What is the fundamental objective of instructional design? Instructional design involves understanding the learning objectives of the course and chalking a strategy that helps learners meet those objectives. It involves analyzing learners, content & course objectives, designing and developing the course in a format that best suits the needs of learners and evaluating its effectiveness.
Rapid authoring tools make it easier to develop eLearning courses
Now, in the pre-rapid authoring tools days, you might have had to outsource the eLearning design and development to an external vendor. They would take into account the available content & resources and design a customized course to cater to your specific requirements. This obviously involved a huge amount of costs not to speak of the endless back and forth meetings to approve and finalize the content. However, with the advent of rapid authoring tools, suddenly it seems a lot easier to develop an eLearning course. It is just a matter of converting PowerPoint presentations into eLearning courses using one of the rapid authoring tools. Is it really the case?
No one tool meets all the designing needs
Rapid authoring tools provide you with new tools to design and develop your eLearning courses. However, you must remember that each of the available tools have certain capabilities. If you are an organization looking to develop your own eLearning courses, you need to really be careful before choosing an authoring tool that will meet your present and future training requirements. Each of the tools are ideal for certain tasks – for example articulate is best for converting PowerPoint slides into eLearning courses, Captivate is known to be useful for capturing screen simulations and Lectora allows a great deal of customizations. These are some of the popular tools today. Articulate has come up with another version called Storyline which, according to the initial reports, provides powerful yet simple options not to speak of its compatibility with mobile devices. There are innumerable other tools flooding the market and tomorrow, more powerful tools might occupy prominent position in the market shelf space.
The best option
Typically, if an organization has already invested in an authoring tool, they tend to use the same tool for all their eLearning courses. However, the best option is to choose the right tool based on the requirement of the course. If you outsource your design and development needs to an external eLearning service provider, you do not have to bother about choosing the right tool or making do with an existing tool. The eLearning service provider will analyze your content and choose the best tool that is suitable for the learning requirements. You will be free of licenses and renewals of the tools and can focus on your core L&D function. The tools should not dictate your content; the tools are only a means to achieve your learning goals and that is the way it should be.