5 Authoring Tool Features That Deliver Incredible Value
If you’re being asked to create more courses, more quickly than ever before, it can be difficult to keep an eye on the ever-important ROI of your creations. Your authoring tool can keep you on track—but only if it excels in the five key areas in this article.
Easy duplication is at the core of most great money- and time-saving features. Some parts of your courses will be used again and again—parts that often only really need to be done well once.
You still want to retain creative control over your content, but a good authoring tool will let you focus your creative energy on the parts of your course that matter the most. You don’t want to be stuck building everything from scratch every time you start a new project or course.
By looking out for the following features and services in your eLearning tool, you will be setting your team up for a more scalable, cost-efficient way of working.
1) True multi-device eLearning
Building desktop and mobile versions of your course separately is one obvious way of unnecessarily doubling course production time.
As silly as this approach sounds after nearly a decade of device-agnostic and responsive web-standards, it’s somehow still the way that a number of (actually quite popular) authoring tools approach multi-device learning. Even some tools that offer true multi-device eLearning still lock their most advanced features into a single-device mode.
Making eLearning available for multiple devices shouldn’t be hard work, and it definitely shouldn’t limit your team’s creativity.
So, it really makes a lot of sense to choose an authoring tool that allows you to put the best possible course together once and for it to function optimally on every device that it appears on.
Save time & money:
Did you know… Gomo auto-detects the device, screen size, and orientation and adjusts your content to fit, without jeopardizing the visual quality of the course. So you only have to do the work once!
For more on responsive design in the eLearning space, see our article:‘5 Features of a Responsive Design eLearning Authoring Tool’
2) A big library of off-the-shelf assets
Great eLearning goes beyond presenting a simple slide show.
Designers instinctively seek as many interesting ways of presenting information as possible, and a course should have plenty of interactive elements to satisfy this. However, developing these kinds of presentation and question assets from scratch is a time- (and therefore cost-) intensive process. Depending on your authoring tool, this may also require a skilled programmer.
Therefore, the more high-value, high-visual appeal assets your tool comes with, the better. They’re quick to implement while providing satisfying, complex interactions that your learners will love. A sizable library of interactions should have a variety of ways of presenting similar information: not just carousels, but comic strips, image walls, and hotspot images
Gomo includes a number of different ‘off-the-shelf’ interactions that allow you to quickly add personalized and engaging content. (See the Gomo Interactions Reference Library for more information.)
For example, there are several different ways of presenting simple text, including:
- An accordion that hides text behind clickable headings
- A ‘hot text’ asset with an animated window that appears when headings are clicked
- A vertically scrolling ‘filmstrip’ that scrolls through text and image pairs
A good range of question interactions should also come with your tool. Look for options which increase the variety and possibility potential of your course:
- Multiple choice questions with images
- Drag-and-drop answers
- Likert scales
- Open input fields
See how to elevate your quizzes and assessments beyond the basic:‘13 Things You Should Know About eLearning Assessments and Quizzes’
3) Themes and screen templates
Theme and screen template libraries also have great value-for-money potential, allowing you to get up and running with proven project and screen layouts.
Rather than starting from scratch with every screen and placing assets individually, you can start with a screen template that’s identical or similar to what you need and skip a lot of unnecessary clicks. Your authoring tool should then allow you to add or remove assets from the page as necessary, resulting in a big payoff for little input and effort.
Less is more
Here’s an example: an hour-long piece of eLearning could contain up to 50 screens. If using screen templates saves you five minutes per page, you’d save four hours per course.
The same principles apply to themes, with the quickest win being to pick the base theme you like the most and customize it into your brand colors, for use across all of your courses. This saves time not only through re-use, but by keeping your SMEs focused on content rather than visuals.
Critically, by having one central theme used across multiple courses, alterations to that theme get replicated across all of those courses. This saves you a huge amount of effort that would come with changing details on a per-course basis.
Read more on themes:‘6 Ways of Using Your Brand to Build an Eye-Catching eLearning Style Template’
4) Robust multilingual support
Creating multilingual and localized course content for a global audience can be time-consuming if you don't have the right tools.
If you’re finalizing a single-language version of the course and individually replace the text on each screen, this can take a lot of extra hours to work through. This one-course-per-language approach also means that any changes made to a course have to be applied manually to all other versions.
A more cost-efficient and time-efficient way of handling this is to work with an authoring tool that supports multiple languages within a single course. This will mean that if you make a layout, asset, or image change to the course, that change will be made in all language instances of the course.
Gomo’s implementation also minimizes the manual input of different language versions. You can export an XLIFF translation file for the course, have the text in the file translated, and then import the file back into the course. What’s more, display conditions can be set on certain elements—to be triggered on a per-language basis. This allows for the proper localization of courses, presenting imagery that’s more regionally or culturally relevant, for example.
Design locally, distribute globally
Gomo’s multilingual support is used by our clients to support their global network of learners. One of our client’s courses has 28 different language versions, providing huge value from a single build.
5) The full support package
Value doesn’t just come from the software you buy. The support you get as part of the package can save significant time and money.
This starts at tool onboarding—is the tool easy to understand? And how much help will you and your learners get with understanding the tool? The longer your team spends on getting up to speed, the less time- and cost-effective the proposition (that said, allow extra time to truly experience the tool, so that training doesn’t go to waste).
Support with onboarding your tool is just the start.
Look for a tool that offers a range of self-service support resources in addition to a responsive support desk and a customer success manager dedicated to voicing your feedback to your provider.
The format of these answers matters immensely. Gomo’s approach is to offer a searchable knowledge base that explains features in clear, uncomplicated language. We also offer an ‘Academy’ focused on microlearning videos. The goal is to offer efficient training rather than just training. So your team can get answers quickly and get back to work.
Adapting for success
Our ‘clear language’ promise has been extended to our Gomo Academy resources. Following a client request, we adapted our full program of onboarding videos into Japanese, helping our client’s learning designers to swiftly get to grips with using Gomo.
The more support you get as standard, the better. However, additional costs are worth weighing against long-term benefits, and non-flexible requirements. For example, if your business has strict security requirements, you may have support and training requirements that go beyond what’s available off the shelf.
For more on the importance of working with your provider, read:‘How to Introduce a New eLearning Authoring Tool: Your First 3 Steps’
Discover more time and money-saving methods for eLearning
Our complete guide, ‘How your authoring tool can save you time and money’ covers many more tips that will help you greatly improve ROI in your eLearning process.
Features and eLearning methods we cover include:
- Getting the most out of branching scenarios (while not over-doing them)
- Focusing on interactive assets to engage without distracting
- Avoiding next-screen fatigue by using assets that put information on fewer pages without overwhelming the learner
- Working with a cloud-based authoring tool to push ROI even further
- And more!
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