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There are some things that are very easy do-it-yourself types of activities. Even very professional looking websites, to a large degree, can be developed entirely by a person with a moderate level of computer savvy and experience. However, when you get to specific, highly technical web-based training quality and specific skills and experience do make a huge difference.
Most IT managers, web designers and even flash animation company designers don't have the skills to put together a comprehensive online training program. They may be able to provide the graphics, the web and flash design or even the virtual world development but they cannot develop the overall training program, leaving you with a lot of technical work to do before the training can be used online. Mixing and matching and trying to cobble together a variety of different training options leads to a less than polished looking presentation plus it will take up days or weeks of your valuable time.
There are options for off the shelf types of web based training software. If you just want the bare bones, absolute basic then these programs are a good choice, however they have very serious limitations. These programs aren't all user friendly and they aren't the same as a PowerPoint presentation, there is a significant amount of technical understanding required to put together an effective online training program. If you do want to incorporate games and simulations you will really be on your own and the amount of customization you can do will be limited to what the software package allows.
A much more comprehensive and cohesive way to develop any type of online learning program including serious game solutions, virtual world education, or web based training is to hire a company that can do it all. These companies do this for a living, they know the questions to ask, the newest and latest in online learning technology to incorporate as well as the possible improvements or options that may be something to consider to take your web based training to a new level.
If you stop to consider all the specific skills need to create an online training module you may have a better insight into why handling a company to do the entire project makes good sense. In essence an eLearning firm or company will have on staff and working on your project a:
In addition if you are including virtual simulations or serious game solutions in the training you are also going to include these professionals starting with animation designers, graphic designers, avatar designers, Second Life designers, Opensim designers or other graphic and virtual world programmers and developers. The list just keeps getting longer and the costs just keep rising.
Hiring a professional company such as Designing Digitally, Inc. that does eLearning development and web-based training as a focus is really the only answer worth considering. You will have complete control over how the scenarios are developed and can add those extra touches required to completely customize your training for your specific needs. This is something you won't be able to do with other types of development programs and software packages.