Sunday, August 26, 2007

Free -non OSS- authoring tool

A new and very nice piece of software is hitting the streets. It is a Russian tool to create WBTs and it is fast, easy and it is for free. I tried to contact the vendor but my mail came back with an error message. The tool is called CourseLab.

So it is free – I guess it is limited?
Actually, NO! This application is quite advanced. There are a lot of functionalities and templates you can use. The course can be exported as a SCORM package (both 1.2 and 2004), as an AICC package or on a CD. There are no limitations to the number of screens and you don't see a watermark. No idea why they are using this model but as long as it works, it is fine to me.

What about the functionalities?
It is an advanced authoring tool to create WBTs. With a lot of ready to use templates and a various set of didactical interactions. From simple questions, to interactive conversations. It is even possible to create simulations (although you need to buy an additional module). And it is very easy to use movies or Flash/Shockwave elements. Every instructional designer will be able to create pages at a fast pace.

Is it hard to use?
No, the user interface is very clear. If you know how to use Microsoft applications, you can use this one as well. The same menus, the same buttons. You can even move objects to a different layer in exactly the same way. The learning curve is not steep at all. Without any help I created a simple interactive conversation within 5 minutes. You can even import current PowerPoint presentations (although this will be a very bad starting point!). If you need additional info you can use the solid build in help.

Just try this one. And if anyone can tell me about their business model...please let me know. I'm curious.

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