When it comes to developing and delivering e-learning, getting started is often the most challenging part. In this post, you’ll learn which e-learning content development tools you should consider using to provide effective training solutions for your business clients. Choosing the right combination of tools for each stage of the e-learning development process will help your business do big business with little stress and great success.
E-Learning Authoring Tools
The process of developing and delivering e-learning can be broken down into two parts: course authoring and course delivery. There are many tools in each part, and each tool offers different benefits. The first one that you need to choose is the course authoring tool.
The main things to consider when selecting a course authoring tool include the freedom within the tool for design work, the learning modalities and publishing formats it supports, which types of media it works with, and whether the course authoring tool produces courses that are mobile responsive. Note that when it comes to learning and publishing formats, SCORM-compliant courses are the industry standard.
There are many course authoring tools out there, but Articulate Storyline 360 and Adobe Captivate are the leaders of e-learning design in the learning and development industry. Both offer a wide range of functionality and flexibility, are SCORM compliant, and produce mobile responsive courses, which means after you’ve designed a course on your computer, you won’t have to adjust it to work correctly when viewed on mobile devices. Online course authoring tools include Articulate Storyline Rise 360 and dominKnow One Claro, which provide intuitive web-based authoring and collaboration and produce inherently responsive content. That said, while these online tools provide rapid authoring, they do limit flexibility and freedom.
Once you have selected your course authoring tool, consider using multimedia tools to support your courses. While some course authoring tools have these tools included, most will require external tools to create truly customized e-learning. You may need video software for recording, capturing, creating, and editing video footage. Consider industry favorites for this, like TechSmith’s Camtasia or Vyond, as these allow you to create and edit professional-quality videos. Similarly, Vimeo lets you build customized videos with adaptive streaming and private sharing capabilities that can easily be integrated into your online course. If how-to videos are on your to-produce list, Screencast-O-Matic and Snagit are often used to capture both video and images on your screen. Audio software may also be necessary for recording narration and editing sound. Audacity will help you make sure everything sounds the way that it should.
While both Storyline and Captivate come with built-in media libraries, it may be necessary for you to access more specific graphics or videos than they offer, in which case, you could consider a subscription to a stock photo site like Shutterstock. Working with images may also mean that you’ll need a photo editing tool, like Adobe Photoshop, to be sure your images are properly sized and cropped to retain high visual quality. If you are comfortable designing your visuals or have a graphic artist in the business, purchasing graphic design software may also be a good move. Canva and Adobe Illustrator are great choices for this and work well for artists with varying experience levels.
Choose the Right LMS
Once you’ve decided on the right combination of e-learning content development tools, you’ll have to figure out how to store and deliver your e-learning to your B2C and B2B clients. Learning management systems (LMS) are essential in this, but not all are created equal.
Like everything else, take the time to determine the functionality that an LMS must have to serve your company best. Some of the things that you should evaluate when researching different LMS include course authoring tool compatibility, supported file formats, SCORM compliance, mobile responsiveness, data-tracking options, ability to manage multiple accounts, and integrations. Whether your content changes regularly or occasionally, make sure you can update and edit with ease, even after creation and delivery.
There are many different LMS out there. Docebo, for example, is known for its mobile learning capabilities and its ability to manage instructor-led training requirements in addition to e-learning. Absorb LMS is a popular LMS that boasts a solid branded learner interface with strong data security and compliance. When it comes to an LMS purpose-built to support training company operations, Firmwater is a great SCORM-compliant option for training companies looking to deliver big business to multiple clients. It simplifies the process of providing training to other businesses, even offering you the ability to turn it into an automated stream of revenue. With Firmwater, you can help multiple clients with different accounts from one interface, while keeping their data completely secure.
Firmwater is compatible with all SCORM-compliant course authoring tools and most sharing tools. It has SSO options, responsive design, painless content updates and changes, and powerful ecommerce options, with seamless Shopify integration. If you’re having trouble deciding, try Firmwater for free.
Firmwater provides functionalities that make your commercial training company’s job easier. Loading content to build your course is a snap with this LMS. Multiple file types are supported, including SCORM packages, PDFs, MP4 and Vimeo formats, QTI assessments, PowerPoint presentations, and images. You can then assemble your content into the perfect course for your clients, who can be managed individually, giving you the ability to run separate sites for B2B and B2C clients. Independent sites have the added benefit of separating each customer’s users, data, content, and business standards. The LMS also gives you options for access management, including SSO, allowing users to log in directly, independent of your customer’s site. Firmwater can easily integrate with your client’s current LMS externally, while allowing you to keep content protected and stay in control of data and management.
Though the LMS is likely the last tool that you will select before you start designing your e-learning, it may be the most important one. Even if you’ve created the most comprehensive course out there, if learners can’t access it with ease or your clients can’t manage their training sites without your involvement, an impressive design won’t matter. That’s the bottom line here: you must choose the right combination of tools and expert support in order to provide engaging e-learning with effective delivery.
Evaluate all the e-learning content development tools that you are considering based on the customer support. What will you do when the content that you have produced doesn’t function as desired? Who can you call to help you problem-solve when you’re up against a tight deadline? Each vendor offers support in different forms. For example, Firmwater offers five-star customer support through online help, email support, and over-the-phone support with real, live people. From screenshares with a live support agent to phone calls, you can decide how much and what kind of customer support is necessary when you’re having issues with your software. If you don’t have the patience to search through old forums, you’ll want a vendor with customer support that is currently applicable and easily accessible.
Developing your training company’s e-learning and delivering it requires research and a little legwork to ensure the satisfaction of your clients. Selecting the right tools for the job is crucial to your success. Know what you need, and familiarize yourself with the options available to you. Consider using one of the industry’s leading course-authoring tools, and try out Articulate Storyline 360 or Adobe Captivate. Make sure you can support your multimedia needs by getting the necessary video, audio, and image tools. Before you start designing your online training, select a flexible LMS that is compatible with your course authoring tool and supports the needs of your training company. Firmwater is a company with a reputation for providing great customer support and an LMS that features flexibility and personalization and enables automated revenue so you can focus on your most pressing priorities: your clients.
Here at Firmwater, we don’t just sell an LMS for training providers. We partner with our clients, giving them the tools and insights they need to implement the best practices in e-learning course development, growth, and delivery. We care too much about our customers’ businesses to have them wade through forums and chatbots for help.
Ready to use an LMS that’s designed for the way YOU work, with a team dedicated to YOUR needs? Book a no-obligation consultation directly with our team today!