E-Learning Tool

What is an eLearning (authoring) Tool?

An eLearning (authoring) tool enables users to create digital training content, convert it into an eLearning format, and distribute it among learners by a learning management system or on the web. Digital training content includes e-courses, video lectures, assessments, and simulations. A user needs no technical programming expertise to use the Software. Instead, eLearning (authoring) tools are usually pre-programmed. They offer a ready-to-use interface and templates, media, tools, interactions, and tests to manage and manipulate easily.

Types of eLearning (authoring) Tools

PowerPoint-based Tools

A class of eLearning tools that work as add-ins to PowerPoint is called PowerPoint-based tools. Using such tools, one can quickly turn existing PowerPoint presentations into e-courses. A significant advantage of a PowerPoint-based solution is the familiar interface. As most users are already familiar with PowerPoint and its usage, it is much easier to start creating courses there. Add-ins enhance PowerPoint’s basic functionality with special eLearning features, including interactive quizzes, video lectures, and dialogue simulations. These tools are the best fit for teams who need to have content done quickly. This includes organizations that use in-house experts to create content and smaller organizations that lack dedicated specialists for developing and designing e-courses.

Cloud-based Tools 

As the name suggests, these tools allow you to inherently create web-styled content, providing better flexibility as you aren’t tied to a certain work-station for course authoring, as with traditional Software. A user can log in and start working from any device. The functionality of cloud-based tools differs from tool to tool, but they cover the main authoring tasks in general. You can effortlessly create professionally designed pages, interactions, and assessments, and all of these can also be done by multiple users who’re working on the same project. Cloud-based tools are the best fit for many authors who require collaboration and review features and teams that need better work flexibility.

Standalone Authoring Tools

A standalone authoring tool is a solution designed explicitly for eLearning development. Such tools take some time to master, but they can provide you with unlimited flexibility and freedom to create unique training content when you’re ready. Standalone authoring tools are the best fit for eLearning developers who work with multiple customers and develop different learning content or who need to create original customized items from scratch and large eLearning departments with complex tasks.

Highly Specialized Tools 

Highly specialized tools can be beneficial when you want to complement your primary authoring tool with specific features. This usually happens for two reasons, the sought feature is missing or poorly designed in your primary authoring tool, or you’d prefer to do a more advanced task. As the name suggests, these tools are best fit for situations when you need to create a specific training format or an additional tool to make the authoring process easier.

Desktop-based Authoring vs. Cloud-based Authoring

Cloud-based authoring tools are a comparatively new concept in the eLearning industry when most businesses still use standard desktop software to create their content. So let’s explore some of the critical features that cloud-based tools offer, the differences between desktop-based authoring tools & cloud-based authoring tools, and does cloud-based authoring look like the future of eLearning content creation is in the cloud?

No Install Required
Cloud-based authoring requires no download or installation. The user can log in from any location and often any device to get started. On the other hand, Software needs to be downloaded and installed onto a specific machine in desktop-based authoring, which can be time-consuming and can only be accessed from that machine.

No Download Updates
New features and releases in cloud-based authoring are automatically rolled out without you requiring to do anything. On the other hand, if the desktop-based authoring tool releases new features, the latest version needs to be downloaded, which often comes at an additional cost.

Collaborative Authoring
In cloud-based authoring, multiple contributors can work on a project at once with all of their saved changes, which means you can decrease project timelines and get rid of long handovers. On the other hand, Software needs to be downloaded and installed onto a specific machine in desktop-based authoring. Only one user can access it at a time, and the entire process can be time-consuming.

Shared Online Assets
Images, videos, and other resources can all be uploaded once, stored in the cloud-based tool’s asset library to be shared between all authors. On the other hand, in desktop-based authoring, learning authors will need to keep their images, videos, and other resources on their desktops, uploading them into the courses they’re working at each time.

Ease of Use
In cloud-based authoring, reviewers can click on the relevant part of the page to position comments. Authors can review them in context, reply, and re-access them from a central dashboard. On the other hand, review comments need to be logged externally in desktop-based authoring either in emails, spreadsheets, or alternative Software, leading to duplication and conflicting feedback.

Open-Source Authoring

Indeed, one of the most important benefits of open-source authoring tools is creative control. You can modify every aspect of the Software based on your L&D requirements. However, a considerable amount of time is required by tech-savvy design experts to set up the platform, as the tool needs customization to suit your online training needs. Open-source authoring platforms are typically free since you have to put in most of the work. So, there are no licensing fees or subscription plans as far as the budget is considered.

Choosing the Best eLearning (authoring) Software

While selecting an eLearning authoring tool, then you’ve must know that that there is an extensive range of eLearning software to choose from. If your organization relies on delivering eLearning content to a specific audience, the authoring tool you choose can significantly impact both the learner experience and your bottom line. It is increasingly challenging to find the best eLearning authoring tool that meets your needs without exceeding your budget. Here are few things that you should consider when choosing an eLearning (authoring) tool for your organization.

Ease of Use
An ideal authoring tool must be simple to use. If your subject matter experts can create content without help from developers, the time needed to produce training content will be shorter, the number of courses designed will increase, and the ROI for your authoring tool will eventually be higher.

Scalability
One significant advantage of cloud-based authoring tools is that your workforce can promote and upscale according to your current development needs. Suppose you suddenly need to create additional eLearning content for a significant project. In that case, an ideal scalable authoring tool allows you to leverage the skills of all the team members or experts in multiple locations without distance being a major issue. Your subject matter experts can access your tool from anywhere and use the given templates to contribute to the project.

Easy Export to LMS
The primary purpose of SCORM and xAPI standards is to provide content and tools from different vendors to drive and track learner progress using a standard set of protocols. Your chosen LMS must support these standard integrations that you can easily export to HTML5 formats.

Analytics
An essential part of understanding your business comes from the data & insights about who your learners are and how they access and utilize your courses. Good data can be a great chance to unveil a new potential market or indicate ways to serve customers better.

Responsive Design
Responsive design eLearning authoring tools allow you to develop and deploy mobile-friendly online training courses. You create a master version of the eLearning content that features different breakpoints. Then the system adjusts the layout on the basis device. An ideal eLearning authoring tool features a built-in previewer that allows you to test different versions of your eLearning course design and adjust the layout if necessary.

Pricing
Last but not least, pricing is a significant factor to consider while choosing the best eLearning authoring tool. It might have everything you need to create quality resources on a tight timeline. But does it fit into your eLearning budget? Using free trials or demos, it is a great idea to determine if the Software will meet your needs and improve your ROI.

Why Do You Need an Authoring Tool?

There’s a lot that goes into the back end of creating an effective eLearning course. Unlike a traditional tool, quality authoring tools offer automatic, centralized, and beneficial solutions to common problems. If your team is still confused if an authoring tool is necessary, here’s why you need one.

Enables Effective Collaboration

The enhancement of the development process allows authoring tools to enable team members to work on projects more efficiently. Everyone within the group can contribute by communicating instantly, making revisions, and adding queries or comments.

Reduces costs

Bearing costs for every aspect of course creation, including designing a color scheme and layout, ensuring intuitive navigation, finding on-point media elements, and much more, is complicated and not cost-effective. Authoring tools can save money & simplify many of these tasks to cut unnecessary outsourcing.

Improves Reader Engagement

Authoring tools advance the content creation process, and administrators have more time to renew content and maintain relevancy. Learners who undergo relevant eLearning experiences engage with content more consistently, increasing retention and overall learning outcomes.

Implementing an Effective Training Program

Employee training helps increase employee engagement and enhances employee retention. If done right, it is known to impact efficiency, innovation, and productivity positively. Creating a good employee training program needs to be an effective process with immense personalization. Here are few steps that will help you to develop a training program successfully for your employees:

Define Your Goals
You need to identify the goals, needs, and target audiences before starting with the training program. This is a decisive step in understanding the gap between what skills your users already have and at what stage more training is required. Capturing a transparent picture of the needs helps you establish what you will use as a trademark of success for your employee training initiatives. It also enables you to prioritize the training objectives that need tackling, the training objectives your employees will most appreciate, and the ones that will have the most significant impact on your business.

Build a Plan
Once you have defined & decided on the broader goals of your training program, the next step is to focus on the learning objectives. The best learning outcomes are distinct and easily measurable. A Subject Matter Expert (SME) can help you improve your content with unparalleled insights. They may also guide the structure of your training plan to ensure the content delivered is result-oriented.

Create Training Content
As far as the training content for learners is considered, it’s essential to remember that no “one size fits all.” To ensure your training program resonates with your users, assess which training models will offer the most value to them. Moreover, delivering your training at the most convenient time for your users holds supreme importance as training provided early or late can be ineffectual.

Track and Improve
Like everything else, L&D programs aren’t meant to be stagnant. The best ones continually grow and enhance. Watching how employees access and interact with your training helps you decide how to make it better. This includes reviewing Online Quiz results to determine if the training has the desired effects, directly asking learners about their performance pain points, and much more.

Key Authoring Tool Features
That Fit Your Training Needs

If you’re thinking of replacing your existing eLearning authoring tool or purchase your first one, make sure you look out for the features mentioned below.

Intuitive User Interface

The UI is a crucial factor to consider when comparing your options. The purpose of an eLearning authoring tool is to enable instructional designers to create a large amount of course material in a relatively short period to put into your micro-learning platform. So, the platform should offer a perfect balance of creative control and ease of use.

Mobile Friendly

Nowadays, online learners expect to be able to access online training materials on the go. This is why your ideal eLearning authoring tool needs to offer mobile-friendly eLearning content, ensuring that everyone gets the same eLearning experience, regardless of their mobile device preferences. The eLearning authoring tool should also allow you to preview the layout for each breakpoint and make secondary changes.

Templates and Themes

Templates help in achieving consistency in your course material design. Not to forget, a consistent design that aligning with your brand’s colours can do wonders for branding. It can especially be profitable when you are developing multiple courses for the same audience. As such, you can reuse a single eLearning template for various projects instead of having to design everything from scratch for every course. The same goes for themes. The best eLearning authoring tools include different built-in themes that can help you create compelling eLearning content in a fraction of the time. While it isn’t a feature, a helpful support team is essential if you want to make the most out of your purchase of an eLearning authoring tool. Moreover, ensure you pay heed to the reviews regarding the support quality and turnaround time when selecting the right one for your organization.

Language Support

Many eLearning (authoring) tools now support multiple languages. This implies that online training materials can be built for a global audience. Moreover, your geographically dispersed eLearning content developers can use the tool to produce high-quality online training resources because the interface is in their native language. It’s a good idea to ask the eLearning authoring tool vendor about the specific languages they support and whether it’s included in their standard package.

Who Can Effectively Use Authoring Software?

  • L&D managers can make use of eLearning authoring software to design online training resources. They can customize every perspective of the content to suit organizational objectives, customize employee preferences, and fix personal gaps.
  • To widen their profit margin & improve client fulfilment scores, training companies that develop eLearning resources for clients use authoring tools.
  • Freelancers use Authoring Software tools that are cost-effective to take on diverse projects that call for different activities.
  • Charities and other non-profit organizations utilize authoring software to train volunteers and expand their reach.
  • Authoring software makes it easy for small business owners to design courses on a tight time frame to extend online training to mitigate risks.

What Defines a Top eLearning Tool?

Here are just a few ways to assess authoring tools and compare top authoring tools:

Industry Expertise

Your brand-new authoring tool must stay ahead of trends & the latest eLearning technology. There could be a new mobile device or browser you need to support.

Support Services

The best authoring tool software is backed by reliable vendors who value CX. Many vendors even have live chats and user communities where you can resolve issues on your own.

Social Proof

It’s essential to establish social proof for your authoring tool provider. They must have a positive online reputation to ensure your investment. Make sure that there are fraud prevention measures in place to avoid sponsored reviews.

What Support Can the eLearning
Authoring Tool Offer?

The internet penetration in numerous industries has led eLearning to have an important place in the market. The hassle-free internet connectivity has further strengthened the inclination of businesses toward various online employee training and development courses. 72% of enterprises believe that eLearning has helped their employees gain a competitive edge and keep up with market changes.

Let’s discover few ways of how the eLearning tool can help support your business.

  • An authoring tool is feasible. Since everything is online, learners can learn anytime, anywhere. You don’t need to go through the hassle of setting up classrooms, shifting the plan of learners, and making arrangements. You only have to send a communication email to your employees informing them about the new course.
  • There is nothing more necessary than being able to help employees coordinate and collaborate. So if you are an organization with branches in different locations, you will find collaboration the most significant eLearning aspect. An authoring tool allows employees to build content collaboratively, improving the quality of the content.
  • One of the primary reasons for opting for an authoring tool is enhanced learning. A great way to improve employee training and engagement is the customized approach. Generic courses fail to appeal and interest most of the workforce, and customized courses grab attention.

eLearning Authoring Tools for Increased Engagement

Authoring tools work well for crafting engaging eLearning assessments, offering a variety of courses. Studies reveal that 75% of learners are more likely to watch a video than read a document to learn. Then why not offer eLearning assessments in a format that interests your learners the most? These video assessments can be made interactive by including clickable areas or “hotspots.” Videos can be used as instructional tools and assessment tools, resulting in greater engagement across the workforce. Something as simple as stickers or badges that symbolize the learner’s journey from one level to the next can let them experience the progressive consequences of their choices in a reliable environment. So, including game-like elements to your eLearning assessments captures the learner’s attention, provides an immersive learning experience, helps learners retain information, thus boosting engagement.

Can e-Learning Be Useful for Sports?

Whether you are a student, professional, or an amateur, you are always a learner. You have access to numerous e-learning platforms that offer whatever you’d like to learn. eLearning platforms for sports can help athletes exceed in their sports, the same way traditional education e-learning platforms are helping other learners. Let’s discuss more on how eLearning can be beneficial in sports.

Accessibility to Expert Coaching
Distance and monetary constraints prevent many from having access to expert coaching of any sort across the world. Imagine every young athlete, and every coach, having the opportunity to master the sports they want to play regardless of location and economic situation. This will result in professional improvement & engagement.

Learning at Your Own Pace
Traditional group coaching follows the pace of the fastest learners, majorly leaving some to prematurely progress to the next level to keep up with the fastest. Again, this situation is not due to any lack of talent but entirely circumstantial. eLearning (authoring) tools can allow these athletes to learn “at their own pace” and progress “one step at a time” by mastering all the necessary fundamentals.

Awareness
Most athletes, coaches, and parents are not aware of injuries and how to react to them. Concussions are also a huge problem in sports. This is a risk for the athlete as he will have a challenging time recovering or may have a relapse in case of concussions. Having a sports eLearning tool that gives you access to learning content on different injuries can be a vital tool to help manage injuries.

What Defines a Top eLearning Tool?

New-age learners want consistent, portable, self-paced, and personalized content. This need is satisfied with the online learning model where students can learn at their convenience and requirement. Let’s take a glance at the advantages of online learning.

Fits Everyone's Needs

The online mode of learning is an excellent fit for everyone. This digital revolution has led to striking changes in how the content is accessed, utilized, discussed, and shared. Depending on the availability and comfort of the learners, the course is available. For example, many people choose to learn at weekends or during the evenings.

Learn at Your Own Pace

Unlike classroom teaching, eLearning content can be accessed an endless number of times. In the traditional form of learning, if a lecture is missed, then a learner has to prepare for that topic independently. On the other hand, in eLearning, learners can attend the lessons whenever they want with ease.

Access to Extensive Content

Learning online puts you in synchronization with the modern learning. This allows the learner to access content whenever they want it. A learner gets access to a wide range of learning content & study materials, including e-books, video lessons, audio files, PDFs, PPTs, and personalized e-notes by the instructor. The learner can choose what to study & begin learning the curriculum at their convenience.

How to Create an eLearning Course?

Wanting to build an eLearning course? Well, here are some easy tips and tricks to create an eLearning course.

Choose The Right Authoring Tool
Your course development process will turn out to be as productive as your pre-planning. By taking the time to do some prep work, you’re troubleshooting problems before they have a chance to occur. It’s necessary to choose the most suitable eLearning authoring tool that offers you the features and functions you require, as well as the usability you need. Ideally, you’ll require eLearning authoring tool(s) that provide the perfect blend of compliance and flexibility.

Research Your Targeted Audience & Subject Matter
If possible, get the assistance of a subject matter expert (SME) to gain insights into what content needs to be included and what can be overlooked. For the audience, you’ll want to gain invaluable feedback via surveys, interviews, and focus groups, to have an in-depth understanding of what they hope to achieve by taking the eLearning course and about their expectations, in general.

Build a Template or Use an Existing One
Several eLearning tools offer access to page layout templates that can be used in the course design. Rather than creating the entire layout from scratch, organizations can take advantage of these eLearning templates and significantly reduce course development time, giving less experienced professionals the ability to produce their courses without technical knowledge.

Choose an LMS
Having access to a wealth of tools and resources gives you an edge to plan an entire eLearning course from start to end with a cloud-based Learning Management System. Even if you have very little or no prior design knowledge, you can sign up with the suitable LMS, integrate your custom content, and drag and drop various graphics and multimedia elementsinto your eLearning course.

Add Multimedia & Other Resources
Suppose you don’t possess the right tools or skills needed to create multimedia elements. In that case, you can embed links to videos and any other online resources directly into your eLearning course. This allows your learners to access information quickly & makes your eLearning course look more professional.

Keep Audio, Video & Graphic Elements Simple
Sometimes you may feel the urge to include as many graphics as possible with an abundance of videos or podcasts. Instead, keep video, audio, and other graphic elements simple & to a minimum. Avoid long sections of text and break them down into bullet points or subheadings to avoid overload.

Reasons Why Zaamna is The Best eLearning Authoring Tool

The ideal eLearning tool has got to be cloud-based with easy navigation, comprehensive analytics, and be fully responsive and adaptive with HTML5 capability. Zaamna is your SaaS-based eLearning authoring tool that creates responsive and adaptive eLearning content automatically. Here’s why Zaamna is your best choice for an ideal LMS.

Cloud-Based

Zaamna is a cloud-based authoring tool helping you to easily build, update, store, and distribute eLearning courses to learners, no matter where they are. Getting started with Zaamna is so easy that you can log in with the browser of your choice and instantly begin creating and delivering eLearning courses matching learner needs. A significant benefit of such cloud-based authoring tools is the power of collaboration. Thislearning tool allows multiple users to collaborate on the same course simultaneously, and real-time changes can be made quickly and easily.

Easy Navigation

Zaamna is designed to cater to learners of all levels of expertise, right from experts to beginners. Zaamna’s swift and eye-catching themes and templates helps you personalize the overall look and feel and start building your customized content right away. Creating highly interactive screens with Zaamna is easy & secure. All you need to do is drop in your content and hit the publish button.

Built-in Learner Analytics

Generating large amounts of great content without evaluating the effectiveness is not enough anymore. Zaamna’s cloud-based Content Management System enables quick analytics and tracking features that assess the impact of training. This helps to evaluate the aspects of the training program that are working well and the ones that need improvement.

Responsive & Adaptive

Courses curated in Zaamna are wholly responsive and adaptive with HTML5 capability, especially. From a single HTML5 codebase, the learning content can be published once and then accessed by learners in any location on any device, for example, desktops, tablets, or smartphones. Zaamna empowers your business & helps distribute eLearning content to your learners instantly, regardless of the number of miles between you & your learners. Because Zaamna’s courses are cloud-based and fully responsive and adaptive, learners can access their training programs anywhere they like, on the device they prefer. Moreover, it also makes it easier to track your learners’ progress, analyse learners’ behaviours, and examine learning data to report significant management conclusions.

Conclusion

Digitization of education has changed the way how students learn in the new era of learning. Businesses need to develop extensive eLearning content quickly and at a low cost. This requirement cannot be met using tools, which require technical skills to get started. Instead, we can quickly produce content with the help of the authoring tool and meet the stakeholder’s requirements. Moreover, the right authoring tool offers a cost-effective solution to content development because of the reduced development time.

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