Types of eLearning Authoring Tools and How to Choose Your Best Fit

Types of eLearning Authoring Tools
"Types of eLearning Authoring Tools and How to Choose Your Best Fit"

Authoring tools are made to be easy for ordinary computer users to create eLearning content professionally. Unlike the early days of eLearning that depended on programming, developing eLearning content by using authoring tools is less time-consuming and simpler using text, images, and quizzes.
Read: What is an eLearning Authoring Tools? + LMS (Learning Management System)


In this article, we'll discuss:
- How does an authoring tool work?
- Types of authoring tools
- How to choose the best authoring tool for you? 
 

How Does an Authoring Tool Work?

Authoring tools mostly maintain a slide-based course structure. Slides are filled with text, images, and animations. You can add interactive elements such as quizzes, videos, etc. When everything is ready, you click Publish and get a package that is ready to be uploaded to your learning management system (LMS) or website.
 

Types of Authoring Tools

Authoring tools come in different shapes and types. For example, some LMS's (Learning Management Systems) have their built-in authoring tools. However, these ones are very basic and do not provide the learning design experience. On the other hand, some tools are developed specifically as authoring tools.
Let’s get into the types of authoring tools!

1. Standalone authoring tools
Photoshop is created for graphics editing, just like a standalone authoring tool is created for developing eLearning content. Both take time to train for how to use and get started with. Sometimes programming skills are needed for customized interactions while using standalone authoring tools.
 
Examples:
- Adobe Captivate
- Articulate 360
- Lectora Inspire  

Fit with:
- Large eLearning departments with complex tasks;
- eLearning developers who work on different types of learning content;
- Senior eLearning developers who create customized content from scratch.
 
2. PowerPoint-based tools
One tool of authoring tools works as an add-in to PowerPoint. Using such a tool, you can transform a PowerPoint presentation into an e-course. PowerPoint-based solutions have familiar interfaces so that computer users can easily work with it.

Examples:
- iSpring Suite
- Adobe Presenter
- Studio 360 (part of Articulate 360 toolkit)  

PowerPoint Add-ins features are:
  1. interactive quizzes,
  2. video lectures, and
  3. dialogue simulations.
 
Fit with:
- Teams who need on-spot content;
- Large companies with in-house experts for creating content;
- Smaller companies with no specialists for developing e-courses. 
 
3. Cloud-based tools
As it is named, this type allows you to create web-styled content. Web services require no special operating systems, which makes them accessible anywhere. It only requires you to open the web application, log in, and start working right away. Simple, right?
Cloud-based tools may have limited functionality when compared with installed solutions. However, the cloud-based tools cover the major authoring tasks. As a team, you can work on the same project simultaneously creating professionally designed pages, interactions, and assessments.
 
Examples:
- Articulate Rise (part of Articulate 360 kit)
- Elucidat
- Gomo Learning
- Lectora Online  

Fit with:
- Teams with multiple authors who need collaboration and reviewing features;
- Teams who need better work flexibility.  

4. Highly-specialized tools
If you create video courses specifically, you probably won't need to pay for tools with other features that don't serve you. Thus, you need a highly-specialized authoring tool. Highly-specialized tools are useful when you need certain features. For example, there are specialized tools for creating video courses, software simulations, or branching scenarios.
 
Examples:
- Camtasia
- Twine  

Fit with:
- When you need to create a specific training format;
- Using an additional tool to ease the authoring process.  

 

How to choose the best authoring tool for you?

You probably know that it depends on some factors, one of them considers your internal capabilities, which are:
- Whether you want your content simple or more sophisticated.
- How much content you need to produce and manage.
- Your technical expertise.
- Your budget.
- If you are one author or a team.
- And more!

And other factors consider the specifications of the authoring tools themselves, which are:
- Authoring tool's ease of use.
- The speed and efficiency of the authoring process.
- The quality of the eLearning content.  

Bottom Line

As mentioned previously in our eLearning blog, LSP's can use authoring tools to create translated and/or localized content. At Saudisoft, we know what's best to use for each project and can help localize your eLearning content using the right tool.
For inquiries about our services and rates, Click Here.