Separate fact from fiction by busting these common myths about rapid development authoring tools.
Authoring tools are ubiquitous for modern instructional designers. They can transform ineffective and out-of-date learning programs into engaging and interactive courses. Although the use of these programs does require baseline skills, creativity, and product knowledge, they are called rapid development authoring tools for a reason. The magical element of these programs is the fact that they don’t require coding knowledge or experience, which makes their interactive elements available to designers at the click of a button. Despite the fact that these programs were designed with ease of use in mind, several myths persist that intimidate new designers and make them wary of trying new programs. Continue reading to see how some of the most pervasive myths are completely debunked by the best tools on the market.
Authoring Tools are Difficult to Learn and/or Slow to Use
Busted! Many authoring tools guide designers in creating sophisticated courses through the use of templates and pre-built interactions that designers can customize to fit their needs. Templates allow designers to supplement their own design skills by providing design inspiration as well as functioning interactions that designers can quickly modify to fit their content. No knowledge of how the tool works is necessary; simply click on the features you want to use, and they appear in your course. Popular tools have intuitive functionality that allows designers to simply download the program and begin playing, ahem, designing, although it does feel like play once your creativity starts flowing! Free trials, demonstrations, and customer service support are also widely available to allow designers to take new tools for test runs and reach out for help when needed.
Authoring Tools are Too Expensive
Not necessarily! Authoring tools create impressive content and are capable of doing so in extremely cost-effective ways. Online courses can save organizations thousands, even millions, of dollars compared to traditional classroom training and the travel expenses that are often associated with that. Large organizations that span diverse geographic regions find tremendous value in eLearning programs that can be translated and customized for their various audiences, while still providing a consistent message across the organization. Authoring tools are also a one-time investment, as opposed to traditional classroom-based training that must be repeated for each new hire. Furthermore, time is money, and rapid authoring tools save money by allowing designers to create courses quickly, with minimal training in the tool. Updating content is a smooth process, as changes to wording and images can be made in seconds and republishing can be done at any time.
All You Have to Do is Paste in Your PowerPoint!
No, just no! Sure, most authoring tools allow for PowerPoint slides to be imported in, but simply creating a new platform for learners to scroll through and do little more than click “Next” is simply not effective instructional design. PowerPoint slides can be the basis of courses, which creative designers can then augment with engaging interactions such as hotspots, flashcards, tabs, accordions, and more. Instructional designers are skilled professionals who take pride in creating courses that hold learners’ interest, present content in engaging and effective delivery methods, and achieve organizational results. If passively scrolling through PowerPoint presentations or sitting through live training sessions isn’t achieving the results you’re looking for, simply transferring that same old PowerPoint into an authoring tool isn’t going to do it either. Make the most of your eLearning investment and challenge yourself to use all the bells and whistles your authoring tool offers.
The More a Learner Clicks the More Engaged They Are!
This one is not exactly true. Activity can be directly tied to engagement; your learner should not be able to launch a course and walk away, letting the course run to completion in their absence. But the simple act of clicking does not guarantee engagement or effective delivery of content. Consider user experience, the concept that design should be meaningful and relevant to the end-users. A general principle is that users prefer to accomplish their goals in the least number of clicks possible. In eLearning interactions, the use of clicks can be effective, such as using flashcards to reveal facts and figures, or using hotspots on screen to guide learners through simulations. Conversely, unnecessary clicks or burying content under a labyrinth of menus is poor design that may bore learners and give them a negative impression of your content, no matter the importance of the topic.
Courses Can’t Be Designed for Use on Multiple Devices or Screen Sizes
False! Another innovation in modern authoring tools is the fact that they are adaptive and responsive, and create content that is seamlessly ready for use on any device and any screen size. Today’s authoring tools are more than mobile-friendly, they are mobile-ready. The appearance of content is not distorted, unnecessary scrolling is prevented, and all media functions perfectly. This meets the needs of today’s learners, who often find themselves working remotely, in non-traditional settings, and away from traditional offices and desktop computers. This also relates to the concept of authoring tools being quick and easy to use. Designers can create courses once, and trust that they will perform no matter where or how learners encounter them.
Are you interested in demoing a tool that smashes these myths and more? Let’s talk!