Pros And Cons Of 5 eLearning Authoring Tools Types
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5 eLearning Authoring Tool Types eLearning Professionals Should Know

eLearning authoring tools offer you the ability to create, edit, and transform your online materials. You can repurpose outdated presentations and PDFs to appeal to modern learners, or produce mobile-friendly eLearning content in a matter of minutes. The possibilities are endless…if you find the right eLearning authoring tool for your needs, that is. In this article, I’ll highlight 5 eLearning authoring tool types and explore the pros and cons of each.

1. Cloud-Based eLearning Authoring Tools

Also known as SaaS tools, these authoring platforms are hosted on the Cloud. Thus, you don't have to install any software on your local hard drive. To access the cloud based eLearning authoring tool, you simply login to the system, where you'll find a user dashboard or interface. As such, you can access the platform via your mobile device and work remotely.

Pros: Many service providers also provide free updates and maintenance. You simply have to pay the monthly or yearly subscription fee. eLearning vendors typically add eLearning templates, themes and other assets on a regular basis. As a result, you can keep your eLearning content fresh without having to worry about additional costs.

Cons: Cloud-based eLearning authoring tools are online, which makes them more vulnerable. For example, data theft may be a concern for organizations who store sensitive information. However, most service providers offer advanced encryption features and security protocols to ensure data safety.

2. Locally Hosted eLearning Authoring Tools

This type of eLearning authoring tool is installed on the local hard drive. In years past, this was the ONLY option, as you had to purchase a disc that contained the software. Today, most locally hosted eLearning authoring tools are downloaded directly from the vendor's site.

Pros: Locally hosted eLearning authoring tools typically include advanced features and greater flexibility. In many cases, they are "all-in-one" platforms, meaning that they can handle a variety of different tasks. Thus, eLearning professionals have the power to create a broad range of eLearning content, from immersive eLearning course layouts to interactive online presentations. Locally hosted eLearning authoring tools also typically have asset libraries that are ideal for rapid eLearning development. For example, certain platforms include eLearning templates, cutout eLearning characters, and themes that you can use in your eLearning course design.

Cons: Some locally hosted eLearning authoring tools are more difficult to master. Greater flexibility may lead to a greater learning curve. Also, the package may not include updates, which means that you'll have to foot the bill for extras, such as upgraded support or additional online assets. Another downside is the cost, as many installed options are more expensive than cloud-based solutions. This is primarily due to the fact that you have to pay for product licensing up front, rather than a monthly subscription fee.

3. Multimedia eLearning Authoring Tools

These eLearning authoring tools can be cloud-based or locally hosted, but they tend to focus on one key aspect of eLearning course design. For example, creating interactive slideshows or animated eLearning videos. Most platforms allows you to import media from other sources and then export the finished product to third-party eLearning tools.

Pros: Since these platforms specialize in one specific area of eLearning content creation, you usually have a great deal of creative freedom and design options. For example, a video editing tool may include a wide range of filters and effects. As such, the sky is the limit when it comes to interactivity. Most eLearning authoring tools also feature impressive asset libraries and templates that reduce development time.

Cons: Exporting the eLearning content to your Learning Management System or website can be challenging, in some respects. You typically have to package the multimedia in the desired format, such as SCORM, and then upload it to the system. However, you must ensure that both platforms are compatible with one another.

4. PowerPoint Ribbon eLearning Authoring Tools

These are add-in eLearning authoring tools that are accessible via PowerPoint. Users can create eLearning content by using the ribbon interface in the application. They are a natural choice for eLearning professionals who are already using PowerPoint on a regular basis.

Pros: PowerPoint ribbons are easy to use, as you are already familiar with the application. You simply download the add-in of your choice and start working with Power Point. If you know how to use PowerPoint, you won't have to worry about mastering a brand new tool.

Cons: While many service providers offer PowerPoint ribbons, their full versions are typically more robust and versatile. Therefore, you may find that the add-in lacks certain features and functions that you're looking for.

5. Screen Capturing And Recording eLearning Authoring Tools

These eLearning authoring tools are custom tailored for screen recording. They are ideal for developing software simulations and tech tutorials, as you can capture everything that appears on your screen. Most of these products also feature editing and annotation tools.

Pros: Screen capturing and recording eLearning authoring tools give you the ability to transform simple screenshots into comprehensive walkthroughs. Many even allow you to add special effects, such as filters and transitions, to create a more polished finished eLearning deliverable.

Cons: These tools are limited and, in some cases, the controls may be difficult to learn. This is particularly true for eLearning professionals who aren't familiar with video editors. Also, you still need to package the eLearning content and upload it to your LMS or website. However, there are a variety of tutorials and online demos that can help you through the process.

From locally hosted to cloud-based, there is a plethora of eLearning authoring tool types to choose from. If you are still unsure about which is best for your next eLearning project, why not take advantage of free trials? You can also look online for user reviews and product ratings to see if the platform is worth the investment.

Are you working with a tight eLearning budget? Read the article eLearning Authoring Tool Costs: 7 Factors To Consider and discover cost factors you should consider when choosing an eLearning authoring tool.

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