What Innovation Means to Us
At AllenComm, we’re all about innovation. For us, innovation isn’t just a buzzword or a fad—it’s what makes us a leader in our industry. It “fuels us and drives our purpose to create customized digital learning solutions.”
But don’t just take our word for it; we can show you. Let’s take a walk through some of our past and current innovations.
Innovation through the Years at AllenComm
MAMBA (an acronym of the developers’ names) was created by AllenComm programmers in 2004 to meet design needs that couldn’t be addressed by tools found on the market. Todd Miller, AllenComm’s VP of Technical Services Programs, remembers, “We dreamed of a tool that would be incredibly extensible, allowing us to develop new designs, new features, and new functionality without imposing limits.” From that dream, MAMBA was born.
For years, all our online courses were developed using this in-house, Flash-based development tool. New hires might remember the current Director of Marketing and Sales Operations, Payton Sharp, talking about how MAMBA was the best in the industry back when he worked as a recruiter. Writers, instructional designers, and programmers alike manipulated the code to shape MAMBA courses into their final products. The tool kept course modules neatly organized and provided an easy way to generate placeholder audio and images for audio- and visually-driven courses.
We’ve also ventured into app territory by creating DesignJot, the first-ever app specifically for instructional designers! Launched in 2011, DesignJot was made was to aid instructional designers as they develop learning solutions. Its pre-made forms and templates help instructional designers conduct needs analyses and perform the initial stages of project development.
The training experts on DesignJot’s development team implemented automated training within the app itself for those who’ve never used it before. With its design tips, training videos, and project samples, DesignJot was created by instructional designers for instructional designers.
The first iteration of this HTML 5-based tool started in the fall of 2014. A client in an installation-based industry needed 36 courses that were responsive and could be taken on mobile devices. MAMBA 4 didn’t have that kind of functionality, so we agreed to develop a new tool specifically for this project. As the writers worked feverishly to assemble the content, our programming team spent several months carefully coding what we later called the CW Tool.
Working in an HTML 5 tool changed the way we developed our courses. For starters, responsiveness meant that we no longer had to manually arrange every piece of text and every image by hand. Designing for different mobile devices meant that our courses were more fluid and less audio-driven. Learners could take a greater responsibility for their own learning, and we further innovated visual user experiences that would make this autonomy natural and intuitive.
With our exploration in HTML 5 well underway, we turned to virtual and augmented reality. It wasn’t long before we were working with Compedia to develop our own AR innovation: Siteline.
Siteline is an interactive learning platform that uses 3D modeling, online courses, and digital documentation as a training resource on the job. The beauty of the platform is that “operators have immediate access to 3D images that enable viewing their complex machinery from all angles and with hot spots that highlight trouble spots and critical information,” says Jeff Harward, Siteline Product Manager. “Rather than relying on tribal knowledge, with Siteline, all workers have immediate access to the current operating procedures at their fingertips.”
You can see from our history that we find developing our own tools is the best way to meet our design needs. With that in mind, we’ve decided that the next step in innovation is to share more of our own innovations with others!
Enter DesignLab, a way for those with training needs to augment their training. Clients convey their brand, needs, and audience to us. We construct a set of templates to meet the clients’ unique needs. Through DesignLab, the clients populate the templates with content and then publish them easily. It’s essentially an iteration of the CW Tool that’s available to others as well as to us. This new tool will launch at DevLearn in a few short weeks. Stay tuned!
AllenComm Loves Innovation
As you can see, we have a real history of innovating to meet client needs and advance the industry. If any of the innovations in this blog post pique your interest, stay tuned—we’ll be talking more about our innovations all through the month of October!