Content Bundling and Sharing with Tangerine
Since it came on the scene 2012, Tangerine has grown into a full-featured platform with applications in student assessment, classroom observation, professional coaching and feedback, survey research, project operations (including consultant timekeeping and asset management), and clinical research (including case management modules, two-way and peer-to-peer data sync, and data inquiry functions, among others). We will fully unpack those features in subsequent posts; for now, we want to focus on one specific use you may not have known it could support.
Tangerine for rapid content bundling and delivery
Tangerine allows you the flexibility to embed multimedia content of many kinds. Whenever you install Tangerine – whether on a smartphone, a tablet, or your laptop’s browser – all the resources needed to display it appropriately are bundled together. Because Tangerine supports embedding multimedia in your instruments – including videos, audio files, images, and GIFs, in addition to text formats like PDF – all those assets come along for the ride. It’s a simple idea, but the practical implications are powerful: you can easily create a customized learning path for your users that will work offline, wherever they are. (And if you happen to include assessment items as mastery checks, they can upload those results whenever they next go online.) If you want to see how it works, click through this link – we have often used ‘instruments’ like this one to enable new users to self-train on the Tangerine platform. (Training Tangerine on Tangerine! There’s an Xzibit meme here just waiting to be created.)
In essence, Tangerine becomes a content management system(link is external)… only it’s easy to deploy, requiring minimal technical knowledge and no additional infrastructure. If you have your idea in place and your assets (videos, audio files, PDFs, etc.) at the ready, you could produce your training package in fewer than 15 minutes.
Okay, but what about updates? And data consumption?
Because Tangerine was designed as an offline-first product for use in lower and middle-income country contexts, we have thought carefully about connectivity issues. Downloading a minimal Tangerine installation will consume 4.7 megabytes of data. That’s a one-time cost. As you begin to add multimedia content, the file size will increase. However, Tangerine supports both updates that are both over the air and incremental. This is a key feature, with two major implications for field use.
First, users don’t need to return to HQ or an office to get an update – the new instrument or content can be pushed to them, wherever they happen to be, as long as they can temporarily connect to the internet. (Or if they meet someone who has the bundle on a laptop, it can be side-loaded – no internet required!)
Second, only the changes between the existing installation and the update are pushed. Let’s say version 1 of my instrument contains 7 mb of content and I decide to upgrade it with an additional 2 mb of audio files and PDFs. I don’t want my users to have to re-download the full 7 mb – which hasn’t changed! – just to get the additional 2 mb of content. I only want them to have to download 2 mb of new stuff. And indeed, that’s how it works!
As a content designer thinking carefully about my users, this is extremely powerful. It means I can create multiple versions of the same instrument, with varying amounts of multimedia content embedded. I could create a text-only version for my users in rural areas with poor connectivity, a slightly richer experience for those in places where 3G or 4G coverage exists, and an extremely engaging experience for those who have access to Wi-Fi. And my users can elect to upgrade at their convenience, based on their needs and preferences.