Understanding Authoring/Content development tools
This page provides links to some general resources on e-learning to help you understand what it is and its potential in education and training.
Articles in date order, most recent first.
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"How often friends visit you to learn how to use email, how to search Google or how to install a software. Or how do you teach Outlook Express to your Mom who is sitting miles away. Just screencast it. Record your desktop computer activity with narration and share it as a video." Amit Agarwal, 13 May 2005
Added: 5 July 2005
A review of screencasting tools
"Searching for the right tool for your instructional design needs? Learn about your options through Holden's capsule reviews of instructional simulation programs and full-service authoring tools." Gene Holden, intecom online, November 2004
Added: 3 November 2004
"Bear in mind that not all tools are appropriate for all training methods. Buying a tool without doing the research can be a costly mistake."
"As the quality of authoring software increases, online course developers become less reliant on proprietary learning management systems, and develop skills in the design of original, in-house materials and the delivery platforms for them. This report examines the capabilities of digital authoring software tools for the development of learning materials." Russ Wild, The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, August 2004
Added: 10 September 2004
Seven software tools are evaluated, representing the following categories: single purposes; activity creation; course development and presentation; general presentation; testing and assessment.
"E-learning can be powerful and economical, but much of the potential success rests on whether you can provide your training audience with content developed inside your organization. To put legacy and internal content online, you need capable and flexible authoring tools. The key question is: Which tradeoffs do you want to make? And how much support does each tool provide for trainers? This new edition of our hands-on report compares 9 leading tools: Authorware, CBTMaster, Lectora Publisher, Quest, ToolBook II Instructor, Trainersoft Professional, DazzlerMax, Dreamweaver MX, and ReadyGo! The new edition of the report also includes a comparison of leading application simulation authoring tools. A handy comparison chart provides comparative ratings and pros and cons of the products." Training Media Review
Added: 24 October 2003
You can download the table of contents (as a PDF)
"This regularly updated report is an overview of authoring systems and learning management systems available in the UK." PeakDean Interactive Ltd, December 2002
Added: 7 April 2003
This report (116 pages) is available to download for free.
"Does converted PowerPoint constitute real e-learning? How dynamic and interactive can it really be? We put 12 teams to the test to find out who has the technology for repurposing PowerPoint presentations into self-paced learning content. We gave each team a sealed envelope containing a 16-slide PowerPoint presentation (used for classroom instruction). The topic was a product knowledge piece (teaching learners about the product features of an Atomic Clock). Each team had only 20 minutes to convert the PowerPoint into an e-learning course. The entire development process occurred live, in front of an average audience size of between 300 to 350 people -- primarily classroom instructors and training managers. "
Added: 3 April 2003
Links to companies involved as well as results of conversion of content
"The term authoring tool is misleading. In fact, when people hear the term for the first time, they often assume it refers to a specialized form of word-processing software for professional writers. In fact, authoring tools go far beyond writing and word processing. E-learning authoring tools enable trainers to integrate an array of media to create professional, engaging, interactive training content, and some make it possible to repurpose digitized elements or learning objects from an existing course for reuse in a new one." Jeff Harris, Learning Circuits, March 2002
Added: 25 March 2002
An article on how to select the best tool
"Selecting a software package is easy for some tasks. For example, standard tools have emerged as superior for editing a photograph or writing a book. By contrast, because the Web is relatively new, the choice is far from clear: there is no preeminent tool for Web site authoring." Dartmouth College
Added: 28 December 2001
A look at the different possibilities of creating web pages in an academic environment
"The purpose of this paper is to briefly trace the short, and in some cases short-lived, history of hypertext and hypermedia course authoring software packages. I will also summarize the early attributes of course authoring software vis-a-vis attributes of new and surviving packages." Bob Jensen, Trinity University
Added: 19 July 2001
although intended as a historical document, this paper provides a good insight into the functionality of course authoring software
"Adobe and Macromedia have worked hard over the past few years to make products for Web designers that really do the job. Both have created entire suites of integrated production tools. So who's is doing a better job? Tim Ferrill has some thoughts." webreview
Added: June 2001
"With hundreds of authoring technologies to choose from, the task may seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. The secret to choosing an authoring tool is having a clear understanding about your own technology restrictions, instructional needs and business requirements - which we will help you address in Authoring Tool Strategies." $245 to download from Brandon Hall's website.
Added: June 2001
the free Executive Summary is very useful for starters.
eWEEK Labs grades tools that build lessons for distance learners, by Russell Windman, eWEEK, 14 May 2001
Added: May 2001