- An authoring environment is toolkit to build software or digital contents.
- An educational authoring environment allows to create artifacts like web sites, interactive hypermedia, microworlds, simulations,
Some authors make finer distinctions, e.g. in Locatis and Al-Nuaim historical review and analysis (1999), “the term authoring tool refers to a range of software products having utilities for composing, editing, assembling, and managing multimedia objects, while the term authoring system refers to a subset of these products allowing multimedia development without having to program.”
A short history
- PLATO-like systems
- Programming toolkits for Videodisks
- Programming toolkits with multimedia extensions
- Multimedia authoring systems
- Web authoring systems
- Learning object repository and educational object communities
- Half baked systems (see Teacher empowerment)
- Educational technology for general overview of the field and Educational technologies for other technologies
- Design methodology
- Educational software evaluation
According to difficulty
- Programming toolkits, often used together with an Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
- Visual languages to author interactive systems
- Content authoring systems
According to data formats
(see various entries)
- Multimedia formats in various forms (bitmap graphics, vector graphics, etc.), e.g. tools for formats like:
- Interactive educational multimedia
- Google course builder (new sept. 2012)
- Computer programming code and data formats, e.g.
- E-learning standards
- Most LMSs do include an authoring environment through web-based forms. See IMS Content Packaging.
- Better systems offer support for standards like IMS Simple Sequencing (and hopefully IMS Learning Design in some near future).
- Activity-based systems like LAMS and CeLS
- Stand-alone editors like the Reload Editors, eXe or the IMS Learning Design Reload editor.
According to the interface metaphor
According to educational technologies
- Editors for microworlds, e.g:
- E-learning content editors
- eXe (probably the best free tool for starters)
- LCDS. The Microsoft Learning Content Development System can produce SCORM 1.2 objects
- CourseLab (SCORM 2004 compatible ?)
- Docendo (a free server-based solution)
- Scenari A suite of tools for creating e-learning contents.
- Udutu course authoring tool
- MOS Solo
- GLO Maker (Dead tool, www.glomaker.org), Was a nice authoring tool for learning objects following a learning design perspective (made by CETL). Did compile to flash. See the Wikifoundry page (alive on nov 2018).
- Chaucer. An e-learning content tool with multimedia capacities
- Composica. An e-learning content tool with multimedia capacities
According to educational function
Authoring tools can be either used by:
- teachers or content designers
- by students, typically cognitive tools like microworlds or computer-supported argumentation tools. But in principle, one can organise learning activities with any tool, e.g. let them design quizzes or learning contents.
Authoring by teachers
"Lessons learned" of the East/West group (Spohrer, Summer & Shum, 1998).
Towards Authoring communities ?
- Educational Authoring Tools and the Educational Object Economy, Special issue of JiME.
- Cammy Bean's mindmap of e-learning authoring tools (updated aug. 2010 when last checked on sept. 2010).
- eLearning Industry's The Ultimate List of HTML5 eLearning Authoring Tools (2017 Update)
- Dalgarno, B. (1996). Constructivist computer-assisted learning: Theory, technique and tools. Unpublished Master of Science thesis, University of Canberra. (lost in cyberspace ?)
- Dalgarno, Barney (1998), Tools For Authoring Constructivist Computer Assisted Learning Resources: A Review, AsiLite 1998. HTML/PDF. (Note: This article is useful also for other design models using interactive multimedia).
- Dalgarno B (1996) Constructivist Computer Assisted Learning: Theory and Techniques, AsciLite 1996. HTML.
- Dalgarno, B. (2004). A classification scheme for learner-computer interaction. In R.Atkonson, C.McBeath, D. Jones-Dwyer and R.Phillips (eds) Beyond the comfort zone, 21st annual conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education, Perth, Australia. Available: PDF. (This paper describes environments, but is useful for deciding on which criteria you will select a tool)
- Locatis,Craig, Al-Nuaim,Hana (1999), Interactive technology and authoring tools: A historical review and analysis, Educational Technology Research and Development, 47, 3, 9/18/1999, Pages 63-75, DOI 10.1007/BF02299634 (Access restricted)
- Repenning, A., Ioannidou, A. and Ambach, J. (1998). Learn to Communicate and Communicate to Learn. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 98 (7). HTML Hypertext - HTML
- Spohrer Jim, Tamara Summer & Simon Buckingham Shum (1998). Educational Authoring Tools and the Educational Object Economy: Introduction to this Special Issue from the East/West Group. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 98 (10). [www-jime.open.ac.uk/98/10 HTML Hypertext] - HTML - PDF
- Vaughan, T. (1993). Multimedia, Making it Work. Berkeley: Osborne McGraw Hill.