Understanding Business Needs For Selecting An eLearning Authoring Tool

Business Problems 1st - eLearning Solutions 2nd: Understanding Business Needs For Selecting An eLearning Authoring Tool

Instructional Designers will often describe themselves as experts in Captivate, Go Animate, or Storyline. Although this amplifies their skills and experience in using these excellent eLearning development tools, it does raise the question – do we too often begin by selecting a tool to design a training solution instead of beginning by fully understanding the business need? Here is why understanding business needs for selecting an eLearning authoring tool is the right thing to do.

Selecting The Right eLearning Authoring Tool For Your Business Needs

eLearning continues to play a pivotal role in enterprise wide blended learning solutions. The ability to provide key employees with the information they need, when they need it most is essential in an increasingly competitive 21st century workplace. However, until recently, the functionality of the majority of authoring tools were limited to a small number of interactive features which are simply not appropriate in addressing some of the more complex business problems.

Consider Adobe Captivate, an excellent responsive authoring tool with features that include rollover effects, learning interactions and drag and drop functionality. Although a SCORM object developed using such software can be a highly effective way to train employees on a range of important subject areas, it isn’t always the most appropriate selection.

Go Animate is another example of this – a fine cloud-based, animated video creation platform that can produce highly engaging Microlearning modules. The simple, clean interface and intuitive user experience allows high quality animations to be created quickly, easily, and relatively inexpensively.

If we subscribe to Go Animate or have spent time developing a skill set to use Captivate; inevitably these are the tools selected when we are presented with a training need. And here lies the problem - however impressive a 4-minute animated video is, or a SCORM module hosted on an internal LMS, they will not always be able to address the bigger business problems.

Innovation In Authoring

The last few years has seen the introduction of a plethora of new exciting eLearning tools, with each offering unique features that can compliment some of the more tried and tested solutions like Storyline and Captivate.

  • Take Koantic for example, a rapid eLearning authoring tool that allows users to create interactive video based courses. Once video has been recorded via a smartphone or tablet, content can be edited using the enhanced audio-visual studio and interactions added to engage learners that include bookmarks, hotspots, and quiz elements.
  • UMU is another relatively new interactive platform that allows users to engage and interact with participants via their mobile devices and project their responses in real time. Microlearning modules can be easily created using video, images, or articles with quiz and survey sessions added to assess learning.
  • Gomo, a cloud-based eLearning authoring tool allows content to be created in minutes and distributed instantly. Gomo is fully responsive with content repositioning itself to fit on the screen space available. The rich interactive assets, such as image walls and filmstrips allow information to be shared in a variety of engaging formats.

These are just 3 examples of literally hundreds of eLearning authoring tools that now exist, all offering different features, which can be used to develop a different solution, depending on the different business needs.

The Business Need

Therefore, before selecting the tool; pause, as there are a number of important considerations. Top of the list: What is the business challenge we are trying to solve? If all the relevant information isn’t at hand, whom must we speak to in order to ascertain key metrics and success criteria, in other words, what must people be able to do at the end of the training that they were not doing consistently at the start?

Additional questions that must be first answered include:

  • Who is the target audience?
  • What is the aim of the training - behavioral change or skill enhancement?
  • How will the training be accessed?
  • Where are the employees based?

The point here is that, assuming online is the most appropriate delivery method, the answer to these questions will influence the authoring tool used to develop training that will ultimately address the business need. Software simulation may still be developed using Adobe Captivate and a short explainer video may be produced using Go Animate. However, what about Executive Leadership development?

A clipart inspired explainer video just won’t cut it, nor will a self-paced eLearning module that simply dumps a load of theory with no practical application. It is in an instance like this that we may choose to pull on tools like Koantic and Camtasia to create high quality professional video and blend with regular series of instructor led webinars to address a critical business challenge.

Consider customer-facing employees who may work in a car showroom or at a theme park attraction who require regular customer service training on new sales strategies. Logging into a computer-based Learning Management System to complete learning just isn’t practical.  However, accessing a mobile device where key techniques can be demonstrated and assessments easily completed is a far better solution and one that will have a far greater business impact.

Call To Action

Budget constraints and technical expertise are two common reasons why eLearning professionals tend to stick to a preferred set of authoring solutions. Although we cannot be expected to become experts in all these tools and some costs are prohibitive, before navigating to our default preference, consider the business need and evaluate whether using your ‘go to’ solution will provide the impact required by the organization.

Instead of fitting the problem into the constraints of an authoring tool, try focusing on the business challenge first, before identifying the most appropriate eLearning solution.

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