Is Lectora Still Relevant?
Lectora celebrated the release of version 11 last week. This version marks a drastic interface redesign that uses a tab/ribbon approach instead of a menu/dialog box approach, making it a little easier to move around and, I think, a little less intimidating for some.
While this release was much anticipated amongst the Lectora faithful, what about the rest of the industry? I’ve seen Lectora left off a number of Top 10 lists lately. And with a heavy conference and social presence of newer tools such as Articulate Storyline and ZebraZapps, is anyone still talking about Lectora? Even though it has lost its standing in the top 3 tools based on usage, it still has a number of advantages that are a good fit for many projects.
A few weeks ago, I did a comparison of Lectora, Captivate, Studio, and Storyline. I thought I would elaborate on a few areas where Lectora has a strong advantage or disadvantage, especially in light of the new release.
- Usability: The new interface design makes the tool a little easier to move around in. And experienced Lectora users will appreciate that they’ve automated some previously manual tasks, such as automating the page title and setting up breadcrumbs.
- Quizzing: I still believe that Lectora has the most flexible quizzing options. The question wizard has been streamlined to make it easier to use and has a few extra logic options such as randomization of choices and limits to the number of attempts. The one draw-back in the past was a very restrictive drag-and-drop capability. Version 11 now has a much more flexible drag-and-drop question type.
- Social Media Integration: Version 11 has a nice suite of tools that makes it very easy to include social media elements. With just a few clicks, you can add a Twitter feed, a Facebook like button, or a discussion pod. The “big 3” don’t have anything this automated.
- Power and flexibility: In my opinion, Lectora is still the most powerful of the tools because of the options in triggers, actions, conditions, variables, and interface elements. While there wasn’t much added in this department in version 11, there have been some key usability updates. For example, you can now pull up an action pane that gives all the details on the actions for a given object. When we are designing a game or complex interaction, it’s not uncommon to have 10 or more actions on a given object. Being able to see them all at once makes it much easier to develop at that level.
- Accessibility: In my opinion, Lectora still has better accessibility features than Storyline or Captivate (for Section 508-compliant courseware).
Where is Lectora lacking? There are two big areas, and unfortunately, they are two of the things that the marketplace seems to care about most. One is price. Lectora is more expensive than the “big 3” tools, especially if you are buying the full Inspire suite. The other is “eye candy.” Lectora doesn’t have as many tools to add whiz-bang graphics and animations. You can still create a visually appealing course in Lectora, but you have to bring more to the table yourself. This is where I think Lectora loses most of its “cool points” and much of the buzz in the marketplace.
So who is Lectora for? It’s for serious developers who really want to get the maximum power out of a rapid development tool—someone who is going to take advantage of the advanced features and power. It’s also for folks who need to be very flexible and respond to every customer request. With any rapid development tool, there comes a time when the client wants something that you can’t accomplish. With Lectora, you don’t have to say “no” as often as you might with some of the other tools.
What do you think? How does Lectora fit in with your e-learning strategy?