Which eLearning Authoring Tool Deployment Type Is Right For Your Organization?

Which eLearning Authoring Tool Deployment Type Is Right For Your Organization?
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Summary: Is cloud-based best, or should you opt for a locally hosted platform to improve your online training ROI? In this article, I’ll help you decide which eLearning authoring tool deployment type is right for your organization, as well as discuss the most popular pricing options.

5 eLearning Authoring Tool Deployment Types To Consider And The Most Popular Pricing Plans

eLearning authoring tools help you develop high-quality content for your online training course and stretch your L&D budget. You can repurpose existing materials, use templates to expedite the eLearning development process, and quickly update vital online training resources. In most cases, the tool even offers a built-in asset library, complete with templates, images, and themes. But how do you know which eLearning authoring tool deployment option is a good fit for your online training program and organizational requirements?

eLearning Authoring Tool Deployment Options To Consider

eLearning authoring tool deployment has a direct impact on accessibility, set-up time, and the overall cost of the tool. All these factors must be taken into consideration before you invest in new software. Here are 5 popular eLearning authoring tool deployment options:

1. SaaS/Cloud-Based

Cloud-based eLearning authoring tools are hosted online. You’re able to log in remotely on any device to access design tools, asset libraries, and other key software features. This option is also known as SaaS (software as a service). Many vendors provide subscription-based services, which makes it the ideal option for organizations looking for rapid deployment, stress-free maintenance, and low or no upfront costs. You simply pay a monthly subscription fee to keep your account active and utilize the eLearning authoring tool. The vendor also provides updates, upgrades, and tech support so that you don’t have to hire an in-house IT team.

2. Self-Hosted

Self-hosted eLearning authoring tools are locally installed. You must download the software and set it up according to your specifications. The benefit is that this usually allows for greater customization and your data is securely stored on your own computer/device. This option usually involves a one-time fee for licensing, and you are typically responsible for updates and maintenance.

3. Self-Hosted Cloud-Based

A hybrid eLearning authoring tool approach wherein you host the software on your own servers. It’s still accessible to every member of your team, regardless of their geographical location. You also have the added benefit of safeguarding sensitive data with your own security protocols instead of relying on the vendor’s encryption and authentication features. Pricing plans vary depending on the vendor. While some charge a one-time fee, others opt for monthly subscription-based service.

4. Mobile App

An eLearning authoring tool that’s accessible on any mobile device via a native app. Some eLearning authoring tool vendors also provide this as an add-on deployment option to their cloud-based software. Mobile apps give your collaborators the ability to collaborate from anywhere in the world to create more effective online training content. Just make certain that the app is compatible with all devices and that it’s user-friendly.

5. Desktop App

Users are able to install the desktop app on their devices. They can access the online training content even without an internet connection, then resync to the system to update their progress. In some cases, this equates to better customization options and data security features.

Popular eLearning Authoring Tool Pricing Models

Pricing and deployment go hand in hand. There are a variety of factors involved in regard to the payment structure, such as payment frequency and ongoing maintenance costs. These are the most common pricing models you’ll encounter when choosing a new eLearning authoring tool:

1. One-Time Purchased License

Instead of having to pay a monthly fee, some eLearning authoring tool vendors sell their software outright. You purchase the tool upfront for a one-time licensing fee. The drawback is that you typically have to take care of upgrades yourself and that the tool may not be able to scale to meet your needs. The plus is that you don’t have to worry about ongoing subscription costs, which makes it easier to budget.

2. Subscription

eLearning authoring tool vendors charge a monthly or quarterly subscription fee that grants you access to the eLearning authoring tool. This is generally reserved for cloud-based options. As long as your account is in good standing, you can log into the platform and develop top-notch content. The downside is that the prices can fluctuate over time. For example, if the vendor decides to raise the monthly fee after the first year. However, they generally take care of the updates and upgrades so that the tool stays on the cutting edge.

3. Free

For organizations on a tight budget, free eLearning authoring tools may be the ideal solution to get you started. However, bear in mind that free isn’t always best. These tools often have limited features and functionalities. For example, it may not have a built-in asset library or the User Interface is difficult to master.

4. Freemium

These eLearning authoring tools are free to download or access on the cloud. But there is a catch. The vendor provides the most basic version of the tool and charges extra for upgrades and add-ons. For instance, you can only access the asset repository if you pay a monthly subscription fee or download the package for a one-time fee. As such, it may end up costing you more than a self-hosted or cloud-based tool at the end of the day.

The first step in determining which eLearning authoring tool deployment type and pricing plan are best for you is to create a budget and identify your online training objectives. This allows you to set your sights on eLearning authoring tools that cater to learner preferences, support desired outcomes, and fall into your price range. Thereby, helping you save time during the decision-making process and avoid expensive trial-and-error. One last tip I’d like to leave you with is to check for compatibility. If you already have an LMS, you must ensure that the new eLearning authoring tool will mesh with your existing software, rather than having to deal with data integration and incompatible formats after making your purchase.

How can you choose an eLearning authoring tool that will stand the test of time? Read the article Choosing The Best eLearning Authoring Tool: The eLearning Freelancer’s Guide and explore what eLearning freelancers need to know before choosing an eLearning authoring software.