Educational ePublishing: 7 Key Factors For The Selection Of An Authoring Tool
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Selection Of An Authoring Tool: A Technological Mess Or ePublishing Tranquility

The selection of an authoring tool is a strategic decision, as this tool will become a part of your organization's ecosystem. Moreover, this is a long-term choice because it is difficult to change an authoring tool after having invested a substantial amount of time to get your team savvy and your eCourses done (consider in print the migration years ago from Quark to InDesign as an example). Sometimes, taking such a decision may be postponed for a long time, which makes it even more difficult. So, what do you need to know to avoid the hassle? How is the market changing and what will be important in the future? Here are some important factors that you should be aware of when choosing the tool.

To Be, Or Not To Be? The New Challenges Of Educational ePublishing
This eBook will provide you with all the essentials to move from printed materials to digital.

1. Productivity

The more intuitive the tool, the faster the work goes: eCourses are created in a shorter time and on a lower budget. It is usually more efficient when the authoring tool is intuitive enough for your internal editors with good knowledge of your products and proven methods to work with the content. This way, instead of bringing a completely new team on board, you may simply enable your people to quickly gain new skills. Therefore, WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editing should be one of the main points to check as it provides comfort of use and allows quick and accurate work of a non-technical team. Another example is the availability of a sufficient number of ready-made interactive activities and flexible templates and their alignment with your needs. It may significantly increase productivity as it allows avoiding manual page-by-page layout composition.

2. Standardization

What if you want to add some external content to what already exists? What if your courses are to be edited later on by a third party? The standardized XML source file format is something that allows elasticity. Also, the created course should be compatible with the eLearning standards used by LMS platforms. The possibility of creating SCORM or xAPI packages extends the ways of future utilization of your existing eCourses. A special and unique format working in a bespoke environment will sooner or later become an obstacle to growth.

3. Versatility Of Applications

The course you create should be device and system agnostic, because the digital environment changes constantly and educational trends such as flipped classroom or BYOD are becoming more and more prominent. Offline or online use, mobile or desktop? It’s best to have it all. The tool should allow wide possibilities as it directly influences your market reach

4. Cloud-Based

Cloud-based eLearning authoring tools allow for efficient collaboration – many users can take part in the creation process of the same course, as it is not nailed down to a single device. It improves the workflow and smoothes the cooperation of project team members who bear different roles in the content development process. Also, avoiding installation or local hosting allows cost reductions and simple tool updates.

5. Big Data

All data collected when students work with eContent brings completely new opportunities not available for traditional paper-based textbook publishers. The eContent created with your tool should be capable of generating information about the actions taken by your users, e.g. the results obtained while solving interactive activities, number of attempts, errors made, or a course bounce rate. Together with the events collected by a particular LMS platform, this creates an invaluable pool of data allowing educational publishers to truly assess the efficacy of their materials. For example, by analyzing the interaction of thousands of students with a particular activity, they can see how difficult it is for the learners and take corrective actions to make it clearer and thus more effective.

6. Readiness For Adaptivity

There is no hotter eLearning topic than adaptivity. An authoring tool should definitely be open to this eLearning trend. Your educational courses could bring powerful results when they dynamically match the presented content with student progress. Highly adaptive content that adjusts to actual learner’s abilities may become a must in a few years.

7. Future-Poof Approach

Finally, when it comes to the eLearning business, nothing is written in stone. Things that seem to be sufficient now may not meet your needs later. Your publications should be compatible with future devices, internet browsers, and operating systems. Make sure that the tool is constantly developed and open for change. Dependence on a third-party controlled player is also a trap. An open-source player ensures that the investment in eContent production is safe and maintainable in the future. Openness for change is a must in this day and age.

Summary

Truly interactive and engaging eContent is something that will have a direct influence on your courses’ success. There are many great authoring tools on the market, but you can really ease the challenge of finding a proper one by limiting your choice to the ones that provide the above-listed benefits.

If you want to learn more about taking the next step in interactive publishing, download the eBook To Be, Or Not To Be? The New Challenges Of Educational ePublishing.

Related articles:

1. How To Deal Effectively With The Growing Presence Of BYOD In Education

2. Flipped Classrooms: Why And How To Flip Education?

3. Adaptive Learning In Education: The Next Gen Of Educational eContent

4. Educational ePublishing: 7 Formats To Help You Go From Print To Digital

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