Employees looking at elearning course made in SCORM

Why Author eLearning Content to Industry Standards?

At OpenSesame, we receive inquiries from subject matter experts and content authors who have developed training programs but are unsure about how to monetize them in today’s online world. They have valuable content (a training video, a Powerpoint presentation, or a book) that they want to share with the world and hopefully make some money along the way. Here are some of the options available to these experts and tips on how they can get the most value out of their time.

Building on native platforms

Companies like Udemy and Skillshare offer a place where courses can be built, marketed and sold all in one location. Course building tools on these platforms are available without cost but not without limitations.

  • Building courses on native platforms requires commitment and an investment of time. For every native platform, you are committing to build and continuously maintain your catalog using only the tools provided.

  • Courses built using platform tools cannot be exported to other platforms and previously created content cannot be uploaded to these platforms

  • The learning curve for course development on each site is unique. Features available on one platform may not be available on another.

  • These sites have built-in templates to help you get started, yet the templates are designed to give every course on the platform the same look and feel. How do you stand out in a marketplace where everything looks the same? What if your courses have features you can’t use in these environments? Many courses created in these platforms have limited customization options.

  • Each of these platforms are unique, but they are not SCORM, AICC or xAPI conformant, which means the courses built on these platforms can not be exported for use in another platform or Learning Management System (LMS).

Essentially, content built on these native platforms are great for users who have raw content. However, for instructional designers looking to leverage their content in other places, these native platforms limit its distribution.

Why do Learning Management Systems matter?

A learning management system, or LMS, is a collaborative platform used to manage elearning courses. The Advanced Distance Learning group, sponsored by the United States Department of Defense, created a set of specifications called Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) to encourage the standardization of learning management systems. SCORM and other industry standards like AICC and xAPI enable online learning content and learning management systems the ability to communicate with each other. These platforms track users access and completion therefore protecting and monitoring valuable Intellectual Property. LMSs are typically used in the business and education sectors the market size is expected to grow from $5.19 billion in 2016 to $19.05 billion by 2022. For instructional designers and content publishers, this means that there is a tremendous opportunity to sell and create SCORM, AICC and xAPI compliant content.

Today, authoring software that was once reserved for designers and developers has become more affordable and easier to use.  With these tools, you can quickly and easily create courses that can be published in SCORM, AICC, or xAPI with the click of a button. Using an authoring tool to build your courses, you’ll be able to transform your content into viable products that can be sold in the LMS market, while ensuring they are more portable to multiple platforms as compared to using a proprietary system.

Finding the right authoring tool

Elliott Masie recently spoke to a room full of training professionals where he said “We need to stop calling ourselves instructional designers and start saying producer”. There are a number of authoring tools available but which is the right one? Authoring tools are like shoes you won’t know which one is the best fit until you try it on.

Articulate has a variety of  tools for Windows or Mac users who are willing to take a few extra steps. Since a native Mac version of Articulate does not exist users will need to install Paralles Desktop, VMware, or Apple Boot Camp.  Articulate claims that 60,000 organizations, 64 million learners and 151 countries are using their tools. They boast 487,000 course creators in their community willing to share practical advice and best practices. Articulate pricing starts at $999 for new users and educators receive a 50% discount.

Adobe Captivate is a comprehensive and robust software package available for both Mac and Windows users. Like Articulate, Captivate has stood the test of time and has a vast community of supporters. Since Captivate is an Adobe product it integrates seamlessly with other “Made in Adobe” applications like Photoshop and Dreamweaver. The product is offered as a subscription service for $29.99/mo, a full license for $1,099 and a steep educational discount allowing students and teachers to purchase the full license for $349.

Dominknow was a pioneer in cloud-based authoring solutions. Their products Flow, Claro and Capture allow authors to store their assets and courses online. Real-time collaboration and version control is were these products stand out. An author can update a downloadable resource once and all courses using that resource can be updated at the same time. A library like checkout system allows multiple users the ability to work together on a project. Monthly subscriptions range from $167-$208 a month.

Many authoring tool providers will allow you to try the product before making an investment. Additionally, there are some open-source products available at no cost. Check out eLearning Atlas, a free service, to search for SCROM compatible tools, vendors and platforms that play well together in the elearning world.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to make a great course. With the right tools and publishing capabilities, authors can turn content into valuable products for the enterprise. For more information on becoming a Seller with OpenSesame contact us at content@opensesame.com.