Best tools for producing training material?

Subject: Best tools for producing training material?
From: <ian -dot- saunders -at- vf -dot- vodafone -dot- co -dot- uk>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 9 Feb 2001 10:36:00 -0000

Hi,

I am part of a two man team producing support documentation for both on-line
and paper use. We are occasionally asked to produce training material, and
have always relied on the less than ideal solution of rehashing our support
guides with alternate pages of slides (these are converted to OHP
transparencies) and summary text. (I know, it's awful, but the best we can
manage with limited resources!)

Aware of the inadequacies of this solution and now under pressure to produce
materials for more training courses, we intend to recruit a third person who
will be dedicated to that task. Apart from them requiring the skills of a
training course designer, what tools should they be competent at using? We
have toyed with PDF files and Powerpoint occasionally in the past, but are
they the pinnacle of the presenter's art? What tools should a modern course
designer be using, and what ones do they want to adopt in the near future?
We are more than happy to contemplate CBT or web-based training if this is
the way the industry is going, but what tools and skills do these require?
For example, would Macromedia Authorware a sledgehammer to crack a nut if
all we want is an electronic means of delivering a presentation with a
trainer at hand?

Last but not least, I should mention that we use FrameMaker+WebWorks, and
want to single-source all our textual information. Do any presentation tools
allow text to be imported from FrameMaker, or perhaps one of the formats
that WebWorks allows us to produce? Maybe we should use HTML (or XML) to
present course material to delegates via a web browser. I just don't know;
which is why I'm asking you.

Any and every bit of advice on this topic gratefully received.

Thanks!

Ian Saunders
Vodafone Ltd.

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