Reflections on converting to an older version of Lectora
More often than not, I have been tasked to convert eLearning modules to newer versions of different authoring tools. In fact, if you have repeat clients (like in our case at Pathways), you may find yourself in this situation very often, in which clients ask you to update modules to newer versions and conform the functionality to the new tools offered by the software.
But what happens when, for some reason, you must downgrade an eLearning module to an older version of an authoring tool?
Recently, we were presented with a similar challenge, in which eLearning modules developed using Lectora 16 were having issues in the client’s platform, so we decided to convert those modules to Lectora 11, given that past modules developed in that version of the authoring tool have worked with no issues.
If you think, in general terms, about the conversion of a product or document to an older version of the software in which it was created, it is usually a very complicated process, keeping in mind that most likely, you have used the newest tools in that software to develop your product, which means by converting it to the older version, you would probably lose most of the functionality (in cases in which you are lucky enough to open the source file in the old version of the software).
In most cases, like in Storyline, you won’t even be able to open the file in an older version, which is logical, because the file structure and compression is completely different, and you will, most likely, end up recreating the eLearning module from scratch.
With Lectora, you will get a similar result when you try to open an eLearning module developed in Lectora 16 using an older version, like Lectora 11.
However, there is one tool that comes with Lectora, and that will help you by saving you both time and work effort.
This tool, or more precisely, what this tool does, is to export the module as a Lectora Online package, which means, it encapsulates all the content, functionality an structure into just one file (If you are familiar with Lectora, you’ll now that Lectora stores all the assets and pages in different files and folders), that can then be imported into the online version of this authoring tool.
The cool part, is that this package can also be imported into other versions of Lectora, like in our case, version 11.
For our case in specific, it saved us enormous amounts of time, given the complexity, length and number of modules to be converted.
Between the main differences that we found while converting the modules through this process, we could see that elements like shapes, buttons, styles and animations, were, for the most part, not imported with the online package, which, in our case, wasn’t critical.
The reason for this, is that Lectora now has a different rendering system for this kind of elements that conforms to the new web standards.
If you ever are faced with a challenge like this one, make sure to use Lectora Online packages whenever possible, to save time by not having to re-create your eLearning module.