Wednesday, November 04, 2009

e-Learning Authoring Tools Crash Course -- Follow Up

I had the great pleasure of speaking last night at the Massachusetts chapter of the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI).

It was a lively conversation and a wonderful opportunity for me to meet some of my online colleagues from the twitter sphere (thanks for coming, y'all!) as well as connect with some new folks in the Boston e-learning community.

Special thanks to Jean Marrapodi for inviting me to present.


My topic: e-Learning Authoring Tools Crash Course: Deciding What Authoring Tools to Use and When

In preparation for the session, I had to take a crash course in authoring tools myself.

(If you know me, you know I've never been much of a tool user, although I have been called a tool.)

Here are some of the resources I promised to post.

My Sources
Since I'm not a tool user, I needed to mine the collective brain of the e-learning community to find out what's what. Here's what I turned to:

Kineo Authoring Tools Reviews OK. I know I'm biased because I work for Kineo, but I do think our review section is great. Paul Johns, Theo Cardiff, Steve Rayson among others have taken a bunch of tools for test drives and tell us what they think. They've included rating scales and subjective tales of their experiences, sometimes along with links to examples. We're adding new reviews all the time, so let me know if there's a tool you'd like us to check out.

eLearning Authoring Tools Mind Map A month or two ago I asked for your input to create a collaborative comparison of different products on the market. I asked "What do you use it for?, what do you like about? and what don't you like about it. Still a work in progress as I see it's being updated all the time. Note: you can generally tell if info was provided by a real user or by an authoring tool company ;)

Bryan Chapman, Brandon Hall Research Report, Authoring Tool KnowledgeBase 2009 (A Buyer's Guide to 120+ of the Best E-learning Content Development Applications). The list does include older tools like Authorware, which are no longer being supported and definitely missing a tool or two. But this could be a great place for an organization to start sorting through the mess of tools out there.

Michael Hanley provides a great resource to the eLearning community with his ongoing review of open source tools. Michael Hanley's E-Learning Curve Blog.

Janet Clarey of Brandon Hall Research recently wrote up a nice review of My Udutu.

Tom Kuhlman of Articulate is always knocking it out of the park over on his Rapid E-Learning Blog. A great place to seek inspiration and tips, and not just for Articulate users.

e-Learning Authoring Tools

The Brandon-Hall Authoring Tools database currently includes over 120 tools. That's a whole heck of a lot of tools. And that doesn't include half of 'em, I'm sure.

Our group was able to identify about 15 products off the tops of our heads. Gives you a sense of the marketplace, doesn't it? I looked at that list of 120 and many of the tools I'd never heard of either.

We flashed through the list and then took a closer look at these tools, along with a few examples along the way:







Atlantic Link




Suddenly Smart

Thinking Worlds

We obviously couldn't cover every tool in the pool, and I'm sure some feelings will be hurt. But I think I did get a good smattering -- something new for everyone.

Thanks to all for coming!


Sahana Chattopadhyay said...

I am so glad I made it to your presentation. Thank you so much for this follow-up list.

Jori Raymond said...

Appreciate having these resources. I have some authoring tool questions:
--Can Articulate content be edited and updated easily? (I know that content is not modifiable after conversion, but is going back and updating and converting a problem?)
--Lectora claims that Articulate has SCORM compliance issues--any truth to that?
--Any technical problems using Articulate with an LMS?
---Can you create buttons and navigation with Articulate?
--Anyone have thoughts on Lectora versus Articulate?


Cammy Bean said...

Hi Jori --

The best place to get answers to your questions will be on the Articulate Community Forums:

My understanding is that Articulate is much easier to use out of the box than Lectora.

I haven't experienced firsthand any SCORM issues with Articulate, although I have heard in the past that it can take a bit of tweaking, depending on your LMS.