With so many e-learning authoring tools on the market today, it can be a little stressful just thinking about choosing one for your latest creations. However, we’re trying to break down the barriers to the industry and it starts with this guide here today. As long as you follow this list, you can find an authoring tool that meets your needs both now and long into the future. Also have a look at our Elearning Software Comparison overview.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some key considerations.
Budgets and Objectives – First and foremost, you need to answer two questions; 1) how much money do you have to spend and 2) what are your objectives with the tool? If you’re budget is going to be severely limited, we recommend looking into the free section of the market. Although you won’t have as many bells and whistles as other options, it will allow you to keep your costs down; for example, Lectora’s Snap! is a good option.
If your budget has more room, you can start to think about your objectives within the e-learning authoring tool. If you want to create quizzes for your users, this feature needs to be included within the tool itself. Furthermore, you might want to include games, presentations, and more whilst having access to various personalization settings. Once you decide your budget, you can narrow the market down to a few before then refining this further by matching their features to your needs. Generally speaking, the programs with the most features will be the ones with the heaviest price tag.
Assess Your Team – Unfortunately, this isn’t something that gets considered enough but it’s pivotal because your team are the ones who’ll be using the program. Before you go digging into the features too much, take a look at your team and the skills on offer. Sometimes, a cheaper option can be better because it matches the skill set of the people in charge. Although it sounds like a strange example, you wouldn’t buy a pair of trousers that don’t fit just because they have a few extra pockets.
With this in mind, get your team involved in the decision because you can also find out whether there will be a need for training before they can get started. Of course, the programs with more features will require a steeper learning curve but they often lead to a stronger final product. If you allow your team to get involved with the decision, you can find this balance correctly.
Assess the Features – If you compare five different e-learning authoring tools, you’re likely to find 100 different features between them and this can be confusing because you don’t know which are important and which aren’t so much. Additionally, will all these features actually help the most important people in all this; the end user. Utilizing the information you have from the previous two steps, now you need to find the most important features for you and your audience. If the end user would prefer a simple slideshow-based e-learning course, the simple features will be the most important.
Also at this stage, you need to consider how the end user will complete the course. For example, are they likely to be using mobile devices or perhaps even a tablet whilst commuting? If so, you need to ensure the e-learning authoring tool has all the right features to allow the creation of this type of course. Nowadays, there are numerous tools that allow you to publish to mobile so take your time when looking.
Required Support – Next up, your team will always need support with an e-learning tool regardless of their skills and regardless of their experience. Sometimes, glitches can occur and they instantly threaten to ruin the whole project so having a support team ready to help can be critical. When researching the market, you should ask questions such as;
• Do they have a 24/7 support service?
• Can I contact them via email as well as phone?
• How quickly can they respond to any errors or concerns?
• How can they resolve any issues we may have?
• Do they have the required experience to help us through issues?
Consider Current Software – Currently, you may be using your own learning management system as well as various other tools so do you need them to be compatible? In the past, thousands of people have failed to check this only to be left disappointed with the end result when problems arise. If you’ve found the winner in authoring software, you could always research plugins because there could be one that makes integration that little bit easier.
Research and Test – Finally, there’s nothing better than researching for your own needs before then testing to see which works best with your current software, team, and budget. As we mentioned at the very beginning, there are various e-learning authoring tools on the market right now so there’s nothing wrong with taking your time and seeing what works for you. If you allow yourself this decision, the end result will come out close to your desired content and you can be happy with the decision.
For us, we also believe in customer reviews because they show how happy people just like you were with a particular program or experience. Nowadays, people tend to leave quite lengthy reviews to explain what they liked alongside what they didn’t so this can be incredibly helpful.
Summary – There we have it, your six considerations to make when planning to buy e-learning authoring software. As long as it comes in within budget, matches your needs, and allows the support you require, you won’t have any complaints in the near future and your end user will benefit from the best possible course!