Recall that in my previous article ‚I pointed out that there are hundreds of e-Learning authoring tools in the market today. Selecting the proper tool for developing content is not a trivial task.
In this article let us look at some dominant factors that should influence your decision while choosing the best content authoring tool that is right for your Learning Management Systems.
Here is a list of questions you should ask during the evaluation process of content authoring tool. This will save you time and money.
- What type of training are you providing?
- Is it a blended learning (partly online and partly classroom) experience?
- Will you provide training on CD/DVD or other media?
- Do you aim to get your learners certified on a product, service, or procedure?
- Is a certain software application being taught?
- Do you have the resources to support the type of online training you wish to develop and conduct?
- Do you have graphic designers?
- Do you have appropriate subject matter experts?
- Does the training needs to be refreshed periodically? Say, anywhere from 6 months to a year or beyond?
- Do you have resources for rendition of voice over?
- Do you have video producers?
- Do you have models to animate the content that you want to develop?
- Do you have production Designers?
- What happens after the training has been developed?
- Will any tests be associated with the training changes?
- Will you have the right resources and support in place for any ongoing e-leaning content development needs?
- Does the authoring tool support all multimedia file formats which are required by your e-Learning course content?
- What level of interactivity is required for the training?
- Simulations and other dynamic learning activities are great to have, but are they really appropriate or needed for the type of Computer Based Training that you are developing?
Flash has become the standard tool used for many interactive e-learning activities. Do a rain check to see whether your tools are compatible with Flash.
- How much is budgeted for the project?
- What things are specific to the type of training and may be compromised if outsourced?
- How steep is the learning curve associated with the tools you are thinking of using for the project?
- What platforms will the training be delivered on?
- Does the online training have to work across a combination of platforms such as Windows, MAC, Linux or others?
- Does e-learning content have to work across a variety of browsers?
Total system cost
It is always best to evaluate any software by looking at the total cost of ownership (TCO). TCO is a financial estimate. Its purpose is to help consumers and enterprise managers determine direct and indirect costs of a product or system.
The TCO would include the cost of the application, training, upgrades, maintenance, and any other costs associated with the ownership of the product over its lifetime.
Some Situational Parameters: Be mindful that not all tools are appropriate for a given training delivery method. It is important to consider the context in which content authoring tools will be used. As you gather information, keep in mind that as long as your computer based training (CBT) is founded on good instructional design principles, the interactivity produced by the authoring tool you choose will strengthen the learner’s experience. So consider training objectives while choosing the authoring tool.
In next part of the series we will take a closer look at some of the popular e-Learning Content Authoring Tools.