A learning technology stack consists of the learning management system (LMS), e-learning authoring tools, and any other technology used for the creation and consumption of learning.

In this post, we focus on choosing an e-learning authoring tool for your technology stack. Let’s start by discussing its benefits.

Benefits of using an e-learning authoring tool

E-learning authoring tools can improve knowledge retention because they drive connection with the content by increasing learner engagement.

In the context of education, engagement can be defined as a measure of a learner’s participation in the learning process. E-learning authoring tools increase engagement via branching, interactivity, quizzes, and feedback, among other things. Interactivity and branching can be used to guide a learner through the content, and the quiz scores and feedback can be used to measure how much they engaged with the content.

Eight questions to ask yourself when choosing an e-learning authoring tool

1. What do my client’s learners need?

Regularly update your client’s learning personas to ensure that their learners are getting the type of learning that they need. For example, it might have once been enough to provide their learners with simple videos and a quiz. However, if they have taken on new people or a new type of business, these new learners might better engage with more dynamic learning. Keeping their learner personas updated will ensure that you are serving your client’s needs.

2. What’s my budget? 

E-learning authoring tools can be expensive. Depending on the vendor, the cost could be per team member. Also, the software might require pricey ongoing maintenance. Therefore, it’s important to understand the needs of your client’s learners and if an expensive tool is truly required. It’s also important to consider time and human resources. Some authoring tools have powerful customization capabilities but long learning curves.

3. What are the features? 

Various features within e-learning authoring tools can drive learner engagement. When choosing tools, you should know which features are needed most for your client’s learning program. Another feature to look for is the ease of creating multilingual/cultural content. This includes captions, built-in characters/avatars, and text translation.

4. Is it mobile-ready? 

If possible, learning should be completed by the learner wherever they are. Having a tool that produces mobile-first content can be quite impactful for learners on the go, especially with a layer of performance support added to the content mix. A great authoring tool should assist with the creation of on-demand content at the point of need.

5. Does it support multimedia and interactive storytelling?

Adult learners learn best via stories. Having a tool that supports multimedia types—text, audio, and video—can help create those stories. Also, a tool that has branching can give the learner control and enable them to determine their journey through the course.

6. Does it enable me to brand my content?

Protecting intellectual property is essential for training providers, especially if you have a trademarked training program. Having a tool that makes it easy to change colors, load logos, and customize button design can be crucial. Some tools, like Articulate Rise, have limitations in the customization area. It’s vital to know and understand that to avoid buyer’s remorse.

7. How will the tool interact with my LMS?

E-learning authoring tools fall into two categories: SCORM compliant and non-SCORM compliant. Regardless of the category, you always want to make sure the selected tool and the LMS work well together. Understanding how they interact can help you avoid receiving calls regarding course completion errors.

8. Does the LMS team truly understand my business challenges?

Having an LMS vendor that understands your business is essential to being a successful training provider. Without the right team behind you, it can be hard to move your business forward. So, when selecting an e-learning authoring tool, share with your LMS vendor the type of tool that you are looking to purchase and why. They may have a recommendation on which software will work best.


Choosing an e-learning authoring tool can be difficult, but asking the right questions can make it much easier. 

Key takeaways when it comes to choosing an e-learning authoring tool include: 

  • Understand who the learner is.
  • Take into consideration the cost of the different tools and your resources.
  • Make sure to get an understanding of the different features that the tool has to offer. Features to think about include:
    • Branching
    • Interactivity 
    • Quizzes 
    • Feedback
    • Branding 
  • Speak with your LMS vendor to determine the types of authoring tools that can be used in your LMS, and make sure they understand your business challenges.
  • Take a survey of yourself and the team to see how comfortable everyone is with the new technology.

For more information on this topic, check out the following resources: 

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!