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Checklist for Choosing the Right Authoring Tool to Develop Product Training Quickly

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Give a man a fish,and he'll eat for a day.Teach a man to fish,and he'll eat for a lifetime.

As an organization, you need to constantly innovate and develop new products to keep yourself up to date with market demands. This naturally necessitates training your sales force on new products as and when they are launched. You can no longer wait for annual sales meets or formal product launches to train your sales force. The answer lies in using online product training and developing courses you need, using any of the several rapid authoring tools available in the market. However, on what basis do you choose the right authoring tool that caters to your specific requirement? Here is a quick checklist to help you take the right decision.

It should be easy to develop: The authoring tool should be easy to use by a person with non-technical background. One should not be expected to have programming knowledge to use it. The interface should be intuitive with readymade templates and resources that can be easily integrated into the course.

It should be easy to translate: The authoring tool should facilitate easy translation of courses into multiple languages, without need for re-work or duplication of effort. The in-built templates and interface should be such that translation is done easily without having to re-do the entire course. Typically courses that have an output in HTML5 or XML are easily translatable and with minimum effort.

Its ability to deploy courses on multi-devices: Product training courses will be accessed by field personnel such as sales people and service engineers. Therefore, it is important that the courses are accessible through multiple devices such as smart phones, iPads and so on.

It must be SCORM-compliant for tracking on an LMS: The authoring tools should be able to develop SCORM compliant courses so that they can be tracked and monitored on the learning management system. This gives managers access to information about who has taken the courses and who is yet to complete them. It also provides users the information about the completion status of the courses assigned to them.

It should be adequately interactive: We are living in an interactive world and are quite used to touch screen interface. Simple page-turner courses are no longer inspiring. Some elements of interactivities in the form of quizzes or puzzles that require some action on the part of the learner ensures that learners are actively engaged with the course. We need to ensure that the authoring tool facilitates such type of interaction. Identifying product parts and features could be part of interactive exercises in product training courses.

It should have at least minimal animations: It would be more interesting to demonstrate the working of a product or assembling a product through animations. The authoring tool should be able to create some basic animation to ease the monotony of static content.

Its need for skilled personnel should be minimal: Finally, the need for technical or skilled personnel should be minimal. This ensures that content can be updated on time without having to depend on the availability of a technical person. For example, a new version of the product might have been launched and this information might have to be updated into an existing course. This should be done easily without depending on programmers or IT personnel.

Running a checklist suggested above will ensure that you have an authoring tool that will meet your needs for quick product training development. Apart from these, are there any other criteria that are important to you? Do share them.

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