Good authorship is the key to great online training. Regardless of your objectives, online or offline, simple or complex – your training materials reflect the quality of your authorship. And that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? Whether you have a degree in instructional design or not, authoring e-learning is something that you can do and we are here to make it easier for you. That’s why we’ve compiled our list of e-learning authoring tools, software and resources which will help you create amazing learning content with ease.
There are a wide range of e-learning authoring tools, software, and platforms to choose from when creating a new e-learning course or using existing content for learning. Which is the best e-learning platform for you?
When considering which course builder to use, most organisations think they can only afford one of the expensive tools on the market. In fact, you can build your online training courses using free authoring tools openly available on the web. These tools can be as flexible and appealing as paid commercial course creation products.
Design beautiful, engaging and effective eLearning courses that have features such as microlearning with their cloud-based course authoring tool. EdApp is completely free and used to train teams large and small all over the globe. Some of their impressive clients include the United Nations, Shell, Mars, and Pandora, to name a few. A collection of EdApp’s clients have also shared their experience with the platform, to give insight into how they successfully train their teams with the innovative and intuitive Learning Management System (LMS).
With EdApp’s template-driven authoring approach, you don’t start with a blank page: they already know what a good microlesson looks like. All you need to do is choose the responsive template that suits your learning objective and add your content. Creating and updating agile eLearning courses takes minutes and hours, not weeks and months. It’s a simple and effective tool to use regardless of how much experience you have.
Beyond an expansive template library, EdApp includes a completely free, editable content library that’s full of ready-made courses, contributed by thought leaders from around the world. This high-quality content is there for you to access, edit, customize, and deploy to your teams with ease. What’s great is the content library is always growing, meaning every week you will see new courseware ranging in topics from health and safety procedures to sustainability and everything in between.
CourseLab version 2.4 is another free authoring software for building eLearning courses that can be published on the web or an LMS. You can make slide-based courses with images, videos, complex multi-object interactions, and quizzes. Unlike EdApp, it doesn’t have a library of ready-made courseware available. CourseLab does come with a set of eLearning templates, though learning how to use and customize them may require quite a lot of time. The downside of this authoring tool is that the interface isn’t as intuitive as others and may even feel a little outdated. This means it can feel quite complicated to those who are just beginning to work with authoring tools for eLearning. This tool is better suited to more experienced developers who have an idea of how LMS authoring tools work and are more comfortable navigating the platform.
This cloud-based tool is useful for creating eLearning courses and has a simple and friendly interface that is easy for everyone to use, regardless of experience level. What makes this platform stand apart is the ability to create slide-based courses using modern design templates. There’s an option to add voiceovers, videos, links, and cards. Courses consist of chapters, but sequential navigation is available only in a PRO plan. After a course, learners can be provided with a final quiz.
This online tool is great for creating training or marketing videos to be shared with customers, students, or employees. You can either elect to create a clip from scratch or pull from a template for inspiration. Moovly also allows users to upload their own media, such as videos, pictures, text, and sounds. The built-in stock libraries of photos and videos can be combined with doodles, infographics, animations, and transitions. There’s also a mobile app to view videos and upload media from a mobile device.
This authoring tool allows you to create simple lessons and combine them into courses.
The free plan allows you to create up to 10 challenges and invite 10 active users to take them. Your courses are limited to 1 GB of storage space. The start page can be customized to be more personalized to your training, and courses are created using a simple, easy-to-use editing tool that contains all sorts of media components, such as files, documents, and pop quizzes. You can do all this, while also viewing reports and tracking data, but it lacks an editable content library meaning more time is needed to create your content.
iSpring Free is a userfriendly authoring tool for creating slide-based courses with quizzes. If you have ready-made presentations, you can turn them into interactive online courses in a few clicks as the tool builds right in PowerPoint. When converting, it maintains all PPT animations, triggers, and transitions intact.
Since the interface is familiar and intuitive, it’s also easy to build courses from scratch: just populate slides with texts, images, YouTube videos, and web objects – a page from Wikipedia or your corporate website, for example. There are three types of quiz questions for assessing learners’ knowledge: multiple-choice, multiple-response, and short answer. To enhance your quizzes, you can set feedback, number of attempts, and time limits.
The content created with iSpring Free automatically adapts to all devices and looks great on any screen, including those of PCs, Macs, tablets, and smartphones.
- Easy to use, no coding skills or training required
- SCORM compliant
- Allows you to convert PPT slides to HTML5/SCORM
- All PPT effects are kept intact
- Publishes courses with no watermarks
- Courses and quizzes look good and play well on any device
- Doesn’t work without PowerPoint installed
- Only three quiz question types are available
- The number of course slides is limited to 15
Udutu is a free web-based tool for building courses. It comes with a variety of WYSIWYG apps that let you create different kinds of activities, including assessments, interactive modules, and branching scenarios. Like iSpring Free, it allows you to convert your PowerPoint slides to online courses, but this option requires a subscription of $10 per month. Courses can be downloaded to your computer as SCORM packages. The tool also enables you to upload previously authored SCORMs and reedit them.
Unlike many other authoring tools, Udutu offers a real-time collaboration option – it can be used by multiple people at different locations. However, the free membership allows you to distribute a link to a course only with watermarks placed on each slide.
- No programming skills required
- SCORM compliant
- Pre-designed templates
- Ability to create interactive learning objects and branching scenarios
- Quite a large variety of assessment questions
- Allows for uploading previously authored SCORM courses and re-editing them
- Not very steep, but definitely has a learning curve
- PPT to SCORM/HTML5 conversion is available only for paid subscribers
- Previewing a course with no watermarks requires an advanced membership
- Frequent saves after testing are required; it is reported that saves are not automatic
Glo Maker is an open-source eLearning authoring tool, offering the ability to create generative and interactive learning modules. It is also ready for mobile devices and delivers superb power and control for authors, L&D teams, and other educators looking to create vibrant and meaningful multimedia eLearning objects.
Here are the key features you could expect — animated tutorials, planners and designers, tool overviews, freestyle patterns, and compatible file formats, among others. It’s interesting that Glo Maker is by Oxford University, making it completely free for use for students and aspiring young entrepreneurs. The website has extensive tutorials to help you get started and even a few samples showcasing exactly what the tool is capable of doing.
Scratch by MIT Media Labs
This is another authoring tool for eLearning courses from an educational institution — this time, from MIT. The Scratch website pegs the tool as a creative and innovative approach to content creation. In fact, it’s suggested that Scratch can actually break through traditional page-turning mechanisms.
With Scratch, you can build an entire ecosystem of animation, music, and art. In other words, it helps to create an interactive storytelling methodology instead of legacy eLearning methods. A quick glance at their website is enough to make a case. Minimalist and highly visual, Scratch provides a huge repository of existing stories and lessons to inspire eLearning authors and even has an active community of users to address the lack of sales support.
E-learning authoring tools can help make e-learning development projects easier. But, many free authoring tools are limited. Free authoring tools, software and platforms differ in terms of design, usability, and interoperability, making it hard to understand which ones are the best of the bunch
One of the more intimidating aspects of e-learning development is the software. Learning it, using it, and developing training with it can be a long process. There are many options out there for the average e-learning developer to use in order to create high quality, interactive training in almost no time at all. So many free authoring tools exist that it can make your head spin if you’re not sure what you need.