There’s a mind-boggling choice of free eLearning authoring tools to choose from. This article details what the best features to look for when L&D professionals are choosing one. That way you’ll be armed with all the information you need to create and distribute engaging and effective learning content with your LMS (Learning Management System).
What are eLearning authoring tools?
Authoring tools are software that create eLearning courseware. This courseware is then distributed to learners via an LMS (Learning Management System). Some authoring tools for elearning are free, some cost a considerable amount while others offer free trials or are free for a certain threshold of users.
Best free eLearning authoring tools’ features
The following features are all available in eLearning authoring software. We’ll show you which to choose at the end.
Microlearning is the breaking down of information into easily-digestible chunks. It makes eLearning very effective and is a great place to start.
Smartphone ownership is nearing ubiquity so it makes sense to select a free eLearning authoring tool that is optimised for mobile. If an LMS simply is compatible with mobile it can offers a poor user experience and be annoying to use – which distracts from learning. With bright, vibrant screens and powerful computing power, m learning is capable of offering an engaging, interactive learning experience.
Distributed practice is a highly-effective form of learning and the best free eLearning authoring tools have it built-in. With smartphones remembering which answers learners got right, they can focus on content that learners got wrong, making it more effective to use.
Learning is most effective when it doesn’t feel like learning. By transforming simple questions and answers into games using templates, it’s simple to create engaging micro lessons that are actually fun to complete.
Many authoring tools are separate to LMSs which means the content was created on one platform in order to distribute on many others. Not surprisingly, advanced features get removed for compatibility and the software doesn’t transfer from one to the other without issues. However, the best free eLearning authoring tools are integrated into the LMS meaning that content created will look and function as well as possible.
Instructional designers and L&D professionals will tell you that getting people to complete their courses can be like herding cats. However, with push notifications going directly to their smartphone, it’s simple to advise them of new courses, prizes won or looming deadlines.
If a free eLearning authoring tool has a leaderboard feature then everyone can see how everyone else is performing – whether it’s individuals or groups. This can motivate the competitive learners along with those who are performing poorly.
It’s incredibly useful for free eLearning authoring tools to use templates. This allows incredible, interactive, potentially-gamified microlessons to be produced simply by adding existing content to them. It also opens the door to Peer Learning as anyone can create a lesson.
Learning can be very effective when it is dialled up on demand – minutes before it is needed. This isn’t possible with large eLearning courses but becomes practical on a decent free authoring tool.
When an authoring tool is simple to use, it’s simple to update content. A disturbing amount of eLearning courseware is old and out-of-date because it is so hard to update. However, if free eLearning authoring tools are simple to access and publish with, you can create or update a lesson in the morning (perhaps with last night’s news) and distribute it in the afternoon. This keeps the content fresh, relevant, engaging and effective.
11. Import/Export to SCORM
With your authoring tool, you should be able to import your existing SCORM content and to export your newly created learning material to SCORM. Being a widely-compatible format, SCORM can be used to integrate legacy platforms with EdApp, making it a versatile and incredibly useful tool for myriad organisations. EdApp’s free, mobile-based authoring tool allows users the option to import and export course content to SCORM or to use the integrated LMS.
12. Cloud Authoring
Cloud authoring tools are different to standard ones, whereby they are designed for the modern learner. It enables L&D instructors to distribute new or updated content from a central cloud-based system, delivered straight to the personal devices of employees. With a cloud authoring tool, content is constantly saved in the trusty cloud, simultanesouly providing users with the ease of publication at any given time. The tool also enhances collaboration, whereby users are able to demonstrate their knowledge, compared against that of their counterparts, known as social learning.
If you like the sound of the above features, it’s worth giving EdApp’s eLearning authoring tool a go as it supports all of them… free… forever. To find out more, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also try EdApp’s Mobile LMS and authoring tool for free by signing up here or in the box below.