Use of learning software in organizations is set to more than triple over the next few years, so it’s crucial to get your elearning course software choice right. The real question is, where do you start? Read on for some key considerations to tick off when evaluating elearning software.
When people talk about elearning course software, they are often thinking about elearning authoring tools – the software that enables them to create their online courses and training programs.
Think of this as your mini buyers guide, with the most important considerations, examples and next steps!
6 considerations for your elearning course software
Ease of use
According to Towards Maturity’s benchmark report, 66% of organizations are struggling to build teams with the development and learning design skills needed to use some of the legacy elearning course software on the market.
Elearning course authoring software generally ranges from being relatively simple to use with limited features, right up to highly complex with a broad range of functionality. To judge it’s ease of use, be sure to consider:
- How it works straight out of the box
- How streamlined your team workflow and collaboration will be
- What support is available
Towards Maturity noted that 57% of organizations themselves admit there is a lack of attractive, high-quality digital content that supports their business goals, and 36% of learners report learning courses as uninspiring.
When comparing the quality output of elearning course creation software, think about what each offers, and what will ensure delivery of high-quality elearning and exceptional results. This could include:
- Personalization features
- Immersive scenarios and branching
- Social elements – such as social polling
- Ability to create custom layouts, navigation devices, interactions, templates
Try testing the user experience yourself by taking an example course – are you impressed with the look and feel? Then, see if you can have the course gifted into your trial account, and pick apart how it was created!
The technical capabilities of modern elearning authoring software leave legacy tools feeling pretty dated. But according to Towards Maturity, only 16% of organizations are using capabilities such as learning analytics to improve the services they deliver. They’re missing a trick here.
LMS data can be somewhat limited, so if you’re looking to take the extra step with learning analytics, research elearning course software that breaks down how your content is performing – and use this to your advantage!
Digital learning enables you to track employee engagement with learning, shares, drop-off points, user comments and much more. Therefore, it’s best to check the integration and data management capabilities:
- Does the tool offer a hosting platform?
- Does it integrate with your current systems (e.g., your learning management system (LMS))?
- Is it xAPI enabled?
Efficiency and scalability
An efficient tool should allow you to work smarter, faster and more effectively. You don’t want to be losing time in inefficient processes where you could be spending more time creating great learning experiences!
Look for features that will make the entire elearning course development process more efficient. This could include:
- Author and team permissions
- Customizable and reusable templates
- QA process and getting stakeholder feedback
- Organized files for your projects and media
To then maximize your impact with these features, check that the content is scalable and supports the needs of a large number of learners. This could include:
- Multi-language and localized versions of your courses
- Instantly updatable assets, stored in a central location
- Instantly releasable projects that link to your LMS, LRS, Learning Portal or the web simultaneously
Once all your feature boxes have been ticked, think about the best way to streamline project workflow. Cloud-based tools can be particularly handy in this area. Check to see if authors can work together across projects at the same time, apply real-time edits and all work on the most up-to-date version of a course. This should speed up fixes, improve course creation time and make your content more secure.
Maintenance and future-proofing
Keeping your content updated and relevant is crucial to its lifespan. Making edits should be a quick and simple process, with the freedom to make changes and re-releases without affecting other users or processes – be sure to dig deep with your questioning!
Think about where you want to be in 2 years’ time. You should be choosing a tool that’s the right fit now and in 2 years’ time.
Here are some ideas to consider that can easily be overlooked:
- Do any issues arise after editing content?
- What’s on the tool’s development roadmap for the next 12 months?
- How far has it come/what’s been added in the last 2 years? (Ask for retrospective roadmaps)
Support and services
People buy people; it’s often the tipping point when comparing software. There are countless customer service horror stories out there, so make sure you won’t end up being one of them! From the transition of tools to making big releases, the support and services behind the scenes can make all the difference.
Get a feel for the company and their background, and see what they can offer you:
- Do they build a partner or vendor relationship with their clients?
- Are they learning or technical specialists?
- Do they work closely with their clients on specific projects?
- What kinds of services do they offer?
What about when you get stuck? You’re unlikely to be a pro in a new tool initially… check what level of support is available to you:
- Is support on-hand to help with your issues?
- Is there a help center with detailed how-tos and video guides?
- Is the team upbeat, helpful and dedicated?
Examples of elearning course software
Armed with these considerations, here are some top examples of authoring software you can explore. For a more detailed comparison, see the full authoring tool comparison and review.
A multi-award-winning elearning authoring tool used by some of the world’s largest enterprise organizations. Elearning created in Elucidat has reached over 11 million learners, in 219 countries and in over 40 languages, enabling clients to create, manage and measure people-centered elearning.
An elearning software provider that provides a range of various tools and apps to help create content. Starting in the early 2000s, they’ve grown from providing a single tool to the whole family of products (mostly) focused on elearning.
Previously a desktop tool, Lectora just got a makeover. Lectora 3.0 Cloud Authoring Tool now lets you author online, with the same look and feel as their legacy tool.
Articulate 360 (Rise)
Articulate 360 is a subscription service that offers a wide range of both offline and online tools, used for creating elearning. It includes access to authoring apps Storyline 360 (a desktop tool), Rise 360 (an online tool) and a library of course assets.
Adobe Captivate is an authoring tool that is used for creating elearning content such as software demonstrations, software simulations, branched scenarios and randomized quizzes in Small Web Formats and HTML5 formats.
The Adapt authoring tool is a server-based web application to allow you and your team to quickly build responsive e-learning content.
To help you nailed it down your hit list, here are a few useful resources:
- The authoring tool buyers guide
- Authoring tool comparison template
- How to build a business case for an authoring tool
Consider bringing in stakeholders to hear their thoughts, or try running some tests with some members of your team to check if your evaluation aligns with theirs. Once you’ve narrowed it down, make sure you make full use of your free trial and explore all areas of the tool.
Interested in finding out more about Elucidat?
Interested to see how Elucidat can help your team create, manage and measure people-centered elearning? Book a chat, or personalized demo with the Elucidat team.