There’s been a lot to celebrate lately at Inductive Automation. Between the release of Ignition 8, a major Resources Section makeover, planning a little event called ICC, and other projects, we’ve been a bit busy. And in the midst of all of that, we just hit an exciting milestone: our online learning platform Inductive University surpassed 2 million videos watched! This is perfect timing because we’ve just finished giving Inductive University (IU) a complete design and user-interface overhaul.
The redesign was an ambitious project that met with our goal of bringing the best possible experience to IU’s users. If you’ve visited the University before, you’ll definitely notice some changes in the user interface as well as new training videos for Ignition 8. To bring you up to speed, here’s some background on the University and a quick look at the recent work we’ve done to improve it.
Why We Built the University
Driven on by our founder Steve Hechtman’s vision, we built IU with the goal of offering a free, comprehensive online training resource filled with engaging educational content that helps members of the global Ignition community increase their skills and enhance their success. Launched in September 2014, IU was the first site of its kind in the industrial automation software market.
While we’ve worked to make IU live up to our brand promise of “Dream It, Do It,” it’s the users who’ve really made it a success. In addition to watching over 2 million videos, IU students have passed over 375,800 challenges and earned over 6,000 credentials (credentials are the first step to becoming Ignition Certified).
We designed IU so that users could proceed through the curriculum course by course, or pick and choose certain lessons or topics whenever they wanted a quick how-to guide for a specific need. As time went on, we added tools that let companies track their team members’ progress through the courses. Our users have continued to give us lots of helpful feedback which we’ve incorporated into the new look and layout of IU. Now, let’s look at some of the specific changes we’ve enacted to make IU an even better resource.
Redesigned Courses Interface
Previously in IU, the Courses and Library sections were separated, as shown below:
We’ve combined the Courses and Library sections into a single interface to simplify the navigation and give you a better understanding of where you are within the course content.
Closed Captioning and Course Transcripts
All IU videos are narrated, but we know that sometimes trying to listen and follow along with narration isn’t the most effective way to learn. If you’re trying to study in a loud facility, for example, or if English isn’t your native language, it might be easier to read the material rather than simply listen. Going forward, all IU videos will include transcripts and closed captioning. Plus, if you have Google Chrome, you can translate IU transcripts into your native language quickly.
Playback Speed Controls
We know everyone learns at a different pace. Some users may want to watch a lesson more slowly and take their time absorbing the information, while some users would prefer to zip through it. We’ve added playback speed controls so that you can always tailor the pace of the lesson. To use this feature, click the gear icon in the video player window.
Improved Lesson Sharing
We love to see that users are sharing IU video lessons with their colleagues, so we’ve made it easier to copy and share IU lesson links. Just click the Share icon in the bottom-right corner of the video screen to copy the URL and then paste it into an email, text message, or browser, as you wish. We’ve also added the specific Ignition version number as part of the video URL, so you’ll be certain that the recipient sees the lesson for the same version of Ignition that you’re seeing.
Streamlined Challenge System
Challenges are essentially quizzes that test your knowledge of an IU topic, and each challenge that you pass with a 100% score represents an important step toward your IU credential. Naturally, passing challenges requires time, effort, concentration, and some patience, but we wanted to take some of the friction out of the process. In the new IU, each challenge will have fewer questions to complete. We’ve streamlined the challenge interface to make it easier to view and interact with the questions. Also, when you submit incorrect answers, the system gives more helpful feedback so you’re more likely to get a higher score on your next try. We believe all these changes together will lead to better experiences with the challenges and allow you to learn at a faster pace.
Please note that the full Ignition 8 certification curriculum, including challenges, will be available this summer. If you start studying the 8 training videos now, you’ll be well-prepared when the new challenges go live.
General UI Fixes and Improvements
We’re proud that so many industrial professionals have found the University to be a useful resource, but we also knew that it would definitely benefit from a more modern look and feel that matches the aesthetic of our main inductiveautomation.com website. So rather than rest on our laurels, the IU team has been making many UI fixes, such as faster and more accurate search results, improved mobile-responsiveness, more visual consistency, and other little user-friendly touches, all of which add up to a much smoother user experience.
Start Exploring and Learning
We invite you to explore the new and improved Inductive University, as well as the updated Ignition User Manual. As always, we’re eager to hear what you think, whether in the comments section below or at our ideas portal. See you in IU!