Create online courses and Silverlight Learning Snacks with LCDS

Overview

The Microsoft Learning Content Development System (LCDS) is a free tool that enables the Microsoft training and certification community to create high-quality, interactive, online courses and Microsoft Silverlight Learning Snacks. The LCDS allows anyone in the Microsoft training and certification community to publish e-learning courses and Learning Snacks by completing the easy-to-use LCDS forms that seamlessly generate highly customized content, interactive activities, quizzes, games, assessments, animations, demos, and other multimedia.

Create

Preview

Refine

Delight

Set up your course structure, select a template for each topic, and author your content. Upload your images, demos, videos, and audio. Add links, attach files, and more.

Experience your course from the learner’s perspective at any time. Use the Preview feature to view, verify, and interact with the full course as it is at that moment.

Make your desired changes and save your work.

Publish your course and distribute it to your audience via the web or a learning management system.

Download the latest version of LCDS

The latest version of the LCDS is ready to download. This release provides a way for you to create standalone interactive elements that you can use in PowerPoint presentations or launch from your website. For more details, see the "What's new in LCDS 2.8?" section later on this page. Register to download LCDS 2.8 today!

What does the LCDS offer?

With the LCDS, the Microsoft training and certification community can:

  • Develop and deliver content quickly, while it is timely and relevant.

  • Deliver web content that conforms to SCORM 1.2, and which can be hosted in a learning management system.

  • Upload or attach existing content. (LCDS supports multiple file formats.)

  • Choose from a wide variety of forms for authoring rich e-learning content and Silverlight-based interactive components.

  • Develop course structure and easily rearrange it at any time.

  • Download sample courses (LCDS must be installed)

What's new in LCDS 2.8?

Using LCDS v2.8, the Microsoft training and certification community can create standalone interactive elements for use in PowerPoint presentations.

Note If you previously used a community version of the LCDS, you need to follow these steps to get your courses into LCDS 2.8.

If you use…

Copy contents of this directory

Into this directory

Windows Vista or Windows 7

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft Learning\LCDSc\courses

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft Learning\LCDS\courses

Windows XP

C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Learning\LCDSc\courses

C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Learning\LCDS\courses

Is the LCDS available in languages other than English?

The LCDS is available in seven additional languages. To download, click Register to download. After you register, you can download the following versions:

  • Simplified Chineses

  • Hindi

  • Polish

  • Portuguese (Brazil)

  • Russian

  • Spanish (Spain)

  • Turkish

The Microsoft Learning Content Development System (LCDS) provides a library of templates to help you design e-learning courses. You can create content with text and pictures, interactive activities, quizzes, games, assessments, animations, demos, and other multimedia.

The LCDS sample courses demonstrate how you can use different course structures and a variety of templates to create engaging e-learning courses.

Download the sample courses and browse through the contents. You can modify each sample course, save it, and access it for personal use. Each sample course contains examples of template use and course structure.

Note For you to use these sample courses, the LCDS must be installed on your computer.

To view the following sample courses after you download them, open the LCDS and click Open on the toolbar. The courses will appear in the dialog box.

Sample course title

Windows 7 and Windows Vista downloads

Windows XP downloads

What's New in Windows Vista

— This course demonstrates some of the new features in Windows Vista. It uses the Click Table template to lay out feature areas, and includes demonstrations to show users how to accomplish certain tasks.

Templates used in this course: Animation, Click Table, Drag and Drop, Tile Game, and Demonstration

Download (.exe file, 21.3 MB)

Download (.exe file, 21.3 MB)

New Features of SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services

— This course introduces key features of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services. It uses interactive templates, such as the Sort Game and the Tile Flip, to test users' knowledge, and then presents demonstrations to illustrate reporting in action.

Templates used in this course: Animation, Sort Game, Tile Game, Click Table, Demonstration, Multiple Choice, and Drag and Drop

Download (.exe file, 17.6 MB)

Download (.exe file, 17.6 MB)

Frequently Asked Questions

General

A.

The Microsoft training and certification community includes the following groups:

  • Microsoft Learning Partners (formerly called Microsoft Certified Partners for Learning Solutions)

  • Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPs)

  • Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs)

  • Microsoft Courseware Library (CWL) community

  • Microsoft training and certification volume licensing (VL) customers

  • Microsoft training and certification Software Assurance (SA) customers

  • Microsoft IT Academy members

  • Microsoft Learning Digital Literacy (DL) community

  • Other subject-matter experts

A.

Microsoft training and certification builds innovative products and solutions that enable IT professionals, developers, and information workers to make the most of their investment in Microsoft technology. Microsoft training and certification offers a diverse range of programs, which includes, Microsoft Press books, skills assessments, and e-learning solutions. The primary focus is on IT training that supports Microsoft technology for aspiring and existing IT professionals.

The Microsoft Education Product Group (EdPG) mission is to empower people to realize their social and economic potential by giving everyone access to quality education experiences through technology. The group’s primary focus is to enhance and develop Microsoft products specifically for educators, students, and teaching institutions in primary, secondary, and tertiary education.

A.

You own the content that you create by using the LCDS.

A.

If you are authoring courses that you do not plan to host on a learning management system (LMS) or courses for which you simply need an additional distribution method, you can distribute your course files. Using the following instructions, you could place your course files on a website (for download) or on a CD, or you could send an email message to select people.

  1. Open your courses folder. The following chart shows the path to the courses folder.

    If you are running:

    Your courses folder will be located here:

    Windows 8, Windows 7, or Windows Vista

    C:\ProgramData\Microsoft Learning\LCDS\courses

    Windows XP Service Pack 2

    C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Learning\LCDS\courses

  2. Locate the course that you want to distribute.

  3. Depending on how you plan to distribute, you may want to zip or compress the folder with the course name on it; otherwise, you can copy the folder to your specified destination. (If learners will not be downloading the course from a website or intranet site, or if you plan to send the course in an email message, zipping or compressing the folder will save on download time and inbox space.)

  4. Your learners will need to open the folder (if the folder is zipped or compressed, they will need to unzip or decompress before they open it), and then open the wrapper.htm file to view the course. Be sure to provide your audience with instructions directing them to the wrapper.htm file, as this might not be intuitive.

Installation and setup

A.

To run the LCDS on your computer, you need the following minimum system requirements:

  • Operating system: Windows XP Service Pack 2

  • Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 or later

  • Developer platform: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 or later

  • XML software development services: Microsoft Core XML Services (MSXML) 6.0

  • Installation and configuration service: Windows Installer 3.1

  • Multimedia player: Adobe Flash Player 8, Microsoft Silverlight 4.0

A.

LCDS is optimized for Internet Explorer. E-learning created in LCDS 2.8 can also be viewed in Firefox 3.5.9 and Firefox 3.6.3. The LCDS does not support Safari or Opera.

Templates

A.

When you create a glossary, enter the term in bold text and the definition for the term in non-bold text. Do not bold any of the text in your definitions. If you use bold text in your definitions, some of your content will not appear.

A.

If you enter any spaces at the beginning of the glossary term, the spaces might be sorted as a category, which would appear as a blank header. To avoid this, do not enter any spaces at the beginning of a glossary term.

A.

The text does not wrap correctly if the words are too long to fit next to the image. If you can reword your text by using shorter words, the text will wrap around the graphic properly.

A.

Refer to the LCDS Help for instructions on how to upload the simulation Shockwave Flash (SWF) or Windows Media (WMV) file to the course media folder. In addition to the simulation file, you must also upload the simulation .xml file into the same media folder. The simulation .xml file contains the steps information and is required for the Flash file to function correctly.

Globalization

A.

When you localize a course in the LCDS, the language string must be correctly specified in the imsmanifest.xml file. Look for the following code string:

<imsmd:langstring xml:lang=

For non-English courses, the attribute should read the two-letter language code. For example, a Danish language course string should read as follows:

<imsmd:langstring xml:lang="da"

The following is not the correct code string for a Danish language course:

<imsmd:langstring xml:lang="da-DK"

A.

Japanese glossaries are sorted by phonetics. To sort by phonetics, you must manually edit the XML content file to include the phonetic characters. To do this, open the XML topic file that corresponds to your glossary topic. (You can find the file from the status bar in the LCDS.) In this file, look for the following code string, where "sample_term" would be replaced by your term name:

<definition term="sample_term">

To the beginning of the definition term, add the phonetic character followed by a space, then a hyphen, and then a space. Use the half-width alphanumeric mode on your keyboard to enter the spaces and hyphen. When the glossary is viewed in Internet Explorer, the phonetics and the hyphens will be stripped from the glossary terms, and the glossary will be sorted by the phonetics.

Note If the glossary includes English terms, each English term will appear under its alphanumeric character. The English alphanumeric characters will be displayed first, followed by the Japanese terms.

A.

When a localized course is created outside the LCDS and it includes a glossary, make sure that you open the course in the LCDS and use the "Save" functionality to save the course. This ensures that the glossary sorts correctly and the alphabet list appears correctly.

A.

When a course is localized outside of the LCDS, you need to open glossary pages within the LCDS and re-save them. If you localize the courses externally to the LCDS, the sorting order of the terms within the XML content file changes. During an LCDS re-save, the LCDS re-establishes the correct sorting order within the glossary XML content file.

A.

This is an issue with Microsoft Internet Explorer 7, for Japanese. To resolve this issue, download the Internet Explorer 7 update.

A.

Localized content is supported only on an operating system of the targeted language. If non-English content is loaded into a computer that has the English language installed, non-ASCII characters will be lost when saving the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) package. SCORM packages are saved by using the ZIP file format, which supports only ASCII characters for file and directory names. If you develop non-English content, you must do so on a non-English operating system, or on an operating system with a non-English language pack installed and active. Once the content is developed, it must be packaged on a similarly configured computer. When using the non-English language pack, that language's ASCII values will align with the ZIP file and everything will work as expected.

A.

When you enter Japanese text in the half-width Katakana or half-width alphanumeric mode, the Yen mark displays as "\". This is a known issue with many editors. To display the Yen symbol, use one of these input modes: Hiragana, full-width Katakana or full-width alphanumeric.

A.

This issue occurs if you created the simulation by using an older version of the simulation Flash template (simulation SWF). To fix this, you can modify the German global XML files (de.xml and de-de.xml) in the CCS. The variable "simulation_showMe" has to be modified to remove the text

"<b>" 
and
"</b>"

A.

The truncation does not happen in a JPN environment. No truncation appears with Japanese Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 2 at 1024 x 768 and higher resolutions.

Help

A.

The LCDS is a free tool that was created by Microsoft training and certification and is community supported. Please refer to the LCDS forum to see if your question has already been answered or to submit your question.

A.

The following file formats are supported:

  • For audio: The Voice of the Expert component requires .MP3 files.

  • For video: Animations can be SWF or .WMV file format, and demonstrations can be SWF or WMV format.

  • For static graphics: The LCDS supports JPG/JPEG and PNG formats.

A.

The maximum characters that you can use depend on the type of title:

  • Course title: Course title: 95-character maximum

  • Module title: 80-character maximum

  • Topic title: 70-character maximum

A.

The Help topic "Templates > Play > Tile Game > About tile games" explains that the default number of submissions is eight.

The Help topic "Templates > Play > Tile Game > Using the Tile Game template" indicates that by default, eight turns display in the Number of Turns field. It is best to have anywhere from 6–9 turns in the Tile Game for the best learning experience.

A.

Yes, both terms refer to the allowed number of turns that a user has. The LCDS default for a turn (submission) is eight. Authors can change the default as needed for special cases.

A.

Please submit feedback about the tool by using one of the following methods.

Job aids

A.

When you create job aids, you must save the file with the MHT file extension by using the Microsoft Office Word Save As > Single File Web Page option. If you try to save the file by using the Internet Explorer Save As Web Archive, single file option, you will lose the images.

A.

This might be a formatting issue within the MHT file. To correct the numbering, follow these instructions:

  1. Open the MHT file by using Microsoft Office Word.

  2. Click Continue Numbering for the step that is incorrectly numbered.

  3. Save the file.

A.

The click to print icon has been phased out and there is no option for such an icon within the jobaidtemplate.dotx file. You can use the Internet Explorer print functionality.

Upgrade

A.

No. However, when a new version is available, you must download the new version and install it.

A.

No. When you install the newer version, the courses do not automatically upgrade. You must use the LCDS to open each course to upgrade it.

A.

To upgrade a course:

  1. Open the course by using the Open functionality in the LCDS.

  2. When you are prompted to upgrade, click OK.

To access courses that you started developing when using an earlier version of LCDS, you must move the courses folder.

Where your courses are located will depend on whether you are running Windows Vista or an earlier version of Windows. You can always access your courses by opening the LCDS and then clicking Open (in the toolbar). All of your courses appear in the Open dialog box. The following table lists the paths where your courses are saved, depending on which version of Windows you are using.

If you are running:

Your courses folder will be located here:

Windows 8, Windows 7, or Windows Vista

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft Learning\LCDS\courses

Windows XP Service Pack 2

C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Learning\LCDS\courses

If you are running Windows 8, Windows 7, or Windows Vista and you have courses that you started developing by using LCDS versions earlier than 2.2, and you want to view or edit them in LCDS 2.2, you must move those courses into an updated file path, as follows:

  1. Go to C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Learning\LCDS\courses. This is where your course files are located for those courses you developed by using LCDS versions earlier than 2.2.

  2. Select and cut (CTRL + X) all the courses you are moving.

  3. Paste (CTRL + V) the courses into this folder: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft Learning\LCDS\courses.

Open the LCDS, and then click Open (on the toolbar). The courses that you just moved are displayed in the list of courses in the Open dialog box.

A.

No, you do not need to save each page. The course will upgrade when you open the course by using the newer version of the LCDS.

Viewer

A.

To change the course title, you must change the title by using the Save As button in the LCDS. You must open the specified course within the LCDS, click Save As, and rename the course. This will create a new course folder (which corresponds to the new course name) and change the title of the course, which will change the white title at the top of the viewer.

A.

Do not use the ampersand (&) in topic names. Spell out the word "and" instead.

Known issues and troubleshooting

A.

This is a known issue for computers that run Windows XP Service Pack 2 with Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 installed. To avoid this issue, please upgrade your browser to Internet Explorer 8.

A.

Some keyboard shortcuts might not function at this time. If the keyboard shortcuts for redo and undo do not work for you, please use the redo and undo buttons that are part of the LCDS user interface.

A.
  • A horizontal scroll bar appears when the click table page is viewed in Internet Explorer.

  • In the Demonstration Transcript window, the title on the blue banner displays the topic name, not the lesson name.

  • Within the LCDS Help file, go to "Templates > Try > Simulation > Using the Simulation Template." The first bulleted line under the Simulation heading reads Demo. This should read Simulation.

  • When a user creates a non-English course in the LCDS, the files located within the Platform and Viewer folders are set to Read-Only by default. Files located outside these two folders are not set to Read-Only.

  • In the instructions for the Tile game, the word arrow needs to be added after the word Submit.

A.

In previous versions, if you were running the Windows Vista operating system, you needed to be logged on as administrator to run LCDS on your computer. This issue has been resolved in version 2.2.