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Old 11-16-2006, 02:26 PM   # 1
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Default Other E-Learning Tools


Hi all,

I have been going back and forth with Gabe regarding upcoming purchases I am going to be making. I have already decided on the entire line of Articulate goodies, but also want something that I can use to create more traditional courses. Currently, I am using ToolBook, but I have a love / hate relationship with SumTotal and would really like to reduce my dependency on them.

For the past few days, I have been demoing Lectora and really like what I see. In many ways it is so much easier than ToolBook, but in others it is more limited. However, I am willing to accept the limitations if it is a fundamentally solid IDE.

For the record, I also use Dreamweaver with the coursebuilder extension on an as-needed basis.

So I am asking any / all of you for your suggestions and guidance. What do you think?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-16-2006, 05:16 PM   # 2
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Default Re: Other E-Learning Tools


Hi Dave,

I used to use Authorware for almost everything. After using Articulate for more than a year, I do not see the need to look elsewhere with rare exception. I really do not see many other tools that offer significant advantages over Articulate. Come to think of it there is nothing I cannot accomplish (with rare exception) in Articulate and Flash.

Authorware is cool but it has not been updated in a long, long time. It does not output Flash. Rumors abound that it will get a new release in 2007 but we will see if it actually occurs.

ToolBook is quick, but AP does everything it does and more.

Lectora is OK, but I do not see an additional advantage over AP.

What I cannot get done in AP I used to do custom Flash programming - now engage handles 95% of that. In addition I can now build a glossary or FAQ to go with my content using Engage.

If I prefer to use PHP, ASP, ASP.Net, JAVA, etc. I can use the web object and it seemlessly integrates into AP. Of course if I still want to build a very complex interaction with branching, I can easily hyperlink out to an Authorware web piece.

Need an LMS - AP handles that with Knowledge portal or your own LMS - and I cannot wait to see what Articulate Online looks like...

1.5 years ago I was doing exactly what you are doing...looking for the best set of tools. I got tired of looking and decided I would invest 6 months into the Articulate products and use Flash as crutch when I could not make AP do what I wanted. I now hardly ever use anything but AP, Quizmaker, Engage, occassionally Flash, and very rarely Adobe Captivate.

The only other tool I ever find helpful is Camtasia Studio 4. I use this from time to time to demonsrate how to use a program or some other screen capture function.

There are a sea of programs out there. I decided to use AP and have not looked back since...and I do not regret the decision in the least.

I wish you the best of luck...

Rob
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Old 11-16-2006, 07:04 PM   # 3
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Default Re: Other E-Learning Tools


Here's a cool free tool. I have used it to build case studies and some quizzing and then drop them into Presenter via web objects.

http://exelearning.org/?q=screenshots

All you need is Firefox and download the eXe program. Here's a demo I made for someone at school. http://students.pepperdine.edu/tkuhl.../index.htm#exe

If you know some web programming or CSS you can create a custom look to fit with your presenter module.
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Old 11-16-2006, 07:42 PM   # 4
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Default Re: Other E-Learning Tools


Rob,

Great thoughts all around. I did get budget to purchase another tool in addition to the full Articulate set plus a 3 year upgrade...but I guess that doesn't mean I have to spend it. As for the tools you suggested, yeah they are the ones I was looking at too! I am still interested in Lectora, but am also very intrigued with your thoughts on the power of presenter. I have to give it some thought, but what you offer makes sense for so many different reasons. My one challenge is my lack of strong Flash skills...but I guess I could use the money I save to buy myself some training...

Tom,

Thanks for the open source alternative! I am, as I believe many learning developers are, a big fan of open source stuff. I love moodle, audacity, and wink (very cool for tutorials and demos), so this will be an interesting tool to try out...because I am a coder at heart.

This forum is fantastic...great and timely advice, who could ask for anything more.

Thanks again guys!

By the way, please keep the suggestions coming. I suspect that there is still ideas floating that I haven't considered and I am also certain that others may benefit from this discussion in the future!
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Old 11-20-2006, 10:48 PM   # 5
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Default Re: Other E-Learning Tools


I have been using Lectora 2005 professionally for about 6 months.
A few comments...

Lectora 2005 feels like software designed during the mid 1990's.
The interface and tools are just ok- not great, not bad, just bland and functional. Given that Lectora is marketed as a rapid development tool, the layout and interaction are not intuitive or easy.

Lectora is competent, but to make the user experience interesting we need to bring in gfx , flash, or other resources. If we want to create material that has some engaging interactivity, or where the appearance user experience are compelling, we have to use other tools like Flash.

Lectora also has a couple of annoying bugs that Trivantis (or their agents) haven't been able to fix- the screen background dropping to solid black unpredictably being particularly annoying.

We just ordered the Articulate Presenter Studio Pro, incidentally... from the demos, it feels far more mature, stable, and versatile, and the output substantially more professional.
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Old 11-25-2006, 08:01 AM   # 6
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Default Re: Other E-Learning Tools


TooMuchCoffeeGuy,

Thanks for weighing in on this. Admittedly, I am still torn. I need a tool to help me with the creation some pretty complex interactions and the creation of a sophisticated assessment. While I believe both of these ends can be accomplished with Presenter and Quizmaker, I am just not certain they are the right tools for the job. That's not to say they I don't have faith in the Articulate products, quite the opposite, I think they are ideal for 90% of my needs. Rather, I have just learned through the years that every piece of software has limitations and you need to acknowledge those limitations if you want to be successful.

That said, I will keep on looking and listening, and thanks to feedback like yours, it makes the search a little easier.

Regards,
Dave
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Old 11-27-2006, 01:55 PM   # 7
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Default Re: Other E-Learning Tools


We support both Lectora 2006 for our experienced e-learning developers (with a programming bent) and Articulate for our non-programmers (more the SMEs and DIY crowd).

I agree that the Lectora interface is dated but it is a powerful and flexible package --if you know what you are doing. We've seen some horror stories from people who were better off with Articulate products. I also find Articulate's support far better than Trivantis's.

I would say even our more serious developers are starting to abandon Lectora for Articulate. One reason--in a workgroup, everyone has PowerPoint and can share the basic development of the content. Not everyone needs Articulate. Can't say the same with Lectora.

- Gerry
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Old 11-28-2006, 10:34 AM   # 8
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Default Re: Other E-Learning Tools


Gerry,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The more perspective(s) I can add to my decision process the better off I will be.

I guess what you said raised a few additional questions that may be outside of the initial question but I will throw it out anyway because I think it is related.

There is another reason I am looking for an additional tool, I am trying to build a pretty complex skills assessment and need the additional power to do it consistent with the vision we have for the instrument. I would love to use QuizMaker, but it simply lacks the horsepower for what we are trying to create. So any suggestions out there for this purpose? Perhaps something like Questionmark Perception?

This has been the biggest stumbling block as I need very sophisticated branching and question pooling as well as section level feedback. I already gave it a go in Toolbook, but honestly, I am hesitant to roll it out because of the maintenance related issues.

Dave
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Old 11-28-2006, 02:46 PM   # 9
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Default Re: Other E-Learning Tools


Quote:
Originally Posted by desabol
Gerry,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The more perspective(s) I can add to my decision process the better off I will be.

I guess what you said raised a few additional questions that may be outside of the initial question but I will throw it out anyway because I think it is related.

There is another reason I am looking for an additional tool, I am trying to build a pretty complex skills assessment and need the additional power to do it consistent with the vision we have for the instrument. I would love to use QuizMaker, but it simply lacks the horsepower for what we are trying to create. So any suggestions out there for this purpose? Perhaps something like Questionmark Perception?

This has been the biggest stumbling block as I need very sophisticated branching and question pooling as well as section level feedback. I already gave it a go in Toolbook, but honestly, I am hesitant to roll it out because of the maintenance related issues.

Dave
Hi, Dave!

Personally, if I was going for horsepower and question library creation, I'd look serious at Questionmark. A few years back, we started to look at it for high-level test and assessment needs but abandoned it when no one wanted to pay for it. We also have a large user base with ExamBuilder (HTML only), but at the time, it wasn't AICC.

Have you submitted your needs/wishes in an enhancement request to Articulate? If not, I'd do so. Personally, I'm curious to see what they do with AP6 and QM3 whenever they come out. No inside info on what they will be doing but I'm hoping for more with branching and checking questions at least.

All the best!

- Gerry
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Old 11-29-2006, 11:42 AM   # 10
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Default Re: Other E-Learning Tools


Gerry,

Again thanks for sharing your guidance! It's good to hear that Questionmark may be the right tool for the job, but a bit disconcerting to find out that it may be due to a pricing issue. I tried to find out some pricing issue on their website, but found it virtually useless. So much for transparency. Oh well, it just forces me to reach out to them and start a dialogue.

I checked out exam builder...and while it looks like a viable option, our desire is to keep everything within our LMS. Unfortunately, it does not support the level of detail that I need based on the design of the instrument.

As for the enhancement request, I have not yet, but will. I definitely think it would add a lot of value to the product suite and ultimately benefit many people.

Thanks again.
Dave
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