Handbook of eLearning Strategy
The eLearning Guild recently released a free Handbook of eLearning Strategy. If you haven't downloaded it, I highly recommend reading it (not just because we sponsored the book, but because it covers the basics for an eLearning strategy).
It contains a great selection of articles that cover strategy, implementation, tools, change management and more.
Patti Shank's article beautifully summarizes the concepts I try to get across all the time when it comes to rapid eLearning and the design decision between traditional and rapid design. It's not the tools and the tools are not the solution. Rapid design and development are strategies, and simply using a rapid tool to convert a bad presentation into Flash is not rapid eLearning. The tools are designed to allow you to speed up the development process, or, in many cases nowadays, get SMEs involved to capture their knowledge directly with the tool - to make your life easier. And in some cases, like my own, enable a SME to crank out 'disposable' sales training and job aids because the ID team doesn't have time.
Plus, when thinking about tools, don't just look at one single tool but create a toolbox that provides what you need for your design.
Here is my meager attempt of creating an "ADDIE toolbox" for the tools we offer at Adobe (larger version) - it's a work in progress.
Update 11/2/07: Thanks Kathi for your comment. Here are the tools spelled out:
Analysis: FrameMaker , Acrobat, LiveCycle, Acrobat Connect Professional
Design: FrameMaker, Photoshop, Captivate, Acrobat, LiveCycle
Development: FrameMaker, Captivate, Dreamweaver, Director, Photoshop, Premiere, Presenter, Flash, Soundbooth, Bridge, Acrobat, LiveCycle
Implement: Connect Family (Professional and Training), RoboHelp, Contribute, Dreamweaver, AIR, Captivate, Acrobat, LiveCycle
Evaluate: Acrobat Connect Professional, ColdFusion, RoboHelp, Acrobat, LiveCycle
Choosing the right tool depends on what you want to accomplish and the type of eLearning you are developing. And guess what, sometimes a simple job aid in form of a PDF can be the solution...
PS: there is something else that I think is often overlooked: You can use many of the rapid tools to create a traditional training piece. For example, there is still the perception out there that Adobe Captivate is just a screen recording tool. The features are advancing all the time and you can create quite complex operational and conceptual simulations using Adobe Captivate.