Question

Content Authoring Tools


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We have just purchased Docebo and are searching for content authoring tools to create asynchronous  courses.  Any recommendations?


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My personal favourite is Articulate Storyline, but it does take several months of use to become proficient in. But if you get an Articulate 360 license, it includes other tools, notably Rise, which is very simple to learn. Rise courses - which are mostly scrolling text & images, w/ the ability to add videos, audio files, downloadable content & even ‘Storyline blocks’ are often well-received & relatively quick to create. Storyline courses are labour-intensive & the software takes time to learn, but can be quite powerful. Games, tests, software simulations, highly customizable interactions...there is an awful lot you can do.

These would require somewhat significant budgets, though - I think a single license is around $1K annually. You get a lot out of it, but you also put a lot in.

I have used some cheaper, scaled-down tools in the past, (it’s been long enough ago that I don’t remember what any of them were), & they can be effective & easy to learn if you’re not trying to do anything too sophisticated, but if you want something powerful I think either Storyline or Adobe Captivate are the top dogs.

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Thank you!

Userlevel 7
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Well, I am a Captivate fan so I will throw that idea on the pile.

Personally, I find it is rare that I cannot accomplish something I want with Captivate.

Expect to spend a lot of time gaining proficiency.

Operating costs are a bit less as a Captivate subscription is $34 per month.

Userlevel 1

The tools you choose will need to fit the type of training you want to make, your timeline, and the skills of your team.

For example, will you be doing a lot of software simulation? Or scenario-based training? Do you plan to make a lot of video content?

Are you looking for extremely rapid deployment? Do you have graphic designers, animators, maybe even programmers on your team? Will the content have to be updated often?

Storyline can do a lot, and is an ok tool for making software simulations or scenario-based training. There’s also a thriving community to get help and inspiration from. It starts to struggle if you want to incorporate a lot of video or immersive 3D experiences. And it’s not great for rapid development (Rise is better for this), or optimizing reuse.

 

If you tell us a bit more about your use case, you will probably get better and more relevant suggestions. :)

Userlevel 7
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Speaking of timelines…

Even though your current timeline on a project may not be sufficient to craft in-house, I would still choose an authoring tool and begin learning right away so that somewhere down the road you’ll be ready to tackle some projects with your team rather than outsourcing for custom content or purchasing canned stuff.

Userlevel 1

Great advice, thanks!

Userlevel 1

Great advice thank you all

Userlevel 7
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@mbauer - who are you looking to author? Whats your budget like?

You would be surprised - there are freebies out there that can still generate a SCO for you.

These folks are pitching towards some of the standard rapid development tools.

But you can find a freebie with h5p.com and lumi.education.

With a budget that you can get going with Articulate Storyline? You can get a pretty neat pure HTML 5 SCORM authoring solution called EasyGenerator. I use it to get some light weight authoring tools into my SMEs hands.

I am a fan of camtasia as well (made by techsmith).

Once you start to get good at these? You will start thinking about them like any tool in the toolshed. Some will make certain things easier to accomplish. Like camtasia shines in video/interactive video.

Userlevel 7
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I wonder how many people remember that Microsoft also put out a SCORM wrapper years ago? And well its technology truly died.

Userlevel 7

One thing to think about in connection with all the thoughts so far is, any tool that is flexible enough to make excellent interactive content will have a learning curve(as mentioned) but I almost view looking into the ecosystem of support and resources equally as important as a result when evaluating. Storyline is one of those industry standard programs that brings a massive online and third party vendor support with it. Captivate has a large amount of resources as well, not quite as much, but a lot. Other tools might be cheaper up front, but the time saved recreating/learning/not knowing how to do things kind of makes up for it some times. 

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Does anyone have an example of a software simulation they can share? I’d be really interested to see how they work and how effective they can be. At the moment, we teach our software using passive videos, but are hoping to make things much more interactive in the future!

Userlevel 7

I don’t have any I can share publically unfortunately. I will say, having built a bunch over the years, I almost prefer the Lynda.com model of parallel work. If you build out a full simulation you are basically building the system twice and it is a lot of work to maintain. Pre-records, scripts are easier replaced and then giving access to a sandbox environment that is a clone of production or some sample files to work with locally is a good balance of, actual hands on and accurate for effort involved. 

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Does anyone have an example of a software simulation they can share?

@Daniel  I’ll DM you one. We’ve gone through many iterations and we’ve come up with a model we are reasonably happy with. With that said, I agree with @Bfarkas that a simulation built in an authoring tool will never be as effective as a sandbox and is loads of work. It will also always feel limiting to the learner (that’s the main complaint we get from ours).

We are working on getting a fully functional simulator set up and will likely pair that with exercises and references to our documentation.

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Well, I am a Captivate fan so I will throw that idea on the pile.

Personally, I find it is rare that I cannot accomplish something I want with Captivate.

Expect to spend a lot of time gaining proficiency.

Operating costs are a bit less as a Captivate subscription is $34 per month.

@gstager I’ve seen a lot of impressive content created in Captivate. I actually have a license but I haven’t really gotten so deep into it because the UI/UX feels a bit inferior compared to other Adobe products. Do you have high hopes for the (maybe) upcoming Project Charm release?

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 I’ve seen a lot of impressive content created in Captivate. I actually have a license but I haven’t really gotten so deep into it because the UI/UX feels a bit inferior compared to other Adobe products. Do you have high hopes for the (maybe) upcoming Project Charm release?

High hopes… no.

I am actually afraid that something will be broken. One of the things I have loved about Captivate over the years is the freedom and flexibility to do what I wanted and not be limited by the tool itself. Same reason I prefer something like Notepad++, Visual Studio Code, Atom, or Brackets for web authoring versus Google Sites, Weebly, or WIX, etc. Where some feel overwhelmed by a blank page, I feel empowered. Sites that offer building a site with “No Coding Necessary” scare me because they have often stripped away my ability to customize things the way I would like.

I fear being locked into a certain workflow simply because Adobe might wish to remove the learning curve with their new product. I am less concerned about how modern the tool looks and more concerned about how the product functions. I do have my list of current complaints I wish they would fix but that is not likely to happen or at least let me say that I would be extremely surprised if it did. I fear losing my flexibility as a developer in exchange for all the things that Adobe decides for me.

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As an additional side note to this conversation…

As much as I love Captivate - Articulate has a community that is light years beyond Adobe.

This Docebo community rocks! E-Learning Heroes rocks!

I am active in the Adobe eLearning Community as well but all new posts are moderated and I have waited over a week for my posts to appear.

There are a few of us regulars who could help you with Captivate but we’re the die-hards who stick around despite lack of community. If community is a huge part of your game -  Articulate wins there - hands down.

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@Daniel - I have to agree with most that has been written above short of some technical tasks. My experience - simulations can take a very long time to make “sophisticated”...and please dont use a text to speech AI that stinky and sounds robotic to generate narration. At least at my old gig - sandbox/dev environments can get notoriously out of sync with what is in production and/or have incomplete configurations - so I would say be careful there.

If you use them to drive home very directed studies - (like you support the tell me, show me, and then try me model of 4 to 5 short operations) - teams that work with patient medical record systems love to go that route because they can demonstrate an initial level of competence.

In the end if you were to ask a nurse what they prefer the most with all the learning surrounding systems? I believe most would share that shoulder to shoulder study with a local expert and some written instruction is #1 as well as working in a sandbox environment as a close second.

On this note - have you tried walk.me or apty? They have been changing the software simulation game for quite a few years now with a direct overlay of instructions right on top of your web based app as well as directed walkthroughs and assistance with filling out a form. When it is done right? Nothing beats it - because it is directly in your application - where the learning needs to be.

 

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