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Instructional Design Tools for e-Learning

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What is an instructional design tool?An instructional design tool is a software application or platform used by instructional designers to create, design,...

What is an instructional design tool?

An instructional design tool is a software application or platform used by instructional designers to create, design, and develop course content for online learning. These tools help streamline the process of designing effective learning materials, ensuring learners have an optimal learning experience. In this article we’ll cover instructional design and also evaluate top software to help you find the software.

What are instructional design tools for eLearning?

Instructional design tools for eLearning are software applications or platforms specifically designed for creating online courses, modules, tutorials, and other eLearning content. These tools offer functionality like drag-and-drop course design, animations, multimedia integration, quizzes, and SCORM compatibility to make the content interactive, engaging, and in line with eLearning standards.

What LMS’ do instructional designers use?

Instructional designers often use Learning Management Systems (LMS) like Moodle, Blackboard, and Canvas to host and manage eLearning courses. An LMS is a cloud-based platform that facilitates the storage, delivery, and tracking of online courses, enabling learners to access content anytime, anywhere.

What does an instructional designer do in an eLearning process?

An instructional designer plays a pivotal role in the eLearning process. They analyze learners' needs, design course content, develop interactive courses using authoring tools, and evaluate the effectiveness of the learning materials. Working closely with subject matter experts, they ensure content is accurate, engaging, and aligns with the desired learning outcomes. Their goal is to create an optimal learning experience for students, enhancing retention and understanding.

What are the advantages of using an instructional design tool?

Using instructional design tools offers several advantages:

  1. Efficiency: Streamline the course creation process, saving time.
  2. Interactivity: Create interactive courses with multimedia elements, simulations, and quizzes.
  3. Standardization: Ensure courses meet industry standards like SCORM.
  4. Flexibility: Offer responsive courses compatible with mobile devices.
  5. Collaboration: Enable team members to work together in real-time, enhancing the workflow.

What are the best instructional design tools for creating elearning content?

The best instructional design tools for eLearning include Adobe Captivate, Lectora, iSpring Suite, and Articulate Storyline 360. Each offers unique features catering to different needs, like screen recording, simulations, intuitive interfaces, and more.

What are the three types of Instructional design tools for e-learning? How are they different?

  1. Course Authoring Tools: These allow instructional designers to create multimedia content, interactive courses, and online quizzes. Examples include Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline 360.
  2. Learning Management Systems (LMS): Platforms like Moodle or Canvas host, deliver, and manage eLearning courses, enabling students to access them.
  3. Collaboration Tools: Tools like Microsoft Teams or Slack facilitate communication between team members, stakeholders, and learners. They assist in brainstorming, sharing feedback, and streamlining the eLearning development process.

Top 3 Use Cases for Instructional design tools for e-learning:

Instructional design tools for e-learning serve various purposes, each contributing to the creation and delivery of effective and engaging online learning experiences. While there are many possible applications, the top three use cases could be:

1. Content Creation and Organization

Instructional design tools allow educators and instructional designers to create, curate, and structure e-learning content in a coherent and engaging manner. This goes beyond simply writing text and includes:

  • Developing interactive modules
  • Creating quizzes and assessments
  • Incorporating multimedia elements like video, audio, and images
  • Designing slides and handouts
  • Structuring content into modules, chapters, or units for easy navigation

The aim is to design course material in a way that facilitates learning through various activities and resources, taking into account different learning styles.

2. Learning Pathways and Personalization

E-learning tools often come with features that enable the creation of personalized learning paths based on the learner's progress, preferences, or performance on assessments. Instructional designers can:

  • Onboarding for new hires and also for employee training.
  • Set conditional paths that adapt based on quiz scores or engagement metrics
  • Offer supplemental resources for those who need additional help
  • Design 'branching scenarios' where learners can choose different pathways through the material, thereby fostering a more personalized learning experience
  • Alleviating the learning curve for new employees with a robust learning platform that includes screencasts, webinars, storyboards that make for a great learning experience.

Such customization makes learning more engaging and allows learners to proceed at their own pace, revisiting materials as needed.

3. Tracking and Analytics

One of the significant advantages of e-learning is the ability to collect data on learner engagement, performance, and progression. Instructional design tools often come with robust analytics and tracking capabilities that enable:

  • Monitoring student engagement and time spent on each module
  • Analyzing quiz and assessment scores to identify learning gaps or areas for improvement
  • Tracking completion rates for individual learners or groups
  • Generating reports for stakeholders such as educators, administrators, or even corporate managers in a business setting

This data can then be used for iterative improvement of the course material, as well as identifying learners who might be at risk and may require additional support.

In summary, instructional design tools for e-learning provide functionalities that help in effective content creation, enable personalized learning pathways, and offer valuable analytics for ongoing improvement and learner support.

25 Best instructional design software Tools for e-Learning:

Review the best design tools here. Aways ensure you check the website for each tool for the latest information. In order to create optimal training content, before any software, you’ll need to have your training materials, GIFs, HTML, and any other content for your training course.

Also bear in mind the OS of your user. Will the be on Mac or Windows. While there are plenty of things to factor in, we encourage you to use this as a great starting point to create your own checklist. Check on each company’s social media to see how they handle customers and even sign up for free trials to create test training programs.

  1. Adobe Captivate
    • Adobe Captivate is one of the premier tools for creating interactive eLearning content. From screen recordings to simulations, it offers an array of functionalities tailored to cater to different training needs.
    • Top 3 Features: VR experiences, responsive course design, advanced quizzes.
    • Cost: Starts at $33.99/month (annual plan).
  2. Articulate Storyline 360
    • Known for its user-friendly interface and powerful features, Storyline is favored by many for creating custom eLearning. It provides unparalleled flexibility for course creation.
    • Top 3 Features: Intuitive timeline, drag-and-drop interactions, slide layers.
    • Cost: $1,299/year per user.
  3. iSpring Suite
    • Built as a PowerPoint add-on, it offers an easy transition for those familiar with the Microsoft tool, adding enhanced eLearning capabilities.
    • Top 3 Features: PowerPoint integration, dialogue simulations, multimedia quizzes.
    • Cost: Starts at $770/year for one user.
  4. Lectora
    • Lectora is known for its HTML5 publishing capability, which aids in creating responsive courses. It's also appreciated for its SCORM compliance.
    • Top 3 Features: Course templates, mobile-friendly courses, SCORM compatibility.
    • Cost: Starts at $1,295/year.
  5. Camtasia
    • Primarily a screen recording tool, Camtasia also offers solid video editing features, making it perfect for tutorial-based eLearning.
    • Top 3 Features: High-quality screen recording, video editing, interactive quizzes.
    • Cost: $249 one-time fee.
  6. Rise 360
    • A cloud-based tool by Articulate, Rise 360 facilitates the rapid creation of web-friendly courses with a responsive design.
    • Top 3 Features: Pre-built lesson templates, multimedia integration, quick collaboration.
    • Cost: Included in the Articulate 360 subscription ($1,299/year).
  7. Brainshark
    • Aimed at sales training and coaching, Brainshark offers solutions for content creation, training, and analytics.
    • Top 3 Features: Video coaching, AI-powered analytics, content creation.
    • Cost: Pricing on request.
  8. Elucidat
    • With a cloud-based interface, Elucidat aims to reduce eLearning development time with its easy-to-use features.
    • Top 3 Features: Responsive course design, powerful analytics, collaboration capabilities.
    • Cost: Pricing on request.
  9. Gomo Learning
    • Gomo offers cloud-based eLearning authoring, hosting, and analytics in one platform.
    • Top 3 Features: Cloud authoring, xAPI analytics, content distribution.
    • Cost: Pricing on request.
  10. Easygenerator
    • Designed for subject matter experts, it provides a straightforward approach to course creation.
    • Top 3 Features: User-friendly, co-authoring, quiz templates.
    • Cost: Starts at $99/month.
  11. TalentLMS
    • More than just an LMS, TalentLMS offers a course authoring capability, making it a holistic eLearning tool.
    • Top 3 Features: Course marketplace, blended learning, gamification.
    • Cost: Starts at $59/month.
  12. Shift eLearning
    • Known for its rich templates and quick course development features.
    • Top 3 Features: HTML5-based, extensive template library, interactivity.
    • Cost: Pricing on request.
  13. Evolve Authoring
    • Offers deep customization options for creating eLearning content with a modern look and feel.
    • Top 3 Features: Responsive courses, extensive asset library, gamification.
    • Cost: Starts at $35/user/month.
  14. Tovuti
    • A comprehensive eLearning platform that combines LMS and course authoring functionalities.
    • Top 3 Features: Virtual classroom, content libraries, eCommerce capabilities.
    • Cost: Starts at $450/month.
  15. Udutu
    • A cloud-based eLearning authoring tool with an emphasis on collaboration and accessibility.
    • Top 3 Features: Multimedia integration, templates, real-time collaboration.
    • Cost: Free to use with optional premium features.
  16. Koantic
    • A drag-and-drop eLearning authoring tool that focuses on simplicity without compromising on features.
    • Top 3 Features: Mobile-friendly courses, interactive videos, branching scenarios.
    • Cost: Starts at $79/month.
  17. Canva
    • While primarily a graphic design tool, Canva's easy-to-use interface and templates make it suitable for creating learning infographics, presentations, and more.
    • Top 3 Features: Extensive template library, drag-and-drop design, team collaboration.
    • Cost: Free with a Pro version at $12.99/month.
  18. Vyond
    • For creating animated videos for eLearning, Vyond offers a range of customization options.
    • Top 3 Features: Animated templates, character customization, voiceovers.
    • Cost: Starts at $299/year.
  19. Litmos Author
    • Offers a cloud-based solution for course creation, with a focus on corporate training.
    • Top 3 Features: Mobile-friendly, gamification, interactive modules.
    • Cost: Pricing on request.
  20. Claro
    • Known for its collaborative features, Claro facilitates smooth team-based eLearning development.
    • Top 3 Features: Real-time collaboration, cloud-based, template library.
    • Cost: Pricing on request.
  21. Courselab
    • A free tool with a range of features suitable for creating SCORM-compliant courses.
    • Top 3 Features: SCORM-compliant, interactive elements, multimedia support.
    • Cost: Free.
  22. CourseArc
    • A web-based tool designed for creating accessible and interactive eLearning content.
    • Top 3 Features: Drag-and-drop design, template library, LMS integration.
    • Cost: Pricing on request.
  23. EdApp
    • Focuses on microlearning, offering a mobile-first approach to course design.
    • Top 3 Features: Gamification, microlearning modules, template library.
    • Cost: Starts at $17/month.
  24. Adapt
    • An open-source tool known for its responsive design capabilities and community-driven plugins.
    • Top 3 Features: Open source, responsive courses, extensive plugin library.
    • Cost: Free.
  25. WizIQ
    • More than just a course authoring tool, WizIQ offers virtual classroom features and LMS capabilities.
    • Top 3 Features: Virtual classroom, course marketplace, analytics.
    • Cost: Starts at $25/month.


What is a learning management system?

A learning management system (LMS) is a software application used to plan, implement, and assess a specific learning process. LMSs allow educators or trainers to deliver content, monitor student participation, and assess student performance.

What is a schematic diagram?

A schematic diagram is a simplified representation of a concept, structure, or system, using symbols rather than realistic images. It provides a clear overview, focusing on the relationships between different components, rather than intricate details.

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