Authoring Tools

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With the huge growth of tablet devices lately, it seems that eLearning authoring tools are going through another change. It’s nothing new —just another step in the continual evolution we all have seen since the early 1990s, when authoring tools were first introduced to help eLearning professionals create and deliver learning. Since the beginning of eLearning, there’s been a struggle to maintain a balance between ease-of-use and learner engagement, and authoring tools have had to evolve to maintain this balance, as well. In the early 1990s, the industry was largely dominated by PC or Mac based applications that required simple programming/scripting to “author” solutions like Hypercard, Authorware, Director and even some cases pure Flash. While powerful for their time, these tools were not easy to use, requiring complex programming skills except Flash. Macromedia Authorware, was my clear favorite tool at the time, where I could create learning programs primarily via dragging and dropping icons, whereas Actionscript (for Flash) and Lingo (for Director) could not be described as “simple” to learn for those not able to program. Then after about five years (2004 I think), Captivate and Articulate came along and allowed people like me to create interactive simulations of software, using screen recording/scraping and limited interactions. Now it seems like the authoring tools like Captivate and Articulate are introducing mobile/tablet friendly building functions. I wonder what the future of authoring tools will bring, as who knows what technology will come our way.

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