what is an authoring tool

What are authoring tools?

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.

Authoring tools are primarily responsible for driving the success of employee training. Designing aesthetic, engaging and effective microlessons becomes a seamless operation when utilizing an easy-to-use, good authoring tool. 

EdApp’s content authoring tool

The primary differentiator between authoring tools is its functionality and aesthetic. EdApp’s forward-thinking authoring tool provides users with exclusive access to a vast library of exceptional templates, proving to be considerably more time and cost effective. All you need to do is import your unique content into the ready-made template, enabling the creation of whole microlessons in a matter of minutes or hours, rather than days or weeks. 

Our templates vary in their functions, allowing managers to pick and choose which templates they would like to use for specific content. We have three predominant template categories to significantly boost your existing employee learning program.

1. Knowledge Transfer
Knowledge transfer encapsulates the utilization of microlessons to transfer knowledge to learners for the first time. This is achieved through features such as narration, video, text and images to fully immerse users in a positive and informative learning environment, contributing to personal and professional development.

2. Interactive Templates
Interactive templates are a front-running feature of our authoring tool, responsible for lessons being completely interactive, using engaging UI/UX. Interactivity has been proven to significantly increase the rate of how much content is understood by learners in their first interaction with new material. The consolidation of knowledge has been made a seamless experience with interactive templates.

3. Game Templates
Gamified learning is at the forefront of mobile learning success, whereby authoring tools adopt the strategy for the reinforcement of key concepts, whilst simultaneously ensuring message retention. Game templates provide learners with tactile challenges, requiring them to virtually perform skills which are easily transferable to practical application in the real world.

Let’s break these three categories down into 8 specific templates.

Content Templates

Content templates showcase new knowledge to learners for the first time, creating an initial learner-content interaction. They must be clear and concise in order for learners to understand the content and to be intrigued to learn more.

Concepts Templates

Concepts templates are used to teach various individual concepts, usually requiring learners to create and filter presented statements. This embeds the knowledge in learners’ long-term memories, avoiding the risk of Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve or cognitive overload.

Multiple Choice Templates

Multiple choice templates are common in training programs and are primarily used to consolidate key concepts through the selection of one option. The exposure of varying responses to one question works well to test learners on their knowledge by requiring the retrieval of pre-learnt knowledge.

Numbers Templates

Numbers templates are dedicated to asking numbers-based questions, facilitating familiarity with numerical concepts.

Relationships Templates

Relationships templates allow learners to match concepts to gain a holistic understanding of specific concepts. This promotes a chunking strategy, whereby similar concepts can be bunched in the learner’s brain to create a greater understanding of an overarching topic.

Games Templates

Games templates utilize gamification to engage and motivate learners. Interactive questions are presented to learners in various forms in an attempt to reinforce essential content.

Surveys Templates

Feedback is essential in the action learning cycle, whereby learners and L&D managers are encouraged to provide thoughts and opinions on course content. Survey templates facilitate feedback through asking learners to provide a short response to the quality and content of lessons. This information can be effectively used by managers to improve, adjust or maintain lessons in the future.

Advanced Templates

Advanced templates offer a higher level of unique features, unlocking the full potential of your authoring tool. This way, lessons become multi purposed and more complex.

If you would like to learn more about these 8 template categories, click here.

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.

Good content in means good content out. If you’re creating a library that will last for some time, do it once and do it right.

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:

  • Microlearning long courses are ineffective. Switching to microlearning-based training makes for much quicker and simpler course creation.
  • 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 enquiries@edapp.com. You can also try EdApp’s Mobile LMS and authoring tool for free by signing up here.

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