Choosing Authoring Tools Wisely

When it comes to picking out an e-learning LMS (learning management system), the authoring tools it supports is a significant consideration.

According to Peter Berking of the ADL Co-Lab (who authored an article in the Fall issue of Government Elearning!), “Authoring tools are designed for particular styles of learning, delivery platforms, file formats, e-learning standards and production workflows. If your organization chooses a tool or set of tools that is not optimized for your needs, you could waste a lot of time and money creating e-learning that does not function correctly within your training infrastructure or is instructionally ineffective.”

Course-authoring tools can create online courses, while content-authoring tools create subject-specific online content. Depending on the software used to create content, subject-specific online content probably has fewer features and functionality than an online course created with a course-authoring tool.

“A critical factor in choosing tools is durability,” notes Berking. “This relates to whether the tools will have longevity in the marketplace such that they continue to be available and supported, allowing source files to be opened and edited in future versions of the application. It also relates to whether the tools will, in the future, produce output formats supported by browser versions and browser plug-in updates.”

Advantages to mandating a certain set of tools within a government agency or department includes:

>> lower per-user costs;
>> economies of scale in training, help-desk support and configuration management; and
>> expediting the enforcement of uniform standards.

There are several hundred e-learning tools in the marketplace today. Selecting the proper course-authoring tool for developing your online training content is no small undertaking, even though a good LMS should work with many types of content-authoring tools. No — authoring tools themselves cannot be SCORM conformant, SCORM compliant or SCORM certified; but we still hope you check out Berking’s article on the importance of SCORM in the whole scheme of choosing an e-learning authoring tool.

Jerry Roche
Editorial director

When it comes to picking out an e-learning LMS (learning management system), the authoring tools it supports is a significant consideration.

According to Peter Berking of the ADL Co-Lab (who authored an article in the Fall issue of Government Elearning!), “Authoring tools are designed for particular styles of learning, delivery platforms, file formats, e-learning standards and production workflows. If your organization chooses a tool or set of tools that is not optimized for your needs, you could waste a lot of time and money creating e-learning that does not function correctly within your training infrastructure or is instructionally ineffective.”

Course-authoring tools can create online courses, while content-authoring tools create subject-specific online content. Depending on the software used to create content, subject-specific online content probably has fewer features and functionality than an online course created with a course-authoring tool.

“A critical factor in choosing tools is durability,” notes Berking. “This relates to whether the tools will have longevity in the marketplace such that they continue to be available and supported, allowing source files to be opened and edited in future versions of the application. It also relates to whether the tools will, in the future, produce output formats supported by browser versions and browser plug-in updates.”

Advantages to mandating a certain set of tools within a government agency or department includes:

>> lower per-user costs;
>> economies of scale in training, help-desk support and configuration management; and
>> expediting the enforcement of uniform standards.

There are several hundred e-learning tools in the marketplace today. Selecting the proper course-authoring tool for developing your online training content is no small undertaking, even though a good LMS should work with many types of content-authoring tools. No — authoring tools themselves cannot be SCORM conformant, SCORM compliant or SCORM certified; but we still hope you check out Berking’s article on the importance of SCORM in the whole scheme of choosing an e-learning authoring tool.

Jerry Roche
Editorial director

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