E-learning software is sometimes called e-learning authoring software. That’s because the primary purpose of e-learning tools is to author, or create, educational assets. There are other, related types of software that manage different aspects of e-learning. For example, broader learning management systems (LMSs) automate the administration, testing, tracking and reporting of learner progress through online courses. E-learning software has a narrower scope: It provides the tools needed to create those online courses in the first place.
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E-learning software, also known as e-learning authoring software, is a subset of learning management system (LMS) software that enables users to develop and deliver customized training courses. The term “e-learning” most commonly refers to online distance learning, but also applies to other educational contexts such as employee training or online certification classes in which software and computers are used more than pen and paper.
E-learning software is primarily used for digital course creation. The tool is used in traditional educational settings, such as schools and universities, as well as workplace settings, to create both external and internal educational resources. In this guide, we’ll cover:
E-learning software or e-learning authoring software is used in a virtual classroom to facilitate online education. Its other use includes conducting corporate training. The primary purpose of e-learning tools is to author, or create, educational assets. With this type of software, trainers and educators can:
Combine and arrange disparate media (text, video, presentations) into comprehensive, logically sequenced e-learning assets and courses.
Add animations and customized response cues to facilitate learner engagement with e-learning course material.
Safely store e-learning assets for future editing and reapplication with new learning initiatives.
Publish completed e-learning courses in a variety of compatible formats.
There are other, related types of software that manage different aspects of e-learning. For example, broader learning management systems (LMSs) automate the administration, testing, tracking, and reporting of learner progress through online courses. E-learning software has a narrower scope: It provides the tools needed to create those online courses in the first place.
E-learning platforms are used to create a wide variety of educational and training materials for use in many industries, both in the public and private sectors. Due to this, the e-learning software landscape includes a large selection of applications.
As a software buyer, choosing among such a large selection of e-learning vendors can be a challenge. To help you understand the choices available, here is a list of applications included in many e-learning tools:
Provide pre-configured models for different types of e-learning materials and training content, such as lessons or quizzes. This makes it easier for users to create learning content since it doesn’t need to be designed from scratch.
Allow users to upload and integrate multimedia files (i.e., videos and images) into e-learning resources, as well as do basic editing on learning content.
SCORM is a set of technical standards that e-learning solutions must follow. Products with SCORM support help users create materials that can be combined and integrated with any other SCORM-compliant materials.
Allow users to add quizzes, tests, and exams to e-learning courses, which can be used to track or determine student progress.
Help users create e-learning resources that match the look and feel of their company’s digital assets (such as its website).
E-learning courses often progress much like stories, with a linear beginning and end. Storyline editing functions let authors mix, match, and rearrange e-learning components to create an articulate storyline.
Let authors add elements that students will interact with during a lesson or course. Interactions can include free-form text entry, picture selection, or simple mouse clicks.
What type of buyer are you?
Depending on what type of buyer you are, different types of systems may be better for your needs.
Corporate Buyer: From training new employees to helping old employees learn new policies and processes, e-learning software is used very often in the business world. Corporate buyers typically look for e-learning platforms and authoring tools that can integrate with the software used by their human resources (HR) department. Alternatively, there are HR platforms that offer e-learning applications either out of the box or as add-on applications.
Educational institution buyer: Schools, colleges, and universities are increasingly offering e-learning courses to their traditional, remote, and continuing education students. There are e-learning software platforms that address the needs of each of these use cases, including applications for creating age-appropriate materials and review lessons as well as for automating student progression across an online course.
Public sector buyer: Government agencies use e-learning software to create courses to train and assist both employees and members of the public. Some government agencies have mandatory training requirements; many e-learning tools learning management systems include functionality—such as security and privacy protection measures—to ensure the training is presented and completed according to regulations. For more assistance with your search, please contact our software advisors. They can explain the options available to you, help you create a shortlist of products to learn more about, and ensure your search for e-learning software gets started on the right foot.
Benefits of e-learning software
An e-learning authoring tool can offer a lot of benefits to users looking for the right educational tool for their students or employees.
Increases cost-effectiveness: E-learning is significantly cost-effective when compared to traditional on-site training. Since an e-learning tool offers online modules, students and employees can revisit any module and watch recorded sessions. This trumps the need to rehire training instructors, should your team need multiple sessions. Additionally, with an e-learning tool, the cost of printing training material is eliminated due to the online nature of the training.
Increases learner engagement: E-learning tools are interactive and offer a better learning experience than traditional in-person training. Many offline courses struggle to retain students through the length of the course but with e-learning tools, organizers can create engaging multimedia content that is intuitive and makes students stick with the program. To further attract learners, there’s greater scope for users to customize modules to suit the requirements of their learners.
Improves productivity and performance: Unlike instructor-led training, an e-learning authoring tool allows learners to train at their own pace. With such flexibility, learners finish courses faster and achieve better results. Finally, with an e-learning authoring tool, it is easier to assess student performance, track their progress, and provide insights for improvement.
While there are many options to choose from, when you’re investing in an e-learning platform, there are some considerations to keep in mind before making the final decision.
Price and hidden costs: When looking at options, make sure to check the kind of features a tool offers and whether there are any hidden costs involved for specific features, upgrades, and licenses.
Ease of use for learners: The e-learning tool that you choose must be intuitive and shouldn’t confuse the learner when they use it for training and lessons. And if the platform comes with training support, that’s an added advantage.
Integration support: For schools and universities, e-learning tools that integrate with their student information system (SIS) or other LMS tools are favorable. In the absence of integration support, tracking learner progress can become challenging.
Deployment options: Is the tool cloud-based or does it only offer on-premise deployment? That can be a crucial factor in deciding which tool to invest in. Ideally, an e-learning tool should be cloud-based so that learners can access their modules and lessons from anywhere without hassle.
Note: The application selected in this article is an example to show a feature in context and is not intended as an endorsement or recommendation. It has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.