Why Do You Need A Rapid Authoring Tool?
In some instances, LMS and rapid authoring are contained in one neat little package. This isn’t always the case though. Some organizations use their LMS for content creation. Others restrict them to administrative activities and tracking, using independent authoring software for development purposes. But nothing is forever, especially software. Eventually, you’ll have to foot the bill for a new rapid authoring tool that features the latest and greatest tech. Not to mention, it helps you realize your online training objectives instead of hindering your team’s workflow. What signs and symptoms identify the need for a new authoring tool?
1. No Mobile-Friendly Content
Smartphone training is probably the most popular model for today’s workforce development. It’s low cost because trainees have their own phones, so you don’t have to buy equipment. And their phones go everywhere with them, so you don’t need a central (paid) venue or a synchronized timetable. It’s the ultimate learning convenience. But modern smartphones only caught on a few years ago, so older authoring tools may not be configured for mobile optimization. In this age, where even instructors and course developers build via smartphones, an authoring tool that doesn’t support mobile is a monolith that needs replacement.
2. No LMS Compatibility
As I’ve mentioned, your LMS can double as a rapid authoring tool, but it doesn’t have to. In fact, if your LMS has no authoring function, that in itself may be a warning to upgrade. Ordinarily though, especially for older software purchases, organizations used two separate systems. An LMS was for administrative tasks and deployment while authoring tools were for L&D. If these two systems aren’t congruent, you should replace whichever one is cheaper and less impactful. In most cases, that’s the authoring tool. It only contains prior training courses, while an LMS hosts your entire corporate database, including a cache of courses created on your current authoring tool. You do have the option, if finances allow it, to buy a system that merges both functionalities (and works with mobile). You should also use this opportunity to check compatibility across the board. Every piece of the puzzle software should fit, including CRM, eCommerce, and other crucial business tools.
3. Insufficient Built-In Library
There’s a lot of doom-saying about the death of the analog library. It seems nobody visits them anymore; we all have Google, and on our phones no less. But today, we’re focusing on corporate digital libraries. Every rapid authoring tool should have some form of asset library ranging from templates and themes to cut-out characters and sound effects. Furthermore, it must allow you to create your own support repository. This in-house library can store supplementary reading for more advanced students, or JIT resources that can be called up, consumed, and applied in seconds, or comprehensible references that can be shared with clients for marketing purposes.
4. Outdated Importing Tools
Related, many authoring tools work by sourcing external content. An authoring tool has templates, stencils, and guidelines you can easily populate. But remember: Your tool is only as good as its times. So, a tool you purchased five years ago may have the capacity to import PDFs, PowerPoint slides, or flash videos. Today’s authoring tools would be more interested in Prezi, SlideShare, JPG, GIFs, social media feeds, or live embeds. If your authoring software can’t handle these formats, you probably need something more up-to-date.
5. Inadequate Editing Booth
In the past, online training courses were mostly text-based. Even if they weren’t digitized photocopies, they were quite text-heavy. Today, audio, video, and computer games play a bigger role, so you need authoring software that can produce these pieces. You want the ability to record a screen, voice, or human models. Then, you want a comprehensive editing booth that can splice and overlay multiple audio tracks and video streams. Extra points if your authoring tool is part of an LMS that can host video and audio. On top of that, you want the ability to develop native mobile apps, or at least to optimize your desktop content for portable devices.
6. Complex UI
All the assets in the world won’t benefit your team if they can’t use a tool effectively. Today’s rapid authoring tools usually feature a user-friendly UI with a centralized dashboard. Developers can quickly view content, update multiple resources, and collaborate with peers. They should also be able to customize their personal dashboard to some extent.
7. Lack Of Support Services
Even the most experienced rapid eLearning authoring tool users need help occasionally. Thus, your eLearning authoring software must have support tools to maximize functionality and help your team through trouble spots. For example, some vendors provide in-app live support that gives them access to tech experts. At the very least, there should be a user community or resource library you can use to master a tool’s features.
Rapid authoring tools aren’t equal, and it’s not just a matter of budget and speed. Don’t rush for the fastest or cheapest. Focus on features. So, how can you tell when your current authoring tool is jaded and requires refreshing? If your authoring tool can’t produce or disseminate mobile-friendly content, video, audio, or gaming modules, it’s a bad sign. It should be compatible with your LMS, especially after the LMS experiences routine updates (at the software level). The library should have sufficient storage and creation tools, and your editing booth should be comprehensive and top-notch. It must also be user-friendly and backed by vendor support services. Lacking any of these factors is a warning sign to get a new tool.
Is it time to invest in new rapid eLearning authoring software? Find the ideal replacement at the ideal price point using our free online directory. You’re also able to compare your top three choices to see which offers the best value for money.