Monday, April 26, 2010

How to choose e-learning tools

In the March e-learning blog post, “Preparing for the e-Learning Consultant’s Arrival”, we took at look at how you can prepare your organization for the e-learning consultant’s arrival. A part of that process involves choosing the e-learning software tools to use for your project, a decision we’re going to look at this month.

The Consultant’s e-Learning Tool Box
The first thing to realize is that you want to choose the software tools that will be the best fit for your organization and your learners, and then worry about which consultant you’ll contract with for your project later.

e-Learning consultants generally fall into two camps:

• Specialists in a specific software tool.
• Generalists dedicated to proficiency in several tools.

Now, you’re free to focus on software choices for your organization’s purposes. Once you’ve purchased the tools you need, you’ll be able to partner with Escoe-Bliss to find a consultant proficient in the software.

The Most Common e-Learning Software Tools
We have no bias towards a specific software tool, and you can find many tools by searching for them on the Internet. We suggest the keywords “elearning software” or “e-learning software”. The alphabetical list below is by no means comprehensive, however, it reflects the most common tools used by corporations, academia, and government agencies:

Adobe e-Learning Suite (Adobe)
Articulate (Articulate)
Camtasia (TechSmith)
Captivate (Adobe)
Flash (Adobe)
Lectora (Trivantis)
Raptivity (Harbinger Knowledge Products)
ToolBook Instructor (SumTotal Systems)

The majority of these companies provide significant purchase discounts for non-profit and academic entities.

Choosing the Tool that’s Right for You
Most people tend to look at their organization’s budget first. I’d like to encourage you to think about money last. Instead, begin by analyzing your organization’s and your learners’ needs. When you place business and learning needs first, you’ll purchase the best tool with confidence, and avoid being stuck with a quick, cheap purchase that you could regret later.

One partner you’ll want to include at the very beginning of your analysis is your Information Technology (IT) department. Your IT folks know the ins-and-outs of your organization’s networks and other systems. Show them the above list, and any other tools you’ve found on your own. You’ll need your IT people to tell you what constraints you may need to consider not only for when the consultant is using the software on your systems at your location, but also when you deploy, or launch, the finished course to all of your learners.

And, think about your learners. You want to choose a tool that creates courses with flexible and easy-to-use navigation. You also want to make sure an interrupted learner can bookmark the course and return to the place where they left off at a later time, if needed. Most of the tools listed do provide that helpful feature.

Converting PowerPoint Presentations to e-Learning
Several of the tools listed above allow you to work with your existing PowerPoint slide decks, a bonus for learning organizations that have years of valuable content residing in PPT files.

Jenise Cook, M.A., is our featured guest blogger for 2010. Her posts will appear monthly on Blogging with Bliss. Her professionalism and passion for her work in documentation design, e-learning development, and media production radiate from her writing and we consider ourselves extremely fortunate to count her among our guest bloggers. Check out Jenise's previous e-learning series blogs, such as, Why Use an e-Learning Consultant? and What to Look for in an e-Learning Consultant in our archives.


  1. Many computer service consulting companies, but not all of them, offer their customers with professional training services which can be used to train the company’s own employees to perform specific tasks, in order to improve that company’s service quality and response, i.e., when employing computer service consulting companies either part time, or off base.

  2. Great blog..It can be a very great way to get an education education area blooming day by day .technology changes expands online education .hope there will be a great future of Online Learning Platforms.

  3. Choosing e-learning tools is very much important for organization for giving the better services in the field of digital training. It helps the organization for giving the better education services. elearning inside