Nowadays, there are so many rapid eLearning authoring tools on the market that selecting the best one is often challenging. At the end, it comes down to personal preference, but the following tips can help you make an appropriate selection.
- Make a list of functionalities important to you – As you “play” with authoring tools, see which software best meets your needs. If you are unsure, you can always call a vendor and ask questions about the required features.
However, keep in mind that vendors are salespeople whose ultimate goal is to make their piece of software standout among the rest and lead you into purchasing it. Therefore, always double-check the information provided by the vendor by asking people already using the tool about their experiences. Figuring out what’s important to you should always be your first step. As you evaluate each tool, you must know what you are looking for. Consider prioritizing your list by placing the must-have features on the top of the list and the nice-to-have features at the bottom.
- Read reviews and comments – There are always people posting information on websites and blogs about advantages and disadvantages of tools they used. They are also posting solutions to problems and workarounds; therefore, if you want to build something but are not sure if it is possible, you can always Google your question.
- Watch demos – If demos are available, watch them to get a better picture of the capabilities and limitations of the tool you are evaluating.
- Download free trial – Before investing in licenses, always download a trial version and play with it as much as you can. Try building several prototypes before your trial version expires. This should help you understand what you can and cannot do with the specific tool.
If free tutorials are available, use them to get a better idea about the complexity of the program.
- Ask for opinions – Consider asking your colleagues who have used the software what they like and dislike about it as well as what they were able to accomplish with it and what they wish they could do but are not able to. If you do not know anyone using the software, go on the LinkedIn and look for discussion groups. There are many LinkedIn groups that target specific software. If you join them, you will not only receive a lot of valuable information from your colleagues but will also be able to ask questions.
I’d be interested in hearing about your process for selecting an eLearning authoring tool.