Is your authoring tool meeting your expectations?
Of course, whether your authoring tool meets or exceeds expectations will depend on who you are and what you need.
The topics are grouped below, but in truth, each user or group has a pattern of needs and expectations as unique to them as a fingerprint, making it impossible to definitively predict the needs of an eLearning development team based on size.
However, as your organization grows in size, needs don’t shift as much as building, and the bigger you are, the more important some capabilities become.
For eLearning authors
Each author’s needs (and whether an authoring tool can meet them) will vary depending on experience level and project specifications, but ultimately there are certain requirements that all have in common. Here are some examples.
Support for robust responsive authoring
Responsive content is the future. While many eLearning authoring tools now offer the ability to create responsive content, many of them are limited in functionality. In fact, some tools’ marketing materials will lead you to believe that responsive design means you can’t develop highly engaging interactive content or more sophisticated approaches like game design. Don’t let that fool you, as these “limitations” are simply shortcomings of this sensitive tool.
For example, the tool may offer a limited number of configurations for responsive content, or content may need to be adjusted for different screen sizes. Some types of interactivity may be missing or limited.
If you’re going to invest in responsive content, make sure you’re choosing a tool that will rise to the top and meet your long-term expectations. In this past article, you’ll find a list of questions to help you measure the robustness of a responsive authoring tool.
Variety of assessment questions
Effective eLearning cannot live on multiple choice and true or false alone. A solid authoring tool should have a variety of assessment and activity formats available.
Examples currently on the market include formats as familiar as fill-in-the-blank, matching and sequencing questions, and as innovative as image hotspots, soft-skill scenarios and software simulation.
While the rise of rapid template-based eLearning authoring tools has benefited many, authors are often limited by the list of built-in system interactions. This can be a frustrating limitation depending on the size of the list – your mileage may vary and the creation tools certainly do. In the end, you will have to decide for yourself what works for you.
While system interactions can make your work more efficient, experienced eLearning developers often need the ability to create complex custom interactions—a capability not available in every tool. This becomes increasingly important for innovative projects such as designing an eLearning game.
For small and medium-sized enterprises and organizations
SMBs often hit a tipping point in the size of their content library, number of collaborators, or both, where the features they need from a development tool change. Creation expectations still need to be met, but additional features can streamline your workflow and increase the efficiency of your eLearning development.
Features for collaboration and control
Organizations with multiple people contributing to eLearning development need a tool that can facilitate collaboration—preferably in real time.
You can try using third-party tools in conjunction with your eLearning authoring tool of choice, but you’ll be shocked at how much smoother things run when you’re dealing with native co-authoring, administration, and review features. . When these features are part of the workflow, you can not only reduce time by up to 25% compared to “integrated” solutions, but also prevent the loss of important information with features like page versioning.
Some content creation tools provide access to stock media and the ability to add custom assets, but they have little to no support for browsing and organizing your own media library.
Many organizations can benefit from providing their authors with a shared pool of organizational assets that can be tagged, tracked, and reused in any project. And when we say “reuse” we mean update once and see all use cases updated in different projects.
Most organizations want their eLearning courses to have a consistent and distinct look and feel that marks them as their own.
Some authoring tools can be unfortunate in meeting these expectations. Some tools limit customization to a few key colors and an organization’s logo, while other authoring tools allow you to customize virtually any aspect of your style or layout.
The most supported tools make it easy to create branded templates with robust WYSIWYG design options that can be used by later authors. The designer can set up a variety of custom templates and styles that reflect your organization’s branding. After that, the author just chooses the layout suitable for his project and concentrates on the content. Features like the ability to save a reusable theme allow you to make universal updates to your brand later.
For large enterprises
More content, more problems. The needs of large corporations and other large organizations demand another level of complexity from their digital learning development tools.
One of the biggest challenges for a large digital education development team in the modern age is the need to have all of their intellectual property secured in a central location. Legacy desktop-based authoring tools certainly won’t help – files can be scattered all over the place for editing, and with a workforce that requires more mobility than ever, remote access to files can be a pain.
A cloud-based authoring tool with strong security features such as separation of physical installations and SAML2 SSO secure login capabilities can solve this problem. No matter where your collaborators are, they can access and contribute to projects through browser access. Updates are saved frequently and automatically, backed up redundantly and protected against hardware failure, and your IP address is always reliably available to your administrators.
Content management and organization
Large organizations typically manage large volumes of eLearning content. That’s why businesses need an authoring tool that provides multiple levels of project organization, including the ability to create custom labels, categories, and collections.
Translation and language features
International businesses often need e-learning projects translated into multiple languages, and while the bulk of the effort lies with the translators themselves, an authoring tool can make this process easy or especially tedious.
Some content authoring tools support more languages than others, which is of course a key factor.
If the tools have equivalent language support, look for a simplified translation workflow, easy-to-use features for unique styles such as right-to-left languages, and organizational features designed to manage multilingual courses.
Get a creation tool that exceeds your expectations
Carefully consider the cost of content development when choosing a content creation tool. Features like the ones we’ve reviewed can have a huge impact on your business’ bottom line. As we develop features for dominKnow | At ONE, we strive to exceed your expectations, not just meet them. We do this by listening to our users, considering the evolving needs of the eLearning community, and optimizing solutions to those challenges.
This kind of thoughtful development is why our authoring tool exceeds your expectations in each of the above categories.
Want to learn more about dominKnow | ONE abilities? Contact me or leave a comment below.