The LodeStar™ online learning authoring tool helps instructors create engaging and effective activities in support of their online courses. LodeStar works with any SCORM conformant learning management system such as Desire2Learn, Moodle, and Blackboard.
All of these solutions are provided as templates and are included in the authoring tool.
With ActivityMaker, an instructor or trainer can build responsive presentations (run on any device) with video, case studies, troubleshooting workflows, short answer questions, multiple choice, drag and drop, timelines, flashcards, and more.
With ARMaker, an instructor can take students on a walking tour, guided by a mobile phone and geolocations and content created by the instructor.
With CaseMaker, one can build responsive presentations (run on any device) with video, case studies, troubleshooting workflows, etc. With CaseMaker, one can easily add assessment items that include short answer questions, multiple choice, drag and drop, timelines, flashcards, word problems, true and false, and more.
Instructors and trainers can create eBooks that follow the ePub 3.0 specification for electronic book readers (e.g. iBooks) that support the standard. ePub 3.0 books are interactive eBooks that can include text, imagery, multiple choice/multiple select questions with feedback, and video.
WebQuestMaker is based on the work of Bernie Dodge, PhD, Department of Educational Technology, San Diego State University. The WebQuestMaker template is a derivative of ActivityMaker. WebQuestMaker provides a starter template for building WebQuests. WebQuestMaker provides the basic skeleton of the WebQuest building blocks: Introduction, Task, Process, Links, Evaluation, Conclusion and Credits. Like all LodeStar templates, WebQuestMaker is built on HTML5.
LodeStar 8 also includes an RSS feed aggregator, and other templates that are experimental in nature.
LodeStar™ Free Trial for Windows and Mac
LodeStar 8, an eLearning authoring tool, produces activities that can be imported* into the following learning management systems: Inspire, D2L Brightspace, Moodle, Blackboard, SCORM Cloud, Prolaera and other SCORM conformant systems. LodeStar 8 is compatible with projects produced with LodeStar 7. (No conversion needed)
*Import is supported through the IMS content packaging standard, which is part of the SCORM specification.
To evaluate LodeStar, select the platform:
LodeStar™ 7 for Windows and Mac
LodeStar 7 is only available to Minnesota State, OneHealth, University of Minnesota and others who have purchased licenses for LodeStar 7. All new users should download LodeStar 8.
Select the platform:
LodeStar has been used to create learning activities for every major learning management system by instructors and trainers from higher education, K12, and government agencies.
The LodeStar Community is an international community of higher ed instructors, K12 teachers, instructional designers, instructional technologists, informal educators, Open Educational Resource evangelists, and online learning enthusiasts.
I discovered and bought into Lodestar since the academic year of 2008-2009 when I organized, as the Director of the MERLOT Africa Network (MAN), a Pan-African Forum on Open Education Resources (OER) and Open Access. The current President of the LodeStar Learning Corporation, Robert Bilyk, traveled with me to Africa on many occasions and provided training to African scholars on the use of this excellent authoring tool to design educational resources adaptable to the continent. This was one of major highlights of MERLOT: to provide educational outreach to the African Higher Education institutions. I have seen a significant evolution in the design and versioning of Lodestar, in particular the functionality, the interface and the ease of use of the authoring tool. I must admit, as a global leader and advocate of the OER movement, that Lodestar has always been one of my primary tools for designing digital resources that can integrate with current Learning Management Systems. I am encouraging a broader marketing of this tool to higher education institutions in the US and globally, with a mission and strategic goal of integrating OER as a means of enhancing student success and college affordability.
Rivertown Communications has used LodeStar to deliver specific learning applications for the past several years. We especially appreciate the way custom templates can speed and standardize course development. The LodeStar staff has been very supportive in helping us explore new training applications and we're excited to make use of the new geolocation features in LodeStar.
I have been using LodeStar learning for 12 years now at an online charter school in St. Paul, MN and rely on it heavily to allow me to give virtual comprehensible input to my Spanish language classes. I am able to support even absolute beginners in their learning with audio, video, visuals and a nice variety of interactive pages. Parents tell me that students want to do their Spanish lessons first. Some students have told me that they save mine for last as a reward for getting their other work completed. I highly recommend this program. Lauren ~ Spanish 1 - 6, Cyber Village Academy, St. Paul, MN
Lodestar is the engine used on our historical tours produced at LensFlareStillwater.org. We use the Augmented Reality (ARMaker) part of the learning tool. It has worked well in this exciting new way to tell historical stories and show historical graphics related to being on a historical site . It is easy to use, it will function anywhere where you can receive a data signal and a GPS signal. Thank you for your help!
LodeStar supports both a perpetual* license model and a subscription model. Perpetual model is the least expensive over time; subscription is the least expensive way to get started and is ideal for students. Nonprofit is designed for government agencies and other nonprofits. Choose the option that is best for you:
* Perpetual Licensing means:
Subscription Licensing means:
Non Profit Licensing means:
LodeStar Learning Corporation accepts direct orders for LodeStar in the form of institutional purchase orders or checks.
Submit the purchase order or check to the following address:
LodeStar Learning Corporation, 16270 110th Street North, Stillwater, MN, 55082
Our blog explores instructional design strategies and wrestles with online learning issues. The primary audience of the blog is composed of educators, but any student of instructional design and instructional technology might find it interesting.
Instructional Designers are skilled at using text, media and graphics to help meet learner objectives. But design often extends beyond the visible into the functional. Designs might require tracking user performance, branching to an appropriate level of instruction, saving state, and creating highly individualized, interactive, learning experiences.
I recently heard an interview with Christopher Kimball, formerly of America’s Test Kitchen. Two things he said that stuck with me: First, he described himself as being a home cook rather than a chef. Secondly, he talked about introducing recipes to other home cooks that were slightly out of reach of their comfort zone and knowledge but not way out of reach.
My efforts are a modest version of that. I’m interested in helping online instructors reach out and embrace new ways of interacting with their students. I’m trying to connect to that inner instructional designer in all online teachers. And I’m trying to introduce strategies that are within reach but may require a stretch.
The complaint against eLearning is all too common: eLearning applications are boring page turners. The implication is that students flip through the material, learn enough to pass the exam and move on. The experience is transactional; not transformational. No behavioral change. No cognitive change.
Interactive case studies are one strategy to remedy the problem – but, frankly, they are a bit of a challenge to create. In past articles, I’ve introduced some of the research that supports the use of case studies. I also introduced interactive fiction as a way of getting started. If you haven’t read those posts, I’ll introduce a new example in this article and then move on to ‘first steps’.
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