Test Driving An eLearning Authoring Tool: 8 Elements To Look For
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8 Elements To Look For When Test Driving An eLearning Authoring Tool

One of the perks of living in the digital age is that there’s always plenty of tech tools to choose from. But that’s also one of the downsides, especially when you don’t have the time to sign up for dozens of free trials and demos. Fortunately, there are some crucial components that can help you identify the top contenders. Here are 8 eLearning authoring tool features to consider when test driving your eLearning authoring tool.

1. Functionality/User-Friendliness

Many people skip right to the eLearning authoring tool features list during the free trial or demo. But the top priority should be testing out the functionality of the user interface. Is it user-friendly for your L&D team? Are the design elements or interactions easy to locate on the user dashboard? Does the eLearning authoring tool make it easy to navigate through each phase of the eLearning course development process? Invite your entire eLearning team to try the tool so that they can offer input. Especially everyone who is going to use the tool to create eLearning content should be part of the selection process.

2. Integrated Themes And Templates

One of the most important eLearning authoring tool features and advantages is that they have built-in assets. This saves you the time and expense of curating online training resources. Evaluate the tool's online asset library, focusing on the diversity of themes and templates. Does it have layouts and graphics that you can use for future eLearning courses? Are all the elements related to a certain niche, or is there a good mix of thematic components? Some eLearning authoring tools also offer add-on online asset libraries. For example, you can download an entire cast of cut-out characters for an added fee.

3. Responsiveness

A responsive design eLearning authoring tool lets you develop multiplatform-friendly eLearning content for your modern learners. Ensure that the software features a built-in previewer so that you can analyze different versions of your eLearning course for different devices. Ideally, the tool should also allow you make minor adjustments to improve accessibility. For example, resize an image for tablet-friendly eLearning content so that online learners see the complete picture instead of having to scroll. In addition, access your online test content on various devices and browsers to verify that everything is up to par.

4. Delivery Format

All your hard work will be for naught if your eLearning content is incompatible with your Learning Management System. Most eLearning authoring tools specify the delivery formats they support. For example, the deliverables are SCORM or Tin Can compliant. Just to be sure, create a test project, package it, and then upload it to your existing LMS. Are you able to view the eLearning content in your LMS? And does it still have the intended layout, or are the elements displaced? When in doubt, ask the eLearning authoring tool vendor to provide a list of the delivery formats available for the product.

5. Multimedia Integration

Modern learners expect interactive, media-rich online training content when they log in to any eLearning course. Multimedia grabs their attention and keeps them focused so that they assimilate the information. As such, among the eLearning authoring tool features you should look for is the ability to upload your media and create fresh, dynamic eLearning content that supports the subject matter. For example, sound effects, video clips, and characters that you can use to enrich your online presentation. Or branching scenario templates that feature decision-making paths so that you don’t have to start from scratch.

6. Languages

The beauty of eLearning is that it removes borders and makes eLearning content easily accessible. But only if you deliver online resources that are custom-tailored to your diverse audience. For this reason, your new eLearning authoring tool should support multiple languages. Some even provide geolocation features that automatically detect online learners' physical location and adjust the eLearning content accordingly. For example, users in China receive online resources in Chinese, without even having to manually switch the language. That said, eLearning authoring tools should still give online learners the opportunity to change their preferred language.

7. Support Services

Submit a troubleshooting ticket to the eLearning authoring tool vendor to see how quickly they resolve the issue and if they have the necessary expertise. Gauge their response times and communication skills. For instance, do they reply to your email within a matter of minutes and work with you to solve the problem? Or do they take days to respond and provide poor service, despite the long wait? Short of that, you can simply verify that they have an active online presence, such as social media pages and online discussions that allow you to address your concerns. Lastly, check out their online community. Many eLearning authoring tool vendors host user-driven message boards that feature tips and firsthand experiences.

8. Pricing

Of course, it all comes down to price versus real value. Many eLearning authoring tools have a one-time fee, monthly subscription, or package pricing. First, you must determine which fee structure is right for you. Then you have to decide whether the tool is truly worth the investment. After completing the test drive, you should have a better idea of the software’s features and functions. Does the price tag reflect the total package? Or would another eLearning authoring tool be a better fit for your eLearning budget and training needs?

Your organization should also add personal items to this list, such as eLearning authoring tool features that you need to warrant the investment. However, this article can help you get the most from your free trial or demo by focusing on the key criteria. You should also consider scheduling a meeting with the eLearning authoring tool vendor if there are still questions or concerns after the fact, or check out their online community to see what others are saying about the product.

Are you looking for ways to create eLearning content quickly without spending a fortune? Rapid eLearning authoring tools are the solution. Read the article 10 Criteria For Choosing The Best Rapid eLearning Authoring Tools to discover 10 criteria for selecting the ideal rapid eLearning authoring tool for your organization.

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