Tool Review: Synapse Learning Experience System
Updated: Jul 20, 2019
Synapse® is a newly released cloud-based Learning Experience Design System that lets your team design and prototype learning content. This tool guides instructional designers through a step-by-step, end to end process of designing template-based learning experiences around objectives, assessments and activities. After a thorough evaluation and review of the tool, I am very impressed with the tools' ease of use, alignment with learning design standards, and overall functionality. It is a very useful tool for beginner to advanced instructional designers across all industries. Below is summary of a few of the key features:
Simple User Experience
One of Synapse® strongest features is it's user experience. The cloud based tool is simple, intuitive, and and very easy to use (even for non-technical instructional designers). It is clear that the company has done a great deal of user testing with it's audience to ensure a natural and easy workflow. Because it is a cloud based tool, it can be easily accessed and updated across multiple devices.
Once a project is created, one of the first steps is to complete a learning needs analysis. Synapse® takes you through a step by step process to help you identify your learning performance goals, needs, audience, and more.This is a critical component of the design process and is often times overlooked by novice instructional designers. In addition to a needs analysis, you are also guided through a performance analysis objectives process that allows to you align real world performance goals with your needs analysis. Kudus to Synapse® for including these features!
Storyboarding and prototyping is an essential step in the design process that allows instructional designers to test and validate their course with end users. Synapse® features a brilliant prototyping tool that facilitates the creation of rapid mock ups. You can quickly create and preview lessons and content pages including text, videos, images, and PDFs.
Team Collaboration One of the natural advantages of a cloud based tool is the ability to collaborate and share content across platforms with a single login. In the "Review" section, team members can easily share their thoughts and notes regarding various elements of the project. Teams get notifications by email and all comments are saved and logged within the system. This is a wonderful feature for instructional design and learning teams.
Synapse® offers a free plan to help instructional designers get started. They also offer an individual and team plan that allows for more projects and features. It is a fair pricing model, but it could be little more competitive for the "Individual" license. See below:
FREE: 1 Project, Unlimited Collaborators
$39/month: Unlimited Projects, Unlimited Collaborators, Chat Support
$59/month: Unlimited Projects, Unlimited Collaborators, Chat Support, Centralized Project, Team Administration, Consolidated Billing, and Dedicated Account Management.
I personally really like this tool because it is easy to use, facilitates collaboration across teams in the cloud, and it is based on proven instructional design models and principles including ADDIE, SAM, and Bloom's Taxonomy. This is a wonderful advancement in the space of cloud based learning design tools. I would highly recommend this tool to instructional designers of all levels. Try to Synapse® individual plan to get started and try it out.
Overall Rating: A