How To Evaluate Your eLearning Authoring Tool
There are a variety of things to bear in mind when choosing an eLearning authoring tool. In fact, the sheer abundance of products and features available today, can make the process daunting for even the most experienced eLearning professionals. However, there are a few considerations that can help you determine whether your eLearning authoring tool is living up to its end of the bargain and giving you the functionality you really need when designing and developing your eLearning deliverables.
- User-Friendly or Flexible?
There are flexible eLearning authoring tools that offer a wide range of advanced features that only those with programming and/or design experience can utilize. Then, there are those that may come equipped with only basic functions, but can be used by virtually anyone. It's important to analyze your current eLearning authoring tool to determine which category it falls into so that you can put the talents and skills of your team to good use. For example, if you are utilizing an eLearning authoring tool that may be user-friendly and basic, is it really allowing you develop the multimedia elements that your team members are capable of producing? Likewise, are you using an eLearning authoring tool that may be too advanced for the skill sets of your team, thereby reducing its ROI?
- Installed or Cloud-based?
There are pros and cons for both installed and cloud-based eLearning authoring tools. The key is determining which option offers you the specific benefits you need. While installed eLearning authoring tools require a more significant upfront investment, you usually won't have to worry about gaining access to the program as it will be installed locally. So, if the server is down, you can still design and develop your eLearning course materials since the eLearning authoring tool does not dependent upon the vendor at this point. Cloud-based eLearning authoring tools allow easy collaboration and offer support services after you've signed up. As such, if you think that your current installed eLearning authoring tool may not be giving you the flexibility and support you need, then it may be worthwhile to switch to a cloud-based eLearning authoring tool.
- Will it allow you to go mobile?
Thanks to the rise in popularity of mobile learning, it's essential to choose an eLearning authoring tool that will allow you to deliver your content in mobile devices. Also, you will need to verify which platforms are supported and how easy or challenging is it to create responsive eLearning content for your audience. Ultimately, you will want to choose an eLearning authoring tool that gives you the ability to publish on a wide range of devices, such as those that may have different screen sizes and resolutions. So, if you are planning on making mobile courses, then you'll need to opt for an HTML5 eLearning authoring tool.
- Is it working with other eLearning tools and software?
Chances are that you already have at least one or two other eLearning tools that you are using alongside the eLearning authoring tool in question. Is it truly compatible with your current infrastructure, or have you come across issues that have forced you to choose one or the other when developing your eLearning deliverables? Ideally, you'll want your eLearning authoring tool to fit seamlessly into your overall eLearning design and development strategy, so that you can take full advantage of all the features every piece of eLearning software has to offer.
- How does it stack up in the quiz creation department?
Creating assessments for your eLearning course is all-important, as it not only allows you to analyze the effectiveness of your eLearning strategy, but it also allows you to gain insight into learners’ knowledge. So, the question is: does your current eLearning authoring tool give you the ability to create quizzes, tests, or exams that give you the information you need? For example, is there a question database you can draw from? Does it allow you to create interactive quizzes that feature a variety of question types, like multiple choice and essay? Also, how does the eLearning authoring tool score these tests and how is the information reported?
- Can you create the graphics and multimedia your eLearning course needs?
This particular eLearning authoring tool assessment category is all a matter of personal choice and professional goals. For instance, if your current eLearning authoring tool isn't living up to expectations in regards to graphic design, then you may want to consider a change. However, if you are currently using a basic eLearning authoring tool that has limited graphic design features, but you are happy with the simplicity and don't necessarily need software that can create drop-shadows, then you may want to stick with your current solution. When analyzing this aspect of your eLearning authoring tool, you will want to ask yourself whether it gives you the power to create eLearning deliverables that meet the needs of your audience. It's not just about the aesthetic appeal, though this should be one of your priorities. The eLearning authoring tool you will choose should give you the ability to create the multimedia and graphic design elements that will help your learners to get the most out of the eLearning course through engagement and immersion within the subject matter.
By keeping all of these tips in mind when you need to evaluate your eLearning authoring tool, as well as when searching for new ones, you can ensure that every eLearning authoring tool on-hand is going to bring something to the table when it's time to create powerful and effective eLearning courses.
Last but not least, are you in the process of selecting an eLearning authoring tool that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations, without going over your budget? If your answer is YES, I highly encourage you to read the article, How to Choose The Best eLearning Authoring Tool, which features 11 helpful and time saving tips that will allow you to choose the best eLearning authoring tool.