15 Best eLearning Authoring Tools in 2023 (Buyer’s Guide)

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New technologies have changed how organizations produce and deliver digital learning experiences, with eLearning content authoring tools becoming a must-have solution for instructional designers and L&D teams.

An eLearning authoring tool is essential for creating engaging, effective online content and courses.

In this article, we’ll explore eLearning content authoring software, break down its features, and showcase the best eLearning content authoring tools.

What Are eLearning Authoring Tools?

eLearning content authoring tools allow instructional designers and L&D professionals to create digital training content and courses, convert it into an eLearning format, and export the result into a SCORM, HTML5, xAPI, or TIN CAN file, which can then be imported into an LMS to deliver training content to employees.

With the right set of eLearning authoring tools, you can create engaging and interactive online courses that could let employees be in charge of their learning process.

Top Features of eLearning Authoring Tools

Let’s discuss a few features you must consider before choosing your ideal eLearning authoring tool.

eLearning_authing_tools_features

1. Course authoring capabilities

The most important feature of any eLearning authoring tool is the ability to create lessons. The course authoring capabilities of a tool include adding or editing slides, images, text, audio or video, animations, and any other elements on-screen.

These features enable you to bring your training lessons to life.

2. Ability to integrate interactivities and multimedia

Interactivities give eLearning courses an edge over traditional employee training methods by allowing users to interact with the course content rather than simply consuming it. By letting them actively participate in the learning process, interactivities enable learners to acquire knowledge by discovering information or solving real-world problems.

Multimodal learning, such as with videos or interactive guidance, has recently been recognized as an effective training method. The engaging format of videos is excellent for explaining complex concepts and can closely imitate the experience of an instructor-led session. At the same time, learning a new skill by watching a quick video is more convenient and less time-consuming for learners than reading lengthy, text-heavy documents.

Make sure that your authoring software allows you to easily add interactivities such as pop-ups, triggers, variables, and scrolling panels and enables multimedia content to make your training more engaging than an instructor-led training session.

3. Collaboration capabilities

Many organizations use eLearning to provide a standardized training experience for their distributed workforce. Chances are if the rest of your workforce is distributed, even your instructional designers work from different locations.

Here is when an eLearning authoring tool that is connection and collaboration-friendly can help you. Effective collaboration produces better learning courses. With collaboration capabilities, you can get the best instructional designers in the world to work on your course content or simply help your existing designers connect with subject matter experts living in a different city. For your distributed workforce, look for authoring tools that support multiple users building, reviewing, and amending courses at the same time.

4. Multiple language support

Another feature to look for in an eLearning authoring tool for a distributed workforce is multi-lingual support. The feature will allow you to convert the course content into different languages while retaining the template and structure of your course. Multi-lingual support allows you to deliver a standardized learning experience in various languages across many geographical locations.

5. Pre-loaded learning templates

Most eLearning authoring tools come pre-loaded with course templates that enable you to add consistency to your course material design. Consistent designs make learners more likely to pay attention to the content. It is especially advantageous when developing multiple courses for the same audience.

In-built templates and the ability to import prebuilt themes from other programs, such as PowerPoint, are among some of the most demanded features in authoring tools.

6. Assessment tools

Assessment features enable you to track how employees interact with the training course material and how much material they can retain.

While simple quizzes work great in this aspect, advanced assessment capabilities such as negative marking, shuffle questions, question banks, and awards and badges enable you to gather more in-depth data about learners.

7. Learning content management and publishing capabilities

Different organizations have different publishing needs when it comes to eLearning courses. Some standard formats include PDF, HTML5, Flash, and Microsoft PowerPoint.

If you are using an LMS, make sure the authoring tool you choose is compliant with it. The most common compliance standards are SCORM and Tin Can API.

Types of eLearning Authoring Tools

Here are the most common types of eLearning authoring software tools.

1. Interactive eLearning Course Authoring Tools

Learning by experience is becoming increasingly important in driving employee productivity. Interactive courses enable employees to get the necessary information to perform their tasks proactively.

You can create a complete product tour to explain how certain functions work and ease your employees through the web app. Or you can include interactive elements like software simulations and brainteasers.

2. Blended Learning Authoring Tools

Blended learning combines traditional training methods with modern online and eLearning. It helps your employees find a self-motivated actionable way of learning which works best in a corporate setting because training isn’t one-size-fits-all.

3. Microlearning Authoring Platforms

Breaking down your entire repository of eLearning courses into small chunks of information is what microlearning is all about. A 3-minute video here, a quick 5-step interactive walkthrough there, all in all offering the right amount of information without overwhelming the employees.

4. Gamified Learning Tools

Gamification of your eLearning engaging courses is a great way to drive employee engagement and performance while also encouraging a collaborative environment.

5. Learning Management System (LMS) with Course Authoring Features

A corporate LMS helps organize and deliver learning courses and generate reports to provide efficient tracking of your employee’s progress. Some LMS platforms come with course authoring features, others require instructional designers to use a third-party tool.

6. PowerPoint-based authoring tool

These tools work as add-ins to PowerPoint, allowing you to turn existing PowerPoint presentations into e-courses quickly. PowerPoint-based authoring tools do not have a learning curve, which makes them a good choice for rapid authoring.

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Considerations When Choosing an eLearning Content Authoring Tool

Every organization has different learning needs. Here are a few things to remember when researching a new content authoring tool.

1. Does it integrate with your LMS and other L&D software?

If you are currently using a learning management system, it’s important to determine if the eLearning authoring tool integrates with it and also exports in LMS-friendly formats like xAPI and SCORM. 

2. How intuitive is it to use?

You can get the most feature-loaded content authoring tool in the market, but it will be of no use unless you can easily use the features. An intuitive user interface is essential for any software, including your content authoring platform.

The purpose of an eLearning authoring tool is to enable instructional designers to quickly create a large amount of course material to put into the microlearning platform. This becomes next to impossible if most of their time is spent learning to use the tool’s features.

Content authoring tools also vary in technicality. Some tools require instructional designers to have more technical knowledge, skill sets, and learning curves.

3. How will you deploy your eLearning content authoring tool?

Like most software applications, there are also considerations for how you will deploy your eLearning content authoring tool – either in a cloud, web-based deployment, or in a desktop, on-premise deployment.

  • Cloud-based authoring tool: Cloud-based authoring tools allow you to create courses and learning content accessed via a web browser. SaaS content authoring tools are more common than cloud platforms and provide better flexibility, as you aren’t tied to a specific workstation for course authoring – and are more remote-friendly.
  • On-premise authoring tool: A standalone authoring tool is designed for eLearning development, but it takes time to master. The learning curve of these tools is higher. Hence, you may need preliminary training to get started with the standalone authoring tools. These tools are more secure and require a program to be downloaded on an instructional designer’s computer.
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How to Develop an Effective Employee Training Program

15 eLearning Authoring Tools in 2023

Choosing the right eLearning authoring software for your business depends on many factors, including your technical expertise, how sophisticated you would like your learning experience to be, the volume of corporate eLearning content you need to produce, the size of your team, your budget and whether you require translation. Here is a list of the top eLearning authoring tools for you.

1. Whatfix

  • Type: Interactive course authoring software
  • G2 Review Rating:
  • Pricing: Upon request

Whatfix is an interactive digital adoption platform that helps accelerate time to proficiency on your applications with in-app training and contextual on-demand support.

While it’s not a full-fledged LMS, Whatfix functions as a mini-LMS and helps in making eLearning interactive via engaging formats such as video, slideshows, and PDFs – all while empowering users to achieve proficiency in record time. The platform also provides a task list widget that is extremely useful to streamline employee training. The widget displays all the relevant tasks needed to be done, in the form of guided interactive walkthroughs. This delivers a seamless user experience across the application to reduce friction, increase stickiness, and delight users. 

Additionally, Whatfix analytics offers actionable data on user behavior within your applications, consumption of help content, and real-time feedback on in-app experiences.

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Raptivity-logo

2. Raptivity

  • Type: Interactive course authoring software
  • G2 Review Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars
  • Pricing: $0 – $249

Raptivity is an authoring tool with more than 190 customizable interactions. It provides interaction models like brainteasers, interactive diagrams, interactive questions, software simulations, surveys, and more. Within each of these models, there are “Flavors” which are mainly built-in templates like a jigsaw interaction, flashcards, wild cards, etc., making it easier for you to assemble your eLearning courses to be more dynamic and interactive.

Raptivity integrates with most training tools like Adobe Captivate, Storyline, Lectora, and others.

A highlight of this eLearning tool is that you can browse various instructional design models like bloom’s taxonomy, and experimental learning and create training courses to fit these models.

panopto-logo

3. Panopto

  • Type: Blended learning authoring software
  • G2 Review Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars
  • Pricing: N/A – reach out for custom quote

When it comes to eLearning tools for blended learning, videos are an essential element. Panopto is a video platform built for employee training and onboarding. It is a searchable portal using which you can share and manage all the videos you would use for training and knowledge-sharing purposes.

Using Panopto, you can easily organize, store, and deliver videos across your organization. Businesses are generating interactive training videos and internal communications at an exponential rate. Instead of having it spread across multiple internal portals, Google Drive, YouTube, Vimeo, etc., you can centralize all your video lectures in Panopto’s secure, searchable video content management system.

Beyond this, Panopto offers multiple features like webcasting and recording, live streaming, and social learning. It also integrates with your LMS, enterprise software like SharePoint and Salesforce, and more.

aNewSpring-logo

4. aNewSpring

  • Type: Blended learning authoring software
  • G2 Review 
  • Pricing: N/A – pricing model is based on the number of learners.

aNewSpring is a blended learning platform that helps you create and deliver diverse learning courses. You can create assignments, tests, assessments, and even surveys using the online editor. The learning content you create can be managed online and easily updated without the threat of duplication.

This eLearning authoring tool can help you create multiple course types, such as demos to give employees a quick preview, social learning, and more. It integrates with other eLearning tools like Adobe Captivate, Storyline, Slideshare, Panopto, and more.

One of the highlights of aNewSpring is its adaptive learning algorithm which matches courses by addressing the subjects that require training and assessing the employee’s goals.

Qstream

5. QStream

  • Type: Microlearning platform
  • G2 Review Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars
  • Pricing: N/A – reach out for custom quote

Following a model of 3-minute courses, the QStream authoring tool offers a simple and engaging platform to train, onboard, and share knowledge with your employees. The training content can be pushed to the employees’ mobile devices or even to the CRM they’re working on.

Training is driven by a point-based gamified system for demonstrating knowledge on relevant topics. QStream’s data-driven coaching hub engages managers and other stakeholders and provides a graphical dashboard with valuable insights that instantly identify who needs to be coached on what.

Sales leaders can view capabilities data in unlimited ways with real-time heat maps, progress trends, team comparisons, and coaching activity reports

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6. Axonify

  • Type: Microlearning platform
  • G2 Review Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars
  • Pricing: N/A – reach out for a custom quote

With Axonify, you can create your training content as small chunks of information that take only a minute or two to complete.

eLearning authoring tools like Axonify offer a personalized and adaptive learning experience that helps create engaging training content. With the continuous learning approach that such platforms adopt, you can build, sustain, and measure employee knowledge.

Edapp

7. Edapp

  • Type: Microlearning platform
  • G2 Review Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars
  • Pricing: $0.00 – $5.95/user/month. Request a quote for enterprises.

EdApp is a free microlearning platform with an integrated authoring tool. With features such as spaced repetition, gamification, rewards, and analytics, the platform makes learning fun and engaging, which helps improve learning retention. Edapp enables mobile learning that brings benefits such as push notifications for lesson reminders, cloud distribution, and translation, plus the ability to deliver microlessons directly to learners’ pockets.

8. iSpring Learn

  • Type: Microlearning platform
  • G2 Review Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars
  • Pricing: $2.82 – $3.66/user

iSpring Learn has a built-in authoring tool that can be used to create responsive microlearning courses with knowledge checks that work perfectly on smartphones and desktops. The tool allows starting a microlearning program and tracking results in just one day — without fine-tuning complex settings or involving IT staff. You can create training material from your existing content, such as videos, slides, or articles.

Master O

9. Master-O

  • Type: Microlearning platform
  • G2 Review Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars
  • Pricing: N/A – Reach out for a custom quote

Master-O is an easy-to-use eLearning authoring tool that enables you to repackage existing content into byte-sized sales playlists, including game-based assessment and microlearning interactions. With titles ranging from improving retail sales, and boosting dealer or distributor productivity to enhancing negotiation skills, Master-O is preloaded with researched sales training content that is easy to learn and apply on the job.

Zunos

10. Zunos

  • Type: Gamified course authoring tool
  • G2 Review Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • Pricing: N/A – reach out for a custom quote

When there are points, incentives, and rewards in play, everything gets a lot more exciting. With eLearning authoring tools like Zunos, gamifying your training programs becomes easier.  

With their leaderboards and virtual rewards, you can spice up employee onboarding and training by making it more engaging and introducing an element of friendly competition. It also offers a collaborative platform where employees can share progress and thoughts with their peers.

Hoopla

11. Hoopla

  • Type: Gamified course authoring tool
  • G2 Review Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars
  • Pricing: N/A – reach out for custom quote

Hoopla! Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? This eLearning software helps create an interactive and engaged culture with real-time progress, friendly competition, and recognition.

The Hoopla TV lets you broadcast live updates on TVs across your organization, giving instant visibility into the employee progress. It mimics a live sports event display where your employees can “Face-off” with each other. You can create as many Hoopla Channels as you want and customize them with different themes, metrics, and even celebration songs and GIFs.

All in all, Hoopla provides a gamified way to engage with your employees and keep them motivated to reach their goals.

12. AdaptiveU

  • Type: LMS with course authoring features
  • G2 Review Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Pricing: $0-$50. Request a quote for enterprises.

AdatptiveU allows you to use content from anywhere on the web, such as YouTube, your favorite articles, etc., to create learning courses.

This eLearning software includes videos, quizzes, presentations, and more. To foster a friendly competitive environment, AdaptiveU provides a certain level of gamification with rewards points, virtual currency, and gifts. You can track and get alerts on the progress of all your employees and generate dynamic reports to easily understand how effective the challenges and courses are.

docebo

13. Docebo

  • Type: LMS with course authoring features
  • G2 Review Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars
  • Pricing: N/A – reach out for custom quote

Docebo is an LMS that has a suite of apps and features from ILT classroom to gamification and Salesforce integration. You can deliver courses with the highest level of personalization using AI-powered technology.

It is equipped with a wide range of course tracking features that help you save report specifications and track employee performance quickly. With the MyTeam feature, you can instantly monitor your team’s activities, progress, and uncover skill gaps. This form of high-level metrics can help you improve the visibility of your team’s performance.

cornerstone LMS

14. Cornerstone

  • Type: LMS with course authoring features
  • G2 Review Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars
  • Pricing: N/A – reach out for a custom quote

Cornerstone LMS enables you to create and provide media-rich learning courses. Using this eLearning tool, you can deliver tailored and targeted training depending on your employees’ goals.

Cornerstone offers a suite of products to create social learning programs, get predictive workflow analytics, robust reporting, and more.

articulate 360

15. ​​Articulate Storyline 360

  • Type: LMS with course authoring features
  • G2 Review Rating: 
  • Pricing: N/A – reach out for custom quote

Articulate Storyline is a windows desktop course authoring tool that leverages powerpoint’s look and feels – and overall well-known UX/UI. It has a modest learning curve considering the flexibility it offers. The tool can be used to develop interactive courses that work on every device without any manual adjusting.

Articulate storyline supports most eLearning formats – AICC, SCORM, xAPI (TinCan), and Windows. Also, the responsive player dynamically adapts to tablet and smartphone screens, providing an optimal view of every device and supports touchscreen gestures like drag, pinch-to-zoom, etc., on tablets and mobile devices.

Business Use Cases for eLearning Authoring Tools

Here are a few common uses cases for eLearning content authoring tools.

1. Compliance Training

Compliance training is mandated by legislation or regulatory bodies to familiarize employees with regulations and laws, minimize risk, ensure workplace safety, and improve the overall work environment for employees. Elearning authoring tools help produce powerful eLearning material quickly at scale to keep pace with the ever-changing regulatory landscape. 

2. Employee Onboarding

A positive onboarding experience can have a significant impact on the long-term engagement and retention of your employees. The right eLearning authoring tool can help you build and personalize an array of learning programs for your employee onboarding process. Take advantage of the variety of interactive features available in authoring tools and avoid serving your new hires static text and images. Onboarding courses particularly benefit from using assets that engage users. You could use assets such as hotspot images or zoomable images to add interactive variety to make learning points more memorable. Additionally, an authoring tool provides finer-detail insights into which areas of your course are effective and ineffective.

3. Employee Development

To attract new talent and keep current employees satisfied and productive, you must invest in their development. Modern employees expect their online training resources to be relevant, personalized, and facilitate real-world applications. An eLearning authoring tool caters to your employees’ needs by developing training materials to acquire new skills and competencies and advance in their careers. 

Authoring tools allow you to develop employee development courses based on the unique, albeit custom needs of the employees and the organization. Based on the requirements, you can create courses in different formats, such as microlearning, video-based learning, etc.

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4. Customer Online Training

eLearning authoring tools allow you to provide customers with demos, tutorials, and other product knowledge resources to familiarize themselves with your brand, helping you improve sales, satisfaction ratings, and customer loyalty.

Digital Adoption Platforms for Effective Employee Training

Implementing an eLearning authoring tool for your organization facilitates employee onboarding, employee training, and employee development without excessive costs and loss of productivity. 

However, selecting a suitable authoring tool for your organization can be challenging. There are many things to consider while choosing your ideal tool –  technical expertise, features required for training, the volume of eLearning content to produce, the size of the team, budget, learning curve, etc. 

If you are confused and wondering where to start, try implementing a digital adoption platform such as Whatfix to create the most effective employee training programs for your organization. Whatfix empowers you to build engaging, interactive, and helpful content from the ground up without the need for code or IT involvement. Employees can learn in the flow of work with in-app guidance, such as interactive walkthroughs, step-by-step tutorials, task lists, smart tips, and more. With Whatfix, you also bring your documentation, knowledge base, intranet, and external links into your employees’ applications – allowing them to find the right support and training material without leaving the application they’re using.

Intrigued to learn more? Schedule a free demo with us today!

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