One of the things that powers effective learning is effective training content that is built through an elearning authoring tool.
While there is a plethora of off-the-shelf learning material that can be used to create information-rich training content, the benefits of developing course content tailored to your organization’s needs are far too significant to be overlooked.
However, many organizations limit their training potential to generic content because of the perceived challenges surrounding the development of quality training content.
Sure, developing training content used to be a demanding task but with the rise of e-learning technologies like rapid eLearning authoring tools, creating course material is easier than ever.
With that said, if not chosen carefully, you can easily end up with an authoring tool that creates more problems than it solves.
Whether you are considering replacing your existing eLearning authoring tool, or are in the market to purchase your first one, make sure you look out for the features I’ve mentioned below.
Top Features You Need In An eLearning Authoring Tool
1) Intuitive User Interface
You can get the most feature-loaded authoring tool in the market but it will be of no use unless you can use the features with ease.
An intuitive user interface is perhaps the most important feature for any type of software.
The purpose of an eLearning authoring tool (obviously) is to enable you or your instructional designers to create a large amount of course material in a relatively short span of time to put into your micro-learning platform. This becomes next to impossible if you are using your time to learn how to use the features of the platform.
2) Ability To Integrate Interactivities And Multimedia
Interactivities: Interactivities allow users to interact with the course content instead of simply consuming it. By letting them actively participate in the learning process, interactivities allow learners to acquire knowledge by discovery of information or making them solve a real-world problem.
Interactivities give e-learning courses an edge over traditional learning methods. Make sure your authoring software allows you to easily add interactivities like pop-ups, triggers, variables, and scrolling panels.
Multimedia: Multimedia, and especially videos, have recently been recognized as a great training tool. The engaging format of videos is great for explaining complex concepts, and can closely imitate the experience of an instructor-led session. At the same time, with the increasing consumption of video content, even learners enjoy and prefer learning through a medium that they are familiar and comfortable with.
When it comes to adding features, media, and interactivities to your courses, don’t settle for less. There are AR authoring tools available in the market that allow instructional designers to blend the course with the surroundings of the learner.
Making training interactive is an additional challenge when an instructor is not delivering the training content.
However, with the right interactivities and multimedia, you can potentially make your training content more engaging than an instructor-led training session that imitates a monologue.
3) Collaboration Capabilities
Many organizations turn to e-learning to be able to provide a standardized training experience to their distributed workforce. Chances are if the rest of your workforce is distributed, even your instructional designers are working from different geographical locations.
Even if that isn’t the case, if your learners (or employees) have the liberty of learning from anywhere and at any time, it is only fair that your instructional designers are treated the same.
A connection, collaboration-friendly authoring tool will help you make this happen. The benefits of collaboration, however, extend further than just offering your designers a chance to work out of their favorite coffee shop.
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 to connect with subject matter experts living in a different city.
Bonus Tip: Speaking of providing training to a distributed workforce, a great feature to look for in your next eLearning authoring tool is multi-lingual support. The feature will allow you to convert the course content into different languages while still retaining the template and structure of your course. In other words, multi-lingual support will allow you to deliver a standardized learning experience in different languages.
Templates allow you to add consistency to your course material design. With consistent designs, the learners are less likely to pay attention to that and more likely to pay attention to the course content. Not to forget, a consistent design that aligns with your brand’s colours and language can do wonders for branding.
Moreover, the consistent design language is especially advantageous when you are developing multiple courses for the same audience.
Most authoring software come pre-loaded with at least some course templates. However, the best ones allow designers and businesses to create their own custom templates.
This, along with the ability to import prebuilt themes from other programs such as powerpoint, are among some of the most demanded features in authoring tools.
5) Assessment Features
Assessment features allow designers and business owners to track how their employees or learners are interacting with the course material. It also allows organizations to track how much of the course material the employees are able to retain.
While simple quizzes work great in this aspect, advanced quiz capabilities such as negative marking, shuffle questions, question banks, and awards and badges enable organizations to gather more in-depth data about their learners.
6) Publishing Capabilities
Different organizations have different publishing needs when it comes to e-learning courses. Some common 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.
Before wrapping up, we would like to remind the readers of the importance of a good support structure for an eLearning authoring tool.
While it isn’t a feature, a thriving community and a helpful support team are essential if you want to make the most of your purchase of an eLearning authoring tool.
Make sure you pay attention to the reviews regarding the support quality and turnaround time when selecting the right one for your organization.
Are there any features that we haven’t mentioned in this article? Share them with us (and everyone else) in the comments.
Additionally, you can check out the ultimate list of great eLearning tools you can use to create amazing courses. One of the top Solutions in the market is the in-app guidance platform called Whatfix. Currently being used by top Fortune companies, Whatfix is SCORM and xAPI compliant, multilingual and offers multi-format content capabilities.
If you’re looking to learn more about Whatfix, book your personalized demo today!