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The ultimate comparison of authoring tools

The means for delivering learning are changing rapidly around the world. 

No one is dependant upon books and classrooms for gaining required knowledge anymore. In fact, eLearning has provided us with numerous options for learning from collaborative learning to video lessons. 

However, the means you choose to develop an eLearning course depends upon several factors such as,

  • How technically proficient you or your team are and what is the learning curve of the authoring tool?
  • Whether you are solely creating the course or you have co-authors?
  • What is the level of complexity you want to add to your course and whether you want a simple course or a sophisticated experience?
  • What is the required scalability of your course, that is, how many geographies and languages are you going to publish your course in, etc?
  • What is your budget? 

Choosing the right eLearning Authoring tool is not just important for your employees’ training but it also impacts your business growth

This is why to help you in making this important decision here is the comparison of the top Authoring tools:

  1. Adobe Captivate

It is a high-end desktop authoring tool that is compatible with both, iOS and Windows. Termed often as one of the most powerful tools for developing amazingly complex and detailed eLearning courses. 

The only negative in its slot is its steep learning curve due to which, inexperienced developers can face problems with the speed of developing the course. Because of the complicated design of Adobe Captivate, the efficiency of developers is highly likely to suffer. 

However, when it comes to the quality of the created courses, it is arguably the best tool available with features like:

  • Geo-location capability 
  • The courses created for mobiles and other touchscreen devices are enabled for gesture control. 
  • It can create VR learning courses and other simulation-based content. 

It does not provide an option for collaboration since it is a Desktop Application and the scaling is also limited. 

  1. Elucidat

This is a cloud-based authoring tool which is highly responsive and helps eLearning course developers to create top-quality content irrespective of their level of experience. 

This authoring tool comes loaded with course design templates which can help you in designing attractive looking, engaging courses without learning how to code. 

Thanks to the huge template library of the platform, one can easily build advanced courses in a short span of time. In other words, the speed and efficiency of the developers are maintained well while using Elucidat.

And the best thing about this platform is that its free. In fact, it can be labeled as one of the most advanced free trial eLearning authoring tools, with features like,

  • A WYSIWYG interface which is extremely easy to use
  • Analytics dashboard availability
  • A wide selection of templates, rules, and capabilities
  • An easy advanced translation feature

The only downside of this platform is that if you choose to go for its premium paid version, it might seem like a steep deal.

  1. Articulate Rise

This is a web-based tool that allows the user to develop great training courses. 

This authoring tool was added as an extension of Articulate 360 software. With in-built templates and even lesson types, it is extremely easy to create courses with this platform. 

Rise comes with an interactive UI which, along with its built-in learning templates lets the developers create engaging customized content with interesting graphics. 

It comes which additional features, like,

  • Ability of screencasting
  • Perks of cloud-based authoring tools
  • Intuitive and fast to understand and use even by new developers. 

The disadvantages of this tool can that the level of flexibility and customization not that great compared with other tools, there is no feature for managing translations and it has limited storage space. 

  1. Articulate Storyline

This Windows desktop application is presented in Microsoft Powerpoint style in its look and feel which makes learning it moderately simple. It is a considerably flexible software that lets you work around it just like you would on PowerPoint. 

When it comes to the output of eLearning courses, Storyline is capable of producing highly engaging and customized courses. With the help of slide master and project colors, content developers can create theme pages easily. 

It also works to incorporate gesture-based navigation in your courses. That is, the elements on the screen can be tapped or clicked to show or hide other objects, media can be played or paused, or you can invoke auto-page navigation. 

Its other advantages are:

  • Since it is a widely used tool among designers, they generally can work their way around it without much training. 
  • Since it is common among designers, it has a large designer community online who actively engage in troubleshooting and experimentation.  
  • It has quite a powerful ability to simulate software tests. 

All the benefits aside, Storyline can also pose some disadvantages, for instance, 

  • It is not responsive to mobile devices. It simply works by resizing or rather, shrinking the screens to fit smaller devices.  
  • Another weakness that can be counted here is its simple linear design, as compared to other modern choices of eLearning authoring tools.  
  • It also consumes more time for operations related to collaborative authoring and updating old content.  
  • Fixing bugs and updating new features also takes a longer time in Storyline as compared to other solutions. 
  •  One of the biggest hurdles that can be faced by eLearning companies is scaling their content under a budget. The per-user license of Storyline can be quite expensive for too many authors. 

Lastly, producing high-quality engaging content requires the support of specific technologies. And Authoring tools bring together those requirements under one big umbrella – be it the incorporation of graphic content and animations for higher user engagement, or it is the capability of collaborating with other authors effectively. 

And although there is an overlap between the features of major Authoring tools in the market, you will still require extensive research before making a purchase. Just make a list and keep striking out the ones you don’t want, based on your priority of functionalities.

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