Thursday, 24 September 2009

Should I Use Dreamweaver to Build My Course?

I received a question that I've heard in many forms and I'd like to ask help on this.

I am looking for some advice about whether or not my choice to use Dreamweaver with learning extensions (CourseBuilder + Learning Site) is a good idea or not.  I understand that Dreamweaver is not SCORM compliant (or at least it wasn't).

The reason why I thought it would be good to use, is because I work for a small company, and I am the only Technical Writer / eLearning Developer, so needed something simple and straightforward to use, but that could also offer me flexibility to design my own modules.  My modules are going to take a previously written training guide and turn it into an online interactive format.  It will need to have Forward & Back buttons, interactive exercises, tests & quizzes integration.  We don't have an LMS at this point, but we may need to track it in the future.

Also, Dreamweaver is relatively cheap, so I could make a good case to my managers to buy it for me.  There's also good help material available online, and there is a good book written by Michael Doyle "Dreamweaver MX e-Learning Toolkit" (although it was written in 2003).

I do use Camtasia to create my training videos, but have heard that Adobe Captivate is a good product as well.

Dreamweaver appears harder to use than other eLearning tools I have seen out there, but I appreciate its flexibility.

So, first, let's admit that many people in our industry are pretty much solo developers of eLearning.  They have to do everything on their own.  And they also are not building that much eLearning day-to-day, so it's pretty common to have to go through figuring out what tool to use.  And because they are solo, there's no time to spend evaluating a bunch of different tools.  Yes, I could download the free trial version and try it out, but that would take a fair bit of time.  At the same time, if I don't make a good choice, I could be suffering a lot of unnecessary pain.  Sound familiar?

So can you help me (and the reader) out?

  1. Decision Process? If you were this person, how would you go about selecting the tool to use?  Given there are a lot of Rapid eLearning Tools and Software Simulation Tools out there, how do you choose which tools to consider?  How would you decide which to download and trial?  Anything else you would do to make this decision?
  2. In terms of the specific tools here, any suggestions?   Dreamweaver?  Camtasia?  Adobe Captivate?  Articulate?  What others jump to mind?

Thanks, in advance.

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