I’ve used a bunch of desktop authoring tools – Lectora, Dreamweaver, Authorware, Captivate, and Articulate to name a few. I haven’t really used a lot of web-based authoring tools though. I was kind of out of that aspect (development) of e-learning at the time they started becoming more mainstream. Recently, I’ve been exploring collaborative web-based options for a report I’m writing and was reintroduced to MyUdutu (from Udutu). I had used the tool once a couple of years ago for a class and watched a demo of their Facebook integration over a year ago. They also sponsored a cocktail hour at one of our conferences so I owe someone a beer or two – probably Roger Mundell.
I spent an hour or so with Roger from Udutu looking at their authoring tool and have to say I’m really kind of blown away as to its capabilities. It’s a very flexible and very versatile product. In analyst speak, it is “robust.” I wish it had been around when I was pulling my hair out learning Authorware.
Let me say up front I’m NOT getting paid to plug MyUdutu, and am not endorsing it over another product, I just want to share some notes from the demo because I think its one of those ‘best kept secrets no one knows about.’ We used my old account for the demo and the course I did for school was there and so unbelievably lame (fair warning if you see bits and pieces in the screen shots. Not my best work : )
Although the tool is often used by SMEs due to its simplicity, it definitely has enough features to satisfy instructional designers who need a lot more than linear solutions. Below are several scenario templates. You’ll have to click them to make them larger.
I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of assessment options. You could really get quite inventive with this. Roger showed me how you could select parts of an image for instance or learn a language.
Some other tidbits in bullet points::
- Any platform – Mac, Linux, Windows environment
- Cache flash (ability to bring content in before you need it – good for learners dial-up) (Yup you heard right. Dial-up)
- Ability to save your courses so you don’t freak out about losing courses that exist on a server other than your own.
- Reusable learning objects at multiple levels (folder, course, etc.)
- Semi-complex branching
- Flash templates
- Easy to add multimedia like movies
- Learner flexibility (Take only what you need, start where you stopped, etc.)
- SCORM conformant
- Glossary that aggregates items entered
- Plug in for Moodle
- Can also be installed on your server
- Did I say boatload of templates?
I was surprised to learn that the tool is FREE as an SaaS solution. However, it will cost you $5 per learner/course if you want Udutu to host it for you. If you want it on your own server there is a licensing fee. The business model they use is really one of added value. Udutu staff can handle all aspects of building courses collaboratively from the whole enchilada to just one little thing. This seems ideal when you don’t have the type of department with dedicated graphic designers or multimedia producers.
I thought it was funny when I asked about users…seems to be a tool used by rogue designers (many clients are people circumventing their current solution (LMS, LCMS, etc. Seriously.)
I’m pulling together some answers to interview questions and will post those later.