5 Best E-Learning Content Authoring Tools for Corporate Trainers

By: on January 15, 2020

As a corporate trainer, creating and designing training content forms a large portion of your workload. Your sessions need to be detailed, but at the same time they shouldn’t overwhelm learners with information.

5 Best Content-Authoring Tools for Trainers (listed alphabetically)


Adobe Captivate


Gomo


iSpring Suite


Lectora Online


Storyline 360

In an e-learning setup, ease of use and learning flexibility become key. Your training content must be intuitive, easily accessible, and mobile friendly. You must also customize course elements based on the learning requirements of your trainees.

E-learning content authoring software is designed to help you manage these tasks efficiently. With this type of software, you can develop and publish tailored training content. You can also add different types of media elements (text, videos, slideshows, etc.) and assessments to your courses. These elements not only improve the quality of your training material but also make designing and publishing easier.

Some LMSs have content authoring functionality built-in, but if you’re seeking a stand-alone e-learning authoring tool, here are the five top solutions to get you started.

Products are presented here alphabetically. Read more about our selection methodology here.

1. Adobe Captivate

Adobe Captivate is one of the most well-known content authoring tools (based on the volume of Google search queries). It supports a wide range of media formats, such as images, videos, animations, and PowerPoint presentations. It also has various game templates, design layouts, and stock images available in its asset store.

Types of courses in Adobe Captivate

Types of courses in Adobe Captivate (Source)

Adobe Captivate offers master slides and templates that help users maintain content guidelines and standards across training materials, which you can modify to fit your design and interaction needs. A key feature of the tool called “multistate object,” allows you to create multiple versions of an image/object for designing interactive courses. You can also create immersive simulations and use complex branching to direct your trainees on individualized learning paths.

The platform’s multidevice preview feature allows you to preview how your training courses will look on different devices. You can publish your courses on Adobe PhoneGap’s iOS, Android, and Windows apps. Based on the location of your trainees, you can even customize courses to offer different language options.

We analyzed user reviews for Adobe Captivate to understand what buyers like and dislike. Here’s what we found:

Pros

Cons

Wide range of features
 
Software license provides access to the asset store, which includes several design elements
Steep learning curve
 
Application interface can be slow to load

Bottom line:

Adobe Captivate is a feature-rich content authoring tool, but you’ll need some technical know-how to leverage its wide-ranging functionality.

2. Gomo

Gomo is a cloud-based e-learning content authoring solution for businesses of all sizes. It allows users to design online training courses using customizable templates, collaborate with content creators, and create responsive content.

Content dashboard in gomo

Content dashboard in gomo (Source)

Gomo’s course management feature lets you define training layouts and authoring tasks, as well as add rich media assets to your training material using a drag-and-drop interface. You can also create quizzes that have questions with different answer options, such as multiple choice, typed input, and numerical input.

The software follows a task-based approach for developing training courses, allowing you to assign content creation and editing tasks to different team members. And since the solution is cloud-based, comments made during a review are visible to all members in real time. You can also share your training courses via email or QR code.

We analyzed user reviews for gomo to understand what buyers liked and disliked. Here’s what we found:

Pros

Cons

Creation of mobile-responsive training content
 
Centralization of resources for better team collaboration
Costlier than other similar products
 
Course authoring feature not as intuitive as that of other similar products

Bottom line:

If your course authoring tasks involve collaboration among many stakeholders, you can consider this product.

3. iSpring Suite

iSpring Suite is an on-premise e-learning solution that offers different themes, animations, and effects to let users create online courses on Microsoft PowerPoint.

It lets users design training content using different elements, such as video narration, e-learning interactions, and assessments, and it offers mobile-responsive layouts to create mobile-supported learning content. You can also embed webpages in your training content, so users don’t have to open a new window. With iSpring Suite, courses can be published in the HTML5, Flash, and MP4 formats.

PowerPoint Integration in iSpring Suite

PowerPoint integration in iSpring Suite (Source)

iSpring Suite also offers dedicated training apps for iOS and Android devices, allowing learners to download courses on their mobile devices and take them offline. Built-in screen capturing lets you record screencasts and paste them in slides. You can also use predefined templates to style training content in the form of books, stories, and FAQs, among others.

For training delivery, you can use the recommended settings or rely on separate sliders to compress image, audio, and video files as needed. You can also adjust all the panels and buttons in the iSpring player to customize guidance for individual learners.

We analyzed user reviews for iSpring Suite to understand what buyers liked and disliked. Here’s what we found:

Pros

Cons

Easy to learn
 
Effective customer support
Fewer templates and icons compared to other similar products
 
Lack of Mac OS support

Bottom line:

If you primarily use PowerPoint to design your training courses, you should evaluate iSpring Suite.

4. Lectora Online

Lectora Online is a cloud-based content authoring tool that helps users design training material using conditional branching and sequential logic. Its automatic versioning feature lets users view all the versions of a designed training course. The tool also offers responsive design options to support mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

Getting started page in Lectora Online

Getting started page in Lectora Online (Source)

The software has a drag-and-drop interface that allows you to move elements as you design your course. It features a centralized media repository for uploading and using media files across courses. It also lets you add notes and create assignments for team members so that you can delegate tasks and collaborate effectively.

In Lectora Online, you can preview your training courses before publishing by scanning a QR code with your smartphone. The tool also provides free access to online forums and how-to articles along with a toll-free customer support number.

We analyzed user reviews for Lectora Online to understand what buyers liked and disliked. Here’s what we found:

Pros

Cons

Interactive and engaging courses
 
Mobile-responsive course design
Steep learning curve compared to other e-learning solutions
 
Outdated UI

Bottom line:

If you use extensive branching logic for designing training content, you should consider Lectora Online.

5. Storyline 360

Storyline 360 is an on-premise content authoring solution for businesses of all sizes. It supports only Windows OS and allows authors to design training material using templates and multimedia content. It also features motion path animations, action-based triggers, and interactive sliders.

Action-based triggers in Storyline 360

Action-based triggers in Storyline 360 (Source)

The software lets you import course assets directly into its media library. It supports uncompressed videos, a beneficial feature if your training content requires high visual definition. It also offers dockable panels that you can move anywhere on the desktop or even to a second monitor.

The tool’s “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) text editor allows you to modify content as needed and view the real-time effect of the changes made. Software simulations and an assessment builder are also included in the package.

Articulate, Storyline 360’s software vendor, hosts “E-Learning Heroes,” a community where you can find free templates, guidance, and posts on software-related queries.

We’ve analyzed user reviews for Storyline 360 to understand what buyers liked and disliked. Here’s what we found:

Pros

Cons

Intuitive user interface
 
E-Learning Heroes community is helpful for technical queries
Costlier than other similar products
 
Lack of Mac OS support

Bottom line:

If you use Windows and are looking for a user-friendly e-learning solution, you should consider Storyline 360.

Next steps

Now that you’ve read about these top five products, the next step is to find one that suits your e-learning requirements. To get started, use the following approach:

  • Set an annual budget for a content authoring tool. Eliminate products that exceed your budget.
  • Determine the content authoring features required for your business. Shortlist products that offer these features.
  • Contact software vendors and set up a demo for each shortlisted product. You can also read user reviews on Software Advice to assess the usefulness of the product in your line of business.

Go through our e-learning software catalog to explore more solutions.


Product selection methodology

  1. We shortlisted products from our e-learning software directory that offer these core features: content authoring, course tracking, and course management.
  2. Then, we ranked the products in the shortlist based on monthly search volume to arrive at the top five products.

Note: Listed pros and cons are derived from features listed on the product website and product user reviews on Gartner Digital Markets domains (Capterra, GetApp, and Software Advice). They do not represent the views of, nor constitute an endorsement by, Software Advice or its affiliates.

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