If you are planning to develop an e-learning course which is well articulated and successful in accomplishing goals for your learners, then you need to consider the following checklist before you maneuver with the tools in developing the course.
1) Time and Budget
You need to consider the budget allotted for the project, so that you can choose the tool which falls within your budget limits. Rapid e-learning approach is generally time saving and less expensive. Time frame and Budget will determine your learning approach. Plan to include every step of instructional designing, course development and quality analyzing time while planning the project.
You have all the rapid authoring tools available in the market, but do you have resources like Graphic designers, Visual designers, Production designers to support the courses for the required output? Check your resources before you plan out the project.
3) Quality with speed
Rapid is not just for speed. You can develop interactive courses using rapid authoring tools. It is a common misconception that rapid authoring tools are used only to instantaneously convert PowerPoint files into online courses. However you can create instructionally rich courses with interactions, media and assessments with rapid authoring tools.
4) Know your tools
There are many authoring tools each with its characteristic strengths and weaknesses. You should be aware of the features of your tools before you develop a course. These tools have no limit in developing the interactions just as creativity has no limits.
Based on your storyboard you should be selecting your tools. Since it may not be possible to develop all the interactions that are there in the storyboard, it is ideal to choose the tools based on their capability. For example, you can consider Captivate for Simulations based storyboard; you can consider Flash for developing highly interactive courses.
5) Delivery platform
If you need to develop courses that require tracking and reporting, then you should choose tools that produce AICC/SCORM compliant output which allows integration with LMS. You may also consider tools with HTML5 output if you want to host your course on the mobile. You should also consider other factors like browsers and Operating system.
6) Take the Road not taken:
Always relying on age old interaction models can make your courses dry and gloomy. Explore every option available in the tools, try to produce new interactions and make the course more interesting. Even a PowerPoint can produce an interactive course if you have knowledge of that tool.
I hope the above checklist benefits you in your e-learning initiatives. If you have any other items to add to the checklist, please post your items in the comment option provided below and the checklist will be updated.