Ever since eLearning authoring tools were born, many people doubted their authenticity. People’s opinion about these tools keeps changing every now and then. Some form their opinions based on their experiences and others on hearsay. The fact remains that there is still a bit of apprehension attached to this style of learning. It is time now to compare the myths about eLearning authoring tools with the real scenario that exists today.
The 9 Most Common Myths About eLearning Authoring Tools
eLearning authoring tools are an increasingly popular way for trainers and employers to train their staff. It is also a great medium for teachers to spread their knowledge with their students.
Nevertheless, despite this growing popularity, there are still many myths about eLearning authoring tools, which might influence the way you create your own eLearning modules.
In this article, we will debunk 9 of the most common myths about eLearning authoring tools, and share some best practices around it.
1. eLearning Authoring Tools Are Too Expensive.
Our leads often have this first myth in mind.
“If it is on a computer, well, then it should be costly”.
This common, yet irrational belief is completely wrong. Actually, instead of being expensive, eLearning authoring tools are even cost effective. Think about it. When it comes to cross cultural and geographical training, eLearning authoring tools are life savers. They help organizations saving millions of dollars, providing them with a wide reach, breaking the barriers of time and space. If you have to train a large group of learners, hiring a trainer and classroom supplies have to be done countless times until every single learner get a chance to attend the class.
What people do not realize is that eLearning authoring tools are a one-time investment. Once you learning simulation is designed, you can spread it as many times as you want, thus saving precious dollars, by eliminating the need for the repeated presence of the trainer, plus additional travel costs.
2. Copy Pasting Content In PowerPoint Is Instructional Design.
A common belief is that instructional designing is all about dumping the content into a PowerPoint presentation. And that is it. Nevertheless, there is much more skills involved that just dumping content and making it look attractive. Actually, there is a series of steps to be followed. These are complex and challenging. That is the reason why we hire instructional designers in eLearning.
Before starting your storyboard, you first need to understand the learning content, and try to make sense of it. Questions such as “Why is this training useful for the organization?” or “What am I trying to learn through this course?” will help you in this regard.
Afterwards, you need to set the learning goals of your online training. This is when you step back, and ask yourself: “What skills do I want to assess in this course?”. Evaluation criteria will be your best allies at this stage. We can tell you from experience that below 3 axes, the outcome is a little bit poor, but beyond 6 axes, it becomes too complex.
So, the bottom-line is: Try to set between 3 and 6 axes. Then, you need tothink about the instructional strategy, that will impact the tone of your learning module. That process goes on and on, until the final learning simulation is exported on your Learning Management System.
3. Serious Game Development Is Time Consuming.
For some people, eLearning Authoring Tools are a good investment, but it is time consuming. They think that to create an eLearning module months and months of work are required, and thus they cannot meet immediate training demands. It is also common to hear that, by the time the online training is developed, the training needs and market trends change. Making the developed online course irrelevant.
Well, this might have been true in the past, at days when you had to rely on complicated and non-intuitive eLearning authoring tools to work with. However, nowadays, there are awesome and outstanding eLearning authoring tools on the market, such as ITyStudio, that have made serious game development easy and quick. With its easy-to-use interface and its ready-made library of content, you can create your eLearning courses within a couple of days, without missing your deadline.
If you do not have much time, nor technical skills to design your eLearning modules, then ITyStudio is really the ideal solution for you.
4. An Engaging Course Means Just Clicks.
Another common saying in our industry is that, by just adding some click options during serious games make them engaging. Do you really think that making learners click a couple of times will interest them and make them engaged in their online training? Of course not. Even though it might help, this is not enough to make your serious games stand out, and engage your audience.
To design an interactive eLearning module, you have to use every aspect of the course. A strong interactive script, nice audio, great visuals, animations, and most importantly: An effective instructional design strategy. As you can see, creating an engaging course goes much beyond click and next buttons.
You can also go further, thanks to new eLearning authoring tools like ITyStudio, Storyline and Captivate. Actually, with ITyStudio, you can combine all three of them. All of it is possible thanks to its compatibility feature, allowing you to import pedagogical content from Storyline and Captivate, leveraging the strengths of the three best eLearning authoring tools on the market.
5. eLearning Authoring Tools Are Not As Effective As Classroom-Based Learning.
We tend to hear this statement a lot in our industry: “eLearning authoring tools are not as effective as classroom-based learning”. Fortunately, there is a reliable research that refutes this claim. Ruth Clark and Richard Mayer, E-learning and the Science of Instruction:
“From the plethora of media comparison research conducted over the past sixty years, we have learned that it’s not the delivery medium, but rather the instructional methods that cause learning. When the instructional methods remain essentially the same, so does the learning, no matter which medium is used to deliver instruction. [13-14]”
In a nutshell, if appropriate methods for completing the desired educational goals are used, the medium, being eLearning authoring tools or classroom-based training, does not matter that much. eLearning authoring tools perceptions tend to suffer from the fact that is has been complicated to use for a long time, for relatively poor results in the end. However, times have changed, and the market evolved a lot. Nowadays, dramatic improvements can be made. And guess what? You do not have to break the bank to do so.
Serious games authoring tools, such as ITyStudio, thanks to their Saas (Software as a service) economic model, can provide you with the latest technology, for a reasonable monthly fee. Moreover, all the maintenance and updates are included in that price.
6. Great eLearning Authoring Tools Are All You Need To Design A Great Online Training.
Indeed, you do need great eLearning Authoring Tools. But you have to remember that it is not the technology that makes the work easy and the course great. Once again, if all you needed in order to build a great online course was to have the right eLearning authoring tools, then organizations would not need instructional designers anymore.
Over reliance on technology in dangerous. The fact is, without the right content, the right strategy, the right learning objectives… You might have the best eLearning authoring tools of the market, you learning simulation will be worse than the classroom course it replaces.
7. Learning Simulations Must Be Fun.
Even if serious games enable you to bring funny factors in your eLearning modules, this definitely should not impact the value provided negatively. “Edutainment” may get someone to take an online course once, but if he does not get any value from it, chances are he will not come back.
Making your learning simulations enjoyable is fine, but keep in mind that making it challenging, interesting, rewarding, authentic, worthwhile and relevant is way more important. Be careful about adding too much fun in your online training: stay tuned to the initial learning goals of your eLearning module.
8. Learners Did Not Finish The Course: eLearning Authoring Tools Must Be Bad.
It might happen. When the online training is designed poorly, when the content is wrong… Who can blame learners for not finishing their online training? However, attendees may also not finish the course because they do not have to. Sometimes, learners just take your course with a particular goal. Thus, they will only attend a lesson or two, the one related to the skills they are after.
And that is perfectly fine. One advantage of eLearning authoring tools is that you can customize training modules, so that people only take what they need.
You will find below an example of this phenomenon with ITyStudio, leveraging the interactive maps feature of Storyline.
Consequently, thanks to eLearning authoring tools, you can make your online training time-effective, by enabling learners to only attend modules they are interested in.
9. If Learners Are Passing Your End-Of-Course Assessment, Then You’ve Created Successful eLearning.
In some cases, this can be true. But it depends on the kind of end-of-course you have setup. You can consider your eLearning modules successful when learners actually apply the information you delivered into a real life situation.
However, many assessments simply test whether the learner can recall information, rather than whether they can apply this information in a new context. For example, if you show the learner a page of text, and then ask them some multiple choice questions about the text’s content, what you’re actually testing is whether they can remember what they’ve read; you still have no idea whether they can actually use this information.
The very best medium to estimate the effectiveness or your learning simulation is to set up a branching scenario. Even if only few eLearning authoring tools on the market have this feature, this is incredibly effective.
Thanks to it, learners are evaluated based on their direct answers and choices, in real situation, throughout their online training. This way, they may not even realize that they are assessed. And it will give you a more accurate information on their performance.
In a nutshell, to have a good indicator about the effectiveness of your online training, you must have a practical approach to what you are actually testing.
Now That The 9 Myths About eLearning Authoring Tools Are Debunked: Take Action!
Hopefully you now are convinced about the efficiency of eLearning Authoring Tools. As you have seen, there are a lot of myths out there, and a lot of them are completely wrong. Human beings are reluctant to changes. That is a fact. However, do not be like everyone else: Embrace the power of eLearning authoring tools. Your results will skyrocket, and your boss will be delighted.
Are you ready to go to the next level? You should definitely try ITyStudio, one of the most intuitive and easy-to-use serious game authoring tool.
By leveraging its ready-made library of content, as well as its easy-to-use interface, your next learning simulation will be designed within days. Without particular technical skills.
If you have come across any such myths about eLearning authoring tools, please feel free to add in our comment section below.