There are hundreds of e-learning authoring tools available in the market today. So purchasing an authoring tool software for your elearning course development is not a small task. In this blog I would like to share with you my opinions on the things which need to be considered before purchasing an authoring tool.
Let us look at some critical aspects.
Training requirement is the most important factor. It is important to remember that not all tools are appropriate for every training requirement (Product training, Process training, Soft skills, Software or Application training). You can choose a tool that lets you quickly roll out courses without using complex code and that don’t have too much of interactivity or a tool that lets you capture software simulations and so on.
For instance, Flash tool is used for complex interactive and product based training whereas captivate authoring software is used for simulations and application training.
Nature of Content:
It is another important aspect that will be considered before purchasing a tool. You should also consider how simple or complex your elearning courseware requirements are. If your online training course contains scenarios and role plays then the tools with more powerful capabilities will be your best choice.
You might want to consider tools that have good number of pre-built templates that can be used as content pages, interactive screens.
In today’s world, multilingual plays an important role as most of the organizations have a globally dispersed workforce, which usually comprises of the non-English speakers. So these organizations would definitely want to them to be trained in a cost-effective manner and in minimum possible time. So focusing on “Multilingual Requirements” is the need of the hour for reaching your global workforce. There a few tools which make translations easy. For instance, Lectora can be used for quick elearning content translations and heavy text.
You should also focus on a few technical features like below:
- How easy it is to operate and who are the target audience for which the tool is designed.
- What all types of output it provides as mentioned below:
a) Publish for WBT/ HTML or CBT
b) Publish for SCORM (1.2 and 2004 or both)
c) Publish for AICC
- Check for the browser compatibility and its versions
- Check for OS compatibility whether the course will run on windows, Mac, and Android or support all of them
- How flexible the tool helps to modify your course design and look and feel at the later stage
The cost of tool is always an interesting consideration.Many organizations are trying to reduce their training costs by developing e-learning materials in-house using rapid authoring tools. Whatever the reason it is necessary that you need to consider the tool which helps you in the long run and fulfill your requirements.If you have limited budget then you can choose freeware’s. For cost efficiency you can purchase multi-licenses.
So before you buy an authoring tool, keep in mind the intended use and the nature of your course content, technical features, multilingual requirements and cost.
I have tried to list a few things here but there may be many more, but hopefully these should help you to know before purchasing an “authoring” tool.