In this article, I have tried to explain some of the key points one must consider while choosing an authoring tool.
Over a period last decade the learning technologies have been changing very fast and so are the methods of eLearning development. These days not only eLearning development companies but many large corporate clients are also inclined towards developing of their eLearning courses using rapid authoring tools. Key drivers for this move are the rapid development, shortened go to market time, cost effectiveness, great flexibility for mobile compatibility and no technical skilled resource requirement. Though it’s easier said than done, choosing an appropriate rapid authoring tool has always been a challenge for many organisations. In this article, I have tried to explain some of the key points one must consider while choosing an authoring tool.
Ease of Use
The end user of these tools is the development team who is going to use these tools in day to day work to develop eLearning courses. Many a times the very expensive and high-end authoring tool will not provide the ease of use to the end users. The tool has to be very simple in functionality and usage. Some basic course authoring tools will be easier to work with than some complex tools at times. Try to map what skill set you have available internally and how best your team can adapt to those tools. Some of the tools like Adobe Captivate, Lectora, Articulate Storyline do offer a great flexibility in use of ease and need not require very high skilled resources to know the tool.
Themes, Graphics, Animations, Interactivities
Most of the tools come with the toolbox that can help to create required assets and shapes within the tool. Also there are prebuilt animations templates which can be used for creating some basic level graphics and animations. Few of the authoring tools allow making the custom animations using these readily available templates.
Tools like Captivate and Storyline has an excellent library of interactive templates using which once can change the font size, text etc to create better interactivities. As a part of the interactivity some of the authoring tools do allow to create quizzes, simulations which add a great value to the overall media interactivity of the course.
Since most of the LMS will support AICC/SCORM /TINCAN standard from compliance perspective; it is advisable to have an authoring tool which supports these standards while creating the any eLearning course. These standards help to track the learner’s data effectively and help to generate reports for the line managers.
Mobile Device Support
Now a day’s mobile compatible output is the must to have need. Most of the organisations promote BYOD philosophy and hence learning on the go is on high priority for many of the organisations. Though mLearning is picking up across globe, there are still many authoring tools which do not support this functionality. Some of the authoring tools supporting multidevice compatible output are GoMo, Elucidat .Output from these authoring tools runs smoothly on tablets, smartphone. Some of the tools like Articulate Storyline publish output only for I-pads. While most of the tools claim to be mobile compatible, large numbers of them are yet to prove their capabilities for compatibility on various operating systems like Blackberry, Windows, etc. Many a times the output shared is HTML and not necessarily it will be responsive in nature. Hence be sure that while choosing the authoring tool you factoring this drawback and chose best amongst the slot.
Collaboration and LMS Integration
Your authoring tool should allow the courses created using that authoring tool to be integrated or imported on the LMS smoothly. Many a times, the smooth integration with an LMS is a challenge and hence uploading the courses on LMS can cause an issue. Also, the compliance standards like AICC/SCORM/TINCAN supported by an LMS must be supported by an authoring tool. It become very important that the courses created using authoring tools do allow to track the progress of the learners using various standards.
Pricing and plans
Last but not the least, pricing odes plays a vital role in decision making when it comes to buying an authoring tool. There are various versions of pricing available basis on the functionality of the authoring tool and the modules available. Also, the post purchase support and periodic updates also needs to be evaluated since few of the authoring tools will charge for the post sales support and upgrades.
The best Authoring tool for eLearning Development
To summarise, do consider all the above factors before making a purchase decision on the authoring tool. The most important suggestion that I will have is before buying an authoring tool do your research thoroughly, pen down your requirement, look into every possible option suiting your needs and make your decision.
We at onthecloud.io have made a sincere attempt t help our users to make a well informed decision. You can visit our Course Authoring tool section to get a deep insight about various leading authoring tools available in the market. We will be happy to hear back your thoughts and suggestions on selection of authoring tool and we will surely include it in our next blog.
Above all else, the most invaluable eLearning authoring tool tip that I can give you is to do your own research. Look into every option that is available to you, every eLearning software product that fits into your budget, and assess all of their features and drawbacks before you make your final decision.