Top 5 Professional Elearning Authoring Tools 2017

Top 5 professional elearning authoring tools for creating interactive learning courses in 2017.


In the world today, there are hundred of elearning authoring tools you can use to create learning content. There are offline tools, web-based tools and mobile authoring tool too. It sounds great that we have many options out there. In consideration of features, prices, technical support as well as online video tutorial and many more factors, we would like to introduce to you top 5 professional elearning authoring tools for creating interactive learning courses in 2017.

It depends on your purpose to decide which is the best elearning authoring tool for you.

5 elearning authoring tools

1.   ActivePresenter

ActivePresenter is a powerful all-in-one screen recorder, video editor and rapid elearning authoring software that allow you to record computer screen at crystal clear quality, full motion, edit recorded videos to make screencast and adding annotation, elearning games, quiz and export project to HTML5 format.

Activepresenter-editing-windows
ActivePresenter Editing tools

User Interface and design

ActivePresenter is much like Powerpoint, Microsoft word interface which are very common all over the world. It is easy to use, even with a beginner. I need only 1 week to figure out all its’ function and apply them to my elearning courses perfectly without any difficulties.

Key features:

>>Recording

  • Smart Capture : Capture screen when mouse clicked or key pressed. Each action is captured as a slide which explains in details what the viewer/learner should follow to master the lesson.
  • Full Motion Recording : Record screen as a full motion video and embedded in a slide for further editing with annotations, voice-over, zoom-n-pan, closed captions and animation effects.
  • Microphone & Speakers Recording: Record system audio and audio from microphone simutaneously while recording screen.
  • Smart Annotation: Automatically generate the description from the action and target application and insert to slide properly. This makes the content almost ready to publish for a quick tutorial.
  • Lossless Quality: The video is recorded with the lossless codec to ensure the highest quality (100%) in the overall editing process. H264, MPEG-1,2 lossy codecs are also available.
  • Configurable Hotkeys: Some target applications already registered the common hotkeys. In that case, configurable hotkeys are vital to make a complete recording session.

>>Editing Features

  • Audio & Video Editing: Edit audio and video instantly without quality loss. Supported operations inlcudes: cut, delete, crop, join, split, blur, change volume, insert freeze frame.
  • Shapes: There are dozens of shapes to choose from. Changing the form and hotspot of a shape just by dragging mouse.
  • Style (Color & Effect): Create polished and high quality screencast videos and training simulations with various line/fill/text styles and shadow effects.
  • Interactivity: The flexible event-action mechanism with rich event and action types allows defining different learning scenarios based on viewers’ responses at each step.
  • Quizzes: Create virtually any kind of assessments or surveys by using 9 quiz types.
  • Slide Pool & Randomization: Create professional random quizzes with slide pools & random slides to avoid viewers from remembering and predicting answers.
  • Multiple Media Layers: Insert multiple videos, audios onto a slide.
  • Blur: Hide the sensitive information in video or image with Blur effect
  • Text To Speech: Convert text in any shape/object or closed captions to speech using installed SAPI 5 Text To Speech engines on Windows. Add more voices to make attractive tutorials.
  • Zoom-n-Pan: Guide the viewer to different parts of the screen by using Zoom-n-Pan. This makes a smoother transition when changing focused area.
  • Cursor Path: Emulate the cursor movement with flexible cursor path. Add more visual to cursor path with highlight and click sound.
  • Closed Caption: Provide more information, make audio transcriptions, support for people with disabilities with Closed Caption.
  • Spotlight: Draw viewer/learner attention to a specific region with Spotlight. It is possible to apply shape and style to a Spotlight.
  • Image Editing: Built-in image editor with transparency support allows modifying any image quickly and easily.
  • Transitions & Animations: Attract viewer/learner by applying effects to slides and objects. There are several transition effects to choose from: Fade, Fly, Wipe, and Peak.
  • Backup: Prevent losing data when the power failed or system crashed with backup capabilities.
  • Protection: Protect the project in the shared environment with a secure password.
  • Spell Checker: Ensure the quality of content by using spell checking feature. It is very necessary when working with text.

>>Exporting Features – This is the most important reason that We rated ActivePresenter at 1st position

  • Video Export: Export content to popular video formats including AVI, FLV, WMV, WebM, MP4. Balance between output size and video quality with frame rate, key frame, and quality options.
  • HTML5 Export: Export content to HTML5 Simulation which can run on any modern web browser and device (desktop, tablet, smartphone).
  • SCORM & xAPI: Support SCORM and xAPI, two most popular eLearning specifications which are widely supported by many Learning Management System.
  • Player Skin: There are several templates (player skins) to choose from and each also has more options to customize.
  • Report & Tracking: Even without using LMS, the learner result can be tracked by using HTTP method. The report data is in form of well-known standards such as XML, JSON, CVS,..
  • Document Export: Export to most popular document formats. Further editing with Microsoft Office. Custom layout with Microsoft Word.

Pricing

  • Standard Edition which is mostly used for Screencast: $149 per license.
  • Professional edition which we are talking about: $299 per license.
  • You will get more volume discount, education price.

Visit ActivePresenter product description page now!

2. Elucidat

Elucidat is a web-based product that uses a themed page-template editor that is pretty straight-forward to use. For most users it’s a simple matter of selecting a look and feel theme, then choosing a sequence of page types (e.g., hotspot, drag and drop, sequence builds, text and graphic…) that you want to house your content.

elucidat-home-page-v2-1024x556

User interface and design

Out of the box, Elucidat has dozens of themes to choose from. A theme in Elucidat is a color-branded set of interactive screen types, a bit like souped-up PowerPoint slide masters and layouts. You can easily make your own color adjustments to most aspects of them.

For the more technically savvy, entirely new themes (including completely customized interactivity types) can be created using HTML, CSS, and Javascript via the built-in HTML editor. The Elucidat YouTube channel has lots of information and tutorials on themes and tweaking page types.

Features

  • Very easy to use for non-technical content authors but can be heavily customized by techies.
  • Built for global authoring teams – give people access to a “resource” of templates, page types and interactions that can be quickly reused on multiple projects.
  • Powerful “Layout Designer” empowers non technical people to configure and create whole page types and interactions by dragging and dropping component ‘parts’ onto the page.
  • Strong focus on ease of use, while providing unprecedented levels of author control and sophistication.
  • Variations manager helps authors manage 100’s of courses in multiple languages from a single “Master course” template.
  • Teams can be restricted to certain themes for consistent look and feel.
  • Responsive output (content adjusts to different screen sizes) is easy to control.
  • Role-based collaboration allows authors and reviewers to work together over the web.
  • Built-in image library.
  • Built-in badge assignment can be easily implemented based on user progress/activity.

Pricing and plans

  • Contact hello@elucidat.com for pricing

3. Adobe Captivate 9

Captivate 9 is a desktop application available for both Windows and Mac. It’s one of the most powerful authoring tools in this list, but it comes with a steeper learning curve.

That said, you don’t have to have significant technical ability to create some very clever interactivity. Most of the ‘scripting’ happens via a wizard-style interface that guides you through the process by allowing you to make selections from provided lists of commands.

Captivate 9

User’s interface and design

Captivate doesn’t have many themes to choose from by default, but you have easy and powerful customization options for the ones that are there, and you can create your own from the ground up. Conceptually, the themes are similar to PowerPoint, with color palettes and slide masters defining the look and feel. Because Captivate is a desktop application, sharing themes and master slides to ensure consistency across multiple projects or installations on other computers can be a bit tricky and is a manual process.

Best features

  • Powerful responsive output options.
  • Output can be location aware, i.e., you can hook into a device’s geo-location capability.
  • Interactivity in the output can recognize common mobile-device gestures (e.g., pinch and zoom, swipe.)
  • Accelerometer based interaction types.
  • Very powerful action (scripting) capability.
  • Define groups of actions that can be shared on multiple objects.

Pricing and plans

  • $1,099 USD lifetime license
  • 30 day free trial

4. Articulate Storyline 360

Articulate Storyline 360 is a Windows desktop application that leverages a PowerPoint look and feel. It has a modest learning curve considering the flexibility that it offers—especially if you know your way around PowerPoint.

There’s a very active and welcoming online community for Storyline. If something can be done, you’ll quickly find someone to tell you how—either an Articulate employee or an enthusiast.

Storyline 360

User interface and features

Like PowerPoint, general page themes are controlled via the project colors and slide masters, but these can be changed at will and on a page-by-page basis by the author. This makes it very flexible, but a bit tricky to control consistent branding over multiple courses and Storyline installations.

Most end-user interactivity is achieved through the use of triggers, which fire when a screen object is tapped, clicked, rolled-over, etc. When one of these user-actions is detected, other screen objects can be shown or hidden, auto page navigations can be invoked, variables can be adjusted, or media can be started/paused. No coding is required, with these authoring actions being entered via a friendly selection interface.

Best features and benefits

  • Very active online community.
  • Reasonably powerful show me/try me/test me software simulation elearning capability.
  • Good flexibility and power for the modest learning curve.
  • Output will run on desktop, Android, and iOS devices, but it isn’t responsive—it just shrinks the screen.

Pricing and plans

  • $1,398 USD per perpetual license
  • 30 day free trial

There’s often a bonus on offer. At the time of writing, a license comes with eight character packs (each high-quality character in 145 poses), and Articulate Replay, which enables you to create screencasts that combine your screen and webcam.

5. Lectora Inspire (v12)

Lectora is an elder statesman in this arena. It’s been around a long time, with Inspire being version 12. It’s another Windows desktop authoring tool that is quite powerful and assumes that you’ll want to do some scripting to get the most flexible interactivity. Like others of this ilk, it comes with a steeper learning curve than some of the other tools in the list.

If you watched the video about Captivate’s actions, you’ll see that Inspire’s are along the same lines.

lectora-inspire.png

Key features

When you start an Inspire project, you’re prompted as to whether you want it to be desktop or mobile. This could be a problem if you want learners to be able to access your content on a wide range of devices. Lectora might have work-arounds that simulate a responsive output, something most of the other tools listed here do automatically, but it would certainly need some Javascript programming and a sound technical knowledge of what Inspire’s doing under the hood to make it happen.

Once you choose a platform, you can create a blank project, import from PowerPoint, or use a wizard to create the usual Course > Lesson > Screen hierarchy.

Inspire comes with a ton of screen templates that can be tweaked. Some aspects may be changeable via the development interface, but other aspects (e.g., button up and down states) may require you to use a graphics package to replace existing images (this could require some manual file copying.)

Inspire also comes with access to additional templates from eLearning Brothers, and it has free bundled graphics libraries from eLearning Brothers, too, that give you a good range of graphic assets.

Best features and benefits

  • Flexible scripting capability.
  • Free access to eLearning Brothers graphics libraries.
  • Extended eLearning Brothers screen template library.
  • Bundled with SnagIt and Camtasia for state-of-the-art screen capture.
  • Powerful online reviewer collaboration using ReviewLink (included with one year maintenance contract option.)

Pricing and plans

  • $1,595 USD per year
  • 30 day free trial

Bottom line

 

Which elearning authoring tools are you using for creating learning courses? Share with us your comment here. Remember to follow us to receive more valuable post notifications in the future.

Good luck!

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