.  This means that you can now sell your training through your own customized on-line EspritLMS store and your customers will get automatically signed up in the LMS - without any intervention on your part.  Talk about making money in your sleep!  Our EspritLMS stores are powered by Miva Merchant - a leading e-commerce solution.  Because not all of our customers require the e-commerce, we are providing this option as an add-on.   In addition to seamless integration with Esprit-LMS, the e-commerce add-on also enables you to sell hardgoods as well as downloadable softgoods.  Click here to learn more about about EspritLMS E-Commerce add-on. 

Now Launch Neuron Courses  Another exciting feature is that we now have the ability to launch Neuron courses that communicate with EspritLMS.  This means that folks who have courses developed for Native ToolBook now have an alternative to reworking all of your courses for dhtml deployment. 

Other Enhancements that we have recently added to EspritLMS are more extensive reporting capabilities, a Tip of the Day feature, localization, the ability to launch non-ToolBook components such as Word docs, PDF's, Camtasia Videos - the options are endless.

Simplified Pricing/Low Commitment Starter Package  There are three levels of EspritLMS Professional Versions, the distinction between the three being number of "active users."  "Active users" are now defined by number of people who have launched a learning experience over the past quarter.  This means that you don't have to worry about getting charged for people who are not using the LMS and you don't have to constantly be activating and deactivating learners to reduce your quarterly exposure.  In addition we are now also offering a way for ToolBook developers to "test the on-line training waters" without making a huge financial commitment.  Our starter package will enable you to try EspritLMS for three months for just $1250 you can continue using the Starter Package for up to a full year for just $750 per quarter.  This should be ample time for you to assess the viability of a web-based training business using EspritLMS.

Try Us Out for FREE!  Because seeing is believing we are offering to put one of your courses into EspritLMS so that you can see for yourself how it works.  We will give you an EspritLMS account for two weeks so that others in your organization can see how it works too.  This offer is only available to serious prospects for a limited time.

Click here to learn more about about Esprit-LMS.

NEW FREEBEE!  10 Things Every ToolBookDeveloper Should Know

OK, I got carried away...there are actually 14 or perhaps more as I will add to them as they come to me :-)  This list serves as a great reminder for those of us who have been using ToolBook for several years and is an imperative but quick read for folks who are new to ToolBook.  Many problems that people have contacted me about (only after practically driving themselves nuts) are answered in one or more of the resources (mostly FREE) that are listed here.  Click here to access the FreeBee.

New Products

In the past few months I have developed six new tools:


Multi-Line Button Builder



Finally, attractive buttons with more than one line of text!
Attractive buttons can mean the difference between an amateur or a professional ToolBook product. But, standard ToolBook functionality can be quite limiting when it comes to buttons. The only alternative, creating the buttons outside of ToolBook, can be time consuming and still does not guarantee a professional appearance. These limitations are a thing of the past now with the Multi-Line Button Builder.

Simulation Menu Builder



Now you can focus on building effective simulations instead of spending hours capturing menus.
Accurate and interactive menus can mean the difference between an amateur simulation and a professional, realistic simulation. But, the current ToolBook simulation recorder does not have the ability to automate the building of menus. This limitation is a thing of the past now with the Simulation Menu Builder.

Grid Question Object



Easily create complex questions and provide visual feedback.
Grid Questions are a great way to add interactivity to your revision (exercise) pages and to your quizzes. They allow you to add a level of depth and complexity to questions that is often difficult to achieve with basic multiple choice questions. Yet, grid questions are no more difficult to design and configure than standard multiple choice question objects...providing you use the Grid Question Widget.

Better Navigation Widgets



Quickly develop navigation menus from page names OR record fields.
Easily specify pages to be included in the menu.  Have you ever tried using the standard Automatic Menu Widget or the standard Popup Menu Widget? These widgets only allow for all pages, a single page range or pages on selected backgrounds, sounds great, but what about just the first page of a given section/chapter, what about a sub-menu in a chapter?

Question Feedback




Show the correct answer along with the selected answer for multiple choice and true/false questions.
In addition to assessing competence, quizzes can be powerful learning tools when combined with question-by-question feedback. With ToolBook adding text and audio feedback to question objects is fairly easy. What is not easy is providing visual feedback on the right and wrong selected answers in Multiple Choice and True-False Questions. Now you can easily provide that feedback - not only with future projects, but you can VERY easily rework existing projects as well.

Question Audio Feedback



Randomized audio feedback and it even includes the audio files!
Question audio feedback is great way to provide audio feedback to your revision (exercise) and quiz questions. The Widgets will play a random list of audio files. This way your learners will not hear the same "Well done!" all of the time! With the the Question Audio Feedback Widgets you will get 46 professionally produced audio files.


NEW FREEBEE!  Actions - Execute Script

Did you know that you can include both OpenScript and JavaScript function calls with the ToolBook version 8.9 (2004) Action System? This is a really cool new feature that extends the somewhat limited functionality that we have with the Actions Editor. But, what good is a cool new feature if you don't know how to use it?

Fear Not! In this FreeBee you will not only learn how to use this new feature, but I will also give you an easy to use "cheat sheet" that will create OpenScript and JavaScript functions source code that you can then easily incorporate into your projects.  Click here to access the ToolBookDeveloper FreeBee Quick Course.

Check Out the New On-Line Store

We have also updated the On-Line Store.  The folks who have used it so far really like it - especially because you now get instant access when you purchase any of my ToolBook Add-On products.  That means if you are tearing your hair out at midnight and need one of my tools to complete a project by morning you can have it in less than 5 minutes.

NEW FREEBEE!  Simulation Function Keys

Do you have applications that use function keys that you need to simulate?  As you probably know, the simulation object can not simulate all of the function keys. Enter the Simulation Function Keys Object :-)  This is an easy to use workaround to the limitations with using function keys in simulations.  Some people may already be aware of this as I posted it to the ToolBook ListServe a few months back.  Click here to access the FreeBee.

Subscribe to the FreeBee Newsletter - It's...well, FREE :-)

If you are new to the FreeBee newsletter, please consider subscribing.  As a subscriber, you will be the first to receive notice of new newsletters - yes, I will strive to get them out in a more timely manner in the future :-)  In addition, some of my FreeBee Tools (free utilities to make ToolBook development easier) are available only to subscribers.  Click here to subscribe.  When you subscribe you will receive an automated e-mail with a username and password for accessing the FreeBees.

Happy Holidays and here's to 32-bit in 2005!!!!

Best regards,

Peter Jackson

2004 Nirvana Bound PTY LTD

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