Today, there are several rapid authoring tools in the market to, with such a wide range of choices, choosing the right authoring tool can be a difficult task. There are quite a few things to consider before you select the right rapid authoring tool and a good way to start is to ask yourself a few questions which will help you zero-in on an authoring tool that best suits your needs.
In this post, we will come across 5 questions that you need to ask yourself before selecting an eLearning authoring tool.
Q 1. What is your need?
The first question is always the most important. What do you need? Answer this and you will know exactly what you want! Why do you need a particular authoring tool? Needs usually cover aspects such as features – a particular feature you need to develop your courses. Or compatibility – the devices you want your courses to run on. Needs varies from role to role, and an instructional designer’s purpose varies from that of a courseware designer or a developer. Once you have identified your need, you can proceed to the next major aspect – your budget.
Q 2. What is your budget?
Like it or not money matters. Your budget ultimately dictates your choices. If your funds are limited, you will have to choose a tool that provides the basic requirements for authoring an eLearning course. However, if your budget is huge, you can scale up to the latest version authoring tools have to offer. There is a lot of competition in the market eyeing for your attention, and always make sure you choose the authoring tool that is worth every dollar you spend.
Q 3. What are the features the tool has to offer?
No one makes a purchase without a reason, and the same goes for authoring tools. There are always certain features that you look for in the authoring tools you want to purchase. Does a tool have built-in templates and characters? Does it offer the audio recording facility ? Can it be used to produce SCORM compliant content? Does it require a lot of technical support? Are there websites or community portals where you can seek advice or help? Features are the selling point of any product, and make sure that your needs are aligned with the features a particular tool has to offer.
Q 4. Do they offer trial versions?
It’s not enough to be impressed by the features offered to you in a sales pitch. Most times, what’s written on the box may not be what you find inside. In an effort to generate more sales, most developers of authoring tools offer a free 30 day trial version of their products that helps the customer understand the tools and its interface better, before making a final decision. As a potential buyer, you should make full use of this opportunity and analyze every aspect of the tool.
For instance, you can create a 10 slide trial course that contains everything you would include in a ‘full’ eLearning course – from the objectives to the final quiz. This will help you examine the tool effectively and help take the right decision.
Trail versions are a good way to assess authoring tools to see if they meet your needs.
Q 5. Is the authoring tool compatible with various delivery methods?
With the advent of BYOD and learning devices such as laptops and tablets, it is important to consider the compatibility of an authoring tool with various delivery platforms. Gone are the days when you had only desktops to deliver eLearning courses; with changes in technology come new learning requirements. Today, eLearning courses need to cater to the needs of laptops, mobiles and tablets to deliver courses. So, it is necessary to check if your authoring tools meet this demand. For example, Articulate Storyline can be used to produce multi-device compatible courses that work on devices such as mobiles, laptops and iPads.
A versatile authoring tool is an asset to your learning design projects.
We hope these 5 questions will help you select the right authoring tools that suit your needs the best. Do write to us if you need further information.