The ultimate guide to cloud-based elearning authoring tools

If you’ve made the move from desktop storage to a service like Dropbox or Google Drive, you’ll have experienced the freedom and collaboration that cloud-based software can bring. With a cloud-based elearning authoring tool, you can experience the same benefits and more when you create elearning content. Say goodbye to lone working at your desk and hello to easy teamwork on the go!

desktop vs cloud

Desktop vs cloud-based authoring

It’s rare that creating an elearning course is a solo endeavour. In fact, the phrase ‘it takes a village’ feels more appropriate. With learning designers, graphic artists, SMEs, stakeholders and project managers all offering valuable contributions, creating content is very often a team activity.

Facilitating easy team working is the key benefit of a cloud-based elearning authoring tool. Let’s take a look at the differences between desktop tools, such as Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate, and cloud based tools like Elucidat, to illustrate this point.

Download and install

Software needs to be downloaded and installed onto a specific machine, which can be time consuming. It can only be accessed on that machine.

No install needed

No download or installation required. Simply log in – from any location and often any device – and get started!

Download updates

If the authoring tool releases new features, the new version needs to be downloaded. This often comes at an additional cost.

Always using the latest software

New features and releases are automatically rolled out without you needing to do anything.

Work on project one at a time

Software needs to be downloaded and installed onto a specific machine, which can be time consuming. It can only be accessed on that machine.

Collaborative working

Multiple contributors can work on a project at once with all of their changes being saved, which means you can condense project timelines and get rid of lengthy handovers.

computer assets

Use assets from computer 

Elearning authors will need to store their images, videos etc on their desktops, uploading them into the courses they’re working on each time.

Shared online assets
Images, videos, resources etc can be uploaded once, then stored in the tool’s asset library to be shared between all authors. With Elucidat’s enhanced asset library, you can mass replace images with one click. 

enhanced asset library elucidat

Publish then review

An elearning course would need to be published, then the link shared with reviewers to launch and review.

Review in-app

Reviewers can log into the tool with specific ‘review only’ permissions to review the course as a learner would see it. 

Manage feedback manually

Review comments need be logged externally – either in emails, spreadsheets or an alternative software – which can lead to duplication and conflicting feedback.

Log comments in context

Reviewers can click on the relevant part of the page to log comments in-situ. Authors can review them in context, reply, and access them again from a central dashboard. 

action plan

Manual version control

Each team member will have their own version of the elearning course on their computer. Who knows which is the latest version?!

Always work on the latest version

One version of the truth that everyone is working into. The ability to keep track of and save versions throughout the development process. 

With the comparison laid out like this, it’s clear to see that cloud-based tools are the best choice for collaboration and scalability.

Large organizations or training providers that are using teams of authors to develop elearning courses or products would struggle to justify a desktop tool, but a one-person band working at a small scale might not be as affected by the lack of collaboration features.

What’s the best cloud-based authoring tool for you?

Within the cloud-based section of the market, there are a range of tools to choose from. Which one is right for you depends on your organization’s goals and priorities.

Are you looking to create simple or sophisticated learning experiences? In one language or multiple language variations? Easy to use or requiring development skills?

At Elucidat, for example, in general our customers need a platform to produce elearning content that is:

  • High-quality
  • Interactive and personalized
  • Easy to scale, rebrand and translate for multiple audiences
  • Easy to manage and update
  • Accessible across multiple devices as standard
  • Created by SMEs as well as specialist elearning authors

Check out our this  comparison of 7 popular authoring tools to get more detail on some of the most popular authoring tools on the market.

You can also download our free authoring tool comparison template to speed up your evaluation.


Implementing your elearning authoring tool

Once you’ve  chosen a cloud-based elearning authoring tool, you’ll want to make sure you can get up and running  smoothly and positively with your team.

Remember that the human element, such as getting buy in and approval from your team, is just as important as the practical elements – logins, testing and support.

Check out our 6 steps to make your authoring tool implementation a success, and make sure you choose a tool that offers support and services to help you get off the ground.

Final thoughts

With a lot of options to consider, clarifying your goals and priorities is the first step to a successful choice between desktop and cloud-based authoring tools. When you’re clear what you’re looking for, it becomes much easier to trial different tools against your criteria.

To see how Elucidat – a cloud-based elearning authoring tool – measures up, book a live demo to see it in action.