The term authoring tool can mean many things to people working in different industries. For some it can mean software that creates multimedia while to others it can reference software that’s used to create web pages. Meanwhile, to the learning and development industry, it typically means software that builds online courses. However, with the variety of authoring tools available, this still means that questions need to be answered.
What is an authoring tool?
In the world of eLearning, an authoring tool is software that’s used to create lessons and courseware. It’s traditionally been expensive to purchase and complicated to use. Modern eLearning authoring tools are becoming simpler thanks to the introduction of elaborate templates and shorter, microlearning-based lessons. These make it simpler to create effective company training programs as fewer people and less-qualified skill-sets are required to create learning content.
What’s the problem with them?
At the recent Learning Technology conference in London, many visitors talked about problems that affected their dealing with authoring tools and the same issues cropped up over and over again. A major problem is that authoring tool software is typically so complicated that specialist developers need to be employed. Finding them is a time-consuming and expensive process. On top of this, managers need to be hired to oversee course-development processes.
Another issue is that when course development is outsourced to a third-party company (that handles the authoring tool and development) the complexities that arise from having to find a partner company, engage them, brief them on content and approving content, represent a very expensive process that takes up a great deal of time to the point where courses takes weeks to be delivered. On top of that, updating these courses is a huge problem because, in most instances, the original creator needs to be engaged and, even if the change is small, the process is expensive and time consuming.
What to look for in an authoring tool
The solution to complicated, expensive, resource-laden, course development can be summed up in the following points:
• Integrated authoring tool – Having an authoring tool that creates content for a learning management system is an exercise in complexity and compatibility. It requires developers and managers for two sets of complicated, expensive software. However, if it is integrated into the LMS, you only need one person (or team) to manage it.
• Templates – An authoring tool that allows you to upload existing learning content to interactive and gamified templates means anyone can create intricate eLearning lessons and courses. This, in turn, opens the door to Peer Learning where workers can train colleagues on internal processes and policies by simply creating a small lesson and distributing it.
Want to know more?
If you’re fed up of dealing with complex authoring practices and ineffective learning, 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.