Lectora Inspire 12.1 Review by Rick Zanotti

blog_121ReviewZinotti

While many vendors rush to create mobile applications, Lectora® has quietly led the way with a foundation built around what would emerge as mobile.

While many vendors struggle to shed their “Flash” skins and claim open-ness, Lectora quietly embraced “open” from the get-go.

Lectora was designed to be flexible, and in essence, was an HTML and HTML5 code generator. The beauty of code-generators is that they have powerful foundations but shield average, non-highly technical users from the fear of coding. And yet, the power is still there for the more advanced users that want and desire it.

In Lectora® Inspire 12.1, the latest iteration, Trivantis continues to improve and make the tool even easier than it has ever been. Lectora was long known as a “difficult” tool to learn; however, the team at Trivantis is sending out a clear signal that “difficult” is an adjective that describes many other bug-ridden tools, but not Lectora.

Vendors are scrambling to make their tools easier with PowerPoint-like user interfaces that soften the learning curve for the new users. Starting with Version 11, Lectora has done the same by making its UI look much more like PowerPoint with ribbon menus. While I’m not the biggest fan of what Microsoft has dumped on us design-wise, I do see the value for many users in minimizing their learning curves…

In 12.1, Lectora improves upon the PowerPoint experience and goes way beyond in many ways. Trivantis now includes the very well-received and liked content library from the eLearning Brothers and makes it easier than ever to insert content directly from their massive library into your Lectora title. This feature alone saves a ton of time for beleaguered instructional designers that have the responsibility of being UI designers, graphic artists, writers, interaction builders, and game designers. Did anyone ever notice how many hats IDs wear?

Gone is Flypaper™ from Lectora Inspire, replaced by the eLearning Brothers content libraries and Interaction Builder. Camtasia® for Lectora and Snagit® are still there to handle screen recordings and captures, video and audio editing, and more.

Lectora has always had one of the most intuitive navigation schemes of any eLearning authoring tool, and I’d say it’s the best one out there. While others may be more “visual” in nature, Lectora sports a book metaphor with chapters, sections, and pages. This approach is instantly understood by instructional designers and architects, authors, scriptwriters, and more. You can see the outline of your course or the Slide view, which shows the content as you would with PowerPoint slide thumbnails. The slide outline shows you every object on a slide and makes it very easy to make changes as needed. Moving chapters, sections, and pages around is also quite easy to re-organize a course.

There are shape tools, as well as something I find extremely useful—grids and guides with snap-to alignment. It’s a small thing, but very powerful and easy to use—just like in Photoshop!

Lectora also supports text style sheets like CSS. You can define text styles, and tools are provided to make global changes to text as needed. These tools save more time in development than you can imagine, trust me!

There are two flavors of Lectora. One is desktop based and the other, Lectora® Online, is browser-based and hosted online. They are almost exactly the same and can provide single or multiple authors the power and flexibility needed to work alone or in a collaborative team environment.

Other things are not so obvious but huge pluses for Lectora users. These include:

1. A brand new Community that is more interactive, dynamic, and helpful than ever before

2. Tight integration with CourseMill® or CourseMill® Wave and all other learning management systems that support SCORM or AICC

3. Third-party developer integration for tools like BranchTrack from www.branchtrack.com for scenario-based training

4. Responsive templates which were shown recently at the 2015 Lectora User Conference and are coming soon

I’m so excited about the potential for Lectora moving forward that I’ve created a new video broadcast/podcast called “LectoraLive! Your Inside Track into Lectora.” We’ll be doing interviews with Trivantis staff and leaders in the Lectora community. We’ll also be offering a large set of tips, tricks, and tutorials to make everyone’s learning of Lectora easier than it’s ever been. And no, we’re not getting paid to do this by anyone!

Lectora Inspire 12.1 is a strong step forward for Lectora users both old and new. It’s the right tool at the right time in an industry that demands easy tools that don’t sacrifice power and are solidly tested for performance and lack of bugs.

Download a free 30-day trial of Lectora Inspire to check out all the new features in 12.1 for yourself.

Editor’s Note: Rick Zanotti is the founder of Relate, a professional training and media development firm. Rick runs a number of leading industry broadcasts, including eLearnChat. He’s an experienced IT and training pro, broadcaster, avid reader, collie lover, writer, and martial artist. Here at Trivantis, we’re big fans of Rick’s work, and we were thrilled when he generously agreed to review Lectora Inspire 12.1 and share his thoughts with our blog readers. And we didn’t even have to bribe him with candy, money, or free puppies—possibly because he already has two adorable dogs of his own!

  • Rhonda Hoyle

    Thanks for the review