Insider Secrets To Find The Best Rapid eLearning Authoring Software For Your Budget
Is rapid eLearning authoring software a viable investment for your organization? Some might say that life is a series of risks. That you have to take the leap to reap the rewards. However, things are a bit different in the corporate world, where the only risks worth taking are those that involve sizable incentives. You must hedge your bets to appease stakeholders and secure funding. So, can rapid eLearning tools really help your team reduce development timelines and stretch resources? This all-in-one guide can help you implement software minus the post-purchase regrets, including features to look for and questions to ask when comparing the top authoring tools. If you’re still unsure about rapid eLearning tools, read on to find out how they can maximize resources and minimize performance gaps. Here’s a sneak preview of what you’ll find in this epic guide:
- 9 Features To Add To Your Rapid eLearning Authoring Tool Checklist
- 7 Steps to Implement Rapid eLearning Development Software For Your Compliance Program
- 7 Facts And Fictions About Rapid eLearning Development In Online Training
- Rapid Re-Purpose: 7 Tips To Use Existing Assets And Rapid Development Tools To Cut Costs
- Rapid Development Tools Library Cheat sheet: 7 Tips To Use Built-in Assets To Enrich Online Training
- eLearning Authoring Tools Comparison Questions To Choose Software That Offers The Best ROI
- How To Use Rapid Authoring Tools To Launch A Successful Gamification Strategy
- Tips To Select The Ideal Pricing Model And Deployment Type
- Tricks To Use An Online Directory To Find Rapid eLearning Software
The deal-clincher for most organizations is the fact that rapid eLearning authoring software is versatile. You can use the multimedia, templates, and interactions to suit virtually any subject matter, from health and safety compliance training to soft skills in the customer service sector. More importantly, you’re able to achieve the objectives quickly and at a fraction of the cost. Expertise and design experience are still essential, but the templates, images, and editing features lighten the workload. Which features should you add to your rapid eLearning authoring tool checklist so that your team can develop diverse training resources?
This is the feature that unlocks every built-in tool. If it’s not user-friendly, expect a long learning curve that bites into your development budget. The rapid eLearning tool should have an intuitive UI that your team can use. Since this is subjective, survey their skills and experience to find software that suits their needs. Invite them to join the free trial so they can test the functionality for themselves. Many tools feature WYSIWYG interfaces that enable you to view content as you go along and make revisions on-the-spot.
This is the main selling point for most organizations. They want a rapid authoring tool that saves them the time and trouble of curating their own media. An asset library features everything from cut-out characters to industry-specific images. Sound effects, video clips, and graphics are also par for the course. Make certain the repository has diverse assets you can use to achieve your outcomes. For example, 500 of the 1,000 images might consist of black and white symbols that don’t hold much value for your soft skills course.
You stress communication in the workplace because employees must be able to resolve conflicts and articulate ideas, but it’s just as crucial for your eLearning design team. The authoring tool should have built-in collaboration so they can communicate with each other and achieve shared goals. For example, work together to develop a task simulation or serious game remotely. This might involve revision notes, PM tools, or even video conferencing support.
Vendor Support Services
One of the forgotten rapid authoring tool features is support. You probably don’t expect to ever use the toll-free number or live chat until you run into a problem that threatens your deadline. Different vendors provide different levels of support, some include an online forum, email, and phone support in their package, but others only provide a basic FAQ and limited knowledge base, and possibly charge extra for advanced services.
Interactivity is expected, especially by modern learners who want to immerse themselves in the experience and fully engage with the content. Many rapid authoring tools allow you to incorporate drag-and-drop, triggers, and other interactions. You can transform text-based activities into serious games with the help of matching or reveal interactions, while timelines are ideal for historical events or show the evolution of a trend.
You can find countless templates online. Many of them are even free to download, but there’s no guarantee that they’re compatible with your authoring tool or LMS. Built-in templates are already approved by the vendor (if not created by them). You customize the layout, substitute placeholders, and incorporate your branding without having to worry about re-formatting the content before you upload. Plus, a large portion of the design work is already in place. Effective rapid eLearning authoring software has an impressive template library packed with attention-grabbing layouts you can make your own.
Developing assessments is time consuming. It also usually requires some degree of graphic design experience since you must create the layout and add interactions. Rapid eLearning authoring software includes everything from customizable quizzes to grading rubrics. Evaluate learners and disclose gaps using different question formats or gather their feedback with personalized surveys. Assessment tracking and data visualizations are usually the LMS’s domain. So, you should verify that your chosen tool is compatible with the system.
Video And Sound Recording
Modern learners are easily distracted. They need engaging content that keeps them focused and fosters a connection, like videos, podcasts, and sound effects that help them relate with the subject matter. Your next rapid eLearning authoring software must have basic video and sound recording capabilities, at the very least. You should be able to record voice overs for your presentation or sound clips to add to the new task simulation. This ensures a multi-sensory eLearning experience.
The secret weapon for content repurposing is an embedded editor. Upload existing assets to break them into easily digestible modules, add images and interactions, then integrate links to supplemental resources. Editing tools also allow you to enhance fresh content to quickly remedy errors. For instance, remove the unnecessary step from your new task demo video, or include a new compliance regulation that just came into effect to prevent costly injuries or fines.
Rapid eLearning authoring software reduces development time and costs, which makes the compliance burden easier to bear for your L&D staff. But what if there was a step-by-step guide to help them transition to the new software and simplify implementation? Well, look no further. Using rapid authoring solutions shouldn’t be a stressful chore for your in-house designers. Let’s break it down into 7 manageable tasks that novices and seasoned pros, alike, can follow to create your next compliance course.
Organize Resources To Identify The Cream Of The Content Crop
Rapid eLearning development software is ideal for content repurposing, thereby helping you cut compliance training costs. Do an inventory to see what you already have and determine which resources align with current objectives. This may seem like a premature step, given that you still haven’t chosen the rapid eLearning software. However, content format plays an important part in the selection process. You must be able to easily upload resources to the new platform and reuse them to reduce development time. An asset inventory also avoids redundancies. You may have images, cut-out characters, and other resources. Thus, you don’t need a rapid eLearning authoring software that offers more of the same.
Evaluate Your Current eLearning Toolbox
Compatibility may seem like a small point of contention. After all, can’t you just “make it work” using plug-ins or reformating the content? You must evaluate your current eLearning software to avoid replacement costs and development delays. The first tool to check is your LMS to verify the system supports your rapid eLearning content. Some LMSs even feature built-in rapid authoring tools to bypass compatibility issues altogether. There are also external video conferencing, animation, and editing/recording tools to consider.
Select Rapid Authoring Tools That Simplify Maintenance
Compliance training usually involves frequent updates and revisions to keep up with modern regulations or company policies. As such, your new rapid authoring tool should simplify maintenance with an intuitive UI and templates. Simply load the template when it’s time to make a change or substitute placeholders to add new content to the compliance course. Another maintenance tool to look for is video editing tools, quickly cut footage or add sound effects and voice overs to update your demos.
Sign Up For Free Trials (Equipped With Evaluation Criteria)
Most authoring tool vendors give you a sneak preview of their product. These free trials or demos show off the features so you can make a well-informed purchase. Before the clock starts, develop evaluation criteria to judge the software on its own merit. You should use the same criteria for every trial to get a side-by-side comparison. This isn’t a one-person job either. Select designers, SMEs, and admins should have a chance to see if the tool meshes with their work practices. Encourage them to create a sample activity then test the waters with a focus group. That way, you analyze the tool from all angles and gather constructive feedback.
Develop An Implementation Timeline For Your Team
Rapid eLearning software can only uphold its end of the bargain if there’s a timeline in place, such as a schedule to ensure your team is aware of deadlines and that your accounting department grants enough funding for payroll. Of course, there are always unexpected issues that might cause delays. However, you should leave a little buffer in your time windows to account for minor emergencies. The schedule must include all relevant tasks for each step. For instance, you set aside a month to find the best rapid authoring tool, install the software, and familiarize your team. Each respective phase should have individual subtasks and goals to monitor progress. This also ensures you allocate enough resources for each stage of the implementation process.
Give Your L&D Staff The Grand Tour To Show Off Tool Assets
One step you must always include in your timeline is the grand tour for your team. You’ve already finished the free trial or demo to verify the tool is right for your compliance program. This tool tour gives you the opportunity to show off all the assets and how you can incorporate them into the design. Host a live Q&A where they can ask questions about the built-in multimedia or interactions. This is particularly important for in-house novices who are still apprehensive about rapid eLearning. The vendor should also have a knowledge base you can draw from to bring your staff up to speed, such as tutorials or walkthroughs of the video editor or image library.
Develop Storyboards To Map Out Your Rapid eLearning Strategy
Storyboards help visualize your implementation timeline and take it a step further by outlining course content, like which activities to include in your health and safety certification course or how you plan to repurpose outdated resources. Your team should know which tasks they’re responsible for and how they align with the outcomes. Some rapid authoring software has built-in collaboration tools that keep them in constant communication. Designers can work with each other remotely to develop or revise content and make suggestions.
As is true for every eLearning topic or trend, there are different schools of thought. Critics claim that rapid eLearning compromises results and depersonalizes the training process, while advocates swear by rapid authoring tools that cut costs and stretch resources. If you’re considering new eLearning software, it’s important to look at both sides of the story to weigh the pros and cons and determine if it’s a sound investment for your organization. Is rapid right for you? Let’s get the facts straight and debunk the fictions about rapid eLearning development in online training.
Fact: Rapid eLearning Streamlines Content Upkeep
Rapid eLearning authoring software features templates you can easily maintain. A new compliance rule or company policy doesn’t require a complete overhaul, you can simply modify the existing layout, substitute placeholders, and incorporate fresh images. Thus, rapid authoring tools save time and money by streamlining content maintenance. Your L&D team may even have enough room in their schedule to develop new courses instead of spending countless hours reworking content that’s no longer relevant.
Fiction: Rapid eLearning Requires No Prior Experience
The tool takes care of everything for you, right? The truth is that you do need some background knowledge and design skills. The rapid eLearning development tool has built-in assets you can use to create content, however, it takes talent to wield them to turn a collection of images and video clips into a meaningful and contextual learning experience. That said, you don’t need to have a degree in design to familiarize yourself with the software, as they usually involve a low learning curve and user-friendly UI.
Fact: Personalization Is Possible
A common myth about rapid eLearning is that it produces generic content. There’s no room for personalization since you’re reusing the same assets to create every course, but personalization is feasible, you just have to know how to use the tool’s resources to achieve the desired outcomes. For instance, modify templates to reflect employees’ interests or align with the subject matter. Some software even has simulations and serious game templates to facilitate mistake-driven learning. Trainees have access to support resources that target gaps and encourage practical application.
Fiction: Replaces SMEs And Instructional Designers
Instructional Designers, Subject Matter Experts, and other key members of the design team still have a job, even if you purchase rapid eLearning authoring software. The software won’t magically whip up a course to achieve your training objectives, nor upload relevant content into those empty placeholders. You still need experienced professionals who know how to utilize the tool and are knowledgeable about the topic, as well as the design principles and learning behaviors that serve as the foundation.
Fact: Rapid Development Can Produce Quality Content
Quick doesn’t mean haphazard. This is why you need the expertise of your team. Of course, there is a risk of low-quality content if you try to piece together the rapid authoring assets with no clear direction or have inaccurate information that leads to on-the-job mistakes. On the other hand, you can use the rapid authoring tool to develop realistic and relatable courses that are chock-full of takeaways. To keep the quality in check, clarify goals beforehand, ensure you have the right people on the team, and evaluate the asset library. An authoring tool with poorly designed video clips or images won’t give your designers much to work with, even if they have years of experience on the subject matter and are familiar with learning technology.
Fiction: There’s No Way To Monitor Rapid Online Training
Another rapid eLearning development myth is that it’s some isolated activity that’s untraceable, like a standalone module that provides supplemental knowledge but doesn’t fit into the holistic training strategy. The fact behind this fiction is that you can monitor rapid online training so long as the authoring tool is compatible with your LMS. In fact, see how they mesh during the free trial or demo. Verify that you can upload content with ease and track the activity via LMS reports.
Fact: Multimedia Does Not Equal Engagement
Some organizations make the crucial mistake of packing their courses with as much media as possible. They assume this will wow learners and create an emotional connection. However, there’s a method to the madness. Rapid eLearning software gives you fragments you can piece together to create a memorable experience. Value is still the most important consideration though. A tool with a vast asset library will give you more creative freedom, but you must use those assets to bridge personal gaps. Too much media increases the risk of cognitive overload, so ensure that every element has a purpose and that you’re not relying on aesthetics or interactivity to engage employees.
Is now the right time for rapid eLearning development? It’s the age of recycling, upcycling, and self-sufficiency. So, it only makes sense for the corporate world to follow suit and to think outside the box and reuse training materials for current L&D objectives. But there’s one crucial ingredient you need, aside from a creative spark and lateral thinking skills. Rapid authoring software unlocks multimedia, templates, and other resources that refresh training content and make them suitable for modern learners. Here are some tips to use existing assets and rapid development tools to repurpose and reduce costs.
Do An Asset Inventory To Organize Your Raw Material
You have to identify the assets you’re working with and see how they connect to current training objectives. Not everything is going to make the cut. You must find resources that still hold some merit and are compatible with the new tool. For example, the 1-hour presentation is out of date but there are several video or narration clips you can reuse for the sales training course. Timestamp these sections and develop a storyboard to mark their place in the new module.
Import And Edit Outdated Images To Refresh Compliance Content
Some images are destined for the editing room floor, like that workplace photo from 1995 when employees rocked feathered bangs and were attached at the hip to their pagers. It no longer speaks to modern staffers, except for those who want a bit of nostalgia. However, there are images that still hold relevance and can add visual appeal to your compliance online training content. Use the rapid development tools built-in editor to enhance the quality and add special effects. You can also crop out background elements or antiquated devices.
Add Fresh Voice Overs To Task Tutorials And Demos
The screenshots and video clips in your task tutorials have stood the test of time, but the audio might date your training production. Most rapid authoring tools have audio recording and editing features so record new voice overs for those walkthroughs and demos to cut costs and enhance quality. This also allows you to incorporate new steps or rules that employees need to know. You can always substitute images or brief video clips to ensure the visuals match up with your new audio overlay.
Import Video Clips From Third-Party Platforms
You might not have the resources to develop video demos and tutorials in-house but that doesn’t mean your employees must forego visual examples. Many rapid eLearning tools support video imports from third-party platforms, which means you can embed external videos from sharing sites into your training content. You might even find product demos and how-to clips on vendor sites to share with your sales staff, or government-sponsored compliance videos. The catch is that you need to verify rights and request permission from the creator when necessary.
Edit Recorded Events To Create Microlearning Support Tools
Recorded webinars, speaking engagements, and task demos lose their luster over time. Topics become outdated or no longer align with your organizational goals. They may even feature old branding elements or employees who left the company years ago. Rapid development tools feature video editors to transform these events into microlearning support resources. For example, your CEO spoke at a workshop last year and the hour-long chat highlights policies you’ve changed in recent months. So, use the editor to isolate clips that still ring true and help employees understand the company’s vision, like the personal anecdote that teaches trainees a valuable life lesson and offers communication tips.
Use Triggers To Increase Interactivity
Static content doesn’t hold employees’ attention, they read a block of text or review a checklist, but these are passive activities. Rapid eLearning software features interactions to turn these flat resources into dynamic training experiences. Employees click on embedded triggers and hotspots to access more information and interact with the content. You can even include drag-and-drop activities to add a touch of gamification and boost engagement. Moving something on the screen or clicking a button may seem mundane, but it prompts them to actively participate, and it also costs your company next to nothing since you’ve already developed the multimedia.
Modernize Company Manuals With The Image And Clipart Gallery
You probably have company manuals sitting around that still have relevant info, but the delivery method is flawed. Employees don’t want to read 50 pages of company policy or task protocols or long text blocks that start to blur together and their minds begin to wander. Rapid eLearning tools have images and clipart to modernize those manuals and create an emotional connection. Include cut-out characters and stock photos to make it more memorable so that employees retain the information. The caveat is that the visuals must support the takeaways. Vibrant, thought-provoking images might grab their attention, but they also detract from the training outcomes.
5. Rapid Development Tools Library Cheat Sheet: 7 Tips To Use Built-In Assets To Enrich Online Training
Sometimes we all need to channel our inner MacGyver and make the most of what we have. It might be a PowerPoint presentation that was cutting-edge back in the day or a more recent compliance course that quickly went out of date thanks to new regulations. Thankfully, our reliable rapid authoring tool is on hand to reuse and revitalize those shelved assets so that they never go to waste. Here are 7 tips on how to use rapid development tools templates, themes, and built-in assets to enhance your current online training content. You can also download our exclusive guide for more insider secrets.
Choose Templates That Allow For Quick Content Changes
Objectives change, new rules come into effect, and technology evolves. Thus, you must constantly re-evaluate your design to make sure it’s relevant and relatable. Customizable templates enable you to quickly incorporate new activities to stay one step ahead of the game. Choose layouts that are easy to maintain and suit a variety of training topics. You can also develop your own template using the built-in assets, such as borders, graphics, and unique fonts. Make certain to leave ample space for placeholders so that you can expand the course and incorporate fresh resources periodically.
Use Cut-Out Characters As Course Guides And Simulation Personas
Cut-out characters seamlessly blend with the course background and add the all-important human element. Use them as course guides to give pointers and introduce employees to new topics or tasks. You can also make them the stars of your next online training simulation or branching scenario. They might be a customer who wants to return an item well past the deadline or a hot-headed co-worker who tests the trainee’s interpersonal skills (and patience). Try to incorporate a good mix of personas that appeal to your diverse workforce.
Create Emotive Voice Overs With Audio Recording And Editing Tools
We’re more visual by nature. However, we still need auditory elements to create a connection. Most rapid development tools have audio recording and editing tools. Produce your own voice over to evoke feelings and help your employees understand the subject matter. As an example, explain the task step by step and tell them why it’s so important to follow protocols. Mention a real-world example or anecdote that drives the point home. Make sure the narrator is easy to understand though and that you include subtitles for learners with special needs.
Integrate Sound Effects For Real-World Prep
Life is noisy, for the most part. Your employees must know how to perform in crowded and chaotic environments. That includes working from home and dealing with distractions. But most training courses involve absolute silence. Granted, it’s so that trainees can focus on the content. But sound effects can foster immersion and prepare them for the real world, such as trying to communicate with a customer when background music is blaring in the store and people are chatting around them, or when they’re fielding calls in the bustling customer care center. Your simulation can mimic these audio distractions so they know how to work around them on the job.
Select Themes That Mix Subject Matter And Employee Interests
Some tools have thematic packages, while others feature individual elements you can piece together to create your own. In either case, it’s best to blend employee interests with the subject matter. For example, a theme might grab their attention because it incorporates their favorite pastimes or pop culture references; however, it has nothing to do with the training topic. This drives employees to distraction and prevents them from connecting the course to real-world outcomes.
Import Videos To Cut Costs And Increase Interactivity
It’s hard to resist an online training video (especially when employees expect text blocks and outdated graphics). You don’t necessarily have to develop your own video-based content though. Many rapid development tools support imported multimedia. You can find relevant resources on video sharing sites then incorporate them into your design or even use the built-in video library to take things up a notch and engage your employees. Another great place to look for clips is product vendor sites. Of course, you can always produce your own in-house training video with the help of staffers. Invite them to perform a task, record it, then edit the raw footage.
Liven Up Real-World Examples With The Image Library
Real-world examples, stories, and case studies are all valuable training tools that put things into context. But let’s face it, big blocks of text bore trainees. Why not add images from the rapid eLearning tool library to make it interesting? That story about the employee who lands a sale using his active listening skills becomes engaging and more relatable if a face is involved. You can also use images from the workplace and edit them or add visual effects. Another way to embed images is to help employees differentiate right from wrong. Display two photos that feature uniformed employees, then ask trainees to choose the right workplace attire and explain why the other outfit is out of line or the correct/incorrect way to greet a client based on their cultural norms.
There are probably countless questions running through your mind right now. You’re trying to choose an eLearning authoring tool that makes everyone happy (including the bookkeeper). On top of that, resources are limited and the shopping list just keeps getting longer. Every time you think you’re close to a decision someone recommends another contender that forces you to rethink. For now, let’s focus on 6 eLearning authoring tools comparison questions to help you choose the best software at the best price.
What Are The Embedded Multimedia Features?
This is the defining feature for most authoring tool buyers. An advantage of rapid eLearning authoring is that you gain access to video clips, images, clipart, and other design elements. Thus, you don’t have to develop this content on your own and can focus on other design tasks, like reusing existing assets or maintaining your compliance course. Many rapid eLearning tools include template galleries and editors as well. Another feature to consider is interactions, including adaptive navigation, learning paths, and embedded triggers or hotspots.
Is The Rapid eLearning Tool Easy To Use?
This question is a matter of opinion. A tool that’s intuitive for your team may be complex for another with less experience. A great way to evaluate its usability is to read user reviews. They’ve already tried the tool and know how it performs, whether you can customize the interface and toolbars or see content previews before you publish. The usability score is another indicator of the tool’s UX and overall learning curve. Ask your designers and developers for recommendations on tools they’ve used in the past. Not necessarily to expand your list, but to see what they liked/disliked about the UI.
Which Support Services Does The Vendor Provide?
Many people associate support services with technical issues (i.e., they can’t set up a client portal or run into a software coding error). However, there are other reasons to reach out to the vendor. For example, you need to upgrade or downgrade your pricing plan or have a billing question. For more complex problems, you must determine the level of support your team needs. You don’t want to choose a more expensive tool simply because it offers live chat support, only to realize that your team is well-equipped to handle issues on their own or that they prefer online forums for troubleshooting. That said, it is nice to have a safety net in the event of an eLearning emergency.
Is It The Best Choice For Your Budget?
You may not have any leeway in your budget so you need to find an authoring tool that gives you maximum value for your money. The first step is to choose the best pricing model. Monthly subscriptions, one-time licenses, and free are the most popular. Just note that free is not always ideal, since these platforms typically involve DIY coding. The second budgeting factor involves the software’s scope. One tool may be more expensive, but it has richer assets and a vast template library. You no longer have to curate content from third-party sites. Thus, it might be more cost-effective in the long term. Lastly, you need a tool that’s compatible with existing software to avoid replacement expenses.
Did The Platform Receive A High Overall Satisfaction Rating?
An eLearning authoring tools comparison involves all the product specs and features, but you also need to think about its track record. The overall satisfaction rating lets you evaluate the tool from a new standpoint, review the pros and cons of ownership before you sign the agreement, and see if the vendor values customer experience and usefulness. The likelihood to recommend also factors into the overall satisfaction rating.
Do They Offer A Free Trial Or Demo?
Most rapid eLearning authoring tools provide a free trial or demo. It usually ranges from 2 weeks to a month during which time you can see if the tool is a viable investment. Of course, there’s some prep work to get the most from the free trial. Clarify which selling points you need to evaluate and develop a sample project or a brief training activity that allows your team to test the waters and go through their usual workflow. Then, do a trial recap to make your final decision based on their valued feedback. Keep in mind that certain vendors require a credit card on file while others have no strings attached.
A popular myth regarding rapid eLearning is that it lacks emotional engagement. The generic content can’t possibly connect with learners on a deeper level or fuel their motivation. However, in the right hands, rapid eLearning software can turn your online course into a gamified training experience that captivates corporate learners. Badges, leaderboards, and levels reinforce behaviors and provide embedded feedback. Here are some tips to use rapid authoring tools for eLearning to launch a successful gamification strategy.
Choose A Tool With The Best Gamification Template Repository
There are numerous ways to approach gamification in your online training program, from level-based courses to leaderboards. The mechanics depend on the learning behaviors you need to reinforce and your training objectives. Thus, rapid authoring tools should have a diverse template repository to suit your many needs. These layouts enhance aesthetics and ensure that your design is cohesive and brand-centered. You should also be able to customize certain elements to make it your own, such as the color scheme, graphics, and fonts.
Utilize Drag-And-Drop Interactions To Boost Interactivity And Engagement
Most rapid authoring tools for eLearning have integrations that are a natural fit for gamification. For example, trainees can drag and drop objects to match a customer with the right product or choose the best safety gear for each task. There are also triggers and hotspots to help you transform static content into a mini serious game. Something as simple as clicking a spot on the training can improve engagement and make trainees feel like they’re actively involved. Just make sure you account for mobile learners. They may find it difficult to navigate the course when triggers take up the entire screen or to drag and drop tiny objects minus the mouse.
Customize Badges To Personalize Rewards
Employees dedicate themselves to training and achieving their goals. Accomplishing the training milestone is enough, but a personalized badge is the icing on the cake. Customize gamification badges with rapid authoring tool assets. Graphics, images, and eye-catching color schemes take rewards to the next level. You can also get employee input to design badges that resonate with them. Or develop unique incentives for every department or job position. For example, your customer service team has their own set of achievements to strive for.
Use Authoring Tool Media To Add An Element Of Mystery
Sound effects, voice overs, video clips, and images enhance immersion so that trainees can form an emotional attachment to the content. You can even use these rapid eLearning assets to add more intrigue. For example, every time they successfully complete an activity, they unlock the next video clue. They can solve the mystery after they reveal the final clip and pass the certification exam. Of course, the sleuthing activities should tie into the objectives and outcomes.
Develop Multi-Sensory Course Levels With Video Editors
If you already have a level-based framework in place, use built-in audio and video editors to make it multi-sensory. Voice overs and background music let them soak up the sounds of the workplace while video clips show them the correct way to perform tasks as they meet interesting customer personas. Every level allows employees to soak up the information as they explore realistic settings and challenges. Simulations are another great way to use audio/video editors in your gamification strategy. Record brief clips in the workplace, edit the raw footage, then add interactions and special effects.
Align Leaderboards With Learner Interests And Goals
One of the most popular game mechanics is leaderboards. Trainees earn points or complete milestones to move up in the ranks. Rapid eLearning tools allow you to customize boards based on employee interests, goals, and preferences. As an example, use built-in themes, templates, and images to transform a generic leaderboard into a gladiator arena. Trainees must compete against peers to claim victory, or they’re all participants in a retro game show and the one who reaches the top gets to try their luck in the bonus round. Survey your team to find a theme that suits their hobbies or personality traits. You can even turn the leaderboard design into a contest; every month they submit their layouts and you select a winner.
Let Learners Choose Their Path With Adaptive Navigation
Adaptive navigation and branching interactions are ideal for gamified training. One application is to invite trainees to choose their own path and see where it leads them. For example, they must answer a training riddle by selecting the corresponding path. Another way to incorporate this feature into your design is branching scenarios. Employees must prove that they can handle the pressure and choose the best course of action. For instance, decide how to address the customer’s issue or how to resolve a conflict.
Will you opt for a locally-installed or let the vendor take care of hosting? Is it better to pay all at once or foot the monthly bill? These are important questions to ask before you even begin rapid eLearning tool shopping. There are a variety of features to look for and support services to factor into your decision. However, it all hinges on the price and whether the platform delivers maximum ROI. Here are some tips to select the ideal pricing model and deployment type for new rapid eLearning software.
Develop A Detailed Rapid eLearning Software Budget
Unfortunately, you have to stick to a budget. Even if the resource well runs deep, there are other costs to consider. So, figure out how there is to work with, and which features you need to get your money’s worth. Account for every expense, from upfront costs to ongoing maintenance. Also, include the content creation fees and team payroll. This may require you to reevaluate other online training budgets. For example, you must determine how to cut LMS costs in order to make room for your new rapid eLearning authoring software.
Invest In One-Time Licensing Fees To Avoid Monthly Costs
One of the most popular pricing models is up-front licensing. You pay for the tool once and can use it in perpetuity. Though some vendors offer annual licenses you must renew every year to retain usage rights. This is ideal for organizations who want to avoid monthly subscription fees. But keep in mind that there are still other costs to consider, like software upgrades, updates, and content development. You must also have a lump sum you can allocate to startup costs instead of spreading out payments.
Consider Subscription-Based Software To Minimize Upfront Expenses
Subscription-based services are a great option for organizations with tight budgets. You avoid high start-up costs by paying over time. However, you don’t own the tool outright and licensing fees may fluctuate. For instance, the vendor decides to change their pricing plans six months after you download the software. You may also end up paying more than a one-time licensed solution. However, you usually aren’t locked into long-term contracts and can switch whenever you like. For instance, if you purchase a new LMS that features a built-in rapid authoring tool and no longer need the service.
Calculate The Cost Of Free Software
Many organizations download free rapid eLearning authoring software due to limited resources. The thing to keep in mind is these solutions are far from free. You must hire someone who knows how to program and code to customize the platform. You may also run into compatibility issues that force you to replace other tools, which can be expensive. Another option is “freemium” tools that are free to download but involve paid add-ons and upgrades. For example, you must purchase additional asset libraries, templates, or support service packages.
Weigh The Benefits Of Locally-Installed Versus Cloud-Based
The two common deployment types are locally-hosted and SaaS (cloud-based). Locally-hosted rapid eLearning authoring software is installed on your servers. In most cases, you can customize the tool to suit your needs but are responsible for all the maintenance. Many organizations choose this option due to data security, they believe that their content is safer, given that they’re in charge of security protocols. On the other hand, cloud-based software is hosted by the vendor. It’s accessible online and you must login to develop content and make revisions. The upside is that the vendor takes care of updates and tech upgrades. The downside is that you have to be online to access the tool. For instance, you are unable to develop content if the internet is down or you’re not in WiFi range.
Choose A Mobile App For Global Accessibility
Another rapid eLearning authoring software deployment type that’s increasingly popular is the mobile app. You’re able to install the app on any device and design from anywhere in the world with no internet connectivity obstacles to hold you back. Your remote team can work together to develop content and share revision notes. Some vendors also have desktop apps to ease accessibility.
Bonus Tip: Factor Free Trials Into The Pricing Equation
Free trials allow you to get the best value for money and test the tool before you buy. This trial period should be part of the decision-making process, as it gives you the rare opportunity to explore the features without making any commitments. You can try the support services, evaluate the asset library, and verify the UI is user-friendly. Whichever pricing model and deployment type you choose, a free trial or demo ensures maximum ROI.
You’re considering rapid eLearning software because you don’t have a moment to waste. The clock is ticking and you need an authoring tool to create online training content on a tight timeline. So, why would you spend weeks trying to find the perfect platform, vetting vendors, researching pricing options, and reviewing all their USPs? Here are some insider secrets to use an online directory to choose the right rapid eLearning software for your online training objectives.
Filter Results By Use Case And Customer Type
Rapid eLearning authoring software vendors must understand the unique needs of your industry and objectives, as well as your business infrastructure. Use the built-in filters to search by use case and customer type to find tools based on your specific requirements. Do you need a rapid authoring tool for workforce development or extended enterprise to keep external partners up to date? Customer types range from large enterprises and SMBs to nonprofits and freelancers.
Compare Their Features List With Yours
Every listing has a comprehensive overview of which features the vendor provides, including interactions, multimedia, integrations, and security. Compare their list with yours to see which products support your objectives. This usually requires some background info. You must break objectives into subtasks, then determine which activities/resources are necessary. What features are crucial for content development and employee evaluation? For example, you must bridge performance gaps with video demos. Thus, your rapid eLearning authoring software should have an integrated video editor, recording tools, and support imported videos.
Explore Their Pricing Options
The pricing overview covers everything from the model to starting costs. You can even see if the vendor offers a free trial or demo, as well as the type of license involved. Of course, you should already have a budget in place at this point. This allows you to choose the best pricing options for your organization and avoid overspending. When in doubt, contact the vendor to learn more about their pricing options and what’s included in the package, such as support services and product updates, or library add-ons.
Read User Reviews To Dig Deeper Into The Vendor’s Pros And Cons
Every product has its perks and drawbacks. The same is true for rapid authoring software. However, you can explore both ends of the spectrum before you buy. Read user reviews to delve deeper into the pros and cons of ownership. Users have the opportunity to share what they liked best about the tool and what they disliked. Look for reviews with similar use cases or training objectives. For instance, the user has the same focus and level of experience.
Take A Closer Look At The Overall Satisfaction Rating
The overall satisfaction rating gives you a good indication of how the tool performs. However, you should also examine the supporting scores to gauge the usefulness, usability, and customer experience. These three factors play a crucial role in achieving your online training objectives. As an example, the tool is too difficult to use so your team is unable to create the engaging content you need to improve on-the-job performance. Low CX ratings might mean there’s an issue with the service. Will the vendor provide support if you run into an issue that impedes your online training efforts? The overall satisfaction score includes the “likelihood to recommend” rating as well. If the product is good enough for users to refer friends or colleagues, it might be a viable option for your organization.
Use Screenshots And Promo Videos To Get An Inside Glimpse
Another perk of using an online directory to find the right rapid eLearning tool is product previews. Listings include screenshots and demo videos to help you make the best buying decision. You get an inside glimpse of the product’s interface, features, and asset library. Some listings even feature clips that showcase the tool in action. There’s also a vendor website button that takes you to their landing page, which usually features even more visuals that highlight the software USPs. Not to mention, give you a clear picture of the vendor’s design expertise and industry knowledge.
Compare Your Top 3 Options Side By Side
The search usually turns up a few top contenders, and that’s when things get difficult. Your shortlist contains rapid eLearning tools that meet all the criteria. But only one earns a spot in your training toolbox. A comparison tool makes the decision less stressful because you can evaluate their offerings side by side. Who has the highest overall rating? Which vendors have the most features on your list? Does one product have flexible pricing options that allow you to choose between subscriptions and one-time licensing fees? How do their starting fees stack up? Simply check the “compare” box in the listing to compare up to 3 rapid authoring tools. There’s also the option to get a free quote from the vendor.
Choosing the best rapid eLearning authoring software requires in-depth research to ensure the new tool supports online training objectives. It’s not simply a matter of seeing which platform offers the most interactions or templates, you must take it a step further to verify that these built-in assets are relevant and align with your expectations. They need to make the design process easier for the team and cost-effective for your organization. Now that you know all the insider secrets for online directories, find the best rapid authoring tool for your team. Read the latest reviews, compare your top choices, and evaluate satisfaction scores. Every listing has all the info you need to make a well-informed buying decision based on your use case and training objectives.
Get our eBook to choose the right rapid eLearning authoring software for your team. Is Rapid eLearning Worth The Risk?: Your Guide To Invest Wisely In Rapid eLearning Authoring Software To Avoid Buyer’s Remorse walks you through the entire process, from creating a realistic budget to vetting software vendors.