Well, today is the day that Windows 10 comes to the masses. It has been a relatively quiet launch compared to the hype we used to get from Microsoft back in the 90s, but Windows 10’s launch is big news. I have had a chance to play with various builds with Windows 10 through the Insider Program and it had me wondering, is Windows 10 a good thing for e-Learning developers? To answer this I’m not going to talk about the return of the Start menu, nor am I going to talk about the new flat design that was inevitable. What I am going to do is look at some of the new features of Windows 10 and relate their use to e-Learning.
New browser – edgy stuff
Internet Explorer is dead, long live Microsoft Edge! Despite it having the same logo there have been some big changes in the default Windows browser. Most importantly, the list of HTML5 features that actually work are better than any of the other browser I have installed on my PC. With Microsoft expecting over 65% of users to make use of the free upgrade in the next year, we will have 65% more e-Learners using a good browser!
For me this is a huge deal. I want to make HTLM5 e-Learning, it’s what I’m good at. However, I am constantly having to mess around with Flash and ActionScript to cater for the learners who are still stuck on old versions of Windows. Anyone who has tried to build a Flash fall back for a responsive HTML5 Captivate e-Learning will know exactly how I feel.
It is not just the HTML5 side of Edge that has me a little excited. Edge includes a number of new features which I think will benefit e-Learning developers, training admins and learners. This is the Web Note feature. The note feature enables learners to highlight, annotate and share their browser screens. I would love to build an e-Learning interaction that uses this feature. It would add a little more depth to a standard hotspot question. It would also be a great way to get feedback when developing course, if for example someone spots a typo during development.
An example of a note written in browser
Multiple desktops -multitask like a pro
The next best feature that will benefit not just e-Learning developers but pretty much any person who handles multiple projects at work… so everyone. This is multiple desktops.
With multiple desktops you can group browser windows, open files and software together in separate virtual desktops. For me this is a life saviour. Every day I login into various learning management systems, edit different courses and update various spreadsheets. Having each of our clients in their own separate virtual desktop will put an end of my endless tab changing while on the phone. At the moment you can’t name your desktop sessions, but hopefully that will come with time.
An screenshot showing three active desktops
New search bar – find things faster
So, not very many people like Windows 8. However, there was one feature that I loved. The search feature directly from the Start Screen was great – it automatically searched your files and if it didn’t find anything then it searched the web.
Window 10 has taken this feature a step further by adding a search bar into the task bar. Cynics will tell you that this is just a way to get people to use Bing so that Microsoft can get more advertising money. However, I think that it has been added to genuinely improve the usability of the operating system. I am constantly searching for images, e-Learning templates and videos that I used in past projects and having that search bar constantly there is a real plus.
Search your files or the web instantly
So, is Windows 10 good for e-Learning?
In short, yes. Windows 10 is a significant improvement on Windows 8 and the long overdue rebuild of Internet Explorer means that an all-HTML5 e-Learning world is not far away. This, combined with some great new features to the overall system, means that Windows 10 should make my life as an e-Learning developer much easier.