I was asked to give my recommendation on eLearning software to use for a web developer that wanted to create a course on building your own website.

The problem with giving tips on good professional software is that there are so many tools to use and they can all generate professional results. The real question to ask is not what software to use but how should I create my course, what bundle of tools and techniques should I use to reach this goal?

This post will just focus on eLearning Authoring software and not look at how to go about creating your eLearning, that will be covered in other posts.

Here are some tips when choosing your software:

Is it fit for purpose, it’s assumed that you have thought about how you’re going to use the software in order to reach your goal. If you have a clear goal in mind, it will help to narrow down the list of options in your choice of software.

Platform, how do you intend to host your eLearning? will it be stored on the company intranet, your department’s shared drive, on a DVD, web server, CMS, LMS etc?

Would you like to do everything in one piece of software or are you using a suite of tools?

Do you want to generate e-Learning with interactions, or is your course more view and less do?

Do you need to generate assessments, if so will these be formative or summative, will this assessment need to be captured in any way? if you have answered yes to all of this question, you will probably need to use software that produces SCORM compliant content as this may help to ensure that your learning content works well with your LMS, if you are using one.

Ease of use, how much time and effort will you have to invest in learning how to use the software? Producing e learning content can be very time consuming, even with a good plan and the right tools, if you have tools that are difficult to use, it may be very challenging to produce anything within a reasonable time frame.

Support, what help will you get in using the software and getting the most out of it’s functionality?

Price, can you afford it, prices range from below one hundred, right up into to the thousands.

If you are new to creating video based elearning, you may want to play with Screencast-o-matic.com (affiliate link) the pro version costs less than $20 per year, you can try it for free and as with other suggestions here. Techsmith.com have Snagit and Camtasia for creating quick video based learning, Camtasia has built in basic video editing functionality. If you are looking to create a range of e learning that is not restricted to video, you may wish to try Adobe Captivate and Aticulate Storyline they are both more expensive than Camtasia and have a wider range of functionality, depending on your budget and project you may get both Camtasia and Articulate or Captivate.

I have use all of these tools but mainly Snagit, Camtasia, Screencast-o-matic.com and Storyline I would not say any one is the best, it depends on what I want to produce, if it’s making quick video to post on YouTube or attach to an email, I may be happy with the simplicity of Snagit or Screencast-o-matic.com, if it’s a video based tutorial, I would want the editing features of Camtasia if it’s a long course or technical IT training with user interaction, I may opt for Captivate.

If I was making something that required a mix of all the above and included branching scenarios an interactions, I would probably opt for Articulate Storyline… You may ask why I would use Storyline and not Captivate, the answer is simple, have used Storyline more and they have a great community that shares resources and techniques, this community is free to join even if you are not a customer.

Just try out the free software and see what results you get.

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