Support from FASE's Education Technology Office

What e-authoring tool is right for me?

Updated

An eLearning authoring tool is a type of software program that allows users to create digital learning content, lessons and courses using text, media, and interactions. Users can also convert their content into various formats (eg. eLearning format), and distribute it among learners via a LMS. Depending on the specific eLearning authoring tool, it will likely offer a ready-to-use interface complete with templates, media, tools, interactions, and tests that the user can easily arrange and manipulate without any technical programming expertise. You'll want to keep in mind that the different tools have different strengths, and you might actually use a combination of the tools in order to achieve your goals.

Some eLearning authoring tool options:

  1. Articulate Storyline is a Windows desktop e-authoring application with an interface similar to PowerPoint. It has a modest learning curve considering the flexibility that it offers—especially if you already know your way around PowerPoint. Articulate Storyline can be used to create learning modules that present information in a non-linear or unconventional format with quizzes, drag-and-drop interactions, simulations, screen recordings, and many other e-learning objects that users can interact with.
  2. Articulate Rise is a web-based authoring tool with a range of prebuilt lesson types, custom learning called “blocks,” interactions, and screencasts to create a range of courses. It is easy to use with an intuitive interface, and provides pre-built, standard interactions, including timelines, processes, labelled graphics, etc. There are two ways of creating courses in Rise, you can choose pre-built ‘lessons’ for a rapid approach, or custom ‘lessons’ using ‘blocks’ if you’d like more control and customization.
  3. Adobe Captivate is a desktop application available for both Windows and Mac. It is used for creating eLearning content such as software demonstrations, software simulations, branched scenarios, and randomized quizzes in Small Web Formats (.swf) and HTML5 formats. It’s one of the more powerful authoring tools in this list, but comes with a steeper learning curve and its own set of challenges.
  4. H5P is an open-source content collaboration framework that allows users to create, share, and reuse interactive HTML5 content on a web page. It is also a plugin for existing publishing systems (eg. WordPress, Moodle, Drupal) that enables the system to create interactive content like Interactive Videos, Presentations, Games, Quizzes and more.
  5. Easygenerator is an online e-Learning authoring tool for people without an e-Learning background. Users can create courses and quizzes and host them in Easygenerator's cloud and see learner's results. Uploading to your website or LMS is also possible.

Try It Out! - Please try to build an example lecture or course using the free trial of each e-authoring tool to see how the tool works with your teaching plans. This is a great opportunity to test out how different interfaces and content types will work for you, and the ease of use of each e-authoring tool you choose to create your course with. Take advantage of the opportunity to try different apps firsthand before you make an investment.



Support Sites: Articulate Storyline Articulate Rise Adobe Captivate H5P Easygenerator
Ideal for: Users who wish to be working solo and would have the ability, and desire, to create complex interactions and simulations; Learning teams who prefer PowerPoint and want to add an extra layer of customization Users who need to build basic eLearning courses quickly and easily; Articulate users who want to work together on a piece of content, in real-time Experienced learning designers working on content that doesn’t need to be regularly updated and those who are looking to creating VR, software simulations and heavily interactive content

Users who want to add interactive content to their CMS using a plugin; Teams who need collaboration and review features

Relatively inexperienced users who wish to create relatively simple elearning content quickly; Teams who need collaboration and review features
Before you use,
consider:
  • Not as easy to collaborate with others
  • Lacking in accessibility options
  • Steep learning curve
  • Not easy to collaborate
  • Word limit on many of the long-form questions
Type of solution: Authoring suite:
Desktop (Windows)
Online authoring tool:
Cloud-based (Windows, Mac OS)
Standalone authoring tool: Desktop (Windows, Mac OS) Online authoring tool:
Cloud-based (Windows, Mac OS)
Online authoring tool:
Cloud-based (Windows, Mac OS)
Supported eLearning formats: AICC, SCORM, xAPI (TinCan) AICC, SCORM, xAPI (TinCan) HTML5, SCORM, AICC, xAPI (TinCan) HTML5, xAPI (TinCan) SCORM, xAPI (TinCan), LTI, HTML5
Speed of production: Slower Fast Slower Fast Fast
Ease of use: Medium Easy Harder Easy Easy
Features and content types: List of Features List of Features List of Features List of Features List of Features
Example: Intro to Heavy Civil Building Science Fundamentals Examples from Adobe Examples of each content type in H5P Sign in to see more examples of content types in easygenerator
Strengths:
  • Good flexibility and control in terms of content output
  • Very active online community
  • Reasonably powerful show me/try me/test me software simulation eLearning capability
  • Easy to use with a simple and intuitive interface
  • Quick to create good-looking (relatively simple) elearning content quickly
  • Screencasting available
  • Cloud-based – easy to update, collaborate and review
  • Good for screen recording and simulations
  • Able to produce complex interactions
  • Interactivity in the output can recognize common mobile-device gestures (e.g., pinch and zoom, swipe)
  • Ability to create virtual reality (VR) learning experiences
  • Free 
  • Can be used as a plug-in to create interactive content for existing Wordpress, Moodle, and Drupal pages
  • Easy to use and very intuitive
  • Good for authors who are just starting out building eLearning content
  • Able to build templates and adapt
  • Built-in tracking and tracing
  • Ability to import PowerPoint (do so with caution)
Weaknesses:
  • Not truly mobile responsive – it just shrinks the screen
  • Collaboration and content updates can be time consuming
  • Poor screen reader functionality
  • Don’t get new features and bug fixes instantly
  • Content can look very generic
  • Limited customization and flexibility
  • Storage limitations in place
  • Lacking in accessibility options
  • Steep learning curve with limited support
  • Challenging collaboration, review and version control
  • Painful process to update and maintain existing content
  • Cannot import PowerPoint
  • Limitation in output formats
  • No screen record option
  • Limited features
  • Limited features
  • Restrictions on question types/quizzes to certain pricing plans
  • A word limit on many of the long-form questions
  • Only compatible with SCORM 1.2
Pricing?
  • Storyline 3 (perpetual licence with limited updates): $1,398.00 per license
  • Articulate 360 (subscription-based with continuous feature updates and includes Articulate Rise 360): see pricing for different levels of accounts.
Free Trial? 60-day Free Trial 60-day Free Trial 30-day Free Trial

Free as plugin and on H5P.org

30-day Free Trial for hosting on H5P.com

14-day Free Trial
Quality of Output: Medium Low High Low Low
PowerPoint Import: Yes Yes (but troublesome) Yes No Yes
Accessibility Storyline 360 supports WCAG 2.1 Level AA, including screen readers, keyboard navigation, visible focus indicators, and more. Rise 360 isn't fully accessible yet. Matching and fill in the blank question types are not accessible yet. All other features support accessible content. Check out this overview of the accessibility status for the H5P Content Types. Please see this for more info on Easygenerator’s compliance with Section 508.
Preview Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Quizzes & Questions Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Collaborative authoring No Yes No
(However, there is an option for collaborative reviewing storyboards using Adobe Captivate Draft)
Yes Yes
Templates Yes (Custom) Yes (Customizable) Yes No Yes
Interactive Videos Yes No Yes Yes No
Screen Record: Yes No Yes No No
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