Contact Us

Build better learning today with PRODUCER

Guroo Blog

Top Ten eLearning Authoring Tools & Software for 2021

2020 has changed the eLearning landscape for many organisations, who are trying to do more with fewer resources, and get training to their teams as quickly as possible. Choosing the right eLearning authoring tool will ensure you create the most engaging, effective training while balancing time and resources. 

Five things to look for in an eLearning authoring tool

Different organisations will have very different requirements for their authoring tool. However, these five areas are often consistent across industries and can help to guide your search.

Ease of use

Most organisations don’t have the luxury of time for learning designers to upskill in eLearning authoring tools. Instead, they’re looking for a product where they can jump right in and start building. Some organisations may even be looking to decentralise the eLearning creation, so novice designers may also be using the tool. Selecting an easy-to-use eLearning authoring tool guarantees that anyone across the organisation can be empowered to build their own eLearning, helping scale learning offerings faster.

Consistency

Authoring tools in which you can add and customise multiple ‘themes’ allow you to apply consistent branding throughout your learning suite while still maintaining creativity and engagement. Using templates and libraries is another way to ensure your learning is consistent – look for tools which have inbuilt libraries, and those that allow you to add your own assets for reuse. 

Collaboration

More and more, learning designers aren’t working in isolation, but collaborating across the organisation. If this is the case, cloud-based software is probably the best fit. Features like project management tools, commenting and reviewing, team asset libraries, and the ability to have multiple people working on one project at a time can help your team be as effective as possible. 

Templates and Libraries

The popularity of rapid authoring tools indicates how important it is for organisations to be able to build eLearning as quickly as possible. A good way to achieve this is by using templates. Some tools offer entire pre-built modules (for example, compliance modules) that you can apply themes to and recontextualise to your own organisation. Other tools will offer screen or interaction templates that mean you can create beautiful learning quickly and keep everything on brand. 

Publishing Options

As you look for the authoring tool for your organisation, consider how your learning will be delivered. Most of the options we’ve covered here will publish to web objects, SCORM or xAPI, but it’s worth exploring the ease of publishing and compatibility with your own LMS. 

In this article, we’ll explore ten of the best eLearning authoring tools on the market for 2021:

 

PRODUCER

PRODUCER helps you quickly create professional interactive eLearning courses, consistently and at scale. PRODUCER supports you and your team throughout the entire learning design process - helping you scope, design and build engaging digital and blended learning that delivers results. It also encourages collaboration with project management and commenting/review tools. 

PRODUCER has a suite of prebuilt learning modules that you can easily adapt for your own organisation. Screen templates and themes make it simple to create beautiful and consistent learning. You can use the inbuilt asset library, or add your own assets for use across one or multiple projects. 

Pros:

  • Simple to learn
  • Inbuilt adaptive learning logic
  • Truly mobile responsive
  • Agile project management
  • Scoping tools and collaborative design
  • Thousands of templates and assets, including pre-built learning you can make your own
  • Themes to keep learning on brand and consistent visually
  • WYSIWYG editor

Cons:

  • Limited ability to customise layouts
  • No software simulation capability
  • No inbuilt video capture/editing functionality

Suitable for:

  • Scaling quickly
  • Creating consistent, reusable learning assets
  • Customising prebuilt learning for your organisation

 

Articulate Storyline 

Storyline 360 is part of the Articulate 360 suite and is the company’s flagship authoring tool. In this article, we’ll also take a look at Rise 360. Articulate is the more traditional eLearning tool, whereas Rise is focused on quick, simple development. 

Articulate uses a PowerPoint-style interface, with an advanced feature set that excites experienced eLearning authors but may overwhelm novices. It enables greater customisation than some competitors though this may slow down development. 

Pros:

  • Design is flexible and customisable
  • Allows for PPT import
  • Advanced feature set

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve
  • Requires complex, custom logic
  • Not truly mobile responsive
  • Not available on Mac (unless using an emulator)
  • Desktop based, therefore collaboration is challenging

Suitable for:

  • Experienced eLearning authors
  • Complex learning or custom interactions

 

Adobe Captivate

One of the first tools in the eLearning authoring space, Captivate is a desktop authoring tool, which unlike Articulate Storyline, is available for Windows and Mac. Captivate is a powerful eLearning tool for experienced authors to create complex interactive content and simulations, but is less suited to those new to eLearning authoring. 

There are a wide range of prebuilt interactions and an asset library. Captivate 2019 also includes the ability to create VR projects and interactive videos. 

Pros:

  • Skilled authors can develop high quality interactive learning
  • Convert PPT to eLearning
  • Develop VR content
  • Large range of third party templates available

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve
  • Requires complex custom logic
  • Mobile responsive learning is limited to specific templates or fluid boxes
  • Desktop based, therefore collaboration is challenging

Suitable for:

  • Experienced learning authors looking to develop highly interactive content and simulations
  • Users looking for quality over speed

 

Articulate Rise 360

Rise was released by Articulate as part of the 360 suite in 2016, and compared to Storyline, is targeted at novice users or those looking to put learning together quickly. It uses prebuilt interactions and drag and drop content blocks to build out your learning, making it easy to create high quality interactions. However, there isn’t much flexibility when compared to Storyline 360 or many of the other authoring tools available. 

Pros:

  • Designed for easy course creation
  • Access to Articulate Content Library 360
  • Allows multiple authors to collaborate on learning

Cons:

  • All courses end up feeling the same
  • Cannot create complex interactions (however, you can import through Storyline 360)
  • Mobile responsive

Suitable for:

  • Those new to eLearning development
  • Simple programs that need to be developed quickly

 

Lectora Online

Lectora Online is the cloud-based version of Lectora, one of the early eLearning authoring tools. Like Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate, its rich feature set comes at the cost of a steeper learning curve – to create truly great eLearning with Lectora Online, you need to be an experienced eLearning designer. 

While Lectora Online can export device-responsive HTML5 content, the layout for each view needs to be done manually, adding significant development time. Lectora Online includes access to eLearning Brothers AssetLibrary with templates and stock assets. 

Pros:

  • Cloud-based 
  • Access to eLearning Brothers AssetLibrary
  • Fully customisable

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve
  • Not truly mobile responsive (you need to create new views for each device)
  • Complex user interface 

Suitable for:

  • Experienced learning designers 
  • Customised, highly interactive content and simulations

Gomo

Gomo produces mobile-first device responsive learning. Pre-built templates and the quick-start wizard help you get up and running quickly, and there are a range of interactive templates you can use. Gomo offers a range of themes that can be configured to suit your brand or project. Shared libraries and a team-based approach support collaboration.

Pros:

  • Interactive templates
  • Easy to learn
  • Truly mobile-responsive

Cons:

  • No WYSIWYG interface
  • Fewer customisation options than some competitors

Suitable for:

  • Organisations looking to build mobile-first content

 

EasyGenerator

As the name suggests, EasyGenerator focuses on creating learning easily and quickly. It is suitable for those without experience in eLearning authoring. In fact, the company encourages employee-generated content, enabling learners to create content themselves. You can drag and drop content blocks for questions, video and audio.

While EasyGenerator doesn’t have an asset library like some of the other authoring tools, it does have a range of course templates you can customise for your own organisation. 

Pros:

  • Easy to learn
  • Ability to import PowerPoint

Cons:

  • No inbuilt asset library
  • Limited interaction types

Suitable for:

  • Novice authors
  • Organisations create a small number of courses

 

Elucidat

Elucidat makes it easy to develop digital learning at scale. It is cloud-based and has a strong focus on collaboration, with role-based permissions, multiple authors, and a central asset library. The library of prebuilt templates makes creating high quality learning easy, but more advanced users can use the ‘layout designer’ to build their own pages. 

Elucidat’s interaction types include social polling, gamification, flexible rules and branding options. The user interface is intuitive and you can build a course quickly using templates, content blocks and through adding style elements.

Pros:

  • Great collaboration features
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Truly mobile responsive

Cons:

  • Expensive unless you’re developing programs at scale
  • No custom interactions

Suitable for:

  • Large organisations developing learning at scale
  • Dispersed teams

 

iSpring

iSpring works as a PowerPoint plugin, making for a familiar interface and allowing you to use a PPT as a starting point for the course. It includes a quizmaker, video and audio editor and conversation simulation tool. 

Ready-made templates and the extensive asset library make it easy to build high quality learning. iSpring Space, included with the iSpring suite, is an online space for collaboration and review. 

Pros:

  • Extensive template and asset library
  • Video and screencast recorder and editor

Cons:

  • Only works in Windows
  • Need PowerPoint installed to be able to use 

Suitable for:

  • Experienced PowerPoint users looking to develop eLearning
  • Creating learning from existing presentations 


H5P

H5P is an open source, free-to-use HTML5 authoring tool. With H5P, you can create mobile-friendly eLearning content such as presentations, interactive videos, or interactive books, or share content through games such as flashcards, or matching games. 

It can be used in-browser, or included as a plug-in on Moodle, Drupal and Wordpress. It isn’t designed to be exported to SCORM but this can be done through a plugin. H5P has an active user community where users share knowledge, content and interactions. 

Pros:

  • Free
  • Simple to use
  • Encourages anyone to create learning

Cons:

  • Limited interactions (though this is growing)
  • Cannot combine multiple interactions to create a course
  • Not as versatile as the paid authoring tools 

Suitable for:

  • Subject matter experts with no eLearning experience
  • Adding interactions to other pages such as Moodle
Donna Hanson-Squires
28 November 2020 8 Min Read

How does this look in action?
While different organisations might be creating different eLearning, there is one thing that remains constant. To create effective learning, the process starts when you scope out your course.

Learning Canvas Collaboation

Learn more about how PRODUCER's Learning Canvas can help you design truly learner-centred programs that deliver genuine business outcomes every time.

If you want to get started, you can even download your free version now.

Contact Us

Suggested Posts:

Browse through our latest blogs:

We’d love to hear from you