Which eLearning authoring tool should I choose

The major eLearning authoring tools on the market today have strengths and weaknesses, depending upon your particular need. At the eLearning Network™ we recommend that eLearning developers acquire and develop skill using multiple authoring systems rather than selecting just one. This will help you become a better, more well-rounded professional and help you determine the right tool for the job at hand. The following is a high-level summary and comparison of three major eLearning authoring tools. Most of these tools are available for download as free 30-day trials. Note that this is not an exhaustive list of all features. For more information, we recommend that you visit the online product page for each of these tools.

Item/Feature Adobe Captivate Articulate Storyline Lectora Inspire
Price $899 or subscription $1,398 $2,495
Ease-of-Use Moderate Easy Moderate
Convert PowerPoint Yes Yes Yes
Quiz Tool Yes Yes Yes
Drag/Drop Activities Yes – OK Yes – Excellent Yes
HTML5/Mobile Yes Yes Yes
Character Pack Yes Yes Yes
Custom Interfaces Fully Customizable Fully Customizable Fully Customizable
Master Slide/Theme Yes Yes Yes
Custom Themes Yes Yes Yes
Object Styles Yes Yes Yes
XML for Localization Yes ? Yes
Screen Recording Yes – built in Yes – built in Yes – with CamTasia
Triggers/Variables High Moderate High

So which tool is the best for your project? Here are some of our thoughts, but individual results and opinions may vary.

If you want to…

  • add audio and animations to an existing PowerPoint and put it in my Learning Management System – Articulate Presenter
  • create screen recordings for software demonstrations and simulations – Adobe Captivate
  • create a branching scenario course quickly and easily – Articulate Storyline
  • create your own custom interactivities with triggers, variables, and other programming techniques (advanced eLearning developers) – Captivate or Storyline
  • buy the most features at the lowest price – Captivate
  • acquire a tool that never shuts down unexpectedly and results in lost work – no such product exists!

Not all tools are created equally, and some perform the exact same task better than others. The key is to have a toolbox filled with several options so that you can pick and choose the best software for a given project. In our experience, there is no authoring tool available that is superior to all other tools across all features.

Do you agree with the above or wish to weigh in on the conversation? Log in and comment!


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