Thoughts on (elearning) tools

Philip Hutchinson at pipwerks asks and takes a stab at answering the question, “Should We Use eLearning Authoring Tools?”  Here’s the core of his opinion:

Most eLearning tools do not promote the creation of effective courses, do not promote web standards, and do not promote accessibility; they merely make cookie-cutter course development easier for technically inexperienced course developers.

I want to reread the post and think more about it.  My first impression is that good instruction (I’m not sure I can guarantee good learning) comes from a combination of instructional design and web development. 

I do think Philip’s got a good point: a lot of “authoring” templates are the educational equivalent of Hamburger Helper.  Here’s a multiple-guess, here’s an “interactive” drag-and-drop, here’s a great (and obviously highly original) Jeopardy or Millionaire question format.

I think that anyone who’s created training they’re proud of has some example they’d bring to ISD show-and-tell.  Imagine having a collection of those together with suggestions of how to execute them.  Sure, some people would just change the words in the example, the way they fill in the PowerPoint template.  But others can and will generalize from a range of examples and come up with original, engaging interaction.