E-learning authoring software and tools enable instructional designers and trainers to integrate various media to create professional, engaging, interactive content, and some make it possible to re-purpose digitized elements or learning objects from an existing course for reuse in a new one.
Instructional designers and trainers are always trying to find way to create and publish content for their environments for use on the Internet, organizational intranets, and CD-ROM. Selecting the best authoring tools requires close attention to detail.
Many currently available tools offer a variety of features, such as development of assessments and interactive virtual classrooms. Most authoring software is designed to create basic e-learning courses from the learner’s computer, and provide a variety of media and file types for example text, graphics, video, and audio, assessment and test creation features. One such example is Adobe.
Adobe eLearning development solutions and software include industry-leading authoring tools, real-time collaboration and effective curriculum management. Adobe specializes in software, web tools, developer tools, HTML tools, digital imaging, video and audio, server products, communication and collaboration tools, web design, development and publishing, and print publishing.
For screen capture software for training development, Camtasia Studio makes it easy to record any PC and PowerPoint screen action with or without sound, adding little features such as cursor highlighting, resizing applications within the recorder, and drawing on the screen. Audio and video clips are compiled, trimmed, and bedecked with visual effects in a production studio accessible to a cross section of users.
To find the authoring tool that works best for you, begin with a needs assessment that helps you determine the functionalities that you require. When selecting authoring software, think about the following:
Ease-of-use versus creative freedom: Are you interested in customizing the software? Are you looking for something template-based? Do you have flexibility with the set-up? Do you require training? Are you looking to produce high-end multimedia simulations with sophisticated graphics and audio? Look for a balance between ease-of-use features and creative freedom.
Automated programming: Determine if you are going to need any programming skills. Some programs require coding. If you select an authoring tool that requires programming, you may need someone who can do so.
Interoperability and standards:The ability of an authoring tool to work with other e-learning software and systems is important for many functions the expedite productivity, for example the ability to import graphics, audio etc to rather than creating from scratch. The standards may include Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM). Authoring tools differ in the standards they support. If your organization uses a learning management system (LMS), determine whether the authoring tool you’re considering is compatible. Microsoft Office is one such tool that has the ability to import and export data formats.
Multiple learning paths: Consider authoring tools that accommodate differences among learners and create variables for adaptive learning. Resources that allow branching rather than linear paths will be more useful for a broader base of learners.
Media and file support. Check to see what media and files are support. Most authoring tools support such common file types as JPGs, WAVs, and GIFs, while few packages support streaming video and audio. Determine what you will need for your purposes.
Cost. Prices for authoring software varies from free to a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Determine your budget and conduct a cost-benefit analysis before you make a large purchase.