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The Online World: A Mecca of Tools for Instructional Designers

It is mind-boggling to see the number of technological tools available to learning and development professionals nowadays. At times, it seems that organizing learning online is an overwhelming task. Which main tools should be used? Below you will find common tools used by instructional designers.  The list is not even exhaustive. 

Beware, what is most popular is not always better.  And what is better is not always the most popular. For example, Moodle is widely used across the world.  One of the main reasons is because it is free.  It is called an open-source platform, meaning the platform can be adapted for commercial use without licensing fees. In my opinion, while not visually appealing and more adept at spreading content than truly engaging learners, Moodle does the job in providing functionalities geared toward learning. It fits well within an organization that is cash sensitive and wants their learners to have access to content with the click of a mouse. 

Another issue is that while there is some connection between some of the online tools, it is not always the case. Inevitably, organizations will have to make early decisions on their programs of choice for their online learning, which will consequently cause the elimination of others. Those early decisions will become crucial and could be “binding” for time to come unless a company is ready to restart from scratch. It would be ill-advised to “choose them all” or on an “as-needed” basis. Focus is essential here. The learning curve of employees mastering a new Learner Management System (LMS) and its functionality is everything but negligible. From that understanding, it would be pointless to try to make them use many and at the same time. 

So, which tools should be employed?  A good question with no clear answers.

What is needed is a learning professional that will be able to discern which supports are most appropriate and which programs will better fit within the organizational culture. This is key to set up and growing an effective e-learning program for years to come.

Frederick Audet