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Top 7 Online Course Creation Tools

Helen Colman Hacker Noon profile picture

@helencolmanHelen Colman

I enjoy combining in-depth research with knowledge of the eLearning industry.

COVID-19 has resulted in schools shutting and employees switching to remote work all over the world. As a consequence, education has changed dramatically, with the notable rise of eLearning. Educators have had to convert traditional classroom learning to virtual training and self-paced e-courses quickly. For many of them, it turned out to be quite challenging to create online courses with no prior experience in content development, but they rose to the occasion and met the challenge head-on. And this is where course authoring tools came into play. Keep reading to find out what authoring tools are available on the market.

1. iSpring Suite Max

iSpring Suite Max is a complete authoring toolkit with a focus on rapid content development and ease of use. Its core tool works as a PowerPoint add-in, which makes it easy for novice course creators to learn how to work with it. With iSpring, you can easily create professional-looking courses that include interactive quizzes, screencasts, and video tutorials, role-plays, and interactive micro-learning activities.

The content can be published to HTML5, mp4, and several eLearning formats that include SCORM. The software also has an online space for collaboration where authors can upload their content, collect feedback from their colleagues, and even build courses with a built-in authoring tool right in their browser. To make the authoring process even faster and easier, you can use iSpring’s Content Library that is a resource with thousands of beautiful eLearning assets: photos of characters, locations, course templates, and icons. 

2. Adobe Captivate

Adobe Captivate is a tool with a large functionality base, although with a linear style design and a steep learning curve. It is well suited for professional course developers who want to have control over all aspects of the course and an ability to make unique interactions by customizing the content via advanced programmatic elements such as objects, variables, and triggers. Captivate also provides powerful tools for creating software simulations, virtual reality projects, and interactive videos, and even allows you to publish courses as mobile apps.

3. Articulate 360

Articulate 360 presents itself as a complete solution for eLearning development, review, and deployment. It includes nine tools, two of which are used specifically for course authoring. Storyline 360, Articulate’s flagship tool, is the most advanced tool from this set. It allows you to create courses that include voice-overs, videos, animations, and interactive quizzes. Storyline’s interface is somehow similar to PowerPoint in that makes it easier for non-professionals to start working with it but it is a standalone desktop tool.

Articulate’s other authoring tool, Rise, is web-based and is a good fit for building simple linear courses by combining different learning ‘blocks.’ Like iSpring, Articulate has a Content Library with templates, photographs, icons, and more. 

4. Lectora Online

Lectora Online is a cloud-based authoring tool that complies with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). It lets you create simple linear courses, as well as more dynamic and personalized learning experiences with conditional branching and sequenced events.

With Lectora Online, experienced developers can write their own scripts or include custom libraries, fonts, and CSS, so there are no limitations in terms of customization. With a subscription to Lectora, you get access to eLearning Brothers’ eLearning templates and AssetLibrary, which lets you search over 120 million creative assets quickly and easily.

5. Elucidat

Elucidat is a cloud-based authoring platform that is focused on the simplicity of content creation. It comes with an extensive library of pre-built templates, so novice course developers can start building good-looking interactive content right away. The platform has the so-called Learning Accelerator feature that recommends eLearning blueprints to a user based on their training goals.

For those who want to create unique content, there’s the “layout designer” feature that allows you to build your own page designs without a single line of code. The tool also provides flexible rules and branching options that enable you to make courses with personalized learning paths. Elucidat allows multiple authors to work on the same project – stakeholders can log comments on the content using this review feature.

6. dominKnow

domiKnow presents itself as an authoring tool that allows you to create any kind of learning experience: online courses for formal learning, training games, infographics, or a knowledge base.

Course developers can create traditional fixed layer content, as well as truly responsive courses. Like some other software solutions mentioned, dominKnow offers ready-to-go design template sets and a collection of images (backgrounds and people) for faster content creation. For better course authoring, the tool also provides a built-in photo editor and a capture feature. With dominKnow’s collaboration option, a team can work together on the project in real-time. 

7. Easygenerator

Easygenerator is a user-friendly tool that reduces course authoring to a few simple things like dragging and dropping content such as text, images, video, Word files, and PDFs and choosing appropriate question types to add knowledge checks. Authors can speed up the creation process by co-authoring together with their team and providing feedback to each other or suggesting changes with comments within the tool. Easygenerator comes with an analytics option. To know how learners are doing, you can use built-in reports and keep track of their results in real-time.

To sum up

All these tools are designed to let people create eLearning courses, and in fact, they have a lot of overlap in their functionality. Choose a software that will be your best assistant in course development. Analyze your training needs and keep your experience in instructional design in mind. What kind of training content are you going to produce? Are you a seasoned professional or a novice? Are you planning to create the content alone or with your team? Answering these questions will help you make the best choice.

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