eLearning authoring platforms: top features and tips

Modern workers expect a lot from their training content: videos, interactivity, questions, even games. A white screen with big bricks of text just won’t cut it anymore, especially with all the other media competing for learners’ attention.

This is where top-quality eLearning authoring platforms make all the difference, allowing organizations to create beautiful and engaging content without breaking the bank.

What are eLearning authoring platforms

An eLearning authoring platform is a software that allows organizations to create, manage and disseminate learning content.

These platforms typically include tools for developing content entirely from scratch while also offering more advanced features, such as tools for making defunct Flash files usable.

 

Why are eLearning authoring platforms important?

The biggest benefit of owning your own eLearning authoring platform is that it allows you to design courses that are completely in line with your organization’s brand identity and goals. You can make last-minute changes as needed, quickly put together a new course using pre-built templates, and create different versions of your training programs to better suit particular employees, all without having to pay a third-party content creator.

For large, international organizations with a diverse employee pool, the versatility of an eLearning authoring platform can save enormous amounts of time and money.

elearning authoring platform

9 key eLearning authoring platform features

The best eLearning authoring platforms go beyond merely offering the basics. Features are a key reason why these platforms make for such a great investment, and there are certain ones that most organizations absolutely can’t do without. Our top nine key features are:

1. Rich asset libraries

Nobody likes looking at big bricks of PowerPoint text for hours at a time, and the best eLearning authoring platforms will come with a large library of images, videos and characters to spice up your courses. These multimedia resources should be diverse enough to cover a variety of topics and be easy to navigate. Be sure to check out this feature thoroughly during your free trials of different software.

2. Mobile-friendly capabilities

Learners will appreciate being able to access courses on whatever device best suits them, and may in fact only have access to a mobile phone on a regular basis. Organizations that need to disseminate courses to a wide variety of learners should keep this in mind when selecting their authoring software. Will your courses – and all of the great features you want to include – work on mobile? How well do they work?

3. Language support

Multilingual course development is a must for many organizations, and your chosen authoring platform should include robust tools for both developing and disseminating content in multiple languages. This means that the interface itself should have a variety of language options. These might be included in the box or they might come at an additional cost, so be sure to ask the platform developer which languages they support before investing.

4. Versatile templates and themes

Creating content quickly using high-quality templates is one of the biggest benefits of investing in an eLearning authoring platform, and the software you choose should offer these in spades. The templates and themes should be diverse enough to offer some variety to learners while still being easily customizable to your particular brand and learning needs. Is it easy to add your logo to each slide? Can you place multimedia content wherever you want? Be sure to test these features in advance.

5. LMS integration

Does your organization already use a learning management system (LMS)? Your new authoring platform needs to be compatible, or you’ll run into a lot of problems and delays down the line. Compatibility should be fairly easy to establish early on in your investigation process, but make sure to confirm this functionality while testing different products.

6. Reliable support services

This can be an easy thing to overlook when trying out a new product. The price of your new eLearning authoring platform should include reliable customer support from experts and an online knowledge base that can be accessed at any time. If your course developers live on the other side of the world, will you be stuck waiting hours before receiving help for a problem? Does the platform have an online archive of questions and answers to draw from?

7. Installation options

One of the most critical choices you’ll make during your selection process is whether or not to purchase a cloud-based or locally installed product. If members of your course development team (which may include subject matter experts, graphic designers, translators and others) live all around the world, a cloud-based platform is almost certainly the best option.

Keep in mind that cloud-based platforms require a much higher level of data security. The best authoring platforms will offer top-tier security options, such as password protection, automatic time-outs and version controls.

8. Intuitive user interface

All of the features listed so far are must-haves, but they won’t be worth anything if the platform’s user interface is too confusing or frustrating to use. The platform should strike a balance between ease of use and flexible creative control so that both beginner and advanced users can make the most of the software. Make sure your course development team takes an active role in selecting which interface suits their goals and skill levels best.

9. Fast content updates

Imagine spending weeks and thousands of dollars putting together a new training course, only to notice as soon as it goes live that there’s a big mistake halfway through. The best eLearning authoring platforms allow developers to make quick and universal changes to their content without suffering long and expensive downtimes.

 

Author-it’s eLearning authoring platform is a relational database that automatically breaks down your content into reusable components, like building blocks. When an edit needs to be made to a particular block, Author-it automatically applies your changes to every instance of that block across all of your content. Updates are quick and painless, allowing learners to access the corrected content immediately without losing stride.

Author-it  makes adaptive eLearning easy by doing the rendering for you. Simply create your design once, and it’s automatically rendered. So, you can meet your learners on their devices without breaking a sweat. Just like that. Write once and publish anywhere with its powerful output features.

Tips for selecting an elearning authoring platform

The top eLearning authoring platforms will deliver all of the features your organization needs while maximizing your ROI. Organizations can use these tips to ensure they walk away with the best possible option:

1. Make a clear budget and selection deadline, and stick to them.
2. Talk to your course development team and get their input. (They might already have a favorite platform!)
3. Make a list of your must-have features and test each one while you…
4. …try free trials. This is imperative. Most top-tier eLearning authoring platforms offer trial periods with full support. This is your chance to avoid big issues down the line.

Author-it’s eLearning and course development platform comes fully stacked with rich features and an expert support team to guide you every step of the way. Our cloud-based course authoring tool makes real-time collaboration easy, offering engaging eLearning and microlearning templates that are familiar in design, look and feel.

Our platform is designed to plug straight into your organization’s existing LMS, so you can start creating and delivering excellent training content right out of the box.

To learn more about how Author-it can help your organization create and deliver excellent eLearning content, contact Author-it’s team of experts or request a demo.

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