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Best Practices – Getting Started

As you get ready to start your titles, keep the following best practices in mind:

  • Consider the types of courses you will be developing, how you will deploy the courses, and the level of interaction required in the courses. All of these factors will affect how you select a title template and design your training.
  • When designing courses consider the connection speed of your learners, as this will affect the type of media you should use in the course.
  • Establish the screen design (layout and structure) and screen components before authoring. Also identify objects that will occur on every page (such as navigation buttons) – these are items that you will place at the title level and/or Chapter levels of your course.
  • Make sure content is linked to specific learning objectives. Learning objectives should be performance based and describe what participants should be able to do upon completion of the lesson or course. For example, “In this lesson/exercise you learn how to add a graphic to the page.”
  • Consider additional resources to supplement the information in the course. For example, resources may include a Help function, a Glossary, Frequently Asked Questions, or a Course Map.
  • If you have multiple developers working on a Lectora project, create a plan for sharing resources and files.
  • Create your own template titles for courses and/or lessons that require a similar look and functionality. Once you create a template title, you can reuse that title endless times, which reducing the overall time necessary to develop your titles/courses.
  • Always test your course on a small scale, using qualified eLearning QA staff, before expanding it to a larger or final audience. Testing will help you catch any potential errors early. You will be surprised how many types (typos) get through undigested (undetected).

ToolBook to Lectora: Making the Leap

Sometimes I felt like we were the last holdouts in the dwindling ToolBook customer base.  The signs have been on the wall for a long time – ToolBook is a dying product.  New features haven’t been added for years and one of these days it just isn’t going to work anymore.  The company has already stated there are no plans for ToolBook web content to work in Microsoft Edge.  As that browser gains in popularity, ToolBook created web courses will stop working and that will be THE END.

Most of our business friends in the ToolBook world had jumped ship years earlier.  But, the thought of a new e-learning platform and all of the work it would take to convert close to 30,000 ToolBook pages in over 300 ToolBooks was more than I could bear to think about.  Maybe we can get by just one more year…

The lack of support for Microsoft Edge was the straw that forced us to finally come to grips with the reality that it was time to make a move.  We had some time since everything was still working well for our corporate customer base.  But it is tenuous; the day things stop working is the day we will need to close our doors.

ToolBook to Lectora Conversion – It IS Possible!

In a future post I will describe our process and rationale for choosing Lectora.  Today I want to let anyone who was in the same boat as we were – the task of converting your ToolBook Content to Lectora isn’t the problem you think it is.  Let me explain.

We have been working with Peter Jackson since 2001.  Peter is a recognized and well-respected ToolBook expert and is quite a gifted programmer.  With Peter’s help we have built our business, QualityTrainingPortal.com, into the leader in on-line learning for Quality and Productivity Improvement.  After helping us decide on Lectora, Peter went to work figuring out how to automate the conversion of our content from ToolBook to Lectora and he was successful!

With the amount of content we have, automation was the only way to go.  Manually converting the content, even with super cheap foreign labor to do the initial work, would require hundreds and probably thousands of hours proofing, correcting and proofing again.  Automation on the other hand provides a much cleaner conversion that needs thorough, heavy spot checking, but not going through every page with a fine-tooth comb.  The best news is that we haven’t had to compromise any functionality that was in our ToolBook courses and have even added a couple of nice features that we didn’t have before.

If you are in the same situation as we were, I encourage you to get in touch with Peter.  Let him take a look at your ToolBook content and give you a quote for what it will take to convert it all to Lectora.