As you already can see, we completely missed our ACTDEN 2.0 launch date. Not by a little, but by a country mile. Reasons?
Too many to name, but mainly because ACT360 won contracts to design some very complex e-learning applications and all of our internal resources in the last seven months have been dedicated to these projects. Specs are confidential, but I can say that we now have some very powerful personalization techniques that are right at the forefront of e-learning. Our original TestDEN TOEFL Trainer had similar concepts built into the Pre-Test.
Based on the results of the diagnostic Pre-Test, TOEFL Trainer prioritized the lesson plan according to the weaknesses of the student. This was back in 1998 and though the methods we used were relatively crude, it was a nice little product that served us well.
Anyway, we have had a complete internal re-think of ACTDEN 2.0. It came as we were digging up the old MathDEN code to get it working again. Remember, most of the ACTDEN tutorials were programmed in the days of CGI scripts, and it was going to take a complete re-write to make it work again.
That's when we decided to completely gut the old code and write a brand new engine for ACTDEN 2.0. Then we thought, how about we give teachers and instructional designers a way to create their own tutorials to add to our own, and publish on the site? Why not add some more communication features like chat and blog-style comments? How about improving the registration system so that a single password gets users to the various lessons? And so and so forth.
In other words, this has been a lot like the renovations on my 96-year old house in Vancouver's east side. Once you start picking at a problem, the solution gets bigger and bigger.
We are still working away at the custom projects schedule for launch at the end of summer. ACTDEN 2.0 will kick into high gear right after that, and a limited beta is scheduled for November 2006. Ouch, that's a year after we first announced it.