E Learning Authoring Tools Considerations and Options

Nov 26 08:24 2010 Joe Owens Print This Article


Traditional classroom environment has the chalkboard,Guest Posting eraser, projector, pencil, papers, books etc. essential to teaching and learning of teachers and students. In elearning, the tools used to create and design electronic based curriculums are called e learning authoring tools. While there are free online applications of these tools, there are also specialized paid software for the more comprehensive and customizable features.

Wikipedia defines e learning authoring tool as software where developers can design and create learning content deliverable to users or students. In choosing the right authoring tool, you must first define what makes a great elearning course.

What should the virtual learning course include?
* Graphics. In traditional text books, illustrations, graphs and charts always add a new dimension to the text. By giving visual representation of the lesson, students or trainees will immediately get the context of the text.

* Evaluation. Just like in a traditional learning platform, with every topic discussed, there’s an exam, quiz or test to determine how much of the lesson was retained.

* Multimedia. Videos, audio, animation, etc. alleviate the monotony of the text on screen. It adds a different dimension to the lesson and integrating multimedia as part of the curriculum is a good idea to stimulate more areas of the brain making retention much more effective.

* Forum. A virtual community of alike-learners stimulates a healthy learning environment outside of the formal virtual session. In this informal virtual environment, students and trainees can address certain concerns and ask lecturers question to clarify topics.

* Virtual conference. In group work that needs collaborative effort, it is important to create a platform for students to group themselves and collaborate in a unified effort to finish projects.

* LMS (Learning Management System) – LMS is used by the administrator to document, track and generate report on trainees or students’ progress and activities.

While these features are just a few that takes elearning beyond the boring and bland, the quality of content and technology must also be considered. Regulations that determine if the virtual learning course is suitable for mass use are the SCORM and AICC.

* SCORM. Sharable Courseware Object Reference Model refers to a series of standards in web based elearning developed by the Office of the United States Secretary of Defense, initially for their Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) initiative.

* AICC. Aviation Industry CBT (Computer-Based Training) Committee (AICC) standards were developed by international association, AICC, which is composed of technology-enabled training professionals. Although not all elearning courses relate to the aviation industry, the standard developed by the organization can be applied to the general technology based learning courses.

There is no one perfect e learning authoring tool that encompass all the needs of the educators and students. There are a lot of options: open sourced, SaaS or Software as a Service versions, customized software applications, off the shelf software and so on.

What are some of the more common authoring tools?

Simple Presentations
Articulate Engage – The availability of the flash format makes this a great tool to add to web-based courses. The ubiquity of flash in ever website means that users don’t have to download additional plug-ins to make the presentation work.

Screen Capture
CamStudio – This freeware can covert files to SWF format or streaming flash videos which means users can view videos on the web without downloading the file.

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Joe Owens
Joe Owens

For more information about e learning, visit our website at www.intelladon.com

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