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Too often we try to hold present and future technologies to the standards of what came before. Sometimes this works out, but on the whole it can hold us back. We hide behind the guise of “but that’s how it’s always been done!” when in actuality, it’s because we’re too motivated by fear to branch out, learn, or explore the potential of a new thing.

We see this happen in film adaptations of books all the time. A well-meaning filmmaker will read the book and try to apply the exact same story structure and dynamics to the film, because what worked in the novel should work in the movie, right?

Wrong.

While diehard fans of the original work may balk at the slightest change in plot, character motivation, or the fact that the credits weren’t in the same font as the original book, it’s often necessary to make slight or even significant changes to make something work on screen. Reading is a much more deliberate form of media consumption than viewing. The reader can move at their own pace and drink in a long conversation the characters are having. But when the same scene is put in a movie and mishandled by the cinematographer, seconds can feel like small eternities.

This happens in eLearning as well. A new authoring tool or LMS comes along, and an Instructional Designer will try to copy/paste one of their old courses into the new system with no changes but the file extension.

Each authoring tool and LMS has it’s own set of strengths and limitations. To make a carbon copy of a course in another system is to sell the material short. Make sure you are well-acquainted with all the tools at your disposal and the unique functionalities they possess. Once you have a handle on what you can and can’t do in each environment, you’re one step closer to innovation and taking full advantage of the medium.

eLearning Brothers has created hundreds of templates for eLearning that comply with all of the major authoring tools on the market. If you have any experience working with templates, course-building, or instructional design across multiple authoring tools, let us know in the comments!

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