Top eLearning Authoring Tool Companies: 5 Differences To Detect
Purchasing a new eLearning authoring tool requires a significant investment of both time and money. You must select software that meets the needs both of your L&D team and your audience. In this article, I'll take a closer look at what sets the top eLearning authoring tool companies apart from the rest and each other, with a primary focus on TechSmith, Lectora, Articulate, and Adobe.
1. User Interface
Feature-rich platforms aren't worth the investment if your eLearning team is unable to use those features. For this reason, you need a user-friendly interface that offers the perfect blend of functionality and creative control. Every eLearning authoring tool company provides a different UI for different experience levels and eLearning course design requirements. Lectora features a ribbon-style interface that allows you to customize virtually every aspect of your layout. For example, adjust the fill colors and image gradients. On the other hand, TechSmith utilizes a drag-and-drop User Interface. Simply select the object and then drag it into the preview window. Articulate Storyline offers both Story View and Slide View interface options, while Adobe has an intuitive UI with master slides and multistate objects.
2. Cloud Vs. Installed
Accessibility is one of the most important considerations when choosing a new eLearning authoring tool vendor. For example, Trivantis’ Lectora is cloud-based. As such, you have the ability to access your online training materials from anywhere in the world. The system also automatically saves your eLearning content on their secure servers. Plus, they provide a "disaster recovery plan" for eLearning emergencies. In the case of Adobe Captivate (2017 Release), users must pay a monthly subscription or up-front licensing fee before downloading the software. Cloud-based options are ideal for on-the-go eLearning pros and team online collaboration, while installed solutions usually allow for more customization. Lastly, bear in mind that eLearning authoring tool companies typically offer an entire suite of products. Different eLearning authoring tools may have different accessibility and pricing options.
Interactive online content helps to create a sense of immersion for your online learners. It also emphasizes the real world benefits and applications, which improves knowledge retention. eLearning authoring tool companies offer different levels of interactive support and multimedia integration. For example, Articulate features built-in eLearning templates and creation software. You have the opportunity to develop software online simulations, demos, and assessments. They even have view, try, and test tutorial modes to simplify complex tasks. At the other end of the spectrum there is Adobe. Their Captivate (2017 Release) eLearning authoring tool allows you to write scripts and incorporate several actions into a single interaction. You can also use the interactions in other modules or opt for conditional interactions based on your eLearning outcomes.
4. Functionality And Versatility
Every eLearning tool company prides itself on a specialty. For some, it's an asset online library for rapid eLearning, while others offer complete social media integration and group collaboration support. Adobe features a blend of eLearning authoring tools in-one. For instance, you can develop product demos, interactive online simulations and videos, and self-paced eLearning courses. There are even functions that allow you to focus on soft-skill and compliance eLearning initiatives. Then, you have TechSmith, which is known for its screen recording and capturing tools. As an example, their Camtasia software gives you the power to record and edit online video tutorials with ease. Ultimately, the right eLearning authoring tool is the one that meets your needs and your eLearning budget. Are you looking for an all-in-one platform that has all the online resources you require? Or a specialty tool that offers greater customization and creative freedom?
5. Asset Library
No two asset libraries are alike. Every eLearning authoring tool company features unique multimedia, eLearning templates, and online resources, which is why it's essential to try before you buy so that you can explore their online repository. TechSmith's Camtasia features animated backgrounds, audio tracks, and other royalty free media for your eLearning videos. Articulate Storyline offers an impressive online content library that features eLearning characters, templates, and illustrations. Adobe Captivate's online asset repository has over 50,000 free resources that are ideally suited for online scenarios and eLearning games. For example, cutout characters and interactions. Their tool even allows you to create multistate objectives and motion effects. Lastly, Trivantis' Lectora Inspire software features template, cutout people, and interaction builder add-ons that make the tool even more versatile.
The Common eLearning Thread
Though eLearning authoring tool companies have distinct features, User Interfaces, and asset libraries, there's one thing that most have in common. That is the ability to provide multiplatform-friendly eLearning content through responsive design. Many eLearning authoring tools are now making the switch to HTML5, which allows you to create downloadable and mobile learning content for your online learners. Ideally, your eLearning authoring tool-of-choice should help you develop easily accessible eLearning materials for your on-the-go audience. A built-in previewer is another must-have feature. This gives you the ability to test your eLearning course layout on multiple devices so that you can make necessary adjustments.
There are a lot of eLearning authoring tool options to choose from. But you can avoid costly trial-and-error by reading reviews and asking for recommendations. Other eLearning professionals may already have experience with the company. As such, they can provide you with unique insight and advice. You can also ask for a free demo or trial of the company's software to test out the features. Don't hesitate to request more information after the fact, especially in regard to the pricing. It's crucial to verify what's included in the package to avoid hidden expenses.
Leverage in-product access to a vast collection of assets to provide the most compelling learning experiences ever. With new Adobe Stock integration, find exactly the image or graphic you need from over a million choices, or dip into the exclusive library of 50,000+ free eLearning assets for interactions, themes, games, scenarios, people cutouts, and more, and engage learners like never before. Enable lifelike animations and realistic interactions with multistate objects and responsive motion effects. Click here to learn more about Adobe Captivate (2017 Release) key features.