The presentation of training materials, electronic learning resources and both certification and testing systems to employees, management and even the occasional vendor or partner has grown significantly in the last few years. With so many changes underway in the technologies available to even mid-size to small companies, having the ability to quickly update and deploy new instructional material is one of the key to developing employee talent advancing a new corporate training program.
Adobe’s Creative Suite has risen to the top of the list for most companies interested in producing interactive applications and creatives. Adobe’s eLearning platform is called Captivate, and it is growing in popularity primarily because of its tight integration with other Creative Cloud applications. As an eLearning authoring platform it’s major strength is the ability to deploy to many devices and PC types from the same source material. It is also available through an inexpensive subscription, which makes it highly competitive with other platform pricing.
One of the original presentation tools, Powerpoint is still an excellent option for companies that need to integrate other Office documents into their instructional packages. Powerpoint can export to other platforms and can also be used to author web content for company-wide intranet applications. Although it remains one of the more expensive options for simple eLearning, its long history and the tremendous expertise that has developed in the Office community make it a worthy contender for all but the most modest training needs.
With the recent popularity of HTML5 development and the ability to integrate authoring tools using a browser as the presentation platform, companies like Squarespace have emerged as potential suppliers of eLearning development services. Because their product is web site development, Squarespace can not only provide tools to construct eLearning materials, but they can seamlessly distribute the materials to a worldwide audience by hosting them on their own web servers. With hundreds of templates to choose from, an eLearning author can get up to speed very quickly and produce world-class content with a few clicks.
For developers who want to maximize their control over the presentation and functionality of their eLearning materials, there is always the option to hand-code HTML5 and distribute the instructional materials via the web. This is a good alternative to Squarespace and services like it if there are highly stylized or customized application-level elements in your eLearning curriculum like secured tests or regulation-specific certification requirements that need to be audited at the source level. From a cost standpoint, this is likely the least expensive option, but it also requires more development time.
It might surprise some to learn e books are really nothing more than specialized web documents. The source files for an e-book are a combination of standardized XML and simplified HTML which are compiled into an archive readable by ebook hardware or mobile apps. Compiling eLearning materials into ebook form is a convenient way to not only organize and index information but also to distribute it in a simple and easy to understand format. While ebooks do not support client side program logic, they do support hyperlinking and present well on a wide variety of mobile devices.
It has been said prior to the early 21st century, there has never been a better time to be a writer. If that is true, then it stands to reason there has also never been a better time to be a teacher. With tools like these available, it should be possible to advance your eLearning program dramatically at minimal cost and with maximum quality.