You’ve made up your mind – your business is taking the exciting leap into eLearning.
Congratulations! You’re in good company. 93% of companies globally plan to adopt eLearning programs.
But now, you’re faced with choosing the best eLearning authoring tools so you can create the highest-quality lessons for your employees. And you’re wondering where to start.
eLearning is only as good as its courses and classes are. And you’ll need top eLearning tools to get the job done well. Are you not starting an online training program just to send out bland PDFs?
No problem – in this post, we’re going to tell you all the main features the best course authoring software has and our top 5 picks to point you straight in the right direction.
What is an eLearning Authoring Tool?
An eLearning authoring tool is a piece of software that facilitates the creation of digital educational content. It could be as simple as creating a document to something much more complicated like a quiz or test – or even a simple video game.
The software itself ranges from very basic to somewhat tricky, with the most complex needing a level of programming knowledge.
Instructional designers and L&D professionals use eLearning content software to create training materials and courses for employees. Here are a few ways it is used:
- Compliance training
- Training both hard and soft skills
When you hear that 90% of businesses offer eLearning opportunities to their employees, it’s easy to understand how invaluable it is to have the best eLearning authoring tools at hand.
Course authoring software is simple to get the hang of and can develop approachable, practical eLearning courses for businesses.
Things to Look for in the Best eLearning Authoring Software
Not all course authoring software is created equal. The best eLearning authoring tools are easy to use, contain ready-to-use templates, have solid collaboration features, and include multiple publishing options.
Here’s a quick summary of the best authoring tool features:
Ease of use
An eLearning authoring tool should streamline your content and course creation – not hamper it. You want your course authoring to be simple so you can efficiently create, update, and deliver content.
You shouldn’t have to take a course on making a course.
How easy is it to create a quiz? How easy is it to publish a test? Does it contain extra features that boost usability, like templates and a straightforward interface?
Ensuring that your eLearning development software allows easy access to multiple authors is also a good idea if you intend to have several course creators.
Browse the software’s website, read customer reviews and testimonials, and look for awards and merits given to the tool. For example, Tovuti was awarded “Easiest To Use” by G2.
Just a random sample.
The best eLearning authoring tools will allow simple consistency across your organization. It’s not only professional to have consistency in how content is organized and structured, but it will increase learner engagement and lessen distraction if your educational content follows a specific design.
An example? Say you send out the lessons to be made to your course authors, and they all get to work. After a while, you receive all their courses, and they’re made to specification and contain stellar content – but one uses 30 pt font in dark blue, one uses 24 in black, and another is 30 pt in black.
Choosing an authoring tool that allows you to set a particular style for an entire project, course, or even company-wide will ensure uniformity.
The ability to restrict fonts, colors, sizes, formats, and overall design will keep creators within certain boundaries to create amazing content that aligns with each other without a ton of correspondence.
It might sound a little cheesy, but working together is a great tool.
So shows that an eLearning development tool that allows group collaboration is essential. It’s pooling your most reliable resources: your employees.
Authoring tools with a collaborative dimension allow multiple course authors, subject matter experts (SMEs), reviewers, and instructors to work together by facilitating interaction. Progress tracking, communication, revisions, peer review, and feedback are all made easier.
Some authoring tools, like Tovuti, allow even your employee learners to help streamline feedback with features like:
- Course rating
- Lesson rating
- Leaving comments
Making collaboration easy will make your eLearning experience more smooth, effective, and consistent. Collaborating on tasks and sharing ideas is valued at $1,660 per employee each year. And quality improvements made as a result of workplace collaboration are valued at $2,517 per employee each year.
So it’s cost-effective, too.
Templates and libraries
Need to get a course up and running quickly? Many of the top eLearning tools come preloaded with templates, media libraries, and third-party content.
This will help you strike that perfect balance between intriguing, engaging, and quick content. Utilizing templates will allow you to build a course quickly without sacrificing quality.
When you have hours of course-building work ahead of you, being able to shave off even a few minutes is a benefit. And typically, you’ll want the course to be nearly identical anyway (remember what we said about consistency?), so using templates will aid that, too.
With Tovuti, you can dig into an integrated LMS course content library. It contains thousands of pieces of pre-built content. It’s then simple to add them in bulk as courses or lessons in seconds.
It’s also quick and easy to upload content you’ve previously made and use it in your brand new Tovuti course.
There are numerous ways to publish your educational content, and they all have their unique little quirks.
Which one you choose will depend on your needs. Is tracking required? How will the course or lesson be consumed? How will you deliver it?
Different eLearning software tools support other publishing options, each with pros and cons. For this blog, we’ll be talking about the two publishing options Tovuti supports (and they happen to be pretty popular ones).
Those options are:
SCORM is generally the standard for most eLearning development tools. We’ve laid out the pros and cons in a table below:
For more information on publishing, read about it in-depth in our blog post What is SCORM? A Guide to SCORM Files.
As with most other parts of your daily corporate life, you have to have future growth in mind.
Scaling up is always a good thing, but challenges you have to be prepared for come challenges, even with eLearning tools. The best course authoring software should have options and features that facilitate growth.
When it comes to scalability, three main features stand out:
- Content that’s easy to edit, update, and reuse
- Content that’s easy to import and export
- Translation and accessibility options
Scaling up could mean that your company will take on diverse employees with many different needs, so translation and language support and easy accessibility will be a huge help. If you’re interested in reading more, check out our blog post Accessibility: eLearning for Everyone.
Customization is a top priority when choosing eLearning authoring software. It’s yet another thing that supports consistency, but it also looks professional and keeps your brand uniform.
This is why 89% of businesses invest in personalization.
High levels of customization when course authoring not only allows personalizing the course itself and additional customization like:
- Hero images
- Course and lesson thumbnails
- Certificates and badges
Tovuti also allows complete customization of your front-facing website and learner portals – without any fancy coding knowledge. Personalization for those who opt for simple fill-in-the-blanks, buttons, and checkboxes.
But if you know to code (look at Fancy Pants over here!), we give you that option. Tovuti supports all skill levels when it comes to detailed customization.
To learn more about Tovuti’s personalization, we have an entire blog post called White Labeling: Customize Learning Management System.
Maybe you hadn’t considered this one – but it’s an important one!
When choosing eLearning content software, consider its customer support team and various help options. The learning curve can be as simple as pie, but if a glitch comes up or you hit something unexpected, it’s crucial to have a solid support team.
Research your chosen tool’s help system. Check its website, customer reviews, and testimonials for information. Tovuti has email support, call support, support tickets, and even support access from within the program.
Clients also receive a training coach for the first 30 days. Up to four sessions of up to 60 mins each. Because when implementing a new program, it’s always those first weeks that can be the toughest.
No wonder Tovuti got the “Best Enterprise Support” award from G2.
Our Picks for the Best eLearning Authoring Tools
We realize that it’s a tall order to remember all those considerations – and that’s why we’ve gathered a dynamite list of the best course authoring software.
So you can browse the best tools without having to do a bunch of googling yourself.
You didn’t misread tovutilms.com – Tovuti is an outstanding LMS, but it’s also one of the top eLearning authoring tools.
What does that mean? You can use course authoring to create detailed, engaging lessons for your employees and then utilize LMS features to deliver, manage, and track your learners’ experiences.
Tovuti’s advanced course authoring offers 40 different interactive course options, including:
- Tests and quizzes
- Gamified learning
- Interactive video
- Mobile learning
- And more
Mobile eLearning development tools are crucial in today’s educational environment when 64% of learners find accessing training content from a mobile device essential. And 43% of them see improved productivity over non-mobile users.
And did we hear you ask about gamified learning? Gamification is one of the top ways to boost learner engagement and knowledge retention. Interested in reading in-depth about it? Check out our blog post on the gamification definition.
Pricing starts at $700 / month (accurate as of 04/2022).
2. Adobe Captivate
Adobe Captivate is a powerful authoring tool that creates stellar courses and lessons, but a steeper learning curve and some needed know-how come with it. It isn’t exactly for beginners - unless you opt for making elementary courses.
Some of its best features include:
- PowerPoint integration for advanced storyboarding
- Mobile learning
- Virtual reality (VR) lesson creation
- Screen-recording and simulation
- Drag-and-drop, click-to-reveal, quizzes, and other solid learning standards
Due to its somewhat advanced interface; Adobe Captivate is great for more experienced authors to create complicated courses. There may be a significant ramp-up time if you’re new to course authoring.
For an individual, pricing starts at $33.99 / month. But you have to contact them for info on business pricing (accurate as of 04/2022).
3. Articulate Storyline
In contrast to Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline has a much more modest learning curve but can still be difficult to master completely. Although it’s a well-known program in the authoring tool industry, it raises the chances that your course authors have used it before.
Storyline gives high personalization and flexibility with theme, branding, and colors, but this can compromise consistency. However, upon loss of consistency, you gain quite impressive design capabilities.
It touts itself as being enabled for any device, although it isn’t mobile-optimized in reality–the screen shrinks a bit.
Read our blog post Responsive Design: eLearning on Any Device to learn in-depth about mobile optimization.
As long as your course authors are equipped to handle its somewhat difficult interface, Articulate Storyline produces high-quality, advanced content.
Pricing starts at $1,299 / user / year (accurate as of 04/2022).
Elucidat is an eLearning software tool with a much more user-friendly interface that requires less training. Whether you’re opting to utilize a template or building a course from scratch, Elucidat makes authoring very approachable.
Elucidat was designed to be usable by all skill levels and includes many no-code options for beginners or course authors who never intend to learn code.
We’re all different, aren’t we?
Elucidat also features flexible user permissions to help your team collaborate on building courses, whether it’s just in-office employees or if you’re branching out for advice and guidance from SMEs (subject matter experts).
It also sports some excellent course gamification – and you know we’re a big fan of gamification at Tovuti.
Their most popular pricing package is their Enterprise Package, which is $67 / user/month (accurate as of 04/2022).
Gomo is a mobile-first authoring tool specializing in mobile-oriented content and even has an offline mobile app. It’s an excellent consideration for businesses looking for mobile eLearning development tools to get in on this hot trend of mobile learning.
Getting a course up and running in a hurry is easy with Gomo’s quick-start features and templates. It can be complicated when you get deep into it, but just use its drag-and-drop and copy/paste functions if you want it simple.
Gomo gets high marks in its collaboration and accessibility features, allowing easy access between multiple authors with link share and letting learners choose which language they want to take their course in (with over 250 languages).
Pricing isn’t disclosed, and you must contact the company for information (accurate as of 04/2022).
Business Use Cases For eLearning Development Tools
Yet companies with less than 100 employees average only 12 minutes of training every six months. And companies with 100-500 employees average only 6 minutes.
What do all those stats imply? Companies need to invest more in their employee development. And here are some simple ways course authoring can achieve this.
Health and safety training made fun
eLearning makes health and safety training more engaging and accessible than ever before – and engagement helps knowledge retention. And believe us, you want safety knowledge retained.
This healthcare workforce solution and staffing services company needed a 20-minute interactive health and safety training program for its corporate team. It used course authoring to make a board game-style compliance training scenario.
The result? Two months post-launch, the training course was accessed over 2,400% more than in the previous six months. And team members report that it’s the most fun they’ve ever had with compliance training, calling it “streamlined” and “engaging.”
This business is now a part of 82% of companies that use eLearning to conduct at least some of their compliance training.
And 28% deliver all of their compliance training via eLearning.
Ten eLearning authors created training for hundreds
SGS is one of the most extensive inspections, verification, testing, and certification companies worldwide. They have more than 89,000 employees and more than 2,600 offices and labs across the globe.
Led by a team of experts, SGS continually improves its laboratory processes – but how to educate 100s of teammates globally on constantly changing methods and rules?
Using eLearning templates, this team of 10 technical experts created engaging courses with a specific, consistent design. With solid templates, a group of 10 different authors can make one course that seamlessly fits together.
The team had ten top-notch eLearning courses ready to go in seven weeks. And it wasn’t just lessons and training that SGS got out of it – they now have ten confident, empowered technical experts who have eLearning courses under their belts.
And we believe that the best resource a company has is its confident, talented employees.
Modern eLearning teaches old-school skills
The Co-Operative Bank had a tough challenge. Some of their systems still operated on 1980s-style computers – black and green screens and everything. And you can guess they aren’t as user-friendly as modern tech either.
But they’re essential to Co-Op’s account opening processes, so they needed employees to be comfortable and confident with them.
But they couldn’t just set a new employee in front of such a daunting piece of technology cold turkey – so they opted for an eLearning course that would mimic their old computers without the intimidation factor.
What they got was a course that so closely mimicked the outdated tech that trainees couldn’t even use the mouse – keyboard only! It allowed them to learn the natural look, feel, and functionality of opening an account, including randomly generated customer details.
But that’s just scratching the surface of how eLearning software tools can benefit your business. Get even more business course authoring tips for online learning in this handy blog post.
Frequently Asked Questions
“How do I create an eLearning program?”
It can be as easy as finding excellent eLearning content software, utilizing templates, and adopting a great LMS. That simplifies it slightly, but it’s simpler than you think.
And if you need it more accessible, you can contact Tovuti’s professional services and let them do the heavy lifting.
“What’s the difference between an LMS and an authoring tool?”
An authoring tool is a program that allows educational content creation for digital learning. At the same time, an LMS is a system that facilitates the publishing, delivering, tracking, and the overall administration of educational content.
Like the difference between a candy bar factory and a grocery store. One makes the product, and the other delivers it to the audience.
“What are rapid authoring tools?”
A rapid authoring tool facilitates quick course creation when you need a program up and running fast. This can include authoring tools that feature templates, PowerPoint add-ins, and easy responsive design.
Rapid authoring also emphasizes “no-code” knowledge.
Course authoring software is one of the most crucial tools when starting your eLearning program, so choosing a good one is essential. But that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated.
Consider ease of use, overall consistency, team collaboration features, and features to make things more simple, like templates and libraries. It’s also good to keep publishing options in mind (although it’s a safe bet to opt for SCORM).
After you pick out your ideal authoring tool, the next most significant step is choosing an LMS. If you’re not sure how to get started, check out our demo to see a powerful LMS tool in action.