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With the cost of computer technology decreasing and the speed of bandwidth increasing, online learning applications are becoming a popular and feasible way to provide learning. The exponential growth of the Internet has enabled people to connect, do business, and accomplish tasks in ways that weren’t imagined even a few years ago. Most of us were taught in educational settings of schools and campuses, instructors and fellow students. Today it’s possible to deliver effective courses to a diverse population over the Internet.

Learners discover the advantages and disadvantages of online learning when they take their first online courses. The advantages to online learning are many: The ability to learn when it fits into your schedule, interacting with the course wherever you are in the world, and progressing through the materials at your own pace are the major advantages.

The first time I took an online course, I discovered I missed the eye-to-eye communication with the instructor and my fellow students. That minor disadvantage can be eased by adding e-mail, listserv, or chat components to an online course. I suggest that every online learning developer take an online class so you can experience what other learners experience when they take one of your courses.

eLearning with Dreamweaver MX: Building Online Learning Applications enables you to develop and deploy online training and eLearning applications by using Dreamweaver, a powerful Web-editing software package. You’ll explore the planning, development, and fine-tuning processes of creating an online learning application. This book will teach you the processes that real-world eLearning developers use to develop and maintain effective online learning applications.

Who Should Read This Book

I’ve written this book to enable readers from diverse backgrounds to develop an online training application with Dreamweaver MX. Four main groups will be interested in this material:

  • Novice to experienced Web developers who want to develop online learning applications.

  • Traditional computer-based training developers—Authorware programmers, for example—who want to develop online learning applications in HTML.

  • Those new to both training and Web development who would like to understand online learning application development. This book would be useful after they have completed a Dreamweaver fundamentals class or after reading a Dreamweaver hands-on book.

  • Students of instructional design or educational technology who need to understand the development phase of creating online learning applications.

What This Book Covers

The subject of this book is developing online learning applications (also called eLearning applications) with Macromedia Dreamweaver. You’ll also explore many powerful extensions to Dreamweaver, including the CourseBuilder and Learning Site extensions.

Throughout the book, starting with Chapter 4, “Creating a New Site Definition,” you’ll build a sample online learning application. You’ll start by defining the site in Dreamweaver and you’ll end with creating a tracking database using Learning Site. All the assets used to create the application can be downloaded from my Web site at


You can also download the assets from the New Riders Web site: www.newriders.com/. Search for the book page at 0735712743 and select downloads.

Book Goals

The six main sections of this book are divided into areas that roughly approximate the development cycle of an online learning application. In the following list you’ll find what you can expect to understand in each of the sections of this book.

Part I, “Planning Your Project,” will help you

  • Understand the five steps in the ADDIE instructional method and name some of the deliverables in each step

  • Interpret design documents, such as scripts, storyboards, and lists of assets

  • Identify team members in an instructional project and understand their roles

Part II, “Creating a Prototype,” will help you

  • Understand the technical issues in creating a specification (“spec”) for an online learning project

  • Create standard CSS and CSS-P (positioning) styles and understand how to link a single external stylesheet to all the Web pages in a site

  • Create functional buttons, menus, and other interface elements in Dreamweaver

Part III, “Inserting Content,” will help you

  • Organize and access the course assets by using the Assets panel in Dreamweaver

  • Create, use, and edit reusable templates and library items

  • Create custom interactions and insert JavaScript into Web pages by using Dreamweaver Behaviors

  • Insert and control rich media elements, such as Flash, Shockwave, and Authorware content

  • Understand how plug-ins work and which plug-ins are necessary for the rich media used. Help users find the plug-ins they need for the course

Part IV, “Using CourseBuilder,” will help you

  • Become familiar with the interactions and controls available through CourseBuilder

  • Understand how to use the tabbed wizard interface to insert CourseBuilder objects into a Web page

  • Modify a CourseBuilder object and save the custom object to the CourseBuilder Gallery for later use

  • Understand how to add complex scripting by using Course-Builder’s Action Manager

  • Place multiple CourseBuilder objects on a Web page to create a quiz and track that quiz with CourseBuilder’s tracking frameset

  • Use various techniques to hide quiz answers from students

Part V, “Tracking the User,” will help you

  • Understand how to use ASP to authenticate users

  • Track comments to a database by using ASP

  • Understand how to use the tracking capabilities of Learning Site, a free extension to Dreamweaver from Macromedia

  • Understand what learning management system software is and some of the common functions it performs

  • Name the popular tracking standards

  • Understand how to use CourseBuilder’s Knowledge Track option to track users

Part VI, “Collaboration and Optimization,” will help you

  • Understand how to upload and share the online learning application to a remote site

  • Understand Dreamweaver’s check in/out capabilities, as well as how to use Microsoft Visual SourceSafe and WebDAV to access and share the remote site with team members

  • Understand how to use the Synchronize command

  • Create, interpret, and save Dreamweaver reports

  • Understand how the Dreamweaver interface is controlled through the Configuration folder

  • Create and modify parts of the Dreamweaver interface

  • Download and install extensions from the Macromedia Exchange

What This Book Doesn’t Cover

This book is not an introduction to Dreamweaver. There are numerous introductions to Dreamweaver, including my book Sams Teach Yourself Macromedia Dreamweaver MX in 24 Hours. I assume that you have a working knowledge of the Dreamweaver interface. I also assume that you have already created a few Web pages containing text and images.

The information contained in this book demonstrates practical, real-world methods of developing instructionally sound and technically sturdy online learning applications. This book is not a theoretical text on instructional development. Check Appendix A, “Resources,” for books on instructional theories.

Software Requirements

You’ll need Dreamweaver and a connection to the Internet to accomplish the exercises in this book. This book focuses on the most recent version of Dreamweaver, Dreamweaver MX, but most of the exercises (probably 98%) can be accomplished with Dreamweaver 4. An Internet connection is necessary to download the two extensions you’ll explore: the CourseBuilder and Learning Site extensions. You can find a trial version of Dreamweaver MX at


Another type of software used to log and track an online learning application user, called a learning management system, will be discussed in Part V. This complicated software application is not something that typical users have sitting on their shelves of software boxes. Because a learning management system is a server application with a database back end, it is usually complicated to set up. I’ve used WBT Manager as the example in this book. If you are interested in trying this software, you can download a demo at


Why Use Dreamweaver?

Dreamweaver excels at interactivity. In online learning, interactivity helps engage the user and provide simulations of real-life job activities. No other Web editing programs in existence (as of this writing) enable a developer to quickly create click interactions—for example, simulating the selection of a button in a software application—or drag-and-drop or multiple-choice question interactions.

Dreamweaver is also the premier professional Web-editing application. Dreamweaver not only enables you to create Web pages, cascading stylesheets, Dynamic HTML, and JavaScript, but it also facilitates uploading and safely sharing an online learning application with a development team. Many specialized features that aren’t built in to Dreamweaver are available as free extensions to the program.

Have fun using Dreamweaver to create the sample online learning application in this book! Creating online learning applications is a rewarding and exciting application of the World Wide Web. I hope this book helps augment your valuable contributions to the growing field of online learning.

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