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Finding the Right Authoring Tool for You

Wednesday, August 10, 2016
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I’m often asked the same question: What is the best e-learning authoring tool? Giving an answer would be like trying to answer the question: What’s the best car? I love my Mini Cooper, but it would be a really bad choice for a family of five, the person who drives the carpool to work, or the professional event planner who always has to haul stuff. Finding the right car—and the right authoring tool—is all about knowing what’s right for YOU.

That’s why the first step in selecting an authoring tool is determining which criteria are most important to you. After that, you can evaluate the tools based on those criteria. Someone with simple needs and a limited budget will likely pick something different than a person needing complex test logic and compatibility on a mobile phone.

Here is a quick breakdown of how some of the most popular authoring tools compare on critical features. Before we look at the comparison, here are a few notes about how to use the table:

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  • A score of 1 means that tool gets the top spot. A 4 means it ranks last among these specific tools. A 4 does not mean it is “bad” in this area, just that it isn’t as strong as the others. All of these are good tools with good feature sets.
  • These scores are based on my experience and opinion. Someone else might rate them all differently (even my own co-workers, in some cases!).
  • Use this grid as a starting point. All of these tools offer a free 30-day trial. Take them out for a test drive and see for yourself what you like best.

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About the Author

Diane Elkins is the president of Artisan E-Learning, a custom e-learning development company specializing in Articulate Studio, Storyline, Lectora, and Captivate. She has built a reputation as a national e-learning expert by being a frequent speaker at major industry events such as ATD's International Conference & Exposition, ATD TechKnowledge, DevLearn, and Learning Solutions. She is also the co-author of the popular E-Learning Uncovered book series as well as E-Learning Fundamentals: A Practical Guide from ATD Press. She is a past president of the Northeast Florida and Metro DC chapters of ATD.

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