Dec 9, 2008

WBT Development Toolbox

The organization I work for has never formally offered web based training. My role is to help start up a web based training program. One of the tasks I've been working on is selecting a tool kit for creating the content. My goals for selecting a content authoring product are as follows:
  • Ability to easily import from existing course materials made in Word and PowerPoint
  • Ability to export to SCORM 1.2/2004
  • Ability to create simulations
  • Ability to use UI templates or global “skins”
  • Must be easy to use
  • Must be able to create interactive content that keeps the user engaged
I looked at several products including IBM Content Producer, IBM Simulation Producer, Wimba Create, SumTotal Toolbox, Lectora/Saba Publisher, Thesis Rapid SCORM, Articulate, and Adobe Captivate. I ended up selecting three of these products. All the products I selected have the following attributes:
  • Create SCORM 1.2/2004 packages
  • Questions and quiz functionality is powerful
  • Easy to add audio soundtracks in to content
  • Import a course story board created in PowerPoint
  • Relatively easy to use compared to other tools in the market
  • Easy to create highly interactive content
The first content authoring product I choose was Articulate Studio '09. This product really makes a lot of sense and it's integration with PowerPoint makes it easy for more people to become involved in the authoring process. It works within PowerPoint so that any one who knows PPT can quickly come up to speed to create a nice looking presentation. Studio ’09 contains a great quiz maker and has engagement objects like timelines and charts that can be used. There are certain courses that this tool will work very well for and save lots of development time.
I choose Lectora as the next piece of my tool kit. It is good for creating more advanced courses that require more customization than Articulate. It can take better advantage of variables and decision making structures which will allow me to create more engaging content with better feedback. Course development time will take longer than Articulate but the resulting content will likely be of better quality. Lectora has the option to import from PowerPoint so I can still use PowerPoint to storyboard the content.
The last content authoring tool I choose was Captivate. I will be doing a lot of technology training courses so software simulations are very important. Captivate does a very good job of creating software simulations. Articulate and Lectora do not do simulations. My current plan is to use Captivate to create flash simulations that can be embedded in content created by Articulate or Lectora.
Those are the main authoring components of my WBT development toolbox. There are several other supporting tools in my toolbox that handle images, audio, video, and screenshots. I will save those for a future posting.


W.Peterson said...

I prefer the solution from Articulate Rapid E-Learning Studio '09, which is awesome to develop training courses rapidly.

However, I choose a similiar Rapid E-Learning Suite from Wondershare, which is relatively affordable for SMEs and teachers...


Tony Karrer said...

Thanks for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

I am an instructional designer and developer for a professional development division. I have to say you came up with a good tool kit. We mainly use Captivate 3 and soon will be upgrading to Captivate 4. However, we have Lectora as well. Captivate has improved with each version to where now it is an All in One authoring tool allowing you to custom build and use templates to deliver interactive web based trainings and simulations.

Jonathan Shoaf said...

The addition of variables makes Captivate 4 a more interesting product...I'll be downloading and evaluating it soon.

Anonymous said...

You have brought out very useful information.It will be interesting to view sample output on internet.Hope a response.Thanks.