Filip Vervenne - AUGUSTUS 2008 - KATHO
COMPARING SOME (3X3) POPULAR AUTHORING TOOLS FOR E-LEARNING...
Filip Vervenne, coordinator MAD, “Mad About Distance”, centre of excellence distance learning
KATHO polytechnic institution, Belgium
ABSTRACT This contribution has the modest ambition to bring some inspiration for who is involved in developing
e- and distance learning in higher education settings. It’s not about tools for web conferencing or digital learning
environments but a modest comparison of some popular AUTHORING tools: three tools for web design, three
tools for assessment and three tools for screen capture.
The main objective is starting the discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of these tools, based on
didactical experiences and experiments in a period of quick evolution in Flanders main e-learning teacher training
1 Introduction: KATHO and OHO
Each year more than 6500 students entrust KATHO with their futures. KATHO offers a wide range of disciplines:
6 basic study-areas (Social Sciences and Special Education, Health Care, Bio-Technology, Industrial Sciences
and Technology, Commercial Sciences and Business Management, Teacher Training) – 18 practice-oriented
basic trainings, with 34 specialisations leading to a Bachelor Degree ( 3 years of study, each year representing
1800 hours of study load = 3 x 60 credits) – 2 Master programmes with K.U. Leuven – 4 Centres of Excellence in
Public Safety, in Health Care, in Technology management and in Biotechnology The institutes are located in 4
historical sites: Kortrijk, Roeselare, Tielt, Torhout. OHO is open higher education more recently developed in
different study-areas of the KATHO: 1400 students. KATHO started a centre of excellence for distance
learning to support the development of distance.
2 Screening some often used authoring tools for e-learning...
2.1 WEB DESIGN
The quantity of programs for web design is increasing every day. Question is: with of them are more useful for
2.1.1 eXe learning www.exelearning.org
eXe learning is open source and completely free! It is user-friendly and has interesting learning paths. You can
publish as scorm and integrate in Moodle or Blackboard. The formule-editor is OK.
The file format is a problem: to share with colleagues is impossible if they don’t not work with eXe too...
2.1.2 Lectora www.trivantis.com
Lectora is a recent and user-friendly tool for web design. KATHO decided to buy it because it is easy to link it with
Blackboard. Exercises and theory are incorporated and there are beautiful templates.
A formule-editor is lacking, the lay out has rather limited possibilities and there is a rather restricted feedback
2.1.3 Dreamweaver www.adobe.com
It’s not expensive and you create real sophisticated websites and put them directly on the server.
Integration in Blackboard or Moodle transfer is difficult. It is less user friendly and rather for professionals or
advanced users of authoring tools.
2.2 ASSESSMENT - TOOLS
Filip Vervenne - AUGUSTUS 2008 - KATHO
A big challenge for raising the quality and credibility of distance education is the organisation of exercises and
assessments. Assessment tools help as to create an online environment with appropriate assessment and
feedback. The versatility of the tools as described underneath this title, ultra passes the objectivity of face2face
2.2.1 Respondus www.respondus.com
Respondus is an offline application (50euro) and independent of the course management system. It is user
friendly. You can download questions, for example of WebCT, and upload questions, for example to blackboard
with the poolmanager.
2.2.2 Questionmark perception www.questionmark.com
Very professional but rather expensive. Create tests, examinations and make them digitally available. It is
independent of a learning environment (Blackboard) and works online OR offline. Scheduling: free exercises in
time in space (perhaps also assessments in the future?) at certain learning contents. Automatic feedback, not
‘well’ or ‘wrong’ as an answer but specific feedback. Use several types of questions. Also with multimedia,
traducing,… Storing questions in a database.
2.2.3 Edumatic www.edumatic.be
Similar to questionmark but advantage: design on custom demand.
NOTE: Blackboard has some tools for assessment integrated. The interaction, tests, surveys are user-friendly.
2.3 SCREEN CAPTURE authoring tools
Screen capture tools open a new world of possibilities to design attractive courses online. Very important: every
teacher can work with it! No more need for outsourcing your projects. There is a wide range of applications for
education: making a demo video, a dynamic PowerPoint, presentations with comments, collecting protocol of
2.3.1 Adobe Captivate www.adobe.com/products/captivate/
License for about 500 euro. Software simulation, scenario simulation/evaluation, quiz,... Published on the basis
of Flash. Very simple, well build learning path (overview of the path possibly). Useful: export as SCORM to
2.3.2 Camtasia www.camtasia.com
Cheap, license for about 300 euro. Film everything of your screen!
User-friendly, good quality of small films, small files. Sound, external sound prerecording (microphone), add
webcam. Zoom in. Publish in different formats. You feel like a producer in a studio...
2.3.3 Morae www.morae.com
Tool for usability testing and user experience research that helps you identify site and application design
problems. Good statistics are available (how long test person is busy, how long pause,…). Interesting application:
short films observing the learning of aloud thinking writers. You can place flags during recording. Price +/- 1200