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Software for creating online tutorials

There is an enormous range of software available - below are just a few examples of software we have found effective and easy to use in most cases.

Software for creating complete tutorials

This is the software used to create the material you are looking at now. It is a reasonably priced product whose main advantage is that it is very easy to use. It uses Microsoft Word, and if you are familiar with Word then you will not have to learn very much to use courseGenie. CourseGenie creates sequential material which can include a range of question styles and other features such as popups. Other types of interaction can be included by embedded objects created using Macromedia Flash.

This is a very powerful and very versatile piece of software that can be used to create all kinds of material. It is not only used in education, but is very popular for web sites with animations and other interactive elements. It can be used to create all sorts of learning interactions, such as drag and drop activities. It allows you enormous control over how the interaction behaves, for example what feedback appears and when. The disadvantage of Flash is that it requires quite a lot of skill to use, especially if it's being used to make complex interactions.

Macromedia Dreamweaver and Extensions e.g CourseBuilder
Dreamweaver is one of the most popular programs for creating web pages and web sites of all kinds. You can download a wide range of free Dreamweaver Extensions, including CourseBuilder, which allows you to create interactive questions. This approach is a lot more difficult to do than courseGenie, but it allows you a lot more control over how your tutorial is structured, and over how and when feedback appears. You can also create more sophisticated interactions such as drag and drop questions.

Created by the same people who make Hot Potatoes, Quandary is designed for creating "mazes", in which the user has to navigate a path to the correct solution. This can be particularly suitable for case study or problem solving material. Quandary also allows you to include a time limit, as well as "token" which the user has to collect before visiting a particular page.

Software for creating individual activities that can be inserted into an online tutorial

Hot Potatoes
This is free software that allows you to create an individual web page contain one of a wide range of questions and activities, including crosswords, drag and drop questions and many others. The only problems are that you have create the navigation between pages yourself, and Hot Potatoes does not conform to any interoperability standards that allow you to convert material from one system to another.

Webducate Dragster
This is an easy-to-use tool for creating drag and drop interactions where the user has to drag a label to the correct area of an image. You create the interactions on the Webducate website, then download the results ready to put into your tutorial. One of the best things about Dragster is that you can create areas in the exact shape of the feature you want the user to label - where many programs of this type only let you create rectangular areas.

See: for more information about software for creating online learning materials.