What is an eLearning Authoring Tool?

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authoring toolYou’ve got a shiny new learning management system, and now you just need to fill it with some juicy eLearning content.

You’ve got all of your curricula planned out, and you’ve gathered all of your assets, but there’s just one problem – you’re not quite sure how to go about making an eLearning unit!

You could technically develop your own eLearning units from scratch, but this would take some seriously nifty coding skills which most of us aren’t blessed with.

It sounds as though you need something that’s easy to use. It sounds as though you need an authoring tool.

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Authoring Tool

An authoring tool’s job is to make eLearning content creation as easy as possible. They give you the power to build interactive courses for your learners without having to develop a full technical understanding of the process.

authoring toolTypically, a fully-fledged authoring tool will allow you to upload your assets and start slotting them together. The unit will tend to be divided up into a series of slides for the learner to work through, and you’ll be able to jumble these around into whichever order you like. You should even be able to create branches, so that a learner’s actions within the unit will dictate which content they see.

Most authoring tools will allow you to package up and export your project as a SCORM or AICC file, which generally comes in the form of a .ZIP file. Almost every LMS will be equipped to handle eLearning in this format, so once you upload your file you’ll be able to deliver it to your learners without any trouble!

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Types of authoring tool

Authoring tools come in a number of shapes and forms, meaning that you should be able to find something to suit both your needs and your level of expertise:

PowerPoint plugins

The simplest end of the authoring tool spectrum is the PowerPoint plugin, which will let you convert your slides into a working eLearning unit.

It’s quick and easy, especially if you already have a lot of PowerPoint-based content. But you’ll find yourself more limited than you would with a fully-fledged authoring tool, and will be held back by what PowerPoint itself can do.

Stand-alone authoring tool

These are full solutions in their own right, rather than being an add-on to another product. These tools will come with full feature sets, allowing an adept user to create the content exactly as they envisage it.

The drawback is that these tools often have a more formidable learning curve than plug-ins, meaning that you’ll have to do some training of your own because you can get the most out of them!

Specialist authoring tools

If you know exactly what you want, then a specialist authoring tool might be your perfect solution. For instance, if you’re rolling out a mobile-first training programme, then you want a tool which focuses on creating content that’s optimised for mobile devices.

Or perhaps you have your mind set on creating some super-engaging learning games Then you’ll need a game-based authoring tool, like our very own Genie, which lets you slot your assets into a variety of game templates and bring them to life!

authoring tool

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Keep an eye out for plenty more entries into our Online Learning Glossary over the coming weeks!

And if you’re looking to find out more about Genie, our game-based authoring tool, click the banner to sign up for a free 30-day demo:

authoring tool

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