Best Authoring Tools for Rapid eLearning Development

Choosing the Right Authoring Tool for E-learning Development [Infographic]

Best Authoring Tools for Rapid eLearning Development

Being a Research Analyst in Authoring Tools, I thought it would be a great idea bringing to you the best authoring tools that are used in the eLearning industry. Before we get to the list, let’s acknowledge the best authoring tools and their purpose. Authoring tools are eLearning course development tools, which enable the user to integrate different learning objectives for functional and visual appeal. Authoring tools help reuse existing learning objectives in a new course and also help reduce the cost in the long run.

Let’s now look at the list of top Authoring tools in the eLearning industry.

  • Adobe Captivate
  • Articulate
  • Adobe Flash
  • Lectora
  • Adobe Presenter
  • TechSmith Camtasia
  • Harbinger Raptivity

In this blog, I will touch upon the first four tools used in eLearning and the time taken for developing a one hour eLearning course for each one of them.

1) Adobe Captivate:

Captivate is one of the most popular tools for developing Software Simulations in eLearning. You can develop quizzes quickly using inbuilt template tools. It has customizable widgets and you can add action to objects.

adobe captivate

Development time for one Hour course/ 1 Resource

It takes about 25 hours for the creation of a 1 hour software simulation course. Course duration may vary if you want to make a highly interactive course.

2) Articulate:

Articulate is ideal for rapid eLearning, quick assessments, and quick briefings. You can easily convert PowerPoint presentations into online course modules very quickly. This tool is ideal for those who are new to eLearning.


Development time per one Hour course/ 1 Resource

Development time for a 1 hour course in Articulate is about 25 hours.

3) Adobe Flash:

Highly interactive and engaging courses can be developed using Adobe Flash. Flash is ideal for all kinds of training, including product and process training, soft skill training and even software simulations.

Adobe Flash

Development time for one Hour course/ 1 Resource

For developing a 1 hour course in flash takes about 55-60 hours. Development time is usually high as there are no pre built templates in Flash and it requires a specific skills set in programming to develop the 1 hour course.

4) Lectora:

You can use Lectora for developing HTML based courses quickly and it is ideal for multilingual courses. Lectora is best suited for courses that need to be delivered on iphone and ipad.


Development time for one hour course/ 1 Resource

For the development of a one hour of course in Lectora, it takes about 15-20 hours.


Selection of your authoring tools should be based on your proposed use. You can use one of the above tools based on your eLearning requirements; however, you can also use two or three tools together if your instructional needs so demand. The choice of tools should ideally be based on your content types, available skills set, devices on which it has to be deployed, the budget and timelines.

View E-book on How to Select the Right Rapid Authoring Tool

  • Storyline is being used by many developers, it has been very popular in the early months. Many people are also waiting for the version of Articulate Studio with both software tools offering output to HTML 5.

  • Good synthesis – although I agree with Scott (above) that the HTML5 output from Storyline is a great function I’d be reluctant to go without!

  • Thanks Scott and LearnDash for your comments. We need to wait and watch to see how Articulate Studio can handle HTML output. It would also be interesting to review to what extent courses can be made interactive, accessible, editable and translatable in newer version.

  • Hi Sharath,

    Thanks a lot for a very good analysis and summary on the authoring tools.

    I am from the Raptivity team and I would like to suggest a correction. I differ from you when you call Raptivity an authoring tool. Raptivity is not an authoring tool but an interactivity building tool. It provides you with a diverse set of 180+ customizable learning interactions with Flash and HTML5 support thus making it capable to be used in developing e/m-Learning courseware projects. These interactions can then be easily integrated with most of the authoring tools you mentioned, like Articulate, Captivate, Lectora and others.

    And as you say, one can create the basic course content using any authoring tool(s) based on his/her eLearning requirements and then the interactivities can be created using Raptivity. Based on my interactions with customers, I can easily state that one can create a basic course using an authoring tool and take it to next level of interactivity and engagement using Raptivity. Also, usually it doesnt take more than half an hour to customize any interaction of Raptivity.


  • Hi Smita,

    Thanks for the correction, appreciate your time in commenting. I agree with you that Raptivity is interactivity builder which allows course developers to quickly and easily create engaging learning interactions

  • Julia

    Hi Sharath
    Thank you for a great blog writeup on this. So glad that I could refer to an experts opinion without wading through tons of information.
    I am new to the e-learning field. Which one would you recommend to use for a private school by day and general tutoring centre by night. We want to minimise teacher interaction and allow students to view lessons at their own pace. We will be uploading live teaching sessions as part of each lessons tutorial. As well as other media.
    An e-learning environment where we can access and keep stock of what students are doing as well.
    Kind regards

  • Jay Dharap

    Hi Sharath,

    So I’ve stumbled upon your blog and would like to know…If i wanted to build interactive modules, where things swivel upon clicking(like cards in a memory game) or things can be clicked and dragged (like a jigsaw puzzle online) or things react upon clicking (e.g. you have to identify all the countries in the EU, and you click on each country on a grey map, and if it is right, the country turns blue upon clicking, and if wrong, it turns red and then back to grey)…Which one of these (other than Flash…I’m not a developer!) would come closest to offering this kind of interactivity?

  • Hi Julia,

    Thanks for the comment, since your requirement is to upload live training sessions and to access and track student’s progress any “learning management system” would help you. If you want to go for cost effective learning management system, I would recommend you open source LMS Moodle. To know more about Moodle, visit this link

  • Hi Jay,

    I would recommend articulate storyline, with this tool you can develop high level interactivities. For one of our clients in Canada, we have developed such interactivities you mentioned in the comment. Check this blog for details