DevLearn Notes: Frank Nguyen & Future of Authoring Tools


Frank Nguyen – Five Things Your Authoring Tool Will Do By 2013

Looking Back…a history of learning tools

Right now, we’re in Rapid eLearning Era.

  • PPT to Flash, etc.
  • Giving anyone tools to share content.
  • Articulate, Captivate, Raptivity, etc.

Before Rapid eLearning, it was the WBT era.

  • Online page-turners. We’re all guilty!
  • Dreamweaver (Coursebuilder, yikes!), Flash, Notepad

Before WBT, was CBT era.

  • Similar to WBT
  • Page-turner, delivered via CD
  • Authorware, Toolbook

** CBT and WBT were basically identical, delivery medium was just different (CD vs. Web)

Before CBT, was Green Screen era.

  • Mainframes.
  • Software training
  • Sandbox for learner developed by programmers.

Where are we going now?

1: Personalization


  • Tools will adapt to developer’s skill level and provide incremental levels of support.
  • They will look at your past and adapt to your current needs.


  • Allow learners to filter out the info they don’t need, and allow them to reference the info they do need. (search)
  • System (LMS, ITMS) will adapt to learner, assigning content automatically based on competencies, job function, etc. (User Profile)
  • Prescriptive learning: without a robust profile, pre-assessments are time-consuming, and fairly unsuccessful. Accuracy of prescription is based on quality and depth of pre-assessment.

2: Interface

  • We’re in the midst of an interface revolution (iPhone, Wii, etc.) – referenced Minority Report.
  • Interface with tools via webcam and hand gestures – very cool. I wonder what this will mean for the learner. Physical interactions?

3: Tools and Integration

  • Most people in the room use four or more tools – crazy. Hope the vendors are paying attention!
  • Balance of control and speed when integrating tools.
  • My 2 Cents: Personally, I’d rather have 6 tools that each do one or two things very well, and aren’t bulky, than having one tool that is only decent at audio editing, only marginal at graphics, etc. (see Articulate). For some, all-in-one tools will work for basic rapid development, but are not perfect for everyone. I see two fields. The all-in-ones, and the smaller apps that do one thing really well.

4: What about content development

  • Most people think they do some things well, but others not so well.
  • Plug for Ruth Clark – very valid one. eLearning and the Science of Instruction…READ IT!

5: Reuse

  • Definitely need to do this.
  • eLearning Mashups
  • Reusable content items
  • Comments from SMEs, Users, Stakeholders – capture it all. (like Captivate 4)
  • Distribute across multiple mediums – online, mobile, etc.

**Faster, Better, Cheaper. – We’ve gotten faster and cheaper, but not necessarily better.

My notes:

  • Frank is a wonderful presenter. Very good with the crowd, just enough humor, but really good content.
  • I love this industry and being part of its growth.

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