Friday, May 16, 2008

Why use a web authoring tool for eLearning?

Why use a web authoring tool for eLearning? I use MS-Word, but not to create courseware.
I don't use MS-Word for standup presentations either. Why? because
there is no instructional design or web delivery structure inherently
built into it. It reminds me of the early days of PowerPoint, when
everyone said, "why do I need another tool? I can just use WordPerfect
to create the presentations. You see, they're just as good as your
PowerPoint ones." This is why a WordProcessing staff was still needed -
because the WordPerfect built presentations were lousy. Just as today,
the courseware built in PowerPoint or even your beloved MS-Word leave a
lot to be desired. Once people started using PPT, they saw the benefit
of a tool designed for the purpose. I believe that once people start
using proper eLearning tools designed for web delivery they will see the
benefit of a tool designed properly for the purpose.

To your questions: "Does it work? Does it say time and money?" I would add:
1. Has employee (rather than course builder) productivity been increased?
2. Are the learners giving positive feedback?
3. Are the learners re-using the content on an as-needed basis?

Without positive answers for all these questions, the approach/tools
will only lead to corporate frustration, and a long delay in adoption of
eLearning in a manner where it will succeed. By success, I mean become
a part of everyday processes and have tangible measurable benefits beyond:
1. Course developer didn't have to learn a new tool
2. Course developer got deliverable off their desk in record time
3. Course developer has no more courses to build because rest of staff
found the content boring, insulting, and difficult to use.

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