Wednesday, January 25, 2012

ReviewLink: Online Review Tool for Lectora

by Joseph Suarez

An important step in eLearning course development is getting feedback and approval from key stakeholders such as subject matter experts and other team members. Sometimes however, just getting a copy of a course to those stakeholders can be a challenge. Perhaps you have experienced one or more of the following:
  • Emailed a course that bounced back due to a file size limit 
  • Lost a USB drive distributing courses by hand 
  • Had to explain how to unzip a folder or find and open “index.html” 
  • Been asked to print out of a course loaded with Flash animations and interactivity 
Then there is the issue of submitting and tracking feedback and change requests. Without a central location where everyone involved can see and respond to each other’s comments, extra work will be required to filter all the incoming responses.

To address these types of problems, Trivantis has included a web-based review service with Lectora X.6 called ReviewLink. Previous versions of Lectora typically have included some handy additional features, but nothing quite as big and useful as ReviewLink. Here’s how it works:

The course developer publishes their Lectora X.6 built course to ReviewLink. This is now an option just like Publishing to HTML or SCORM.

The ReviewLink publishing options allow the developer to add the email addresses of any intended course reviewers (regardless of whether they have Lectora or not). This list can be added to or changed later as well.

Since ReviewLink is entirely web-based (in the cloud), both the developer and reviewers with an email invite log into the ReviewLink website, view the course, add comments with optional due dates, and respond to comments others have left.

The course developer can then address the comments, make any necessary changes to the course and republish to ReviewLink for as many rounds of review as needed. Comments can also be marked as “fixed” or be archived.

All comments are nicely listed in table form and can be filtered by status, content (course name), and reviewer. In addition, an email is automatically sent to invited reviewers if the course is updated.

After a couple weeks of use, both as a developer and reviewer, my personal experience with ReviewLink has been beyond satisfactory. Solving the course distribution problem alone makes it well worth the upgrade in my opinion. Plus, I hadn’t realized just how problematic organizing reviewer feedback was prior to using ReviewLink’s comment system.

Overall, ReviewLink is a great tool for Lectora published courses with one drawback; the developer currently does not receive an email when a reviewer leaves a comment. This was disappointing to experience given that all reviewers receive emails alerts if the developer updates the course.

At the time of this writing, ReviewLink is considered a beta version, so some bug fixes and improvements are likely coming down the road. And, since ReviewLink exists in the cloud, those updates won’t require downloading and installing a patch.


  1. Joseph, thank you for the review of ReviewLink. It's proven very popular with our customers. I wanted to let you and your readers know that while the beta version of ReviewLink that's out now does not have the email notification functionality you mention, it will when we come out of beta later this year. Inside ReviewLink we also offer users the ability to provide their input and functionality wish list directly to our Development Team.

    Thank you again,

    Peter Bray
    Chief Marketing Officer
    Trivantis Corporation

  2. Great write up! Thanks for the praise. I know that there are definitely improvements in the works that should help with your disappointment.

  3. @Peter That's all good news to hear. Thanks for clarifying.

    @infiniteloop Thanks. Keep up the good work.

  4. if it weren't for the clouds there wouldn't be the thunder and lightning-laden products you folks are turning out! bravo!


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