What is the best eLearning software?

The right answer is? The best software that allows you to deliver your learning objectives using the desired instructional strategy. However, that is not the answer I usually hear not the answer people usually want. Instead I hear Articulate, Captivate, Flash, Lectora, etc etc. The truth is that there is not one tool that does it all…well actually there is, its called programming but that is usually the least cost effective way to go so we do not do it. One of the big issues I am seeing in our field is that people are only familiar with a few tools and really believe that those few tools can do everything. The problem is that many of those tools are very limited. For instance, if an instructional designer cannot tell me why I would choose Flash over Articulate or vice versa, I would be concerned that they do not understand some of the basic authoring tools that are available because there are situations when I would choose one of those over another. They each have distinct advantages over one another.

Another big issue I see is that designers are many times playing the role of a developer so they can only use simple development tools because they are not programmers. So the training is limited to a drag and drop development tool. If you have an instructional design team, you need a developer. You need someone dedicated to development…otherwise you are a very small company and you are not going to be competitive with the big boys because they have developers that can develop full simulation environments. If I see a company/person saying they can develop effective training using X tool without seeing my needs, objectives, etc. then I get very concerned with quality and ability to deliver effective training. You choose your tool that best fits the design. You do not make your design fit a tool. A good instructional design company will be able to use any tool that fits your needs, whether it be simple like PPT or Articulate or advanced like Unity 3D game engine.

So what are the problems with all of this? The biggest in my opinion is boring training, training that is not effective, and/or instructional strategies that are limited by software. The two big issues I hear from executives are that training is not effective or its boring. And I believe poor use of technology is one of the causes.

Posted in Instructional Design, technology and tagged , .