Friday, February 15, 2008

LT2008: Claire Line on choosing the right authoring tool

The final presentation on my training track at LT2008 was a case study from Claire Line of the international law firm Lovells, currently in the process of buying her third e-learning authoring tool. I had not heard Claire deliver a presentation before, but I knew her by reputation. After her presentation, some expressed the view that she had read her presentation, which they found disappointing.

However, I am of the view that the information she shared was potentially very useful to those members of the community at the early stages of adoption, which is why I'm sharing my reflections on her session today.

She openly shared the mistakes she had made when making her first purchase, and highlighted lessons learnt along the way. Claire's willingness to share her experience and hard-learned lessons typify this community and will have done much to signpost the way forward for those venturing out along this path.

She identified the key questions to ask as:

  1. What features do I need?
  2. What are my priorities?
  3. What is my budget?
  4. What are my resources (support, etc.)?

At Lovells, they undertook a rigorous selection process and would not be rushed into making a decision based on price or limited availability. The final selection had to be fit for purpose, which meant taking into consideration the nature of the content to be produced. Other considerations included:

  • nature of audience
  • culture
  • resources
  • IT strategy
In her experience it was vital to engage and involve the stakeholders, including elearning authors (globally), HR professionals, customers and a cross-section of users.

Her tips to those embarking on this journey were:

  • talk to people (vendors, other users, people in other firms)
  • see it in action and try it out for yourself
  • get independent advice - the vendor wants you to buy his product!
  • find out what resources you will need to make it work
  • engage a professional insturctional designer
  • don't confuse graphics design with instructional design
  • be prepared to make mistakes and keep learning
  • involve the learners as early as possible
  • don't rush into a decision

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