An authoring tool has become a critical component of creating effective and interactive elearning courses. As more businesses realise this, the number of options available on the market have increased manifold.
While more choice is never a bad thing, it does make choosing the right authoring tool for your needs a bit confusing. The good news is, when you know exactly what you need, making the decision becomes much easier.
So what considerations go into choosing the ideal authoring tool for your unique needs?
Read on to find out!
Understand Your Goals
When choosing a new product for one’s business, many make the mistake of making the budget their primary consideration.
Sure, the budget does hold significant weight when it comes to making a purchase decision, when it comes to decisions that directly affect your business, understanding how a product slings with your business goals is critical.
Some questions you can ask yourself are:
- What do you want to achieve with your eLearning course?
- How will your content be consumed?
- What devices do you want to make your course available on?
- What kind of interactivity do you wish to achieve?
- Do you want to publish your course in multiple languages?
- What kind of learner assessment will you create?
- What kind of media will you use?
These are of course, some basic considerations, you can always add to or subtract from this list depending on the unique needs of your course.
At this stage, you can eliminate the authoring tools that don’t align with your needs.
Consider Your Budget
You get what you pay for.
The above statement is true for any kind of purchase and authoring tools are no exception. The best eLearning authoring tools like Storyline 2 or Shift eLearning often come loaded with nifty features that can potentially help you create an awesome course but come with a hefty price tag attached.
Economically priced tools like ActivePresenter but only offers basic features, along with a number of restrictions.
Some web based tools are also economical, and offer great collaborative features.
Depending on the needs identified in the previous section, you can now set an average budget by assessing the price of the authoring tools that satisfy your goals.
Now, your list of authoring tools can be further narrowed down to the products that offer the features you are looking for, within your budget.
Ease Of Use
An authoring tool is meant to simplify and accelerate the process of creating eLearning course material. However, if an authoring tool has a steep learning curve or a complex user interface, it can start doing the opposite.
Luckily, most authoring tools are designed assuming the users will have little to no technical expertise, and are extremely easy to use. That said, it is recommended to try the authoring tool first to make sure it aligns with your (or your team’s) abilities.
This brings us to our next point, free trials.
Availability Of Free Trial
The importance of taking a free trial before making a purchase was highlighted in the previous section.
The good thing is, most authoring tools offer free trials. The bad thing is, one often needs to work with an authoring tool for a significant amount of time before they can come to a decision.
For this reason, most authoring tool trials last up to 30 days. However, this also means that you can only try a limited number of tools depending on your time restrictions, especially if you are a one man show.
Compatibility with SCORM and xAPI standards
SCORM and xAPI standards exist to allow different vendors to track learner progress using a common set of protocols. SCORM and xAPI compliant authoring tools allow you to export your course material to an LMS or to HTML5 or Flash formats.
While budget and features on offer remain the top considerations when it comes to purchasing an authoring tool, ease of use and compatibility are also very critical.
An authoring tool is supposed to make life easier. It is important to ensure that it aligns with your needs and abilities to be able to make the most of your purchase.