'ToolBook II Assistant' from click2learn

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28th Feb 2000
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Product: ToolBook II Assistant
Publisher: Click2Learn
Contact: 0171 454 1061

Toolbook is a long-established and popular Windows CBT authoring tool designed originally for the creation of multimedia courseware on CD-ROM. In its latest version, the product has been significantly re-engineered towards online delivery on intranets or the Internet.

Toolbook II Assistant is for authors who want to do absolutely no programming. It comes with templates complete with graphical themes, interactive objects and navigation controls. You can adapt and extend these templates by dragging new objects (questions, text, graphics, video and so on) on to the page from the 'catalog' and then setting the objects' properties. To create new types of object, particularly those with more sophisticated forms of interactivity, requires Toolbook II Instructor, a more expensive package incorporating its own scripting language, OpenScript.

Toolbook II courseware can be exported to CD-ROM or, more probably now, for online usage. There are three ways in which your work can be viewed online:

1. As Toolbook II files, viewed in a browser using the Neuron plug-in. This allows you to keep all of Toolbook's functionality but your users will have to download a pretty hefty plug-in.
2. As HTML files with Java applets to provide the interactivity. This loses some functionality but will work with older browsers.
3. As Dynamic HTML files, maintaining nearly all the functionality, but requiring version 4 browsers or above.

It is option 3 above that really makes Toolbook II a strong contender. You want all the interactive functionality you can get and you want to distribute it as standard web pages - this option makes it possible.

Toolbook II allows for the exchange of student progress tracking information to Click2Learn's own learning management system (Librarian, soon to be integrated into Ingenium). If you have a different system, then expect to have to do some technical work first.

In summary, Toolbook II Assistant is reasonably priced and easy to use, although more ambitious developers will want to pay more and use the Instructor version. The facility to output to Dynamic HTML is extremely attractive. The lack of support for non-Click2Learn management systems is not.

Reviewer:
Clive Shepherd, Fastrak Consulting Ltd
Emai: [email protected]

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