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Finding the Right E-Learning Authoring Tool for Efficient Content Development

Published Mon Nov 01 2021


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If you are looking to create e-learning content for the first time, you’ll need to determine which e-learning authoring tool to use. Organizations that already have a working way to create engaging content may be tempted to view e-learning projects through the tools, products, and methods they are familiar with. For example, if all you have is Microsoft Word, then e-learning content will end up looking like a Microsoft Word document, which is not the most efficient tool for developing online training content or learning courses. When it comes to creating effective training content, you want to be able to spark learner engagement through different elements, such as interactive content. That’s why using the right e-learning authoring software is pivotal during the production stage.

Professionals focused on learning and development (L&D) and technical documentation have many software options for getting the job done. As e-learning industry trends emerge or new authoring tools come into the market, it makes sense to evaluate them periodically for optimizing your L&D program.

Types of E-Learning Authoring Tools

The best type of e-learning authoring tool really depends on your project needs as well as your team’s capabilities, schedule, and budget. Consider how you want to author content within your organization and what you want learners to experience when they take the course. The list below is of possible tradeoffs when drilling down into the right tools for you.

Level of functionality. High-quality e-learning authoring tools offer capabilities beyond just quickly creating a learning course. They may provide built-in templates and getting-started tutorials, but they also allow for customizing e-learning features and multiple interaction types. Some offer responsive output for different user devices, various formats, and multichannel publishing. In contrast, tools that only have prebuilt course templates and a certain number of features can be restricting for e-learning professionals who need to customize and scale content.

Level of effort. Some e-learning authoring tools are built for speed. Out-of-box, minimal effort is required because they may offer a dashboard with drag-and-drop objects and a path for a person with little experience to produce a course in a pinch. Over time, courses are likely to take on the same look and feel. Features and branding in these tools can be harder to manipulate. Adding more functionality to this type of tool might invite additional costs. Tool efficiency is another aspect to consider if you seek team collaboration, source control features, and productive workflows. Tools that provide effortless ways for multiple people to share content, review and provide feedback for files, and work on the same project at once are ideal for streamlining and optimizing processes.

Level of scalability. It may be of importance to change the size or scale of a project. First, if you expect your L&D program to expand, you may consider choosing a tool that can grow along with your company. As you gain experience with digital learning content, it could be advantageous to innovate course designs, customize content, and develop online learning centers. In addition, it is possible you might have to scale up production. Some e-learning features that can assist in scaling content are reusing content within one project or multiple projects and editing that content easily, topic-based authoring, accessibility, producing multiple outputs, importing or exporting features and files, and translation options.

A “Tough as Nails” E-Learning Authoring Tool

MadCap Flare is a flexible stand-alone software application for creating digital assets with advanced content authoring capabilities. It offers rapid e-learning authoring tool efficiencies and features for organizing “chunks of training,” creating questions and answers, interactive content, plus a whole lot more. It lets you build exactly what you want with features that allow for content reuse, custom-made interactions, and multichannel publishing. Flare is geared toward the nonspecialist who might need to seamlessly scale content and projects. Its purpose is to create simple interactions and tests.

Flare can be regarded as the robust multifunctional tool in the toolbox because it blends technical authoring and L&D programs, fulfilling e-learning authoring tool demands. Flare leverages content across an organization and maximizes its reuse through sharing files. Teams tend to unite and collaborate with the common goal of helping people learn about something—by producing e-learning courses and offering online help, knowledge bases, or learning centers. Trainers, writers, or instructional designers can use Flare to develop, manage, and publish content as well as produce innovative quizzes and knowledge checks as part of any project. Learners can access relevant courses when they want to from the LMS and consume them in a way that meets their learning style. So, as you begin searching for the right e-learning authoring tool, take into consideration functionality, level of effort, and scalability.

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