A content authoring tool refers to software that enables you to create interactive digital training content, easily convert it into different formats, and offer it to learners either through the web or a learning management system.
There are several advantages of using content authoring tools, including –
- It speeds up the training content development process
- It is easier to maintain and update
- Cuts down the eLearning development cost
- Allows you to produce high-quality eLearning courses without any prior experience
- Enables you to deploy multi-platform-compatible online training resources
There are several options available when it comes to choosing a content authoring tool, each tailored to suit the specific needs of its audience, whether it is in education or business. If you’re looking for some help in choosing one, here’s a list of some of the popular tools available in the market, along with their features, advantages, and disadvantages.
Top Content Authoring Tools
1. KITABOO Author
KITABOO Author is an intuitive and user-friendly platform that lets you create responsive content with a simple drag and drop feature. The platform follows a WYSIWYG approach, whereby you can design interactive online content and preview what the output would look like on various devices. You can create courses, add assessments, videos, images and more.
- The platform lets you create interactive and responsive content using drag and drop templates
- It has multiple distribution models – access codes, subscription or online store
- Seamlessly integrates with existing infrastructure (LMS, webstore or other systems)
- You can add various interactive elements such as videos, audio, animation, quizzes etc.
- Provides a responsive HTML5 output and a great analytics system where you can track how users are interacting with the content
- Robust cloud based platform tried and tested by publishers
- Intuitive, easy to use interface, driven by widgets
- Allows multiple users to collaborate and create content
- Initial investment for cloud infrastructure and customization
- Offline use of the platform for authoring may be a limitation
2. Adobe Captivate
Available as a desktop application for both Windows and Mac, Adobe Captivate is one of the most powerful content authoring tools available in the market. Adobe is the largest content tool maker with multiple tools focused on content development.
- It allows you to import 360⁰ images and create seamless virtual reality projects for immersive learning experiences
- Boasts of great speed and efficiency when it comes to authoring content
- It offers a steep learning curve for authors. While simple content can be produced relatively quickly, using more advanced interactions requires you to put some time
- Supports a wide range of formats, including SCORM, AICC, HTML5, xAPI (TinCan), Windows, and Mac OS
- It allows you to add interactivity to your videos along with overlay slides
- Excellent for screen recording and simulations
- Ability to produce complex interactions and interactivity in the output
- Can create virtual reality (VR) learning experiences
- Various limitations of a desktop tool such as review & version control and challenging collaboration
- Unlike more modern eLearning authoring tools, adobe captivate features a traditional linear style design
- Limited support and a cumbersome process of updating and maintaining existing content
3. Articulate Storyline
Articulate Storyline is another great content authoring tool available as a Windows desktop authoring application that leverages the look and feel of PowerPoint. The software boasts of various powerful features and built-in templates that allow you to create engaging courses.
- Courses can be published to Flash, HTML5, and for use with iPad and/or Android apps
- The software allows you to create advanced interactive lessons with various quizzes
- Features a robust library with a wide range of resources (characters and images) to make your presentation more engaging and realistic
- Supports various eLearning formats, including AICC, SCORM, and xAPI
- Offers great flexibility and control in terms of content output
- Boasts of a very active online community
- The software has a powerful show me/try me/test me simulation eLearning capabilities
- Mobile responsiveness is not up to the mark
- Poor screen reader functionality
- The process of collaboration and content updates is very time consuming
- The software doesn’t get new features and bug fixes instantly
A full-featured eLearning solution, the iSpring suite is primarily focused on making content development easy and intuitive. One of the main advantages of the iSpring Suite is that it works as a PowerPoint add-in, which is not only simple to use but also a familiar interface.
- The software turns your PPTs into ready-to-use multimedia e-courses, which can be used in any SCORM compatible LMS or on a regular HTML website
- Features a robust tool known as iSpring content library to make eLearning content development faster. This allows developers to build a course quickly using pre-designed templates, icons, graphic objects, characters, with minimal or no training
- Has a responsive design and doesn’t require any additional attention to make the courses compatible with tablets or other mobile devices
- Offers extensive PowerPoint support where published courses preserve all original slide transition effects, triggers, object animations, embedded audio/video, and more
- Features built-in dialogue simulator with branching conversation scenario
- Simple and familiar interface for building course content quickly
- Ability to turn PPTs into SCORM courses
- Can convert Word and PDF documents into interactive SCORM flipbooks
- iSpring software doesn’t support closed captioning (CC) for video and audio narration
- For the iSpring Suite to work, PowerPoint needs to be installed
- It doesn’t have a text-to-speech function, and it only works on Windows
Lectora is an affordable yet powerful cloud-based SaaS content authoring tool. The main highlight of this software is that it works with all browsers and operating systems.
The following are some of the main features of Lectora –
- Intuitive interface, zero installation hassle, automatic file backup, and publishing on any learning management system (LMS)
- Key features include collaborative review tools, a robust quiz builder, and pre-built actions to create animations and flexible scripting
- Lectora has a translation feature that allows you to scale one course into multiple languages
- Supports various formats including HTML5, xAPI, SCORM, AICC, Windows, and Mac OS
- Easy to learn
- Excellent for screen capture and simulations
- Features an online reviewer collaboration tool using ReviewLink
- Not a user-friendly interface
- Customer support is not up to the mark
All the content authoring tools mentioned in the above offer a range of features. Ideally, you would need to evaluate each one of these to pick the most suitable tool to help you make your online courses.
To make the selection simple, you need to create a clear checklist of your specific requirements and check the budget. This will help you narrow down your options and pick the best and most appropriate tool for your needs.