Tool Based eLearning: A Paradigm Shift
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that eLearning has been quite a rage lately. Organizations big and small have been experimenting with various development and delivery techniques. Mobile learning, microlearning, performance support, games and simulations and what not?
While until a few years back eLearning through custom development was the fad,not that the popularity has gone down. With custom development each and every aspect is tweaked and customized to fit the learning requirements perfectly, don’t forget the custom colors, buttons, navigation. For those who needed a quick solution, catalog courses used to be the answer, but all of that changed with the coming of authoring tools.
eLearning development that once required high level of coding expertise for creatinginteractive and engaging courses now just needs experience in eLearning and flair for learning (and not even that in some cases). The creation of complex interactivities meant more time, and expertise (and cost too), but now it has become an everyday task that most L&D professionals with an urge to create eLearning can handle with the help of a simple authoring tools. Authoring tools have brought about a paradigm shift in the world of eLearning content development.
To understand the magnitude of this change let’s travel back a few years.
Does the “stack of virtual cards” ring any bell? Well, HyperCard from the Apple Macintosh and Apple IIGS computer days has greatly influenced the navigation functions in modern authoring tools. This however, wasn’t that easy initially and required proper training to get the actual output.
Then came Authorware, originally produced by Authorware Inc. andlater acquired by Adobe Systemswhich paved way for easy programming. eLearning programming hence, didn’t require special coding skill. As described in Wikipedia, “Authorware programs started by creating a flowline, a flowchart showing the structure of the developer’s program. The developer could add and manage text, graphics, animation, sound and video; develop interactivity and add navigational elements such as links, buttons, and menus.”This was followed by a massive change brought in by ‘Flash’, a revolution in web-based graphic content. It allowed creation of games, and this led to the proliferation of online ads and a plethora of other graphic uses.
There are many others that came in later and created a market for rapid eLearning creation using more sophisticated, more fine-tuned authoring tools like Adobe captivate, Articulate Storyline, Lectora, Elucidat etc. Today more and more organizations opt for a solution that can be rolled out quickly and some even opt for in-house content development using eLearning authoring tools, all thanksto the ease of use and flexibility that those tools offer (Read more about the Transformation of eLearning authoring here ).
eLearning development/programming hence, became an affordable solution for organizations who needed training solutions out of the blue, or for those organizations where the content kept changing or required constant modification. With authoring tools in the picture content modification has become easier than ever before.
So, how does all this work?
Authoring tools make the process of eLearning course development easier, faster and simpler. And how? For starters, there are pre-designed templates with interactivities, media presentations, scenarios assessment patterns etc. that can be customized as required and linked with multimedia, audio files, screen grabs, video snippets and all that the course required. The courses created can be SCORM compliant, multi-device, HTML-based, cloud-based and fit into any other eLearning requirements. We have discussed about this in detail in a post titled-eLearning Authoring Tools- What & Why?
eLearning authoring tools are advancing in par with the modern learning environment, adding innovations and customizations, integrating storyboarding, allowing collaborative reviews and modifications and constantly increasing the asset pool to decrease the time spend on content development to a great extent.
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