Choosing the right software can take a lot of time. In this article, we’ll take a look at the five best authoring tools to help you create your eLearning course.
What Are Authoring Tools?
But first, let’s start with the basics. An authoring tool is a software that allows you to create, modify and manage a variety of digital content that can range from simple text documents to complex graphic design elements. Such software is often used in various companies to create adaptation courses for new employees. However, the matter is not limited to this, and eLearning development software is actively used to create online training courses for various audiences that want to expand their knowledge.
There are several types of authoring tools, and each type has its strengths and weaknesses.
Types of eLearning authoring tools
This fairly common type is also called SaaS. The main distinguishing feature is that the entire platform is in the cloud and does not require installation on a device, making such platforms very affordable
Mainly free support and updates
Regular adding of various templates and themes and other resources
Ease of access
This e-learning development software is installed on a local machine, and all operations with it are carried out only on this device. Now many vendors offer to download distributions directly from the official websites.
This software often offers more options, additional features, and better flexibility
Large resource libraries
The onboarding process to some software can be complex
The software may not include updates, which requires additional costs to keep the tool up to date
The high price due to the need for software licensing
|Multimedia tools||This eLearning development software type can be both cloud-based or locally hosted. Simultaneously, the main goal of such software is to simplify one single task in multi-stage course creation – the development of multimedia content||
Wide range of tools made specifically for content creation
Unlimited resource libraries
The flexibility of the content creation process
|Content export into LMS can be a complex task|
|PowerPoint Ribbon||This software is one of the most accessible types to learn, as it uses PowerPoint-like technology for adding content to the ribbon||
Ease of use, since if you know how to work with PowerPoint, you’ll easily onboard new software of this type
|Simplicity leads to a minimal range of features and possibilities|
|Screen capturing and recording software
This eLearning development software is aimed exclusively at screen recording. The educator can record everything that happens on the device screen, leaving various annotations and pointers on spots that require special attention
Ideal for creating step-by-step instructions and guides with different transitions and annotations to explain various points
Rather challenging onboarding if you are not familiar with video editing software
The content still needs to be packed and imported into your LMS
Since we’ve dealt with the theory part, it’s high time to proceed to our main topic.
Top 6 Best eLearning Development Software
We’ve done our market analysis and reviewed many popular course creation solutions. And from all this variety, we’ve selected five the best. We’ll consider each eLearning development software separately, discuss strengths and weaknesses, thereby making it easier for you to choose an eLearning development tool for your needs.
Elucidat is a cloud-based online course creation software that simplifies and speeds up eLearning creation. However, don’t assume that if the main goal is simplicity, then the functions are limited. This eLearning development software is ideal for any need since you can create your course by choosing ready-made templates from a vast library or develop an online course entirely from scratch based on your needs and vision.
Elucidat allows multiple authors to simultaneously work on course creation through a user-friendly role system with its cloud-based structure. These advantages are framed in an eye-appealing interface made according to the “what you see is what you get” ideology.
Massive library of pre-made templates which speeds up course creation
User roles system for simultaneous work
Mobile-friendly responsive content
Ease of course translation
Steep learning curve
Rather expensive if you are not creating eLearning content regularly
Pricing for Elucidat
2 users and 2,000 learners
20 users and 9,000 learners
60 users and 30,000 learners
|Scale||Unlimited users and 100,000+ learners|
Note: Elucidat doesn’t disclose its pricing policy, and the cost of the plan is calculated after negotiations with the client, depending on the specific case. However, Elucidat has four plans with some differences.
Gomo is an eLearning development software aimed primarily at mobile devices and novice users. Users can create various courses with an easy-to-use drag and drop tool and a variety of templates. The designed courses can be hosted online or offline using the official application.
Gomo is a cloud-based eLearning development software,as a result, it fully supports multi-author collaboration on a course. And these authors can be located in any country, and there will be no problems with creating a multilingual course. Thanks to the multi-store feature that allows creators to store different language versions of the course in one package.
Responsive content made for mobile devices
Separate mobile app for offline course access
Ease of multi-language course creation
The limited content layout, customization, and field for creativity
Not so user-friendly interface
Pricing for Gomo
#3. Adobe Captivate
Captivate is a treasure trove of helpful eLearning features like all Adobe products. This eLearning development software is compatible with other Adobe products, making this tool stand out from others and the most powerful on this list.
Adobe Captivate allows users to create both simple courses based on prepared templates and complex courses with various interactive elements. Besides, all courses can quickly adapt for mobile devices thanks to recognizing such mobile gestures as pinch, zoom, swipe, and others. Also, it’s possible to create content such as simulations, podcasts, screencasts, games, lessons, and import images, PowerPoint presentations, videos, .flv, and audio into any slide in the project.
Adobe Captivate Pros
Create complex interactions
Mobile-device gestures support
Create VR-based learning courses
Compatibility with other Adobe products
Adobe Captivate Cons
To make complex content, you need to put some hours into onboarding
Tricky update process
Linear course structure
Pricing for Adobe Captivate
|Student and teacher edition||£416.40|
|Upgrade price (For Adobe Captivate 2017)||£520.80|
Note: The following prices are in British pounds. USD prices may differ.
Users can create engaging content using pre-built theme templates or create their themes using the built-in content block grid. Adapt can be easily expanded to suit your needs using various ready-made add-ons or by creating your add-on by choosing one of four types: Components, Extensions, Menus, and Themes.
This eLearning development software is free.
If you’re tech-savvy or have a team of developers, you can create your custom interactions and layouts.
Content block grid leads to the generic look of all content
Tricky installation process
Easygenerator is a cloud-based platform whose name speaks for itself. The main goal of this eLearning development software is to provide users with convenient tools to create straightforward e-learning content quickly. Courses can be created from scratch while providing a responsive design for various devices’ screens. If you’re short on time, you can use ready-made templates with full content. You just need to take care of your learning part.
Onboarding is quick and easy, as the platform guides the user through a series of steps to create each element of the course. The onboarding process allows the user to focus on a specific task not forget anything important along the creation process.
An excellent choice for eLearning starters
Ease of creating mobile-friendly courses
PowerPoint import support
Close-to-community development team that creates updates based on feedback
Not all content types are fully optimized for mobile screens
Word-limit on some forms
Pricing plan-related content restrictions
Pricing for Easygenerator
|Pro (1 author, 10 courses, 100 learners)||€83/month, €990/annually|
|Team (5 authors, unlimited courses, unlimited learners)||€443/month, €4950/annually|
|Enterprise (no limits)||Case-individual pricing|
Note: The following prices are in euros. USD prices may differ.
#6 iSpring Suite
iSpring Suite is a full-featured authoring toolkit that allows you to create online courses fast and hassle free. Its core authoring tool works as a PowerPoint add-in, making it easy for novice content developers to learn to use it. Other tools include a quiz maker for assessments, a video studio for creating video tutorials and screencasts, a dialogue simulator for building role-plays, and a tool for creating interactive catalogs, timelines, FAQs, and glossaries.
To make the course authoring process even faster and easier, you can leverage the iSpring Content Library that provides tens of thousands of course templates, characters, backgrounds, and icons. If you work on eLearning projects in a team, there’s an online space where you can store your courses and share them with stakeholders, collaborate on the content, and get feedback from your colleagues.
iSpring Suite Pros
Simple familiar interface for rapid content development
Built-in dialogue simulator with branching scenarios
Professional video studio
Content library with 69,000+ assets
Web service for fast content sharing and collaboration
iSpring Suite Cons
PowerPoint needs to be installed
Only works in Windows
Pricing for iSpring Suite
iSpring Suite Max
(iSpring Suite, Content Library, iSpring Space, 24/7 Technical Support)
|$970 per author/year|
|iSpring Suite||$770 per author/year|
Note: iSpring provides discounts for multi-seat licenses, as well as discounts for educators, non-profit organizations, and governmental institutions.
However, in our opinion, the future of eLearning development is a transition to LMS, as it is more prevalent in 2021. Using just one tool to design training severely constrains your options, while LMS provides a more comprehensive solution to the problem. For example, let’s compare one of the most popular LMS systems on the market, Open edX, with one of the most popular authoring tools, Elucidat. You can see that LMS can provide much more opportunities in comparison with authoring tools.
Open Edx vs Elucidat
|Assessment and assignment management||✔️||❌|
|Built-in Course Authoring||✔️||✔️|
We’ve brought you the five best representatives of the eLearning development software, and as you can see, the variety is excellent. Some tools are suitable for knowledgeable professionals, while others are made for beginners. Some software has more advanced functions, while other software is aimed at simplifying the course creation process. We hope this article helped you decide, but if you still have questions about the eLearning implementation, drop us a line, and our representative will consult you on all your questions.
If you want to know more about Open edx, check out the two great articles below that describe the Open edx technology: