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How to Select the Best eLearning Authoring Tools for Training Development

T he world of workforce training and development has seen a tectonic shift in recent years. The traditional classroom-based training model is rapidly being complemented, and in some cases entirely replaced, by digital learning solutions. This transformation has been fueled by the rise of eLearning authoring tools, software applications that enable trainers, instructional designers, and subject matter experts to create engaging and interactive eLearning experiences. This blog will help you select the best eLearning authoring tools for training development.

Why Are Authoring Tools Important for Modern Training?

eLearning authoring tools streamline the process of building online courses, modules, assessments, and simulations for employees. These tools typically offer a drag-and-drop interface with user-friendly templates, media libraries, and interactive elements, significantly lowering the technical barrier to creating high-quality training content. Investing in the right eLearning authoring tools offers organizations a broad range of benefits:

  • Scalability: eLearning transcends geographical limitations and can be delivered consistently to a distributed workforce.
  • Reduced Costs: eLearning often cuts expenses associated with travel, in-person instructors, and physical materials.
  • Learner-Centric Approach: Online training puts learners in control of their pace and allows for self-directed learning paths.
  • Flexibility: Custom eLearning content can be easily updated to reflect changes in policies, processes, or products.
  • Measurability: Most eLearning authoring tools and learning platforms provide robust analytics, giving clear insights into learner performance and engagement.

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Key Considerations When Choosing eLearning Authoring Tools

Navigating the landscape of eLearning authoring tools can be overwhelming. Let's break down the key factors to consider when making your decision:

  1. Ease of Use: Look for tools with an intuitive interface and minimal technical requirements. This reduces dependency on developers and fosters wider adoption among your training team.
  2. Types of Content: Determine the kinds of courses you want to create: simple text and image-based presentations, interactive modules, simulations, gamified scenarios, video-based learning modules, etc. Each type has different authoring tool implications.
  3. Features and Customization:
    • Template libraries
    • Interactive elements (quizzes, branching scenarios, hotspots, etc.)
    • Gamification options
    • Media support (images, audio, video, animations)
    • Accessibility features (for learners with disabilities)
    • Level of control over the look and feel of your courses
  4. Collaboration Capabilities: If multiple people work on course development, ensure the tool offers real-time collaboration, review tools, and version control. Apart from in-app collaboration, here are a few external collaboration platforms you can try for seamless team communication.
    Popular Business Collaboration Platforms
  5. Mobile Responsiveness: Learners should be able to access training on various devices seamlessly.
  6. LMS Compatibility: Choose an authoring tool that outputs content in standards like SCORM or xAPI. This ensures your courses can be easily imported into your Learning Management System (LMS).
  7. Analytics and Reporting: Select tools that provide data on learner progress, completion rates, assessment scores, and engagement metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of your eLearning programs.
  8. Pricing and Licensing: Pricing models vary from subscription-based to one-time purchases. Factor in the number of authors, learners, and desired features while assessing pricing.
  9. Support and Training: Evaluate the availability of tutorials, documentation, customer support, and user communities.

The Top 5 eLearning Authoring Tools for Training Development

5 Popular eLearning Authoring Tools

Specific Use Cases

  1. Compliance Training: Consider tools particularly adept at tracking completion, mandatory quizzes, and generating detailed reports to meet compliance obligations. Look for features related to secure course access and robust record retention for effective compliance training.
  2. Soft Skills Development: Highlight tools strong in scenario building, branching simulations, or video-based interactive role-play. These features are invaluable for training in communication, leadership, and decision-making.
  3. Onboarding and New Hire Training: Focus on tools that streamline the creation of easily updated modules introducing company policies, procedures, and culture. Consider authoring software that allows for multimedia and a high degree of personalization.
  4. Technical and Product Training: Discuss tools capable of creating detailed software simulations, screen recordings, and interactive diagrams.

Evaluation Strategies

  • Create a sample project:   Replicate a small portion of an existing course or build a new module with a few core features that you want in your training program. This hands-on approach provides the most accurate assessment of usability.
  • Test user roles: Have users with different levels of technical experience try the tool. Assess ease of use, how well it aligns with different skill sets, and the learning curve involved.
  • Check for LMS integration: Experiment with exporting a sample course in the necessary standard (SCORM, xAPI) and importing it into your intended Learning Management System. Ensure a smooth transition.

The Future of eLearning Authoring

  • Artificial Intelligence: AI is poised to assist with content generation, scenario writing, auto-personalization of learning paths, and intelligent feedback to learners.
  • Mixed and Augmented Reality: More immersive training experiences will likely become feasible as these technologies mature and authoring tools adapt to incorporate them.
  • Increased Focus on Accessibility: Expect even greater emphasis on designing eLearning with accessibility as a core principle, supported by enhanced authoring tool capabilities.

Wrapping Up!

Choosing the right eLearning authoring tool positions your organization to deliver scalable, engaging, and impactful training that drives employee performance and supports your business goals. By considering this guide's key points, you'll be well-equipped to make an informed decision. Here’s a free tool to help you select the best tool for your needs. Check it out now!

Authoring Tool Finder - Find the Best Suited Authoring Tool for Your Needs