It is no secret that the choosing the right e-Learning authoring tool is essential for creating the best possible courses for your learners, whether for professional continuing education, skills development, or high school students. Knowing the key categories for comparing one e-Learning authoring tool to another will help ensure a more accurate decision in the end. Following are 9 considerations to keep in mind as you make your decision.
Note – Special thanks to Chelsea Layne, eLearning designer extrodinaire, who created the fun graphic that accompanies this article.
Although price is one of the most significant factors, it should not be the prime motivator. Be sure to research and compare products while watching for hidden fees associated with upgrades, licensing, software maintenance, and training.
Options are available for a wide range of budgets, so plan ahead to decide the must-have features in order to find the best match.
Price Ranges: Captivate is one of the most affordable on the market. Lectora is one of the most expensive, with Studio and Storyline in the mid-price category.
2. Ease of Use
Just as important as price is ease of use. Select a software that will make learners feel confident and comfortable while also limiting the learning curve for developers.
Easy to use options: Studio, Storyline, or Lectora
Text-only eLearning is a thing of the past. Good graphic capabilities are a required feature for a top-notch authoring tool. Whether photographs, animations, videos, or cartoons, it is vital that eLearners be provided with a positive learning environment supported by quality graphics.
Top choices for graphics: Studio once again comes in as a top choice, followed by Storyline, Lectora, and Captivate.
4. Interactive Learning Capabilities
Studies show that interactive eLearning courses are far more beneficial for students across the learning spectrum. Investing in a program that offers high quality learning engagement will pay off in the form of satisfied users.
Interactive capabilities: Storyline is the clear winner, while Lectora comes in second. Captivate earns third place, while Studio comes in last.
5. Assessment Options
The level of assessments needed will vary depending on specific course content and goals. For those looking to assess learners regularly, be sure to select an authoring tool that offers quality quiz and testing options.
Top options: Lectora is one of the better choices, although Storyline also does a good job. Captivate takes third place, and Studio falls behind with fourth place in terms of quizzing capabilities.
Designers need as much flexibility as possible when developing eLearning courses. This affects everything from the level of customization to multimedia inclusion and a great deal more.
Top choices for flexibility: Lectora is one of the most powerful and flexible eLearning authoring tools available, but Captivate comes in a close second. Storyline and Studio bring up the rear in this category.
How easily accessible is the system? in order to comply with ADA requirements, designers need an authoring tool that offers course accessibility for users with special needs or the use of assistive technology.
Most accessible: Lectora is the leader in this area, but Captivate doesn’t lag too far behind. Storyline ties with Captivate, and Studio comes in last for accessibility.
8. Mobile Capabilities
The need for mobile compatibility with eLearning has become a required feature. Today’s learners expect to be able to access the same content on their smartphone as on a PC. They also expect this transition to be seamless and uniform.
Mobile capabilities: Captivate is the best option in terms of mobile design capabilities, with Lectora coming in second, and Studio and Storyline tying for third place with pretty much the same abilities.
Simulations allow users to interact with abstract processes or physical models. The use of simulations ensures that learners are not only engaged, but are also able to apply knowledge to real-life scenarios.
Top simulation tools: Captivate and Storyline both do a very good job here, with Lectora taking third place and Studio coming in last.
Analyzing the options available in each of these categories and determining the importance of each will assist course developers in selecting the right e-Learning authoring tool for their needs.