In this article I'll share some helpful and time saving tips that will allow you to choose the best eLearning authoring tool for your audience. Here are 11 things to consider before you select your next eLearning authoring tool.

How to Choose The Best eLearning Authoring Tool

If you are in the process to select an eLearning authoring tool, then you've undoubtedly noticed that there is a wide range of eLearning software to choose from. In fact, the sheer abundance often makes it increasingly challenging to find the best eLearning authoring tool that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations, without going over your budget.

  1. Ease of Use versus Creative Control
    One of the most important aspects of choosing an eLearning authoring tool is convenience versus creative freedom. Many of the more complicated eLearning software offerings allow you to control every element of your eLearning design, from the layout to the visual components. On the other hand, those that may be easier to use, such as pre-made templates, don't enable you to have as much freedom in terms of what you include in your overall eLearning design. So, while choosing the ideal eLearning authoring tools, you'll have to consider whether you want flexibility or convenience.
  2. Consider the skills of the eLearning design and development team
    Does your eLearning team have the necessary skill sets and knowledge base to work with a more complex eLearning authoring tool, or are you better off going with simple and straightforward eLearning design software? It's important to assess the skills of your eLearning design and development team beforehand so that you can choose the eLearning tools that are ideally suited for their talents. If a particular offering eLearning authoring tool may be too simplistic, this won't give your eLearning team the opportunity to really push the boundaries and create the eLearning course that you've had in mind.
  3. Determine your objective
    When searching for the right eLearning authoring tool, it's essential to think about the desired outcome. For example, do you want to include a variety of reality based scenarios that will provide the learner with practical knowledge? Are you planning on integrating a number of video presentations to create an eLearning course that appeals to visual learners? Knowing what elements you are going to include and what result you hope to achieve with those elements are the keys in finding the ideal eLearning authoring tool.
  4. Keep the learners’ needs in mind
    Thinking about the needs and wants of your audience when choosing an eLearning authoring tool will give you the opportunity to create deliverables that are going to provide optimal results. For example, if you opt for a more costly tool that allows for full customization, you will have to consider whether your audience really needs all of those proverbial “bells and whistles” that you can now create. Are they going to get the most out of the module if you include highly interactive video scenarios, or will your eLearning course be more effective if you go with a more simplistic slide show approach? It is therefore of great importance to have a keen awareness of your audience's skills, tech limitations, and preferred learning needs in order to find the perfect eLearning authoring tool for your needs.
  5. Will the eLearning authoring tool support your preferred delivery methods?
    How are you going to be delivering your eLearning course to the learner? The answer to this question will give you more insight into what eLearning software should be included on your short list of possibilities. Will learners be able to view the eLearning course offline? Will learners have the opportunity to access your eLearning course via a mobile device?
  6. Determine your eLearning course's level of interactivity beforehand
    Are you planning on including a plethora of interactive elements, such as videos, clickable images, and real life scenarios? How interactive and immersive do you really want the eLearning experience to be for your learners? A number of eLearning authoring tools have template libraries that will enable you to create highly interactive elements, while others may be more basic and limited. As such, it's a good idea to determine exactly how interactive you'd like your eLearning course to be in advance.
  7. Are you need to track learners’ data and performance?
    Some eLearning authoring tools have detailed tracking capabilities. They can assess the progress of a learner, determine key areas of the module that may need to be improved, and provide you with a wealth of performance data. Then, there are eLearning authoring tools that only provide basic user data. Though they may often come with a higher price tag, the eLearning authoring tools that feature in depth data tracking offer a number of benefits that may well be worth the investment.
  8. Select an eLearning authoring tool that is compatible with the eLearning software that you use
    Make sure that the eLearning authoring tool you ultimately choose is going to be compatible with other eLearning software that you use on a regular basis. Also, you can always opt for different eLearning authoring tools that give you the ability to develop and design the deliverable just the way you want it, as long as they are complementary to one another.
  9. Is your deliverable going to be supported on all platforms?
    Not all eLearning authoring tools create deliverables that can be accessed on all platforms, at least not with all of the eLearning features and design elements that you've chosen to include. Therefore, you may want to consider whether the eLearning authoring tool you have your eye on is going to actually be supported by the devices and browsers your audience will be using.
  10. Choose an eLearning authoring tool that allows easy quiz/assessment creation
    Periodic assessment is crucial for any eLearning course, regardless of the subject material. As such, you may want to add “easy quiz creation” onto your list of must-haves for your new eLearning authoring tool. If you plan on creating more detailed and comprehensive assessments, then be on the lookout for an eLearning authoring tool that allows you to conveniently custom tailor quizzes and exams.
  11. Take the time to research all of the options that are available
    Above all else, the most invaluable eLearning authoring tool tip that I can give you is to do your own research. Look into every option that is available to you, every eLearning software product that fits into your budget, and assess all of their features and drawbacks before you make your final decision.

Following these eLearning authoring tool tips can allow you to choose the ideal eLearning software, minus the trial and error that's usually associated with the selection process. Also, when in doubt, ask to view a demo of the eLearning authoring tool, an already developed eLearning course, and look up ratings that other eLearning professionals have posted online. This will give you a better idea of whether or not the eLearning authoring tool is the best option for your eLearning design needs.

Last but not least, I highly encourage you to read the following eLearning authoring tools articles.

  • eLearning Authoring Tools Checklist of Features
    Are you looking for a new tool for authoring eLearning? Content authoring tools vary widely in their capabilities. Many are specialists – converting PowerPoint presentations, capturing screens, preparing quizzes and assessments, developing mobile modules, etc. Some are desktop programs for individual use and others are web-based for collaborative authoring. A few are fairly comprehensive.
  • Free Authoring Tools for eLearning
    In this post I will present you a list of 15 Free Authoring Tools that you can use in your eLearning design and development process.
  • The Ultimate List of HTML5 eLearning Authoring Tools
    In this article, you will take a look at how HTML5 may play a major role in the future of the eLearning industry, and delve into the ultimate list of HTML5 eLearning authoring tools available today. So, if you've been looking to make the transition to an HTML5 eLearning Authoring tool, you are in the right place!
  • The Ultimate List of Cloud-Based Authoring Tools
    I have received several requests from fellow eLearning developers that are looking for a list of Cloud-Based content authoring tools. This is why I listed 54 Cloud-Based Authoring Tools.