Event Recap: Lectora User Conference 2015

Back in May, I presented at the 11th annual Lectora User Conference. My presentation was all about using Lectora’s status indicator object and showcasing unique, but easily implemented, uses for it within courses. A few lucky participants walked away with our recently released E-Learning Uncovered: Lectora 12 book.  If you weren’t able to attend, you can download my presentation here.

Being at the conference made it easy to see that while Lectora may not be the top e-learning authoring tool on the market today, it still has a strong following and many dedicated users who are constantly pushing the boundaries of its capabilities. For example, I attended sessions that showcased how to use Lectora to create micro-training that you might find on digital lobby displays and how Lectora was used to create this year’s conference mobile app. As one of the oldest rapid e-learning authoring tools, the shine may be off the apple, but Lectora still has much to offer.

Over the last several years, Lectora’s development team has spent a considerable amount of time updating the Lectora interface, the image and text editing capabilities, functionality for creating accessible content, HTML5 publishing capabilities, and more.  If you’re familiar with Diane Elkins’ E-Learning Authoring Tools Comparison chart, you know that Lectora has several strengths when compared with the other popular tools, and it’s quite possible they’re about to have more.

Shortly before this year’s conference, Lectora announced a new partnership with the E-Learning Brothers (ELB), giving Lectora users built-in, free access to the E-Learning Brothers’ entire library of Lectora templates and cutout people. The Lectora-ELB integration also includes access to ELB’s Interaction Builder. What does this mean? It means that from within Lectora, you can now access ELB assets and insert them directly into your courses without ever having to leave Lectora and without paying a penny more. This new feature could even result in Lectora getting higher scores in our comparison grid, especially in the Graphics and Ease of Use categories. Having so many assets at a developer’s disposal, many of which are specifically designed for this authoring tool, simplifies the development process in a number of ways. For example, if you’re anything like Artisan, your development process includes image shopping on sites like iStockPhoto.com, downloading comps of images, inserting those comps into the course, and then eventually purchasing the images, downloading the high-res versions, and replacing the comps in the course with their high-res, non-watermarked equivalents. The Lectora-ELB integration eliminates much of that process, enabling Lectora authors to easily insert, edit, remove, and replace ELB assets in their courses without having to make additional purchases, leave the authoring tool, or work with temporary assets.

There’s more. At this year’s conference, John Blackmon, CTO for Trivantis, previewed the responsive design features that are next on the horizon. Responsive design will allow Lectora authors to create courses whose page content can change in design and layout based on the device on which the course is being viewed. This future version of Lectora will include a tabbed work area providing separate views of the content sized specifically for tablets, smartphones, and traditional monitors. Tablet and smartphone views even include both portrait and landscape orientations. Each view allows you, as the author, to reorganize the elements of your course pages in a way that’s appropriate for the device and orientation on which the course is being viewed. The new responsive design feature set should allow Lectora to rival Captivate with respect to mobile capabilities.

Tanya Seidel
Artisan E-Learning

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