CourseBuilder is a server-based authoring tool developed by Edvantage – who were just acquired this week by Lumesse, a talent management company. More on that story in this month’s market update - we’re not here to talk about the glamorous world of acquisitions. We’re here to look at the every bit as glamorous world of what you can do with CourseBuilder.
We’ve been using it for about a year with different clients – and – we must declare an interest - are a reseller. But that doesn’t stop us from having an independent opinion, of course. So here it is...
Things we like
Overall we’re impressed; CourseBuilder is easy to use and flexible. As a server-based authoring tool, there are no fiddly downloads or plug-ins needed, and of course handing over a project to someone else to work on or update is simple: there’s only one version in one place. With its visual editor, it’s great for non-techies or an in-house team to get up and running in no time. For more expert developers wanting to develop something a bit special, it can be a great way to integrate and wrap up Flash content.
We really like the way that text can be edited by people without Flash skills. Whether you need to correct a typo in a native CourseBuilder screen or rewrite the company policy in your high-end Flash animation, the text sits within CourseBuilder, allowing you to edit to your heart’s content. If XML gives you the fear, then worry not. One of our clients is going to use it to enable local markets to localise content and create their own language/policy specific versions, and the tool gives them the flexibility to do just that.
One thing we enjoy playing with is the inbuilt CBVoice. The voices are pretty realistic, some might even say ‘sexy’, and can be easily manipulated for prototypes or audio on a budget.
The in-built comments function is great for reviewers – they just need to click the comments button available on any screen and note down the bug. Leave your Excel spreadsheets at home and make your SMEs happier.
It comes with some nice accessible outputs as standard too, so you can generate a high-contrast, tab-enabled or screenreader-compatible version. A little care is required to get the output you want – but lots of authoring tools do nothing at all for accessibility – so this is real plus if you’ve got accessibility requirements.
We do get tripped up occasionally – a steady hand is needed as you build your screens. It’s ever so easy to accidentally nudge content out of place. Not such a problem when you’re starting out, but can be frustrating when you’re putting the finishing touches to a finely-crafted masterpiece. A keyboard shortcut or two wouldn’t be unwelcome either.
On our wish list...
We’ve heard rumours of a new release out next year. Here are some of the things on our wish list, to make a very good tool that bit better:
Use CourseBuilder? Like it? Have a different view? Or want to see examples of what it can do? Just get in touch with us or join the discussion in our eLearning Professionals LinkedIn Group.