Which eLearning software development tool is the best (as of May 17, 2012)
Answer: The old saying, choose the right tool for the right job applies here. There is no one best eLearning development tool. There are some very good all-in-one do-it-yourself or rapid development tools on the market now. However, developing high quality eLearning often requires the use of multiple tools. The right tool also depends upon the skill set of your existing developers. Do you have access to graphic designers, illustrators, animators, cartoonists, Flash programmers, video editors, etc., or are you a one-man-band?Each of the aforementioned eLearning development disciplines has its own set of tools (PhotoShop, Illustrator, After Effects, Flash, Audacity, 3D studio max, etc.), which may be used during the eLearning development process.
Basic eLearning development guidelines
For Rapid eLearning development with little-to-no experience required, I recommend Articulate Presenter over tools such as Captivate and Camtasia. Why? Because the Flash files outputted by Articulate Presenter (unless you are going the HTML5 route using Articulate Storyline) are much smaller in file size and the application is easier to use. The movies that Captivate and Camtasia output are typically much larger in size, so they take longer to download, playback, etc.
For high quality custom Flash-based eLearning development I recommend ProForm from Rapid Intake as the underlying HTML or Flash-based SCORM conformant player technology. Use standard web design tools like Flash, PhotoShop, Illustrator, and others to lay out your visuals and use a program like Audacity to edit and publish your audio. Then assemble these assets using Flash. You can still convert Flash to MP4 video files that are compatible with mobile devices making your content still look and sound amazing. If you thought you no longer could use Flash for eLearning development, think again! You absolutely can.
New tools are constantly hitting the market. The best way to evaluate these tools is to use them yourself and choose the best one to meet your needs. I also recommend that you bring in an eLearning consultant to understand your goals, your existing infrastructure and skills of your current employees, and build a long-term solution thoughtful solution for you.