E-learning creation tools or to use the technical term, e-learning authoring tools, have become more developed over the years. They range from easy-to-use tools that do not require technical knowledge to more complex tools only an expert can use effectively.
Thinking of creating an e-learning course, but not sure about which tool to use and what to look out for when picking a tool that will work for you, this article aims to guide you to make the right choice.
What Is an E-learning Authoring Tool?
An e-learning authoring tool is “a specialized software tool designed to help users create interactive e-learning quickly and easily.”
There are various factors to look out for when getting an e-learning authoring tool, some of them are, quality of e-learning output, speed and efficiency, ease of scaling up, and whether you can collaborate easily on it. Below is a list of the best tools to use.
1. iSpring Suite Max
iSpring Suite Max is a PowerPoint-based toolkit for creating e-learning content that allows you to convert existing PowerPoint and Word files into online courses.
- Has 69,000+ e-learning assets.
- Handy quiz maker
- Professional video creator and editor
- Conversation simulator
- iSpring Space for effective collaboration
- Flipbook creator
- Supports SCORM compliant and HTML 5 content
- Mobile-friendly. Courses are naturally made to work on mobile devices.
- Easy to use
- 24/7 technical support through phone, email, and live chat.
- Not readily available for Mac users
- Requires installation
- Basic output. Cannot create complex projects.
- Educational course creators at all levels and in all fields.
- A single-user license is $697.
- Discounts are available for multi-seat licenses, educational and non-profit organizations.
2. Articulate Storyline
The storyline is an e-learning development software that gives you a customizable workspace with built-in templates. It is a Windows desktop authoring application and one of the oldest and most well-known Windows-based tools for creating e-learning programs.
- It is available in 5 languages
- Allows you to import existing PowerPoint slides and files from previous Storyline versions and other Articulate products
- SCORM, xAPI(Tincan), and HTML compatible
- A character bank of 47,000+ illustrated and photographic characters
- Top-notch learners’ progress tracking tools
- Flexible and highly customizable
- Large online community
- Helps create an intuitive e-learning course.
- Requires additional training to use effectively
- Cannot send out MP4 Videos
- Does not work on Mac’s
- More expensive than other tools
- Corporate organizations and institutions of higher learning.
- Creators of educational games.
- The standard Storyline package is $1,846USD.
3. Lectora Inspire
Lectora prides itself as the “mobile learning game-changer”. It integrates Snagit and Camtasia. This allows you to seamlessly import images and video into your e-learning content. Lectora is one of the old hands when it comes to authoring software. It is also both online and cloud-based.
- Automatically scale your content to fit into most platforms.
- Supports HTML 5, SCORM, xAPI(TinCan), and AICC.
- Translation into a number of languages is available.
- Highly customizable.
- It’s available on Mac, Windows, and Linux.
- Error check feature that notifies you about issues before you release the program.
- Produces professional-looking content.
- Programs can be published for both offline and online use.
- Access to the graphic libraries of E-learning Brothers.
- Difficult to use for beginners.
- You have to edit each translated file individually(translated files do not have a link with the parent file).
- Cumbersome user interface.
- Experienced authors with design expertise
- Businesses(small, medium, and large)
- Government institutions
- Lectora Inspire costs $2,374USD to purchase. This package includes first-year maintenance and support.
- Discounts are available for government and educational institutions.
4. Adobe Captivate
Captivate is an e-learning authoring tool for desktops available on Mac and Windows. It is useful for creating responsive and interactive e-learning content. It is one of the most powerful training authoring software for creating e-learning programs.
- Allows you to import PowerPoint presentations.
- It is SCORM, HTML 5, AICC, and xAPI(TinCan) compatible
- Output can recognize common mobile gestures like pinch to zoom and swipe.
- It boasts of a wide range of question types paired with a comprehensive scoring system.
- Available for both Mac and Windows.
- Good for creating interactive learning experiences.
- Works well when screen recording.
- Gives you a very professional-looking course.
- Compatible with mobile devices.
- Fewer themes than most other authoring tools.
- It requires a lot of time to become proficient in using it.
- Collaboration is very difficult.
- Limited support from the developer.
- Difficult to update.
- Corporations and large businesses
- Expert e-learning course designers
- You can subscribe for $29.99USD per month, but you must make an annual commitment.
- A full license costs $1099USD
- The student and education discount is $349.
A screen recording and video editing software that can be used to create e-learning programs. Although majorly a video capture tool, the output can be exported in SCORM format. It is mostly used to create video tutorials, product demos, and so on. It is also often integrated into other e-learning authoring platforms because of its primary focus on video.
- You can share output to any device that plays videos or to YouTube.
- A straightforward drag and drop interface that makes manipulating videos easy.
- Available on Windows and iOS.
- It can be integrated into PowerPoint.
- Professional video editor with lots of already installed themes, animated backgrounds, graphics, and call-outs.
- The best tool for screen recording and video editing.
- You can save and reuse templates and presets.
- Seamless integration of quizzes and questions with results displayed in spreadsheets to monitor learning in real-time.
- Once a video is uploaded, it cannot be updated.
- It does not support flash or HTML 5.
- Not available for Mac users.
- Basic output
- Slows down on large projects
- Students, their teachers, and their parents.
- Businesses, especially for professional training and sales videos.
- $299USD for a single license
- Discounts are available for bulk licenses and purchases.
- Government institutions, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions are also entitled to a discount.
All of these tools for creating e-learning programs listed in this article are very good in their various areas of specialization. It is up to you or your e-learning design expert to look at each of them and figure out which one fits the needs and requirements of the course you want to develop.
The likes of Adobe Captivate and Lectora require a high level of instructional design skill or for beginners, a lot of hours of learning to properly maximize all their features.
Articulate Storyline is somewhat easier to become proficient in than the previous two. While iSpring Suite is perfect for beginners and those conversant with the workings of PowerPoint, Camtasia is predominantly a video recording and editing software that can be used to create e-learning content in some cases.
Anyway, it’s hard to choose from this list what would be best for you. And that’s why we created that detailed comparison between Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline and iSpring Suite