What is the best eLearning Authoring Tool?


Article 1. Core mandatory features of an eLearning Authoring Tool

Welcome to our guide series for choosing the best eLearning authoring tool out there.

If you are just starting to look at solutions for building elearning courses for your training needs, this article should give you a fast understanding of the features that are a must have, not a nice to have.

During the search phase we are all usually presented with the features that must make the product stand out, the things that make it attractive and help position that solution as different from the rest of the solutions of the competitors. Now, before we get to the marketed features, let’s ask ourselves what ever happened to the basic building blocks? For this discussion, the elements that make a product an eLearning authoring tool and not something else?

So, let’s start exploring the mandatory features:

  1. SCORM ComplianceBecause It is always about reaching your audience. No matter what amazing courses you can create in an authoring tool, you must have a clear path to reach your users. To satisfy this, you need to have the possibility to package the courses either as SCORM 2004 3rd edition (the most popular) or SCORM 1.2. This is the most important basic feature of an eLearning Authoring Tool. If the authoring tool can publish the content as a SCORM package, it will result in compatibility with around 800 Learning Management Systems that are deployed in hundreds of thousands of companies. The best part is that all the relevant user interactions from the courses will be reported to the LMS.
  2. Basic Resource Types. The following elements are mandatory for any elearning authoring tool, no course can be built without them:
    • Images
    • Galleries
    • Textboxes
    • Tables
    • Questions (Quizzes)
    • Videos
    • Audio files
    • Hyperlinks
    • Attachments
    • iFrames (embed web objects)
  3. Cross-platform Compatibility. This means that the course/content will work on different platforms and devices. If you are not sure if an elearning authoring tool knows this, ask before you buy.
  4. Responsive Design. Your course needs to look good on any device, be it a desktop or a smartphone. Basically the content should modify itself for best viewing depending on the device used by the one accessing the course.
  5. HTML5 Export. This is something that you always need as a backup, in case the LMS that your company is using has issues and you still need to send the course to the people that need to learn it.
  6. Branding Personalization – this one is very important because you need to be able to use your company’s logos, colors and styles.

To answer the question, before anything else, the best elearning authoring tools are the ones that give you access to all these mandatory features.

To help along, here is the matrix for some of the best authoring tools out there that support them:

Mandatory Feature LIVRESQ Articulate Elucidat Gomo Learning
SCORM compliance (2004 3rd or 1.2)
Questions (Quizzes)
Audio files
iFrames (embed web objects)
Cross-platform compatibility
Responsive Design
HTML5 Export
Branding Personalization


Next article in this series will be focused on the top features of the best elearning authoring tools.