Learning Object Authoring Tools are a way to engage students in the learning process. The goal is to make the online environment more interactive.

One tool that I have used before is SoftChalk. Looking at the website it has come a long way since I used it in 2008 before taking my online endorsement class. I liked what it could do to increase engagement but found it had a steep learning curve. I haven’t used it since then and would be interested to play with it again and see what it can do now.

SoftChalk has several different ways to test students on the material. You can insert eye catching material within your text and can publish your work as an ebook. Looking at the online reviews it appears that it has become easier to use also. It does make for a much more interesting appearance when looking at a class designed in SoftChalk and varies the assessments imbedded in the class that check on understanding.

Another learning object authoring tool is Easy Generator. The platform allows the embedding of video and websites. You can upload PowerPoints and pdfs to the course. It sets up the information in learning paths so the student is led from one step to the next for easy navigation and supports adaptive learning. This program works across multiple platforms and device types.

It is easy to change the look of the class since content is independent of the template used to set up the class. There are navigation rules, question pools, ways to collaborate and ability to translate. The program accepts SCORM which makes it easy to upload content from other platforms.

As a teacher I am looking for a system that is easy to use and lets me embed video, link websites, and upload documents and slide shows that I have. I want to be able to add pictures and should be able to format the class in such a way that the appearance is interesting and navigation is straightforward. An easy way to guide students to remediation or enrichment would make the course more interesting and relevant for students.

It would be good if assessments can be given using different formats so that there is variety in presentation. The system should be accessible on phones, tablets, and computers and not require flash to run. I want to be able to, without a lot of upfront learning on my part, be able to develop an interesting class that is attractive to look at and can support a wide variety of resources.

If you are interested in looking at other learning object authoring systems here is an article you might find interesting. This links to another collection of 29 systems.