Creating computer-based training software to present self-paced tutorials, tests and demonstrations or simulations involves using desktop publishing software or an authoring tool such as Adobe Captivate, Articulate or a programming language to create a computer file or files. CBT typically provides instruction and feedback and is delivered via CD-ROM, the Internet or intranet. CBT frequently serves as prerequisite, remedial or supplementary training for classroom training offerings.
Assess your students' needs. Interview potential students to determine their learning style and what they need to know about the topic you are developing the CBT for. Prepare a plan of action that describes how you will create a CBT to improve performance. Ensure that you have sponsorship for your project and get approval for your course development before you begin.
Design your course materials. Identify the learning objectives. Prepare prototype lessons. Each lesson should contain an introduction, statement of the learning objectives, instructional content and practice exercises. Interactivity can include multiple-choice questions, short answer questions, simulations and demonstrations.
Develop your content. Create the text, pictures and multimedia elements (audio and video) to reinforce concepts and skills. Review your materials with subject matter experts to ensure the content is accurate. For example, using PowerPoint, storyboard your content to lay out the flow of the lesson. If you incorporate video, consider how it will be used by students. Because of bandwidth restrictions, use short video sequences for delivery over the Internet.
Implement using an authoring tool. For example, convert your PowerPoint presentation to Flash format using open-source tools such as the "OpenOffice.org" application. Record narration to go with your presentation and capture the screen (including audio and video) using a tool such as Windows Media Encoder. You can also import your PowerPoint storyboard into an authoring tool such as Captivate and add interactive exercises, simulations or demonstrations. Test your CBT software. Ensure that students have the required software to run the course. For example, plug-ins (software that adds functions to a Web browser) may be necessary. Publish your CBT. Using a Learning Management System (an application that administers course registration and access), you can get reports on who accesses your course and other information.
Evaluate your CBT program effectiveness by conducting a follow-up survey. Ask your students how much they liked the course, if they can use the information they learned and if they would recommend the materials to others.
Tara Duggan is a Project Management Professional (PMP) specializing in knowledge management and instructional design. For over 25 years she has developed quality training materials for a variety of products and services supporting such companies as Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq and HP. Her freelance work is published on various websites.