15 Authoring Tools for Creating E-Learning Content
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Professionals who create e-learning content use authoring tools to develop and manage educational materials. These tools come in a range of systems that offer services for beginning and advanced presentations and educational modules. Whether you teach students or educate team members at work, learning more about the types of authoring tools available for professional use can help you decide what best suits your e-learning needs.
In this article, we explain the purpose and functions of authoring tools and provide a list of e-learning software platforms you can use to create your own digital content for training and education.
What are authoring tools?
Authoring tools are software platforms that allow users to create digital learning content. These programs offer a variety of functions and features to help learning and development professionals make course materials, presentations and educational modules to facilitate training. Educators in K-12 classrooms can also use authoring tools to create virtual learning content for use in the classroom and at home.
E-learning authoring tools are typically sold as a subscription service, with plans ranging from basic to highly customizable platforms for content creation. Providers may offer a desktop solution accessible through a local network or a cloud-based system that you can access remotely from any device.
Benefits of using authoring tools
Authoring tools make it easier to create course structures by using an intuitive software program. Once you create the basic structure, you can export the content into different types of files and multimedia. These tools allow you to customize your own training content instead of hiring a third-party vendor to create e-learning products for your company.
Cloud-based authoring tools give you the flexibility to use their software from anywhere and can offer more options for multiple users to log into the service.
What to look for in an authoring tool
Authoring tools help educators and professionals create digital content for learning and training. Certain tools provide additional features for advanced coding and customization, while others give beginners an intuitive program to create e-learning modules and presentations. Choosing the best authoring tools depends on your level of experience and plans for e-learning content.
Look for software programs compliant with the shareable content object reference model (SCORM) to ensure your files are supported by other platforms. SCORM is a set of standards for e-learning software that make code compatible with e-learning programs and devices.
Before you choose an authoring tool, it's also a good idea to find out whether the software is cloud-based, desktop-based or mixed and if it's supported by both Mac and Windows operating systems. Other helpful features and attributes to look for in an authoring tool include:
Customizable interactive content
Mobile responsive formatting
Exportable formats, such as HTML5, AICC and xAPI
15 authoring tools for e-learning
Here are some of the top authoring tools available as cloud-based and desktop software:
1. Lectora Inspire
Lectora offers both an on-site and cloud-based software option. They also allow you to pay a one-time, lifetime subscription price. Lectora comes with premade learning templates you can use and customize. One of the oldest e-learning authoring software solutions, this system is ideal for users with experience in designing educational content.
Elucidat offers both templates and design features to help you build your own layouts without using code. They also provide users with analytics dashboards to show interactive data from learners as they work through and complete a course. The program also suggests templates based on your goals to help you create projects faster. Elucidat is cloud-based, allowing multiple authors to work on a project at once.
The iSpring platform supports interactive learning through PowerPoint presentations. This program gives users the tools to create learning materials such as quizzes and slide-based classes. iSpring works off a desktop but also allows you to use some online functions. Mac users need a Windows extension to use this product.
4. Articulate Storyline 360
One of the earliest authoring tools developed and adopted, Articulate Storyline 360 is also PowerPoint-based. This platform provides customizable themes for interactive presentations and other learning content. One of the main benefits of this software is that many organizations use this format, giving learning and development professionals exposure to this system.
Available for both Mac and Windows, SmartBuilder helps users create e-learning projects quickly with dedicated live support. They offer responsive outputs good for any device with a wide range of premade templates to make the creation process faster. They also provide customizable interfaces you can manipulate to match your brand.
HowToo authoring software offers a library of frameworks, templates and page layouts. They also provide users with a media library of stock images and videos to integrate into learning presentations and modules. HowToo features a drag-and-drop storyboard option for learning pathways along with collaboration tools so multiple users can contribute to a project. Another benefit of this platform is that you can use HowToo on Linux.
Raptivity's authoring tools require no programming or scripting, making it easier for beginning users to create e-learning content quickly from a variety of customizable interactions. They provide analytical tools so you can track the performance of e-learners and offer an online community of Raptivity users for sharing designs and best practices. This platform also gives you the ability to create micro-learning experiences within your content.
This cloud-based authoring tool guides users through simplified steps to create e-learning content. The platform focuses on easy-to-use features that let beginners make a variety of interactive materials for learners. Easygenerator also offers mobile-adaptive formatting so learners and creators can access content from any device.
9. Adobe Captivate
Adobe's e-learning software gives beginners and experienced users the chance to create presentations on a desktop program available for both Mac and Windows systems. With multiple advanced features for authoring, Adobe Captivate gives experienced users the ability to make interactive e-learning materials. It also facilitates complex tasks like screen recording and virtual reality.
Evolve authoring tools are made for beginners and feature adaptive content for all devices. Their cloud-based platform allows for collaboration but also gives users the option to publish content both off and online. One unique feature of Evolve is the pay structure. Instead of a monthly or annual subscription, you pay for the time you use the system.
This e-learning platform gives users the opportunity to make materials that mimic website content. Gomo's cloud-based system allows users to update and create content through the web or by using their mobile app. This feature can also make sharing content between users easier. Learners can use Gomo's app to access content and course leaders can use it to share their work online.
12. DomiKnow ONE
DomiKnow ONE offers a responsive design with screen capture and simulation functions. Their customizable themes and templates allow you to create interactive pages. Their software also enables collaboration between users with the option to publish content or convert information into a presentation.
Knowbly offers authoring tools for beginners with customizable interactive content, including games and quiz modules. They also give users flexible templates to create material using drag-and-drop features. Knowbly features organizational tools so e-learning professionals can easily compile and search all of their content. This platform also gives you content analysis tools.
This authoring tool facilitates the use of video recordings to deliver content. It also features tools for video editing once users upload recordings. Camtasia gives you the opportunity to add effects and integrate your materials within a PowerPoint. E-learning professionals often choose to pair Camtasia with other authoring tools to create the most comprehensive content.
Adapt authoring tools feature an open-source platform for users. Accessible for developers who want to insert interactive content within a learning community, Adapt produces responsive content in HTML5 format. One of the major benefits of working with Adapt is that it's free to use once you download it to your device.
Please note that none of the products mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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