What Authoring tool is right for you?
In recent years, rapid eLearning tools have virtually revolutionized our business by making it fast and easy for eLearning professionals to create great looking interactive courses. Â Captivate and Articulate have become some of the most popular products in this rapidly growing market. Due to changes in the technological landscape, Claro, a cloud based authoring tool that creates eLearning content in HTML5 format is a viable choice as well. Â We’ve found all three programs to be very valuable so the question is which product is right for you.
If your company traditionally utilized Microsoft PowerPoint, all you would need is to add quizzes and/or surveys and convert this into a format that can be played in a browser. Â We’ve found that Articulate seems to be the best software to purchase for this purpose. Â Articulate quickly transforms your PowerPoint documents into interactive SCORM compliant Flash courses. Â Additionally, Articulate has an add on module called Engage â€˜09 that will allow you to create courses that will allow your students to explore the relationship between timeline events through text, images and sounds, then drill down into key elements of a diagram to better understand the main points.
If your company also requires the addition of quizzes or surveys along with courses, we believe that Articulate really shines relative to other products that work with your existing Microsoft PowerPoint program and while you have the advantage of continuing to work with the familiar interface, it adds a â€œtabâ€ with all the necessary tools. Â In addition to all the customary type of questions that you can work with, the User interface is one of the best we’ve seen and we like the look and feel of it relative to other programs.
As is now customary with many of the programs, you can â€œpublishâ€ your content for various different purposes, including the ability to create a podcast to allow your users to access your courses anywhere.
Another feature that we love is Articulateâ€™s Rapid eLearning blog that is full of valuable tips on how to improve your eLearning curriculum. Â Additionally, our customers find Articulate easy to learn.
Articulate Studio â€˜ 09 Professional will cost you $1,398 per license
If youâ€™re in a position to start creating your eLearning courses from scratch and you want to obtain software that would provide you the maximum amount of flexibility, Adobe Captivate is certainly a very robust software program that you can create a course from start to finish using just one software program.
Captivate is also extremely customizable with the ability to truly brand your companies color scheme and design into your material. Unlike PowerPoint that essentially was created as a presentation tool, Captivate is designed specifically for the purpose of creating eLearning content and includes some of the tools that are part of expansion packages in other programs. Â It has some neat features like rollover captions, click boxes, buttons as well as the ability to create or find public templates.
Even though Captivate is a stand alone program, it does have the ability to import and convert any PowerPoint presentations that you might have and includes a nifty tool that they call â€œsoftware simulationâ€ but that essentially is an integrated recorder that will either record your screen or even a specific application on your desktop. Â Very clever!
There are some other functions that might not seem obvious at first glance but that down the road might be very useful for your company such as creating pooled quiz questions, aggregating projects that might have been prepared by either different trainers or different locations, as well as the ability to interact with some LMSâ€™s and automatically update and/or create courses through a mechanism that they call PENS. Â This might make sense if an Administrator has access limitations to the LMS.
Ease of Use:
One drawback weâ€™ve heard from a few of our customers is that it takes a while to learn how to use Captivate. For those of you that are familiar with Microsoft Office, there is little familiarity beyond the basics and there is much more of a learning curve to become familiar with the functions and menus for Captivate. Â Adobe does include a nice series of Getting Started tutorials and like Articulate, very good on-line tutorials and support center.
Currently, you can purchase the full version of Adobe Captivate for $799.00.
Mobile Ready HTML5 Compliant m-learning:
Claro outputs HTML5-based eLearning content, so all of its authoring features can be used to create engaging and interactive content for delivery on smart phones or tablet devices to power your m-learning.
Create great learning content using Claroâ€™s programming-free mobile learning platform. Claroâ€™s authoring environment includes advanced features such as, image editing, hot-spot mapping, audio and video recording and editing, screen capture and screen video recording, and export for translation for mobile learning. Additionally, ClaroÊ¼s PowerPoint WizardÂ provides point- and-click conversion of slide decks to m-learning. Once imported, all pages are fully editable, making it simple for users to enhance, maintain, share, and update mobile learning content over time.
Work together better:
Claro is a permission-based system with the ability to create multiple roles with different levels of access and control â€” the perfect environment for collaborative content creation. Mobile learning authors can easily share resources, co-author m-learning content, and get feedback from an unlimited number of content reviewers.
So, what is the right choice for you? Â At Cogentys,Â we like all 3 productsÂ and ideally you should have all 3 to have the best of both worlds. In reality, you may not have theÂ time or resources to accomplishÂ this so here is what we recommend you do.
Get a free 30-day trial forÂ Articulate, Captivate and Claro then create a course in all programs. ThisÂ exerciseÂ will give you all theÂ informationÂ you need to determine what the best rapid eLearning tool is best for your organization.