Top Authoring Tools for Rapid E-learning Development – Do You Know About Them?

Rapid eLearning development is often the primary choice for organizations for a quick and cost-effective e-learning. In this blog, let us see the four big names in the world of rapid eLearning.

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Top Authoring Tools for Rapid E-learning Development – Do You Know About Them?

Rapid eLearning development is often the primary choice for organizations when they are looking for a quick and cost-effective e-learning program. Rapid authoring can be as simple as – but not limited to – taking a PowerPoint presentation, making it instructionally sound, and then turning it into a SCORM-based framework to host it on the learning management system (LMS).

A variety of authoring tools are available to create e-learning within weeks, as opposed to several months. These rapid authoring tools come with built-in templates, themes, and animations. These tools can create high-quality courses, offering customization of content in minimal time, reducing development efforts for courseware designers. The benefits of rapid authoring are multifold:
– Lower development costs
– Better turnaround time
– E-learning experts have complete control of development

In this blog, let us see what your choices are for rapid authoring tools. Here are the four big names in the world of rapid eLearning development – Articulate 360, Adobe Captivate 9, Lectora Inspire 17, and iSpring.

1. Articulate 360

After Storyline, Articulate 360 has put a slew of applications in a courseware designer’s toolkit. In simple terms, vendors can create all or different types of e-learning using this tool. Its interface is similar to PowerPoint, which is why designers can quickly convert your Flash courses to HTML5.

Articulate 360’s built-in features – 100,000 illustrated and photographic characters in various poses – that allow the creation of complex scenario-based online courses easily. The modern workforce’s learning needs have forced organizations to constantly strive for keeping learners engaged through interactivities that work seamlessly on all screen sizes and devices. For them, Articulate 360’s ability to create responsive courses, i.e., device agnostic e-learning, is a game-changer.

Courses are published to the HTML5 format – the successor to Adobe Flash – that makes accessing e-learning on mobile devices a seamless affair. Storyline 360 facilitates the hassle-free translation of e-learning courses, providing support to languages such as Hebrew, Arabic and DBCS languages such as Korean and Japanese. Additionally, it also supports JAWS 16 (or later versions), which means courses developed using Articulate 360 can be accessed by differently-abled learners.

2. Adobe Captivate 9

Adobe Captivate is a versatile tool. The biggest advantage of using Adobe Captivate – especially for rapid e-learning – is the built-in screen recording feature which allows a quick-fire, rapid creation of simulations. Simulations and tutorials created using Captivate provide learners the opportunity to overcome real-world challenges in a risk-free environment.

Adobe Captivate is also a good choice for converting Flash-based courses to HTML5-based courses. Its support for responsive e-learning development, creation of high-quality software simulations and interactive assessments is a game-changer. (Lack of support being the biggest flaw of Flash, Captivate still continues to create courses that run on multiple devices from a single source in a quick fashion.)

To measure learners’ understanding of the subject matter in the e-learning courses, assessments play a big role. Adobe Captivate provides a few in-built quiz question templates which can be added to the online course to assess the knowledge of your learner.

3. Lectora Inspire 17

If there is one thing that no other authoring tool can beat Lectora at, it is the ability to convert text-heavy content to engaging online courses. This comes in handy when dealing with large volumes of text such as compliance and regulatory affairs which most often than not fails to keep the learners hooked. But Lectora Inspire, addresses this shortcoming.

For trainings such as safety training, sales training (to teach selling skills) and sometimes compliance training, training learners through text alone does not do the deal. To solve this problem, Lectora allows elearning course designers to create effective branching scenarios. In branching scenarios, the learner is presented with a problem, which can be tackled in more than one way. This forces the learner to choose one of the ways to resolve the problem. As he/she makes a decision, another challenge is presented. Consequently, based on how he reacts to the preceding challenge, further challenges are presented.

Support for translation is also one of the biggest strengths of Lectora Inspire. Designers can develop courses in multiple languages in a seamless fashion. Here’s the workflow:

  • First, the course designer exports the Lectora course as a document in the Rich Text Format (RTF).
  • This document is passed on to a translator, who renders the content in the desired target languages
  • Once the content is translated, the courseware designer imports it into Lectora Inspire and publishes it in the target languages.

 4. iSpring

PowerPoint presentations have been (still are) an integral part of classroom training. For companies working within tight budgets and time, who are looking to take the leap toward e-learning iSpring is a life-saver. It is a plug-in available within PowerPoint that helps convert the invaluable sources that PPTs are to online courses. A plain presentation can be turned into an interesting eLearning course by importing audio and video or by recording voice-overs and videos in iSpring. That is not the end.

Another important feature, that would please Training Managers responsible for training modern learners and millennials, is the possibility of converting the PPT decks to the HTML5 format, making the courses essentially mobile-friendly.

For sales training, soft skills are an important part of the training. Dialogue simulations, for example, can be created using iSpring which are of great help to sales people in helping them mastering communication with potential customers.

Other strengths of iSpring are:

  • iSpring Cam Tool that can screen-record applications to train learners with a software’s interface
  •  Creating audio and video questionnaires for assessing the learners’ understanding of the course.

The key factor for the success of rapid eLearning is the faster turnaround time, and this does not necessarily mean compromising on the quality of online learning courses. In fact, as you have seen, rapid authoring tools offer a plethora of options and features that ensure your e-learning is of top-notch quality. The rapid authoring tools I discussed in the blog are the ones that have kept pace with time and are ideal options in today’s e-learning scenario. No matter what authoring tool you select, ensure that it also offers a great deal of support to create the most innovative of e-learning solutions all in a short time and lower costs.

A Training Manager's Handbook to Rapid E-learning Development
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