Instructional Design

Using the Right eLearning Development Tools for Your Audience

How to Choose the Right eLearning Development Tools

If having the right tools didn’t matter, we’d all brush our teeth with hammers. No-brainer decisions between hammers and toothbrushes are nice, but life doesn’t work like that. If you believe Google (as we all do), you can end up with over 30 different hammers for one basic function—nail—in. Choosing which eLearning course development tool to use gets even crazier, with hundreds of different products on the market all basically doing the same thing—information—in. So, here’s the lowdown on some of the course authoring tools we use for niche audiences and why, as well as some useful insider video tutorials thrown in.

Common eLearning Authoring and eLearning Development Tools We Use at ELM

“What we were seeing was one tool to do everything. But now the industry is moving towards niche development tools.” Ashley Hudson-Hines, Creative Director at ELM

What we were seeing was one tool to do everything. But now the industry is moving towards niche development tools.

The eLearning industry is predicted to reach a value of $325 billion by the year 2025. With so many players jumping in the game, the software industry is seeing dollar signs. The sheer number of choices can be mind-boggling, and it’s tempting to just pick the most popular or heavily reviewed software option rather than research every eLearning tool on the market. Here’s a quick list of the ones we use:

  • The Old Standards

These oldies are good and good for a reason. They output a linear and immersive experience for users. If you’re looking for change management or to elicit a strong emotional connection, we recommend these tools because you can build a more immersive experience by putting the learner in a situation and having them live it. If you have older learners, they respond better to these tools because the learning path is made clear by one or two very obvious buttons.

  • The Newcomers

These are HTML output mobile first tools for web-savvy users, kind of like eLearning for the millennial generation. The learning feels like a webpage experience in that it’s broken up—the learners have the freedom to control the narrative by clicking on menu topics they want to learn. These tools work well for fact-based, knowledge transfer learning as they rely on templatized components and a web-style delivery. We especially like to use these tools as interactive reference materials or for roles when having information at your fingertips while on-the-go is critical.

  • The Latest

Typically, you use an eLearning Development tool to create your course, publish it, and then upload your file package to your LMS. LCMS Authoring Tools comprise a Learning Management System (LMS) and a built-in authoring tool, or Content Management System (CMS). The benefits are: you don’t have to worry about hiccups with integration; they modularize pieces of the training for reuse, making it’s easy for IDs and other designers to rapidly create and launch updated content; and they are cloud-based, allowing for collaboration.

How to Pick the Right eLearning Development Tool

“Pick a tool, test it on your system. That’s it. Test it before you commit to it.” Ashley Hudson-Hines, Creative Director at ELM

Three things to take into consideration:

  1. Not every eLearning development tool will integrate with your LMS.  You’ll want to build a prototype or use a template, publish it, and make sure it interfaces with your LMS.
  2.   The features you want and that your audience needs.

3. Which eLearning development tools work best for your audience and eLearning goals

  • Audience (this overlaps with the above bullet point)
  • Consider your eLearning goals
  • eLearning development tool features
  • The delivery device (desktop, laptop, tablet and/or mobile phone)