The best educational freeware typically offers a combination of a well-designed user interface, relevant material, online discussion tools, and software security. Freeware is a term used to describe software that is provided with no initial fee. Many freeware programs are free for a limited trial period. This period can range from 30 to 60 days.
Education software is available for a range of customer profiles, from preschool to university students. There have been extensive studies on the effectiveness of educational software. The most successful software programs use this information to create a program that can improve academic performance.
A primary motivation for developing educational freeware is to fine-tune the program itself in preparation for commercial launch. All software programs are subject to user testing and focus groups. The organization of these groups can be costly and time consuming. Educational freeware provides the opportunity to determine the level of interest of potential consumers, as well as to identify flaws in the program.
The user interface is the part of the educational freeware software program that the end user sees. This term includes the appearance of the screens, the sounds, and the responses to input from the program user. A well-designed user interface typically is intuitive, is easy to use, and requires little to no training.
It usually is very important for the educational freeware to contain relevant information that is up-to-date and accurate. Check for information about how the material was researched and who was responsible for creating the information included in the program. Most firms provide a list of academic advisers who reviewed the product and can confirm the accuracy of the information.
As software products mature, additional features that improve the user experience fairly quickly become the new industry standard. Communication tools are a standard functionality in educational freeware. Options include online chat, secured e-mail, and instant messaging. These tools can enhance the learning experience by providing the student with increased access to the instructor.
Security features should be standard with any quality educational program. This should include confidential communication tools, user accounts and passwords, and the ability to limit access to the student account. This aspect of selecting a freeware product can be very important since many developers hide a small program to report user activity. While this can be part of the testing process, this usually is a violation of privacy and can open a hole in the security system of the user.