Friday, July 02, 2010

Crowdsourcing: Authoring Tools & LMS Questions

I'm talking to an in house learning team as they work on developing a strategy around eLearning -- including authoring tools and LMS selection.

They've posed some questions to me that I was hoping to get your input on -- wisdom of the crowd and all that:

  • What should we look out for when selecting a tool to do simulation development or quizzing/evaluation?
  • Do we need a full-blown authoring tool like Lectora or Outstart if we already have something like Captivate?
  • What developments in elearning are becoming commonplace and how can we factor them into our tools selection?
  • What do your clients (or others in the biz) say they wish they’d done differently when they committed to an LMS and in-house development of elearning?
Leave your ideas in comments or feel free to email me directly cammybean @ gmail



mike said...

Depending on how robust they need these to be, often one tool to do everything sounds better in theory than it actually works in practice. If you want extensive, detailed reporting on the questions your LMS may or may not be able to give it to you. That could impact the decision for the quizzing/assessment piece.

For development one big factor could be if they have existing content they are hoping to make use of and if so what format it is in currently. i.e. PowerPoint that can be converted using a flash based tool such as Articulate/Captivate, etc.

To me flexibility to easily and quickly incorporate different types of content in different formats is very important along with ease of use. Another important thing to consider is how easy it is to update after you publish. There are ALWAYS updates aren't there?

Jesss Diaz said...

Most LMS systems like BBV are not capable of creating simulations. For that you need Captivate, Camatasia, or Articulate. You want to insure that the tools for creating interactive and engaging quizzes and content plays nice with SCORM. All of the above tools will need that to talk to each other.

Make sure you brush up on SCORM from the the vendors websites and ask them directly about compliance issues to the standard (SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 2004).

This will allow you to create content outside the LMS and then just plug it in.

Cammy Bean said...

Thanks for the input! It's great to hear from people actually using these tools and implementing them on an enterprise level.

Anonymous said...

Quick response to the Captivate question and then long response to the larger question.

We liked Captivate but found scoring was an issue without some Flash knowledge. Some of the products on the market require no Flash or Javascript knowledge but will facilitate small interactivities such as drag and drops and hotspots.

When we selected an LCMS/LMS we were quite rigorous about what our business requirements were, etc. It was a great exercise and we got a tool that absolutely fit our needs. However, I wish our tech support group had played a more active part in the process.

They were there for demos and to ask questions but later they threw up a lot of barriers and blamed it on the vendor we bought the system from. Tech support didn't have an expert who could support a Windows platform, the database team took care of one set of tasks and tech support another, they didn't want to take part in the implementation so the training team ended up providing front line tech support for users because the org's tech support didn't have the knowledge.

The list goes on and on. What I would do today is ask for a single point of contact for the entire selection and implementation process. Get their commitment and ownership for support and define roles clearly.

I know this probably isn't on a lot of people's radar for selecting and implementing an LMS but it will end up preventing success regardless of the great product and work the training team does.

John D Roberts said...

As part of the in-house team Cammy spoke to today, I really appreciate your insights. I hope to report back when we've made our initial tools selection.

Unknown said...

I would agree with one of the things Jesss says - SCORM compliance is super important. And the words 'supports' SCORM 1.2 or SCORM 2004 have a wide range of implications. Hence one sure fire way of getting good information, is to ask them questions about different kinds of things you would want to do in the near as well as not so near future and whether SCORM support provided by the LMS/LCMS is capable of handling such changing demands. Also talk extensively to your own technical team and find out if they feel comfortable working with a product based on X or Y technology, because believe me - not matter how awesome the tool, your tech team will have to get their hands dirty sooner or later.

Joe Deegan said...

One of the greatest lessons I learned starting up in house eLearning dev is to not pay for what you don't need. I spent a lot of time researching a wide range of LMS systems that had all the bells and whistles but when I looked back at the requirements I decided that the bells and whistles might be nice to have but definitely not a "need."

As far as authoring tools, it depends on the type of content. My first project was for a software rollout so Captivate was ideal but as I started getting more soft skills projects I found that Articulate was the better choice. Now I am using a combo of Articulate/Captivate and we have never found a need to go with anything more robust. Can't say enough about the Articulate community especially for the not so tech savvy instructional designers.