What is an authoring tool?
An authoring tool is software that allows the user to create digital content. They could be something as simple as a Microsoft Word Document, or as complex as an audio visual production editing suite.
In the context of learning and development, an authoring tool refers to eLearning software which assists in the creation of digital learning content which includes interactive elements. This is also known as ‘eLearning’. Generally speaking, eLearning authoring tools give the user the ability to create and publish content as HTML5, SCORM or xAPI files or as online web links.
Which is the best eLearning authoring tool for you?
In order to determine which eLearning authoring tool is best suited for you, you must assess what the need of your organisation is. It is dependent on a variety of endless factors, including:
- Your technical expertise
- Whether your learning experience is intended to be simple or sophisticated
- How much information you need to turn into content
- Who needs to access your content
- Whether or not you are a sole trader or a big business
- Your budget
- …the list goes on!
So that’s a little unhelpful of us, right? Sorry!
As learning experts, we understand the need for eLearning software to be easy to use, accessible for all learners, affordable and well supported in all online learning formats. To help you find the right tool for you, we’ve put together a list of the best eLearning authoring tools in the Australian market.
The Top 5 authoring tools to consider.
1. How Too
Ease of use
How Too is extremely quick and efficient to use. Elearning content can be created in a matter of minutes, regardless of the level of design skills possessed by the creator. The tool was created with inbuilt learning design templates and is backed by years of research into the science of learning. It gives the creator the ability to brand their content, create exciting learning content their learners will engage with and implement assessment into their learning courses. How Too was created for content experts with no design skills, to give them the ability to create great online learning and share their know-how with their companies. With this in mind, the tool is therefore intuitive and easy to use.
The How Too eLearning authoring tool is fully accessible, both for the creator and for the learner. The tool itself is fully responsive, as well as having inbuilt technology to ensure all courses created in How Too meet WCAG AA 2.1 accessibility standards. This is a standard set by the Australian government which needs to be met by many large corporates and government agencies.
Content created in How Too can be published as an online link, or as a SCORM 1.2 or xAPI (Tin Can) file.
How Too is extremely affordable and is placed on the cheaper end of the eLearning authoring tool pricing spectrum. It is priced in two different ways: $95/month (with total flexibility, no contracts and no lock-in costs) or $950/year (exc. GST).
How Too also offers a completely free 14 day trial which gives the user full use and publication capabilities.
Ease of use
Similarly to How Too, Elucidat comes with a variety of pre-built templates which greatly assist in the efficiency of creating great online learning. Elucidat also has a template library and the ability to import branding information. It is cloud based and allows several authors to work on the same project at the same time. However, Elucidat is a complex tool to use, and requires lengthy training to access its more impressive capabilities.
Elucidat does not guarantee it can meet WCAG AA 2.1 accessibility standards. It supports Section 508 in the US and the Equality Act in the UK however makes no mention of Australian standards or guidelines.
Elucidat supports HTML5, SCORM (1.2, 2004) and xAPI (TinCan) and can be published as an online link.
Elucidat functions on a quote based pricing system based off the amount of users, the size of the company and the size of the audience of learners.
Ease of use
Articulate Storyline is a complex tool to use. The tool has the ability to create highly engaging content with large scope to control themes and branding which can result in online learning which is resonant with the learner. However, if an organisation is not willing to invest time in training, the authoring efficiency of Articulate can be greatly limited.
Not all features of Articulate Storyline meet WCAG AA 2.1 standards. Articulate have released a detailed report regarding which sections of the tools are fully accessible and which are not. Find out more.
Articulate Storyline supports AICC, SCORM and xAPI (TinCan) and can be published as an online link.
Articulate Storyline offers annual subscription to the tool, starting at $1800 per user, annually. They also offer education discounts.
Ease of use
Adobe Captivate offers a variety of themes and colour palettes which assists in creating beautiful and engaging learning content. If used at an elementary level,making it easy to use and intuitive for the learning creator. However, similarly to Elucidat and Articulate Storyline, Captivate is difficult to use without time dedicated to training and assistance. Captivate is desktop based which means the sharing, reviewing and updating process can be quite time consuming.
Adobe Captivate has an inbuilt ‘Enable Accessibility’ function which makes certain elements accessible or open to accessibility technology. These elements are quite limited and meet US accessibility standards - no Australian standards are mentioned.
Adobe Captivate supports HTML5, SCORM, AICC, xAPI (TinCan) and can be published as an online link.
Pricing for Adobe Captivate starts at $48.99 per month with an annual commitment expected. They also offer discounted education pricing.
Ease of use
Gomo is a cloud-based authoring tool which was created to allow online learning to be hosted online via the web. Courses created in Gomo can also be accessed offline via the Gomo app. The tool provides a variety of pre-built templates and themes which can be tweaked by the user to create learning which is on-brand for the organisation. However, the tool has some limitations with the amount the templates can be customised and is not as intuitive or user-friendly as the tools listed above. It sits in a ‘two-column structure’ which limits design scope of the user.
The accessibility of Gomo is limited and courses created in the tool do not necessarily meet Australian accessibility standards. Courses are able to be published in HTML and are therefore generally accessible to screen readers. They can also be switched into an ‘Accessible’ mode which is suitable for learners with a visual impairment.
Gomo supports HTML5, SCORM, xAPI (TinCan) and can be published as an online link.
Gomo pricing starts at $1200 per user per year.