Does Your Development Tool Matter?
In working with my various organizations I am often in the position to dispel myths of what the various elearning development tools can and cannot do. Are there elearning development tools out there that do more of what you want than others? Of course, but the majority of the time any tool can get you pretty close to what you want to do as I will show you in the following example.
First before we talk about the examples, let’s talk about the overall process a second. First before you even consider picking a tool, it is vital to identify your requirements both from a design perspective as well as a technical perspective. Second it is important to create a framework and/or structure of your course(s) to determine what it is you want to accomplish and achieve. Third, put together a storyboard or prototype of the course. Lastly, pick the tool that will most likely make it possible to create the course. So why then do so many people choose a tool, open it and then sit there with a blank screen and panic- “how do I use this? or ask,”Cool, now that I have this great software what should I build?”
Of course it is going to be more difficult to learn something when it is just a blank screen.
Recently I decided to compare Lectora, Captivate and Articulate to see if it was possible to create the same interaction in all three tools. Once I determined that it was possible, I wanted to see which one was accomplished the objective in the most straightforward, simple way possible.
Overall steps before even going into the technology tool:
1. Created interaction plan/objective
2. Created sketch/design of the interaction based on objectives
3. Created interaction template
4. Created graphics for interaction
Here are my observations about each tool:
Using actions to create OnClick actions is pretty straightforward and doesn’t take a ton of time. All of the options can be on one page so you can quickly program the correct/incorrect and submit actions on one page, thus eliminating the need to go to the next screen.
Very fast to create the template using the slide master and created hyperlinks to the various pages. One thing about programming this essentially in powerpoint is that you have to put the various steps on numerous pages. The more complex the branching, the more ppt pages it will take. The benefit of this is that if you are organized it can be easy to switch things around or add to them.
Captivate turned out to be the one that took the longest to program. This was because of the fact that you couldn’t add an action to a button as easily as you could with the other tools. This was a huge surprise to me as I suspect that it won’t be quite so difficult to work with. However, I was able to do it and get it to publish very easily into Articulate to publish it on the web.