5 authoring tool examples to help you make the best choice

Choosing a content authoring tool may not feel like an easy process. With so many factors playing their part, you can find yourself juggling between several different software choices. So, how do you find the right tool for you and your team now, and a few years down the line? We’ve put together some elearning authoring tool examples to help you make the best choice.

5 authoring tool examples

Content authoring tools come in all shapes and sizes. Some are simple, some complex, some are even included with learning management systems! What it really boils down to when choosing an authoring tool is the type of elearning you want to create, what your learners are expecting and the team behind it. 

The authoring software you choose now will likely affect your learning content in the long run. With that in mind, there are some key questions you should be asking yourself:

  • Do I need SCORM output, xAPI and/or online releases?
  • What does the onboarding process look like?
  • Will it help my team to work faster and smarter?
  • Can I manage multi-course variations and brands?
  • Will the content be high-quality and provide an effective learning experience?

And finally…

  • Should I use a desktop or cloud-based authoring tool?

This list of 5 elearning authoring tool examples will give you a quick rundown of what to expect different types of authoring tools offer you. 

5 different authoring tool examples

To keep it simple, we’ve split these 5 authoring software examples into ‘cloud-based’ and ‘desktop-based’ tools. 

Cloud-based authoring tools

Cloud-based software has grown significantly in popularity in the past few years. With the rise of cloud software giants like Dropbox and Google Drive, more and more people are experiencing the freedom and collaboration that cloud-based software brings. A cloud-based elearning authoring tool gives you the same benefits and more! Allowing your team to work together faster and smarter. 

1. Elucidat

Elucidat’s cloud-based authoring tool gives you a smarter, faster way to produce, distribute and measure digital learning with a transformational impact. With Elucidat you get measurable outcomes: smart workflows to scale up content production and reach bigger audiences, a collaborative approach to authoring, and unparalleled support and coaching from a team whose sole focus is client success.

Elucidat Strengths
  • Creating high-quality elearning with exceptional results
  • Speeding up your production by working smarter with streamlined processes
  • Giving you a simple way to control and update your brand styles across multiple courses
  • Getting access to in-app live support and guided tutorials in the ‘Learning Hub’  so you can ensure your elearning is high quality
  • Creating multi-language and localized versions of your elearning
  • Releasing and updating content quickly using the rapid release tool to release projects to your LMS, LRS, Elucidat Discovery Center, or the web simultaneously
  • Managing assets and updating multiple courses at once
  • Measuring the real-life impact you’re having with best-in-class analytics
Elucidat Weaknesses
  • Like any new authoring software, you need to invest some time to utilize the full capabilities of the tool (although, our professional services team are on hand to help!)
  • Not ideal for small scale learning projects (i.e. with hundreds of learners) as the platform and pricing are designed to deliver ROI for teams creating and managing elearning at scale (thousands of learners)

Who is Elucidat ideal for?

Elucidat is ideal for ambitious teams that are working at scale. This includes large learning teams with several content authors that are building several courses a year, looking to create high-quality elearning content that will reach thousands of learners and author with multiple course variations and translations. Authors of a beginner, medium or advanced level of authoring will suit – as a professional services package is included in your bundle to get you up to scratch.

Book a personalized demo & request a free trial today!

2. Articulate Rise

Articulate Rise is a web-based authoring tool included as part of an Articulate 360 update released around the end of 2016. This is important to note if you’re a Mac user, as Articulate doesn’t have a Mac OS version of their main authoring tool – Storyline. Rise offers a range of prebuilt lesson types, custom learning called “blocks,” interactions, and screencasts to create a range of courses. It’s fully device responsive, and pretty quick and easy to create! 

Rise Strengths
  • No software download unlike Articulate’s main authoring software
  • Short learning curve and can start creating quickly
  • Pre-built templates, or use ‘blocks’ to create your own
  • Quick to create good-looking (relatively simple) elearning content
  • As it’s cloud-based you can collaborate with colleagues
Rise Weaknesses
  • Only accessible through an Articulate 360 license 
  • Limited customization and flexibility – content can look very generic
  • Lacking in accessibility options 
  • Storage limitations in place
  • No learner tracking or analytical feedback

Who is Rise ideal for?

Rise is a great tool for experienced articulate users to quickly churn out a neat bit of elearning content, ready to go on any device. As a collaborative tool, it’s also useful for Articulate users who want to work together on a piece of content, in real-time. 

3. Easygenerator

Easygenerator is a user-friendly cloud-based authoring tool that requires no coding, no installation and is fully responsive. The clue is in the name… the tool is focused on making elearning authoring as simple as possible for the user – which has its drawbacks! 

Easygenerator Strengths
  • Simple enough for completely inexperienced authors to create content
  • Ability to assign tasks to speed up the creation process, share resources and ask for reviews 
  • Able to build templates and adapt
  • Built-in tracking and tracing
Easygenerator Weaknesses
  • Limited feature range – although is also open to hear suggestions and release updates based on client needs
  • Pricing can limit the number of authors and courses you are able to build
  • Word limits on long-form questions

Who is Easygenerator ideal for?

If your team is relatively inexperienced, looking to create content quickly and easily, but aren’t fussed with quality of output – then easy generator is your ideal tool! As one of the most user-friendly authoring tools out there your SMEs can hop on board and start authoring. 

Desktop-based authoring tools

Desktop-based elearning authoring tools are restricted to, you guessed it, desktops! Seen as the ‘old school’ way of authoring, desktop tools are powerful and complex but have their limitations. Nearly always requiring a software download, all the files are saved locally onto your PC, rather than being stored centrally in a cloud. Under this remit comes two of the most popular and well-known authoring tools: Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate.

4. Articulate Storyline

Articulate Storyline is the main authoring tool that comes with the Articulate 360 suite. The software is based solely on Windows PC and adopts a PowerPoint style interface. Due to its hefty learning curve, Storyline is usually left to the more experienced author, especially if you’re a powerpoint wiz. 

Storyline Strengths
  • Good flexibility and control in terms of content output 
  • A commonly used tool, so designers tend to have experience
  • An active online community who share insights and tips
  • Able to author some quite complex elearning content (if you know what you’re doing!)
  • PowerPoint import (which we don’t always recommend!)
Storyline Weaknesses
  • Not truly mobile responsive
  • Only available on Mac OS through a simulator – sorry mac users!
  • Time-consuming when collaborating or updating
  • New features require a download
  • Can be expensive with large teams

Who is Storyline ideal for?

Storyline would be ideal for an experienced designer who is confident in designing high-quality content from scratch. Ideally, they would be working solo and would have the ability, and desire, to create complex interactions and simulations. Windows users will also have much less of a hard time accessing the application! 

5. Adobe Captivate

As another PowerPoint styled platform, Captivate is Storyline’s biggest software rival. But this time, you can access it on both Windows and Mac! As one of the most powerful, and original, tools on the market you can create some pretty impressive elearning content with this tool. Although, it’s complexity comes with a much steeper learning curve and authoring challenges. 

Captivate Strengths
  • Ready-to-go slides or Quick Start Projects to speed up the creation
  • Convert existing PowerPoint content to interactive videos
  • Create Virtual Reality walkthroughs (if you know how!)
  • Effective for screencast and application simulation
  • Interactivity in the output can recognize common mobile-device gestures (e.g., pinch and zoom, swipe)
Captivate Weaknesses
  • A steep learning curve with limited support
  • Limitations of a desktop tool – challenging collaboration, review and version control
  • Traditional linear style design compared to more modern authoring tools
  • A painful process to update and maintain existing content – can be time consuming

Who is Captivate ideal for?

Captivate suites the experienced author looking to push the boundaries of elearning, e.g. creating VR, software simulations and heavily interactive content. If you’re not interested in the benefits of cloud-based software (or if you’re a Mac user!) captivate could be the way to go.  

Summary 

It’s clear there’s a pretty big contrast in the benefits of cloud-based tools against desktop based. The easiest way to find the right software is to sign up for a free trial and see the tool in action – try it for yourself! To see more authoring tool examples, see this review of 9 elearning authoring tools.

Download the authoring tool buyers guide

To smooth out your buyer’s journey, we’ve put together the authoring tool buyers guide and comparison template, both free to download!

authoring tool buyers guide - download now

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