Toolkit: Keep Your eLearning Files Light and TightFebruary 26, 2018
You know that it’s important to keep your eLearning files small. Here are the essential secrets to achieving that goal.
Joe Ganci is the owner and president of eLearning Joe, a custom learning company. Since 1983, he has been involved in every aspect of multimedia and learning development. Joe holds a computer science degree, writes books and articles about eLearning, and is widely considered an eLearning development guru. He consults worldwide and also teaches at conferences and client sites. Joe writes tool reviews and has received several awards for his work in eLearning, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999 and an eLearning Guild Master Award in 2013. His mission is to improve the quality of eLearning with practical approaches that work.
You know that it’s important to keep your eLearning files small. Here are the essential secrets to achieving that goal.
Most eLearning creators choose authoring tools from a small group out of the hundreds available. Here is a breakdown of media compatibility across that group.
Harbinger’s Raptivity now offers 191 wizard-based interaction builders that are compatible with dozens of eLearning authoring tools. Here’s Joe’s review!
Thinkzoom is a web-based authoring tool that lets you build courses around your documents, videos, and video screen captures. The tool supports social learning and collaboration.
Adobe set out to create a new LMS that it hoped organizations would find easy to use and yet powerful too. The company began by researching first what organizations liked and then what they didn’t like about their LMSs. If you are looking for an LMS, you really need to read this review!
Adobe Captivate 2017 has been released, and once again Adobe has forged ahead and not rested on its laurels. It has brought Captivate even further into modern times. No other authoring tool contains as many features as Captivate does to customize the different views. The others may be a bit simpler, but they lack some of the power. Some still don’t offer responsive design at all.
Koantic is a tool of the modern video age. It is web-based as almost all modern tools are. You can import video, edit it, and customize it. Using the Koantic mobile app, available for Android and iOS devices, you can shoot a video and instruct the app to create a new course. You can also create courses on the Koantic site. Read all about this cool tool here!
The main thrust of Smart Sparrow is to allow you to create adaptive learning. If you’re not familiar with adaptive learning, it’s truly personalized learning that adapts itself to the learner’s level and progress. When creating or editing a lesson, you’ll find Smart Sparrow also offers several options to meet your instructional design goals. Join Joe as he walks you through this intriguing tool!
When it comes to authoring tools, these days we are no longer bound to desktops, hard-drive storage, and optical-disc tool distribution: we have The Cloud. For delivery, cloud computing gives us the ability to reach millions of people with eLearning, at little cost. But authoring tool selection and licensing is confusing to many practitioners. Here is a guide to how it works today!
Last month’s Toolkit provided an overview of Articulate’s new 360 Suite, and in-depth reviews of the updated Storyline 360 and Articulate Review. This month, Joe offers coverage of the rest of the tools in the suite.
Articulate has been hard at work, not only creating an update to Storyline as expected but changing the whole way that it offers its products. Articulate 360 is not just an update: It includes all of the products that Articulate offers—updated versions of those it has offered in the past, along with new ones—all under one banner.
This month, Joe comments on the ongoing death of the Flash format, and he provides a thorough review of Course Inspector, a tool for swatting bugs in your eLearning. Inspector works with any SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 2004 published output from six popular authoring tools. In this review, you get a complete walk-through of Inspector’s features.
As time passes, more authoring tools have moved from our hard drives to the cloud. Pricing has changed, at the same time, from periodic purchase of a new version on a new CD or DVD to an annual subscription that results in a new version over time through incremental updates. Here is Joe’s take on this, plus news about changes to two important tools.
Even though Axonify says it is not a learning management system (LMS), it has definite similarities to one. But it goes even further into the world of building, measuring, and adjusting employee knowledge in larger enterprises. Journey into that world and see why Axonify calls itself an “employee knowledge platform.” It seems to be leading a very good trend in many respects.
Have we reached a tipping point in the evolution of eLearning development tools? mLevel is an example of a tool that is pretty close to meeting market demands for easier authoring of microlearning and gamification, for useful analytics, for desktop and mobile delivery, and for engaging features. Read all about it in this review!
In the past, Joe has said, “No authoring tool balances power and ease of use.” Today he reviews a tool that really attempts to give you both. Some developers will like it right away, and others may find that it requires a period of adjustment. Find out why Joe feels this way about Xyleme!
Classes and courses do not make learners into experts. They are the foundation for further learning, but it’s practice that takes learners to higher levels of skill. But training often leaves out the follow-up practice and feedback, so the foundation erodes quickly. Now Rehearsal.com provides a chance to practice with someone, a mentor who has an excellent reputation. Read about it here!
In March of this year, Joe got you started on the process to identify the learning tool(s) that best match your instructional design needs. This month, he completes the process with a list of the exact questions you need to ask tool vendors!
It’s a question that Joe gets asked all the time at conferences, in classes that he teaches, maybe even by strangers on the street: What is the best eLearning tool? You probably know the answer, but Joe has some questions for you that will help you make your decision.
easygenerator first launched in 2011. Since that time it has taken on a new look and new features, and has matured into a tool that now primarily aims at authors who do not have an eLearning background. Read this review for a walk-through of the many features of easygenerator, including ones that are not found in other authoring tools.
Lectora has been around for a long time, but it also has a long history of innovation that has kept it up to date, and often ahead of newer tools. The latest changes have added responsive design and new ways to use variables, plus, authoring in Lectora no longer requires that you use a PC. Read about these and other new features in Lectora in this review!
Most eLearning does not stay in use for years. It is custom-made to meet a client’s needs and those needs are usually immediate and prone to change quickly. Changes are happening all the time, so the shelf life of eLearning is limited. That’s a good thing because it keeps our services in demand. Authoring tools continue to evolve too. Where do we stand at the start of 2016?
The iSpring Suite continues to evolve, adding features and becoming easier to use and more flexible for use across a broader spectrum of situations. Here is Joe’s review of the latest iteration and the most significant changes.
Adobe Presenter is a PowerPoint add-in tool that offers features either not resident in or difficult to implement in PowerPoint. Correctly used, you can make your eLearning better than a simple linear experience. But version 11 of Presenter provides two particularly useful features, and one additional one that blew Joe away. Read all about the new features here!
Last week, Adobe released Captivate version 9. With each new version, there have been some very welcome additions, and some new features that would first make us scratch our heads only to find eventually that we couldn’t live without them. In this review, you will get a comprehensive look at almost everything in Captivate 9, including those soon-to-be-indispensable features!
Over the last five years, as he has written his authoring tool reviews, Joe has watched some patterns emerge. In this anniversary column, he takes a look at what has happened, what is happening now, and what the future may bring to the tools we rely on.
PowerPoint add-in tools are an important category of eLearning authoring software, and a developer or manager can spend a lot of time comparing their features when it comes time to select one. This month’s review will save you much of that effort! Joe reports on six of the most prominent tools, in easy-to-use tabular format.
Scenario-based learning allows learners to make mistakes and to learn from those mistakes, keeping learning from being linear, passive, and boring. But building it can be complicated. BranchTrack, a cloud-based tool, makes not just the flowcharting part easy but actually outputs a full-fledged simulation for you. Read all about it here!
This month, Joe’s review covers one free tool and one that is definitely not free. They have different purposes, both have their interesting features, both have their limitations. This review will help you sort them out.
Among the ways to improve the effectiveness of the learning and performance ecosystem in an organization is to make good use of social media to support collaboration, and after instruction is complete, add support for learners until such time as they become proficient. More software is coming to support these approaches. Here is a review of one that works well.
In many cases, eLearning consists more of passive reading and watching than it does activity. And research suggests that passive approaches are not effective. What is effective? Well, scenarios and simulations are, and they need not be difficult to create. This month’s review looks at SimWriter, one of the few tools that can help in this regard.
What does a veteran developer and reviewer of authoring tools learn over the years? Joe shares some of his lessons learned, about vendors and developers, about complacency, and about the right questions to ask when choosing authoring tools. Read this to benefit from Joe’s insights and experience!
Adobe Presenter 10 is a video tool that offers many new and improved features, including the ability to publish to HTML5, and to deliver HD quality video to any device. Is it worth licensing? Find out here!
The near-universal availability of mobile devices capable of recording and sharing video is creating some excellent opportunities to reach learners no matter where they are, to engage them with the instructor and each other, and to create libraries of crowd-sourced problem solutions. Here is a review of a social eLearning platform that is among the first to leverage these possibilities.
Joe has reviewed many of the better-known authoring and eLearning development tools. There are many other tools that don’t get much market recognition, yet they have enthusiastic users. Here’s your chance to tell Joe which ones you would like to know more about—he’ll provide summary reviews later this year for the most-requested and those he considers the best.
PowerPoint add-in tools have been around for quite some time, and none of them has captured the market or the imagination of eLearning designers as much as Articulate Studio. Here’s an in-depth look at the features of Articulate Studio ’13, the first update of Studio since 2008.
In August, Joe discussed browser compatibility with HTML5 and identified the most commonly used development tools you can use to publish eLearning lessons to HTML5. This month completes the review with a list of more tools that publish to HTML5, and others that are very useful in the eLearning development process.
Since Flash stopped being the default tool of choice for cross-platform development, eLearning producers have been looking for an alternative, and HTML5 is the usual suspect. This month, Joe talks about browser compatibility with HTML5, and he identifies development tools that support delivery to HTML5.
Composica Enterprise is an eLearning development tool that may never have caused a blip on your radar screen. This is a tool that offers true group authoring, including built-in task management, social and workflow tools, and many other features that may make it a very good fit for some organizations. Read here about how Composica differs from tools you are already familiar with.
Adobe released version 7 of its market-leading eLearning development tool, Captivate, one of the most feature-rich eLearning development tools around and one of the very few that work equally well on both Windows and Macintosh platforms. Here’s a thorough review of the latest version of this long-time favorite.
Qarbon ViewletBuilder 7 Enterprise is a full-featured authoring tool with versions for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. Joe found an unexpected level of sophistication in the Windows Enterprise edition. For a thorough look at what Qarbon ViewletBuilder offers, please take the time to read this review!
Lectora from Trivantis is not a newcomer to the eLearning development tool market. However, the latest version is an overhaul from the ground up, and in this review, Joe reports that it feels like a brand-new tool.
GoAnimate is cloud-based software that creates animated videos. These can be very effective for eLearning applications and much less expensive than live action shoots. Here’s a thorough review of everything that GoAnimate offers.
Of all the tools available, how can you find the ones that will help you meet the needs of your staff’s talent, your eLearning topics, and the techniques and best practices you have adopted? In this update, Joe will help you discern the differences between the top tools that are available now, and he will give you an idea of what’s coming next!
Techsmith’s Camtasia 8 is a complete reboot, rewritten from scratch, and it is attracting attention not only from eLearning developers but also from video production professionals and even from consumer periodicals. This is a beautiful tool to add to your kit, and you can read all about it here!
Allen Interactions has released ZebraZapps Pro. While it contains all of the many features of the earlier version, now called ZebraZapps Creator, it adds several important elements that any serious eLearning developer will want. This review covers all of the new features available in the Pro version.
Claro by dominKnow is one of those products that you see in the exhibit hall at every major eLearning conference (including DevLearn 2012) and yet, when you ask someone if they know about Claro, they scratch their head a bit and say, “Well, I’ve heard of it…” Claro is like a well-kept open secret. But no more! It’s time to keep this a secret no longer.
The first guide to ZebraZapps is available! Here’s a review and information on where to download the book.
If you have been in the eLearning field for a while, you are used to online course libraries that offer only the SCORM files for the courses. Yukon Learning has launched a promising product that provides some unique twists on a familiar idea, by including all the source files used to create and publish the course.
Selecting the right tool for the job is a critical decision, and one that needs to be guided by a strategy, not driven by marketing copy in ads or on Web sites. Two experts give you a step-by- step method in this article to create that strategy.
Seven industry experts who will speak at mLearnCon in San Diego next week, answer three simple questions about mobile learning (mLearning): What are the obstacles to practical delivery of learning via mobile devices? What will it take to solve these problems? When do you think this will happen? If you create or manage online learning in your organization, you must read their replies.
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