5.10. Criteria specific only to web-based tools 57
5.10.1. Collaborative authoring and process management 57
5.10.2. System access 58
5.10.3. System performance 58
5.10.4. Permissions and roles 58
6.General recommandations 59
7.Current trends in authoring tools 61
7.1.Team-based life cycle production and maintenance 61
7.2.Use of XML or JSON 61
7.3.Separation of content, appearance, and function 62
7.4.Support for ISD Process 63
7.5.Integration and complexity of templates and skins 63
7.6.Learning object-centric architecture 63
7.7.Embedded best practice design principles 63
7.8.Automated metadata generation/extraction 63
7.9.Open architectures 63
7.10. Support for team-based learning 64
7.11. “Gadget”-based interface 64
7.12.Interactive images 64
7.13.Support for social media 65
7.14. Support for immersive learning technologies 65
7.15. Support for online assessment of performance tasks 66
7.16. Support for semantic web/Web 3.0 technologies 66
7.17. Authoring performance support applications 67
7.18. HTML5 format 68
7.19. Interactive video 70
7.20.Social video 71
7.21.Microlearning video 71
7.22.Crowd sourced authoring systems 72
7.23.Intelligent content 72
8.Process for choosing tools 74
9.For more information about authoring tools 77
10.References cited in this paper 78
A. Sample Tool Requirements Matrix 79
B. Sample Tool Features Rating Matrix 81
NOTE: Vendor citations or descriptions in this paper are for illustrative purposes and do not constitute an endorsement by ADL. All listings of vendors and products are in alphabetical order unless otherwise noted.
The purpose of this paper is to help those involved in the process of choosing authoring tools to make an informed decision. The paper presents a range of considerations for choosing tools, whether as an enterprise-wide acquisition or a single user purchase, and includes a sampling of current tools categorized according to the kind of product they are intended to produce.
This paper does not contain a comprehensive survey of available tools on the market, nor does it contain a comparative rating or evaluation of products, and should not be construed as having such. For more in-depth information about tools and their features, see the references in 10References cited in this paper,or consult the vendors. ADL presents this paper merely as a guide to the issues, opportunities, and processes that are typically considered in choosing authoring tools.
ADL has titled this paper “Choosing Authoring Tools” rather than “Choosing an Authoring Tool,” since there is usually a need to select more than one product. Rarely will one tool meet all the production needs of an organization or developer. Most developers use a combination of tools, even to produce a single eLearning product; using a combination of tools that are each optimized to produce particular components of the product can increase production efficiencies dramatically. Additionally, you may find it impossible to create the variety of eLearning product types your organization requires with a single tool. A survey of authoring tools reported that respondents use an average of 3.35 tools (Shank & Ganci, 2013).
In line with our mission to promote reusability and interoperability in eLearning, ADL recommends authoring tools with built-in features that allow creating SCORM®-conformant eLearning. Creating eLearning that is not reusable or interoperable can be a significant business risk, since you may not be able to run your content in more than one LMS, and you may needlessly develop already-existing content. You can find SCORM considerations for authoring tools in 4.10.1. SCORM.