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5 eLearning Authoring Tools for Corporate Training

eLearning Authoring Tools for Corporate Training

Making training happen can be a challenge. 

From budget issues that can be associated with booking guest speakers (you don’t often find free speakers you’d actually like to hear from) to arranging space and time for employees to participate in training (especially difficult for remote teams or those on a budget), it’s a headache for many learning and development teams in the corporate world. So it only makes sense to move training online, where remote accessibility makes learning easier and can be completed on a consistent basis. 

But how do you make an online training course? And what can you use to make it?

Thanks to the power of eLearning authoring tools, you can create engaging, interactive online courses for your team at the click of a button – but beware, not all tools are created equal!

In this post, we’re going to break down the types of tools used to create eLearning content and how to choose e learning content authoring tools for your business, plus share some of our picks for the best e-learning software and authoring tools out there. 

What is an eLearning Authoring Tool?

eLearning authoring tools support the creation of digital content. It may be as simple as typing a document or as intricate as using sophisticated LMS platforms. Using course authoring software, users can generate and manipulate multimedia for the purpose of education, training, and development.

Authoring tools for eLearning have several functions for online training:

  • Close the gap between the skills of experienced and amateur trainers
  • Accelerate training delivery to learners
  • Create rich and interactive training that your team will enjoy
  • Convert legacy content to online training

Digital learning content, also called eLearning, is created using these authoring tools for institutions, individuals, and businesses. When it comes to businesses and eLearning authoring tools, training materials are usually developed for employees by the human resources department or learning and development team, or in small organizations, by business owners themselves. Training can run the gamut from compliance to onboarding and hard and soft skills training. Authoring software for eLearning ranges from sophisticated and specialized to very basic, and choosing the right tool for your business is key to implementation success. 

eLearning Creation Software vs. eLearning Authoring Tools

With so much technical jargon out there, it’s important to understand the difference between eLearning creation software (like a learning management system) and eLearning authoring tools. These two tools may sound the same but serve two different roles. 

Course authoring tools allow you to create materials for an eLearning course but can’t actually serve that content to anyone from the platform. This is anything from slideshow creation software to a cloud-based solution that allows you to build courses from scratch and export them as SCORM-compliant files or other outputs. 

LMS authoring tools, on the other hand, are tools that allow you to create, host, manage, and edit courses all on one platform. Solutions like Tovuti offer you an all-in-one alternative to creating content in another tool and having to import it into your LMS afterward. It’s a more simple, straightforward, and user-friendly alternative to traditional course authoring tools.

3 Types of Course Authoring Tools

Course Authoring Tools

There are many options on the market today for creating eLearning content, and there are three categories they can be grouped into

  1. Traditional desktop eLearning authoring software
  2. Cloud-based eLearning authoring tools
  3. Built-in LMS authoring tools

These are broad categories, and each software and tool available has its own specifications, so make sure you check on specific features and functionality before you sign up for a new tool.

We’re going to give you a lot of information in the following section, so consult the table below for a summary of the selection criteria for each type of learning authoring tool and how they compare to each other.

 

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eLearning Authoring Tool Selection Criteria

Desktop 

Cloud-Based

All-in-One LMS & Course Authoring

Efficiency and Time

High Time Investment

Moderate Time Investment

Low to Moderate Time Investment

Flexibility

Low Flexibility

Highly Flexible

Highly Flexible

Use-Case

Complex, in-depth courses with few updates 

Quick, high-level courses that require frequent updates

Many types of courses, updates or modifications ongoing

Ease of Use

Complex

Moderate to Complex

Easy to Moderate 

Collaboration 

Not typically possible

Typically possible

Sometimes possible

Desktop eLearning Authoring Software

Functioning as a standalone software tool that allows you to create dynamic, interactive eLearning content, desktop eLearning authoring software is generally the most powerful tool type for making content for online learning.

A desktop authoring tool is useful when you are starting from scratch without any media to use. These tools usually require some training design experience and are hard to learn, but are great at creating captivating content. The biggest drawback with this kind of tool is that it can be slow, clunky, and miss the mark when it comes time to export the content. Mistakes in formatting and how it plays inside your LMS can be difficult to overcome, and not all desktop options offer a WYSIWYG (“what you see is what you get”) editor to see how content will look to learners.

The table below shows some eLearning authoring tool selection criteria and how desktop tools stack up.

eLearning Authoring Tool Selection Criteria

Desktop eLearning Authoring Software Rating & Description 

Efficiency and Time

  • Requires installation of software on computer
  • If users are unfamiliar with the tool, it can take a long time to set up and understand

Flexibility

  • Not all software is universally compatible (elearning authoring software Mac vs PC may not be the same)
  • May not allow for the importation of legacy content

Use-Case

  • Complex, in-depth courses with few updates are best for this kind of tool

Ease of Use

  • Very difficult to understand for first time users and those with no design experience

Collaboration 

  • Can’t collaborate with others, as it is a locally-based program

Cloud Based eLearning Authoring Tools

With the rise of a mobile-centric, online workforce, many course creators have turned to cloud based eLearning authoring tools to get the job done. 

Cloud eLearning authoring tools are often chosen for their ease of deployment and connectivity. Cloud-based authoring tools enable learning teams to work remotely since they do not require downloads, installations, or updates. This saves time over desktop authoring tools and empowers course creators to modify and update their courses over time. Unfortunately, you still need to export content you create inside these tools to play inside your LMS. This is where problems with formatting and functionality can make for some serious headaches.

The table below shows some eLearning creation tools selection criteria and how cloud-based tools to rate in those categories.

eLearning Authoring Tool Selection Criteria

Rating & Description 

Efficiency and Time

  • Easy to set up
  • Doesn’t require any downloads
  • Have to import content into an LMS, adding extra steps

Flexibility

  • Very flexible and adaptable
  • Can typically add legacy content

Use-Case

  • Courses that need to be assembled quickly and require frequent updates work best for these tools

Ease of Use

  • Somewhat challenging to understand for first-time users but can become easier to understand after using
  • Can be complicated to export content and import into LMSs

Collaboration 

  • Typically able to collaborate with other users during the course creation process

Built-In LMS Authoring Tools 

Built-In LMS Authoring Tools

The last type of e learning course authoring tools out there for learning and development professionals 

 Most of today's learning management systems (LMS) include an authoring tool as part of the platform. With this type of software, you can create content that maximizes the features of your platform in terms of content delivery and assessment. Because these tools typically require little learning to use, they are great entry points into authoring tools and get your online learning program off to a speedy start.

Tovuti offers robust, in-depth course authoring tools built-in:

  • Content importing to preserve legacy content (such as PowerPoints)
  • SCORM compliance for importing and exporting
  • Gamification capabilities
  • Mobile learning capabilities
  • Built-in microlearning 
  • Huge library with pre-built courses and modules

The table below shows some e-learning authoring tools selection criteria, and how all-in-one LMS authoring tools like Tovuti rate in those categories.

eLearning Authoring Tool Selection Criteria

Rating & Description 

Efficiency and Time

  • Can get your content created and delivered in the same platform for easier set up
  • Easy to set up
  • Doesn’t require any downloads

Flexibility

  • Very flexible and adaptable
  • Can typically add legacy content, or start from scratch

Use-Case

  • Works for many types of courses and training but is best for those that need updates or modifications ongoing and a quick start-up time

Ease of Use

  • Easy to get started, low learning curve
  • Only one tool to use, and no export or import needed 

Collaboration 

  • Users can collaborate inside lessons with ease (video, messaging, forums)
  • Cloud-based, so multiple people can administer and manage courses

Pros and Cons of e Learning Authoring Software

With the three kinds of e learning course authoring tools in mind, let’s discuss the pros and cons of each, so you can make an informed decision about which type of learning e learning content authoring tools you should select. 

The table below compares the pros and cons of each type of e learning authoring software.

 

Desktop

Cloud-Based

All-in-One LMS & Course Authoring

Pros

  • Can create complex learning programs
  • For experienced designers, this tool may be most comfortable and easy to use
  • Easy to get started
  • No downloads required
  • Can easily collaborate during the creation period
  • Smaller learning curve for non-designers than desktop tools
  • Very easy to get started
  • No downloads required
  • Can easily collaborate with other admins and learners
  • No importing and exporting required
  • You can bring legacy content, create your own, or choose from pre-built modules and lessons
  • Simple interface makes it easy to learn
  • Can easily edit existing content in the platform 

Cons

  • Time consuming and challenging to learn for newbies and non-designers
  • Have to export content and import it into your LMS
  • Not all tools offer WYSIWYG editors, making it hard to see how content will work
  • Can’t edit live content in the LMS
  • Can’t collaborate during the creation process
  • Have to export content and import it into your LMS
  • Not all tools offer WYSIWYG editors
  • Can be challenging to users with slow internet access
  • Not all tools allow for legacy content importing
  • Can’t edit live content in the LMS
  • If you are already using another LMS and course authoring software, will need to switch both over 
  • May not provide enough customization for highly specific trainings and content 


3 Reasons Why Do You Need an eLearning Authoring Tool

Reasons Why Do You Need an eLearning Authoring Tool

Now that we know the pros and cons of each of the types of course authoring software out there, let’s take a look at some reasons why do you need an eLearning authoring tool. 

Businesses and organizations who use eLearning authoring tools typically have three reasons for doing so:

  1. Making a brand new training or development course for their team from scratch
  2. Seeking to update and modernize their current training and development tools
  3. Need to move training and development online for their remote workforce

That’s not by any means a comprehensive list of every reason businesses need a course authoring tool, but most other reasons can be grouped under these categories.

Reason #1: You’re Making a New Online Course

Imagine that your industry’s regulatory body is announcing new rules. You need to get your employees up to speed on the changes and certify their compliance training – but you don’t have any existing training for this topic yet. You need to get training created and available to your team ASAP, thanks to the deadline your regulator has placed on you. Alternatively, imagine that your business is launching a new product, and you need to train your entire sales department and retail team on its features and benefits before the launch date. 

In both these scenarios, you need to create training materials from scratch fast. Enter the help of an all-in-one LMS and elearning authoring tool like Tovuti. With easy-to-use features, an implementation coach, and a large database of help materials, you will be able to get your training creation started right away. 

And with a built-in learning management system alongside the authoring tools, you don’t have to waste time exporting and importing content until you get it right. You can easily see how content will look and function for users and make edits right in the platform as needed without having to re-import files. 

Another benefit of using a tool like Tovuti is that you can make high-quality, interactive content that’s responsive on any device, mobile or desktop, often a problem for older desktop-based tools. That way, your learners can get training and development on the go, and in a way that works for their lifestyle and needs. 

Reason #2: You Need to Upgrade Current Training

Your training for new hires consists of a DVD made 15 years ago and some scattered PDFs and handouts. You can’t seem to track down that one slideshow from a guest speaker last year to share with your new teammate. No one can find that sales demo for the latest product that got sent out a few weeks ago via email. These are all reasons (and signs) it’s time to implement a new, modern training program using eLearning authoring tools.

When you have a few pieces of legacy content you don’t want to lose but need to modernize, you need a tool that can combine new and old to make training and development easier for your team. LMSs with built-in course authoring tools like Tovuti allow you to bring your own content and import PowerPoints right into new courses. You can create personalized learner portals alongside a customized white-label site, so your team only has to log into one central location to get all of the materials they need under your brand. 

Reason #3: You Need Remote Training

Did you know that 77% of employees report that working from home makes them happier? That’s a lot of employees who want to be remote! But the thing is, employees also want training, too. According to 76% of millennials, professional development opportunities are an important component of company culture. 

It’s clear you need to balance the reality and desire for remote work, cementing itself as the new normal for many organizations with the need to complete effective training. You can make this possible using an all-in-one solution like Tovuti

With Tovuti, you can design courses that include interactive features such as

  • Breakout rooms
  • Microlearning capabilities
  • Mobile responsive and custom app development for on-the-go learning
  • Communities and social profiles
  • Forums

These features make online learning more social for your users, and more enjoyable in the end.

3 Things to Consider When Choosing Authoring Tools for eLearning

Things to Consider When Choosing Authoring Tools for eLearning

Each e Learning authoring software has its own perks. Some are basic and work great for small teams on a budget, while others service multinational organizations on huge budgets. That’s why it’s important to consider your needs and criteria before choosing eLearning authoring tools for your team. 

Consideration #1: Implementation Time

The first thing you want to consider is how quickly you need to implement your online learning.

For those who need to get things done quickly, and need to design and implement courses quickly, avoiding clunky, third-party authoring tools is essential. You don’t have time to waste on the learning curve and design challenges that come with these kinds of tools. Plus, you’ll need to get course content exported correctly, and imported into your LMS, which can have its own troubles. 

When you choose an LMS with built-in tools for course authoring like Tovuti, you’ll get an implementation timeline and support from our team. That way, you can get things going faster. Don’t have time to get things set up yourself? Tovuti can offer you professional services to implement instance design and assemble content. 

Consideration #2: Skill Level

Before you decide to choose a tool to author courses, you need to assess your own internal skills. 

Consider whether or not you have a full IT department and a large team to implement your course. If you are on a limited budget and have a small team, you may not be able to go with a complex desktop-based program. If you’ve got a robust team on your side or can add outsourcing to your budget, the complexity of the software, you choose matters less. 

LMSs like Tovuti offer you a solution that will be easier to implement than traditional tools, and your team will be relieved to know they can reach out for help anytime and access a large FAQ database online. 

Consideration #3: Budget

Like any choices you make for your business, budget is critical to consider before making a purchase. 

When it comes to course authoring tools, prices can range vastly. Some programs that are traditional in nature and exist locally on your computer may be a one-time purchase, while cloud-based authoring tools and LMSs will likely be ongoing subscriptions to add to the budget. 

5 Best LMS With e Learning Authoring Tools

It’s time to choose the right e learning software and authoring tools for your business. We’ve gathered up the best LMS with e learning authoring tools so you can skip time researching and get straight to making course content for your employees.

Tovuti

Tovuti

It goes without saying we're going to include our own software on this list! And for a good reason too. 

Tovuti is the #1 ranked LMS on the market, with easy-to-use tools for the modern course author. Your employees won't need to wait months to be introduced to online training, but instead a few weeks, thanks to the easy-to-use course authoring tools built into Tovuti. You can even bring legacy content into the system in SCORM files or in other formats, like slide decks. If you're in a hurry, you can choose from a wide array of pre-built content or utilize our professional services to get the job done for you.

Don’t take it from us though! Find out what our customers have to say about our services by checking our reviews &testimonials.

LearnUpon

Learnupon

Source

Offering you a solution for hosting your learning content and creating it, LearnUpon touts its user-friendliness with a clean and intuitive interface. It features gamification, eCommerce management, media importing, and robust reporting capabilities.

One thing we noticed from reviewers, is that the UI (user interface) is not as customizable as they’d like it to be, so if you need a highly tailored tool, this may not be the one for you.

SAP Litmos

SAP Litmos

Source

With features including course authoring, certification management, gamification, and training administration, SAP Litmos is an exceptionally well-rounded tool. Reviewers of the tool frequently shared how much they enjoyed the easy-to-use interface and the ability to integrate with outside tools. 

One thing to consider is that massive companies like YouTube and IBM use this tool, so it may not be the best fit for a small business or a small budget and may have too many complex features for users like that. 

Trakstar Learn

Mindflash Trak

Source

Trakstar Learn, formerly known as Mindflash, is a tool that users find to be intuitive and easy to use. Commonly cited as being very helpful, their support for customers is one reason to choose the tool. 

One drawback noted by users is that some automation and reporting features don’t work in a very robust capacity, or in ways administrators find helpful.

TalentCards

TalentCards

Source

If you have an on-the-go workforce who needs to take training on the go, then TalentCards is the solution for you. This platform allows you to create bitesize courses known as microlearning, this platform is simple to use and is designed for busy learners who need training on their phones as their primary target users.

Unfortunately, if you need in-depth training courses beyond some occasional microlearning, mobile elearning authoring tools like this one wouldn’t be the best choice for you. These courses are mobile-only, so keep that in mind before buying.

Summary

With the background on eLearning authoring tools out of the way, it’s time to make the call. You need to make the right choice for your partner in corporate training and development. 

Tovuti is the best choice for businesses that need an online learning platform with built-in course authoring tools.Watch a demo to find out how the course-building process and delivery could look for your team.

Author:
Tyson Chaplin

Tyson Chaplin earned his Master of Educational Technology degree from Boise State University in 2014. He also earned a graduate certificate in Technology Integration and holds teaching certificates in online teaching, special education, and history.

Tyson is an Idaho native who is passionate about technology and how it can help all people learn and better themselves. He has worked in both public and private sectors. Tyson enjoys cooking and traveling with his wife, Malia, and restores vintage video game systems in his free time.

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