7 Ways To Create A Course Using Free Learning Tools

Create Your Course Using Free Learning Tools: 7 Ways To Do It

With so many options available it can be a little bit intimidating selecting a tool to build your course with. In this article, we will keep it simple and focus on free ways you can create your content.

1. Videos

Video content is here to stay. Video represents an easy and effective way to communicate information. Most people have the ability now to shoot HD video on their cell phone. Additionally free screen recording tools like screencast-o-matic make it easy to capture video of your computer screen. This video content, coupled together with a free video editor like Windows Movie Maker or iMovie for Mac, allows you to create dynamic video content at no cost.

  • Pro Tip
    If you will be doing a lot of screen capturing Camtasia Studio is definitely worth checking out. At $299 it offers a lot of bang for your buck. If you want to get into advanced video editing/production Adobe Premier is pretty hard to beat and offers everything you need to produce world class content.


If you have existing HTML content, or know how to use a tool like Dreamweaver, you can easily build out course content in HTML. Using the free LearningCart HTML 2 SCORM tool you can then convert your HTML content into a SCORM 1.2 compatible package which will work in any SCORM compliant LMS.

  • Pro Tip
    HTML is great because it works on any device that has a browser. HTML is amazingly flexible so you can easily add interactivity using JavaScript, CSS, and HTML 5. The options are literally endless.

3. Digital Files

Making digital files directly available for customers to download and view can still work. We have clients that make online courses out of combinations of digital files like PowerPoint, Excel, and Word. For files types like Excel this can actually be a big win for users because you can build interactive forms that they can complete, print out, and/or save locally for reuse.

  • Pro Tip
    One of the biggest downsides of this approach is compatibility. Many users particularly on mobile devices don’t have support for file types like PowerPoint, Excel, and Word. Since digital files have to be downloaded in order for the user to open them, this also opens the door to your content being easily shared without your permission.

4. PDFs

PDFs are still a great way to deliver content. They are easy to create and work on almost every type of device. What’s more, for those concerned about usability, their content can easily be handled by screen reading software. The latest version of Windows and Mac ship with built in PDF converters that let you easily convert any printable content to PDF.

  • Pro Tip
    PDF software like Adobe Acrobat supports JavaScript and also allows you to create interactive forms. This opens up some advanced options to making your content more engaging.

5. Built In LMS Authoring Tools

Most Learning Management Systems (LMSs) offer native ways to build quizzes and create content. Our system LearningCart for example allows customers to build quizzes, feedback forms, and HTML content. In most Learning Management Systems these features are built in so they are quick and easy to use.

  • Pro Tip
    The big downside to this approach is you are locked into a proprietary format. If you ever decide to switch to another Learning Management System or want to share your content directly with another organization, your options are extremely limited.

6. iSpring Free

Know how to create a PowerPoint? iSpring Free makes it easy to convert your PowerPoint presentation into a SCORM compatible package you can load and track in your Learning Management System.

  • Pro Tip
    The free version is great but if you need audio narration you will have to upgrade to the paid version ($297 for a lifetime license).

7. Articulate And Captivate Free Trials

Some of the comprehensive course authoring tools like Captivate and Articulate are incredibly hard to beat when it comes to easily creating interactive and engaging courses. If you are just dipping you toe into the water of selling courses online the initial investment sometimes can be a bit daunting. Luckily, both Captivate and Articulate offer free trials that are long enough to put together a course.

  • Pro Tip
    With a 30 day trial if your plan is to publish your course without buying a license then you will want to make sure you have all your content, audio, video, and other resources ready before you install the trial version. If you chose to go this route, know that making changes in the future to your course (after 30 days) will require purchasing a license. Although both of these software packages aren’t cheap, we believe for the features they make available they represent a great value.
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