Are you trying to save time at work? The huge rise in popularity of time management tools and productivity apps shows that many of us are trying to achieve more in less time. An efficient elearning development workflow centered around a collaborative authoring tool could save you hours.
What is a collaborative authoring tool?
Collaborative authoring tools allow multiple people to work together to create elearning for colleagues or clients. For example, a scriptwriter and graphic artist could work together on a piece of elearning at the same time, a learning designer could create a functioning page type for an SME to populate with content, or multiple stakeholders could review an elearning course at the same time.
Real-time collaboration like this is made possible by the software being cloud-based, which means it’s accessible from anywhere, on any device that has an Internet connection. No downloads are required.
What are the benefits of collaborative authoring tools?
There are three core benefits of investing in collaborative authoring software.
Enabling team members to work together more easily could significantly reduce your development schedule. Gone are the days of sequential tasks, lengthy handovers and tracking progress in separate tools; everyone in the team can see what’s going on as it’s happening.
Improved stakeholder management
We’ve all felt the frustration of being 80% through a project when a stakeholder requests a substantial change. The rework can throw your project timeline out the window. While unfortunately nobody can force stakeholders into timely reviews, a collaborative authoring tool does allow you to include them in the whole process. They can review progress as you go, without holding up production.
Stress-free version control
Spend less time tracking down the latest set of revisions and more time on the important work. Web-based software means everything – from images to functioning screens and review comments – is kept in one central place that all of your team members can access.
What features can you expect from collaborative authoring tools?
Each piece of collaborative authoring software will have its own nuances and ways of doing things, but there are a few common features to look for when you’re evaluating softwares.
A truly collaborative tool will be cloud-based rather than desktop-based. This means anyone with a log-in can work on the project, and you won’t be limited to those who have downloaded a hefty piece of software on their machine.
On a similar note, authoring software that truly encourages collaboration will allow you unlimited authors rather than hiding extra authors behind a paywall. An unlimited author model means you don’t need to waste time swapping and sharing login information; anyone who needs access can have it.
Everyone in a team having full access to a “work in progress” module carries potential risks as well as benefits. A range of user roles will allow you to control who can do what with the software. For example, you might want your stakeholders to be able to leave comments but not edit directly, or SMEs to only have access to specific projects that relate to their area of expertise.
Group chat or commenting
The ability to communicate within the authoring software is a real help when multiple people are working together. Look for the ability to add comments to specific parts of the module or send other authors messages.
Checking your work together should be as easy as creating it. Look for a tool that lets you publish and republish your course quickly, and keep a history of different versions that everyone can access for reference.
If you’re considering switching to a collaborative authoring tool, we’d recommend you “try before you buy” by getting your whole team to put the software through its paces. If they can work together to create a mini-module in the length of your free trial (normally 14 days), you’ve found a winner!