Using the iBooks Author Review Widget
From the moment it was announce, the possibility of creating interactive reviews was among the most exciting aspects of iBooks Author. I remember working through the short end-of-chapter reviews in my college textbooks. Usually they were mind-numbing enough that my eyes would glaze over and my thoughts would turn to whatever meal was nearest in the future. With iBooks Author you can create interactive, engaging exercises that help the user review what they’ve learned. Studies show that students retain more when engaged interactively when doing review. But how does one take advantage of this widget in iBooks?
1. Open iBooks Author
The first step, obviously, is to open iBooks Author. Be sure to open up a sample project in the program, or perhaps a project you’ve been working on.
2. Navigate to the page where the review will appear
This should be easy enough: go to the page where you want the widget to do its work (typically at the end of a topic or section for a quick review).
3. Insert the review widget
With the correct page up, select the Widgets button from the menu bar. All the different widgets you can insert will drop down. For this sort of thing, naturally, we’ll choose the Review option:
When you click on Review, the program will insert the review widget on the current page. Now position the widget where you want it on the page:
You will notice that this widget is big at first. This is intentional: it gives enough room for the learner to answer the question without having to enlarge the widget.
4. Edit your questions
Now that the widget’s where you want it, the next step is to edit the first question (already provided) and add whatever other questions you’d like to include in the review exercise. First, though, you’ll need to decide what sort of review you want to use. iBooks Author allows you to select from the types of interactive questions visible below:
You have here the typical questions you see in most text books (multiple choice, for instance), but you also have drag questions only available with a tool like iBooks (or other eLearning Authoring tools).
Now it’s time to edit and add questions. With the widget selected, click on the blue inspector icon if it’s not already open. Go to the far tab for your widget inspector options. You should see this:
With the Interaction button selected, you can see your pool of questions. iBooks Author starts you out with one review question (which you’ll need to edit–we’ll come to that below), but you can add more questions by clicking on the plus icon below the pool. (When you click on the plus icon, you’ll be shown a list of what you can insert.)
When you insert a question, you can drag-and-drop the questions to arrange them in the order you’d like them to appear. iBooks Author automatically creates arrows for the learner to navigate between review questions.
To edit a question, just select the one you want to edit. You’ll see it show on your widget, and you do your editing right in the widget on the page. Just double-click on the text field you want to change and then start typing:
If the question calls for media–say, images–drag-and-drop them into the image place holder, and the program will switch out the image. (Just as with Keynote, the mask of the image can be edited.) Choose standard multiple choice, or choose the image multiple choice and, again, just drag-and-drop the images into the appropriate locations.
With questions like the Drag to Target and the Drag Thumbnail to Target, there’s a little more work to do in dragging all the appropriate images to the right places and placing the targets:
The drag review functions typically only start you out with two answers. Add more by selecting the number next to your question text in the inspector:
Note that you can have up to six answers. You can also do this for your multiple choice questions as well. iBooks Author allows you to be flexible both with the types of questions that can be asked and with the number of responses associated with each question. Select which answer is correct by selecting the radio button on the multiple choice questions.
Add as many questions as you want for the review, and then preview this iBook on your iPad. You can see the magic in action. Personally, I love the animations and the ability to swipe through the different questions.
I have, nonetheless, added a few wish list items for future enhancements. Also, be sure to watch the video below!
iBooks Author review widget wish list:
1. Ability to track learner responses – Working in the eLearning realm, I know something teachers want is the ability to see how their learners are responding to questions so that they can know how well the questions are working. Unfortunately, I’m not sure how to do that with iBooks Author (except by doing a custom HTML5 widget and sending the info somewhere). I’d love to see some kind of tracking method, perhaps in iTunesU.
2. Feedback on each question – To be honest, I’m unsure how this was overlooked. If a learner gets a question wrong, the program should be able to explain to him or her why. Learners progress more quickly with feedback, so I’m surprised something like this isn’t already a part of the program.