How to Tell If You Need to Start Looking for a New ELearning Authoring Tool
Many eLearning content developers have grown into their current state through evolution. You initially started by using stand-alone tools, such as Microsoft PowerPoint or other slide presentation tools to create your training courses. Then, you may have acquired other “add-on” tools and apps to enhance your authoring capabilities.
At some point, the law of diminishing returns takes over: The more tools you add on, the less productive your team gets! Sadly though, sometimes it’s hard to notice that your existing eLearning authoring tools aren’t working for you.
Signs that tell you that new tools are overdue
You and your team have been using your existing eLearning authoring tools for several years now. Your team might feel very comfortable with the features and functionality they provide. And, because many of your authors and developers have become “experts” in using those tools, there might be a general feeling that there’s no need to change. And there lies the issue!
While you might be highly biased in your love for the status quo, your clients might not be feeling the same way. They may be looking for change. So, how do you know if you and your instructional design team have outgrown your current eLearning authoring tool?
Here are 7 signs that tell you that you really should be looking for a new set of authoring tools to support your eLearning projects:
- Your team finds it increasingly difficult to use existing tools
Gone are the days where everyone turned to tech experts to create learning content. Today’s eLearning tools are meant to provide a great deal of “autonomy” to Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and content authors to work on their own when creating eLearning courses. If your SMEs still depend on “technical staff” to help them use the content authoring tool, then it might be time for you to get a new tool!
- Your eLearning authoring team uses multiple tools
Today’s eLearning authoring tools are multi-featured tool boxes, not just single-use systems. They help with workflow management, assist with inter-team and intra-team collaboration, provide content management abilities, facilitate enforcement of corporate identity and standards, function as archives and libraries of re-usable content…and much more!
If you find that your team is using multiple systems to perform these and many other eLearning authoring and project management tasks, then it’s time to start looking for a single, integrated, and self-contained tool to replace all of your existing tools.
- You find it increasingly hard to get support for your existing eLearning authoring tools
The average lifecycle of eLearning content development tools is 18 to 24 months – sometimes even shorter. After that, a newer version comes out. Beyond that – say after 36-months – tool manufacturers cease supporting older versions of their tools.
If you find it difficult to get updates and patches for your current tools, then it’s time for you to consider moving to the latest version of your existing system or acquiring a different eLearning authoring tool.
- Your existing eLearning authoring tools are desk-top based
Authoring eLearning content is a very creative process, with inspiration coming at any time and any place. That’s why today’s eLearning authoring tools enable course creators to do their work on multiple platforms – including desktops, laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices.
If your authoring tools only support course authors who tie themselves to a desk and a chair, then you need to rethink how to empower your team with a new set of eLearning authoring tools.
- You don’t have a cloud-based, web-enabled environment
Most eLearning authors hate it when they want to work on a piece of course content, only to find that the building blocks to get them started reside on another server or a different network. This wastes valuable time and delays project completion!
If your team often finds themselves in that situation, you need to consider moving to a cloud-based, web-enabled eLearning authoring tool like CourseArc. Not only will it enhance authoring productivity, but it will also free your team from countless hours of backups, software updates, and managing feature upgrades on individual devices.
- You lack the ability to develop “new age” eLearning content
Many eLearning courses today feature cutting-edge technologies, such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). These capabilities enable eLearning authors to create highly interactive and engaging content that resonates with learners.
If you increasingly find yourself telling your clients (or HR managers): “Sorry, we can’t give you that!,” then it’s time to take a fresh look at your eLearning authoring tools. Perhaps a tool like the 2019 release of Adobe Captivate might be just what you want to upgrade to.
- You find your tools incapable of integrating with corporate or client LMSs
One of the greatest benefits of modern eLearning content development tools is that they seamlessly integrate with a large array of Learning Management Systems (LMSs). That means, once your content authors have developed the course, the team doesn’t have to spend inordinate amount of time maintaining and managing the course.
Since the authoring tool integrates with the LMS, the LMS takes over and relieves the SMEs and technology specialists from course management chores. And all this happens in a transparent way, without interrupting existing workflow or service delivery to learners.
If you find that your eLearning authoring team, SMEs and IT support staff are constantly bogged down in managing your courses, then it’s high time to move to a new system. Tools such as CourseArc and iSpring Suite support all of the leading LMS systems, and can offer tremendous productivity boosts for your eLearning authoring team.
Change is hard – but necessary!
Like an old pair of boots, old eLearning content authoring tools lend a sense of comfort and complacency. Because old tools “do the job”, many eLearning developers hesitate to switch to newer and more efficient tools. But efficiency isn’t the only reason to change – though it might be a primary motivator.
With new eLearning content authoring tools come new opportunities. Your existing tools might not offer you the types of features and functionality that your competitors are delivering to their customers. Older technology is also often susceptible to online security threats and lack of support from the manufacturers.
Like a new pair of shoes, moving to newer eLearning authoring tools might be hard at first, pinching and biting you initially. But it is the right thing to do – not just for your development team, but for your clients and your organization too!
For a more detailed understanding of some new tools to consider, check out my post titled “The best authoring tool for developing interactive eLearning courses.”