The eLearning XHTML editor (eXe) is a desktop authoring environment to assist teachers and academics in the publishing of web content without the need to become proficient in HTML or XML. eXe is not a learning management system, but rather an environment for authoring web-based elearning content, in can be used the any of a range of standards compliant eLearning systems such as Moodle and Blackboard. With the eXe users can develop learning structures that suit their content delivery needs and build resources that are flexible and easily updated.
eXe is an Open Source Software project which means that not only is it free to download and use, but the source code is also freely available to allow customisation to suit you or your organisations needs. The development team welcomes input from interested parties from any organisation. eXe is available in many languages including for example, Chinese, English, Dutch, German, Greek, Icelandic, Maori, Polish and Swedish. If your home language is not listed, you might want to assist with a localisation for your country.
Acknowledging that quality learning design is about striking a balance between what to teach (content) and how to teach it (form), eXe has developed around form elements we call instructional devices or iDevices. iDevices include a range of pedagogical forms e.g. objectives, advance organizers, and learning activities which constitute the equivalent of the 'teacher talk' in content resources designed for online learning. In other words iDevices are structural elements that describe learning content and distinguish teaching content from other forms of content like text books or journal articles.
We believe iDevices will provide additional flexibility to users as they refine their preferred devices and begin to build collections of these into instructional templates which could be packaged and used by others. As the technology associated with learning objects matures, the vision of reusable content, inter-operability and scalability becomes more important. A central facet of the eXe project concerns the notion that "reusability" can be extended to include reusable processes or instructional templates.
Examples of iDevices in the eXe authoring window are illustrated below.
Developing content in eXe is easy. eXe is divided into two functional areas: the outline pane, used to develop the structure of your content; and the iDevice pane, which contains a standard set of iDevices (Objectives, Case studies, Reading Activities etc.).
Use the Outline pane to structure the outline of your content by adding modules, section, or units. You can actually deﬁne this ‘taxonomy’ yourself to suit your own needs. Selecting an iDevice will add an empty iDevice into the Authoring pane into which content can be entered. A learning resource may consist of as few or as many iDevices as required to deliver the learning content effectively. An iDevice editor is accessible from the Tools menu. This allows you to create your own iDevices for reuse in your the content packages you author with exe.
Content developed with eXe can be published in a variety of ways:
- Self-contained web site - this export could be uploaded onto a web server and referenced by your LMS or distributed on a CD or other transportable medium. A web export incorporates the navigational sequencing developed during authoring.
- SCORM 1.2 – The Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) export creates SCORM 1.2 content packages. SCORM packages can be imported into any compliant LMS or Learning Object Repository. SCORM is an internationally recognized speciﬁcation for packaging learning content.
- IMS Content Package – IMS Content Packaging is a simple content packaging speciﬁcation that is compatible with a variety of Learning Management Systems and Learning Object Repositories.