Tuesday, July 10

Choosing Tools - Big Question for July

As compared to ten years ago when there were roughly four major authoring tools, today there are a large number of different tools and different approaches to creating content. You can use standard authoring tools, rapid development tools, LCMS, simulation development tools, HTML editors, Wikis, and many others including a vast array of media creation solutions. And to make matters more difficult seems to be a constant flood of new tools. We literally have 100s of choices.

So, this month, The Big Question is...

Choosing Tools?

Please answer this question by posting to your own blog or commenting on this post.
(For further help in how to participate via blog posts, see the side bar.)

Points to Consider:
  • How does the eLearning design process need to change to accomodate such a wide variety of tools?
  • How does the tool selection process need to change?
  • What should learning professionals do to stay up-to-speed? Do they need to learn new tools constantly? Can they stick with a few tools?
  • Will this trend continue? If so, then what does that imply for us?

Cathy Moore
Making Change
Elearning examples are here!
Jeff Cobb
Mission to Learn
E-learning Tools and Strategy
Claudia Escribano
Too Many Tools?
Karl Kapp
Kapp Notes
Design Day and the ASTD Big Question for July
Janet Clarey
Janet Clarey, Brandon Hall Research
Choosing Tools
Quintus Joubert
eLearning Blog
eLearning tool selection



Stuart Kruse said...

From a profesional perspective, I think the whole 'tools' issue is a bit of a red herring. Two reasons:

1) Any decent company will have its own authoring tool tailored to producing the type of product they specialise in - this is part of its competitive advantage.
2) tools might be changing rapidly, but the product required by customers has stayed largely the same - web page based courseware. Don't need me no fancy tools to create that - any homegrown content management tool will do that.
3) Standards such as SCORM, Accessibility, etc again encourage a basic, HTML based product - a lot of tools fail to create this and therefore become unappealing.
4) other reason I can't think of now, but is probably really good and convincing...

Anonymous said...

While it is certainly helpful to be abreast of newly available options for content development (and a good partner company should be able to help you reasonably understand your new options), there’s no need to continually learn new tools, especially if your approach is working for your organization.

It is important to consider the business requirements of the organization and the usability of the final content when selecting an eLearning content development approach. Tool selection should be secondary to the application of an approach that maps to organizational needs.

The time to investigate new options for development is when apparent gaps exist with the ability to develop quality content in an efficient manner. When obstacles occur in reaching specified goals it would be appropriate to gain understanding about new, advanced options. You can also ask partnering companies to provide you with succinct summaries of options that are reasonable for adoption within your organization. By partnering with others whose main focus is being up-to-date within the industry, you can keep reasonable expectations regarding your continual education about tools and resources.

Nikki Shepherd Eatchel
Vice President, Test Development

Tony Karrer said...

So, I'm not sure I buy that you can wait for "an apparent gap" ... often you don't know there's a gap because your gap is between what you'd like and what you are currently using. However, many people define what they'd like based on what they know how to produce. If you aren't aware of what else could be done, or efficiencies that could be gained, how can you recognize the gap?

It's interesting that both comments suggest that requirements haven't been changing much. In some ways that's true because there's a lot of very simplistic stuff getting created in volume and the question is how to keep costs down. However, there's also a question of whether there shouldn't be another approach entirely because why waste the effort of any kind of course implementation if it's that kind of result. Plus, who has time to take the stuff? And can't we build it a lot quicker as reference? And isn't that how they really want it?

Aren't you hearing this stuff too?

It doesn't feel nearly as static as you suggest.

Stuart Kruse said...

Tony asks,

"because why waste the effort of any kind of course implementation if it's that kind of result."

The same reason that traditional classroom training has gone on for so long without being effective: it's easy, cheap and after a while inertia sets in....

Besides, better tools won't save us, they never have....in fact, it reminds me of all the old 'it will get better when...' discussions. It will get better when...
tools get better
technology gets better
production is cheaper
media is easier to produce
And yet, here we are, 20 years later and things haven't really moved on in corporate training (or even the classroom for the kids).

So, what will change things:
Ideas, design, evangalism(?), role models, passion, knowledge, heart and reaching out to the people who have the money to do things and with all our might helping them to see the real potential of technnology and learning and performance.

That said, you can't beat a great electronic book ;0)


Stuart Kruse said...

These 'big' questions are turning out to be remarkably small ;0)