Top Authoring Tools for eLearning

eLearning Authoring toolsIf you’re new to eLearning you may not be as familiar with the terminology as you could be. You need an LMS to deliver and track your eLearning courses. The next thing you need is the course content. Do your courses need to be SCORM or xAPI compliant? What do those terms even mean? Essentially, you need an authoring tool to create SCORM or xAPI courses which you then upload to your LMS. This post sheds some light on the most popular authoring tools on the market today.

What are authoring tools?

 

An authoring tool is a piece of software that allows you to create and arrange content into a standardized course structure. The result of which can be exported in a number of ways. For those in eLearning the most common output is to SCORM formats. LMS’s like LearnUpon are compatible with SCORM 1.2 (yes there are multiple versions!!!). The result is a zip package that you then can easily upload to your SCORM compliant LMS.

How to choose an eLearning Authoring tool?

 

Choosing an authoring tool is tricky unless you know exactly what you’re looking for. And there are lots of authoring tools to choose from. Here are some of the most common authoring tools used by LearnUpon customers. In no particular order:

Articulate Storyline

 

Storyline has two pricing options for you to choose from: A Storyline 360 subscription or a one-off purchase of Storyline 3. Their website has a comparison chart detailing what comes with each option. The subscription is probably the better choice because it gives you access to a host of other apps to use and the benefit of regular updates.

 

Storyline has powerful features that allow you to storyboard your courses and then dictate the path that a learner takes. It can take a little bit of time to learn how to use storyline, but that is balanced by the quality of the results.

 

Cost: $999 per annum or $1398 for a Storyline 3 license.

Adobe Captivate

 

Captivate is one of the most feature-rich authoring tools, especially when you take into account its interoperability with other tools available from Adobe. You can storyboard your courses and utilize advanced transitions and triggers – the result of which is engaging content for any scenario or subject. Powerpoint integration is a great feature for those who already have content in that format, this speeds up your course creation process.

 

Cost: Subscription – $29.99 monthly (annual commitment)

Full license: $1099

Elucidat

 

Elucidat is a cloud-based authoring tool that focuses on simplicity. That doesn’t mean that it’s light on features, however. It’s a user-friendly option that is great for collaboration. Think of Google docs – multiple people can work on content at the same time, without having to worry about version control etc. Content is responsive to all screen sizes, so it’s perfect for mobile learning. The WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) interface makes adjustments quick and easy to carry out.

 

Cost: Quotation available through their website

iSpring

 

iSpring takes Powerpoint content and converts it to eLearning courses. This makes it easier for those new to SCORM to understand and execute the process. In addition to slides, you can incorporate video capture, interactions and assessments to build interactive content. The data generated is then fed into the reporting suite of your LMS. One thing to note for Mac users – there is no dedicated version for your machine (unless you install Windows on your Mac).

Cost: Subscription – $970.

Full license: $720.

Camtasia

 

Predominantly a video capture tool, Camtasia content can be exported as SCORM packages. It’s a great option if you want to turn Powerpoint presentations into more engaging content by recording narration and even your face simultaneously. Although a lighter option than the others listed, it benefits by being highly accessible and affordable. Just be sure to test the reporting output it provides meets the requirements of your organization.

 

Cost: $199 for a license.

Your priorities

 

If you are looking for an authoring tool you should consider how important each of the following is to your organization. And then make your final decision on what tool to select based on the balance of those factors.

 

  • Cost
  • Customer Support
  • Documentation/Guides/Knowledge Base
  • Features
  • Ease of use

 

All of the authoring tools featured in this post have trial periods, we strongly suggest you test them out before purchasing.

Great article; so could you recommend an authoring tool to develop an interactive Induction / Onboarding presentation?

Thanks, Anthony!

It really depends on a couple of factors;

1. You’re level of experience/exposure to authoring tools
2. The kind of content you want to produce (how engaging/interactive does it need to be)
3. Your budget

It’s difficult to recommend one authoring tool because they all serve a slightly different purpose/audience in my view. Horses for courses! 🙂 If you are new to the world of SCORM and authoring tools then go for the tool that you can definitely get results from. Usability is key to getting courses finished on schedule. Bells and whistles are super but may actually be overwhelming.

You can produce a course with the native course builder in LearnUpon. By uploading videos, using our video tracking feature and creating exams you can create engaging courses (that can’t be skipped!!!!). Lots of our customers start off that way and then ‘graduate’ to using a dedicated tool later down the line.

What ideally would the courses look like? Do you know what structure and content types you would like to employ?

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