Guide to eLearning platforms
A quick guide to working out which eLearning platform and authoring tool is best for your organisation.
With so many options, figuring out which eLearning platform to use can be daunting. We’ve created this guide to help you work out which is the best option for you and your learners.
First, it’s important to understand the different platforms and tools needed to create eLearning:
- eLearning authoring tools are pieces of software that enable you to create and organize content into a course structure. Authoring tools usually do not have the capacity to actually host eLearning courses…
- For that, you need a Learning Management System – which is a platform that lets you host and share eLearning content within your organisation, and track who has completed the training.
- Hybrid learning and marketing tools let you create and sell courses and track learners all in one tool – however, they often have limited customisation options and other organisations can’t host the training within their own systems (if that’s important)
Still with us? Let’s take a quick look at some examples and the pros and cons of each…
eLearning authoring tools
These platforms are specifically built for creating and hosting all types of content, and let you export courses so that other organisations can host your training. However, they don’t allow you to track learner behaviour unless the courses are hosted in a learning management system.
Rise 360 (included within Articulate subscription – US$999 annually)
- Rise 360 is incredibly easy to use and lets you build courses directly within a web browser (meaning you don’t need to download any software)
- Course content is presented vertically to learners, meaning they scroll down through each lesson (just like a website) – while content automatically looks great on any device
- Creating courses is easy – you simply select different ‘blocks’ to construct your course
- You can also embed fully interactive content created in Storyline 360 (but can’t create interactive content directly within Rise 360)
- However, you can’t change the User Interface (UI) of the tool – just the content within it
Example Rise 360 course that Bundle created.
Example of interactive content embedded in Rise 360.
Storyline 360 (included within Articulate subscription – US$999 annually)
- Storyline 360 is slightly trickier to use than Rise 360 – but it allows you to include virtually any type of content you want to include in your course (including interactive videos)
- Course content is presented in landscape – meaning it looks more like a PowerPoint than a website to your learner – and automatically looks great on any device
- Creating courses requires a bit more time to learn the fundamentals – but once you’re up and running it becomes easy to use
- Unlike Rise 360, you can fully customise the look and feel exactly the way you want
Example Storyline 360 course that Bundle created.
Example Storyline 360 course from an Articulate user.
Adobe Captivate (£34 per month)
- Captivate is very similar to Storyline 360 in terms of functionality, how course content is presented in landscape and the ability to include any type of content in your course (including interactive videos)
- Everything within Captivate is fully customisable. However, it’s not quite as responsive as Storyline 360 (meaning it doesn’t automatically display as well on mobile devices)
- There’s a steeper learning curve for Captivate than Storyline 360, as there is a lot less free support available online
Learning Management Systems
These systems (known as LMS’s) allow you to host your courses and measure everyone that opens, interacts with or completes them. They need a certain type of file (usually SCORM or xAPI) – which can only be created using an eLearning authoring tool. Some LMS’s come with built-in authoring tools, but they are often very basic and limit what can be done – having a separate authoring tool allows you to make your eLearning as interactive and bespoke as you desire.
If your organisation already has an LMS, you just need to find out what type of file it takes (xAPI is the most modern, SCORM is the most common, AICC is pretty old school). If you don’t have an LMS, here are some options (from cheapest to most expensive):
Go1 platform (free if you use Microsoft Teams)
If you use Microsoft stuff already, Go1 lets you host and share SCORM and xAPI within Microsoft Teams. We assume it won’t work for people outside your Microsoft account
SCORM Cloud (from $75 per month)
At the cheaper end of the scale, SCORM Cloud lets you host files created in eLearning authoring tools and measure learners (you can also test files for free)
LearnDash (from $330 per year with TinCanny)
If you’ve got a WordPress website, LearnDash lets you set up an LMS on your website. You need some extra WordPress plugins to get it all working properly (this is what we use)
Rise Online (from $399 a month)
Rise Online is also part of the Articulate family (e.g. Rise 360 and Storyline 360) but sold separately as an LMS. It looks awesome and has got all the bells and whistles
Hybrid learning and marketing tools
Tools like Thinkific, Learnworlds and Kajabi are hybrid learning, sales and marketing tools that are geared around creating and selling online courses directly within their platform. However, they can be fairly limited in terms of customisation – and there’s no way to export courses if other organisations need to host the training on their own systems.
Thinkific (US$79 per month)
- Thinkific lets you create and sell online courses and membership sites within their platform
- You can upload interactive content created in Storyline 360 specifically, but can’t export courses
- It doesn’t seem that you can customise the user interface either (see the example on right)
Learnworlds (from $79-$249 per month)
- This platform lets you create and sell online courses through your own website
- You can upload SCORM files and embed interactive content created in other tools, but can’t export courses
- Again, the user interface is a bit limited in terms of customisation (see example on right)
Kajabi (from $199-$319 per month)
- An all-in-one learning, marketing and sales tool – which lets you easily include coaching sessions alongside your eLearning courses
- It doesn’t support interactive content at all – you have to choose from the pre-existing content types
- The user interface is also quite limited but seems an improvement on the previous two (see example on right)
There are literally hundreds of options for hosting courses online available. The solution that will work best for you really depends on the type of content you want to include and how your learners will access the training:
- If other organisations need to host your training, you’ll need to create it in an eLearning authoring tool
- If you want to create interactive content, you’ll need to use an eLearning authoring tool
- If neither of these factors is important, an online course building platform might do the job nicely
At Bundle, we have licences for all of the eLearning authoring tools mentioned above – and can create content for you (saving you the licence fee).
Want to create something beautiful to communicate your own ideas? We’re experts at breaking big ideas into beautiful, bite-sized chunks. Whether you’re looking to transform your training or communicate clearly to employees, get in touch and find out how we can help bring your ideas to life.