With the ubiquitousness of the iPod, I’ve been looking for more to do with it than just play audio and video, but Apple’s kept a tight rein on the software (my fear for the iPhone, too). I was discussing it with my colleagues over beer (there’s that blogger/learning/beer thing again ;), and Jim Schuyler subsequently pointed me to the fact that not only have they recently released iQuiz, but allowed you to create your own quizzes. In addition, Aspyr has released a free iQuiz maker, which simplifies the task (if it doesn’t get confused, which it seemed to in a trial run). iQuiz supports both true/false, and multiple choice, with scoring.
Now, this sounds really great, and it can be, but there’re some qualifications. First, while there’s feedback possible for the true/false answer, there’s no specific feedback for the multiple choice questions (which I generally like better than true/false). If you can’t give any feedback for a wrong answer, you can’t learn from the question (yes, you can be motivated to go back and learn, e.g. listen to the podcast again or go read something). Really, you should be able to provide separate feedback for each wrong answer of a multiple choice (since your alternates to the correct answer should reflect prior misconceptions).
A second level of capability that would be really cool would be conditional branching depending on your response. This would let you build branching scenarios, which could really be powerful (giving you most of the power of full learning games).
We hand cobbled together (read: wrote and programmed in Brew) both quiz questions and scenarios (non-branching, but with several stages and specific feedback) on mobile phones for a project, and I still think it’s a good idea to supplement learning, albeit not a full learning situation by itself.
It’s clear Apple’s focused on creating fun with the iPod; they have trivia quizzes available, and talk about making the same to share with and challenge your friends. However, they’re only a small step away from making a really powerful learning adjunct that could make a big draw for the corporate elearning market. And they’re just one other step away from both a whole new market of fun (scenario stories for your friends), and another majorly powerful learning adjunct.
Now with all that caveat aside, for those learning situations where you do want to drill knowledge (and we overdo it so please use it sparingly and focus on skills), and you’ve got the backstop of resources so they can quickly go back and get it right, you’ve got another learning tool available on an increasingly ubiquitous platform. And a platform that has already demonstrable learning capability of podcasts and vidcasts (I was told of one group of engineers who asked for their colleagues’ white papers be read into podcasts so they could read them on their drives; a great success!).
I’ll keep hoping that there’ll be a way for small text scenarios (or even with images; built in Captivate 2 or SimWriter or SmartBuilder?) to be loaded onto iPods, but I’ll even look forward to quizzes with feedback for the different answers.