In my years of experience as an eLearning developer, I have come across several authoring tools that have helped me out in a lot of eLearning projects, but I have always wondered, is one of those tools better than the others in all or most of its features?
When I first started working in the eLearning field, most of the work that I did was developed using Adobe Flash, as I remember having several advantages to working with it:
Animation flexibility: since it was all controlled by keyframes, it was easier to control the timing and the exact point in time where you wanted the animations to happen.
Coding: When Action Script 3 was introduced, it allowed programmers to create more complex and organized interactions, thanks to its object-oriented style.
Of course, at that point the courses developed in Flash were cross platform, as long as the end users had the flash player plugin installed on their computers.
As we all know, later Flash would be discontinued due to security issues, but at that point we already had authoring tools like Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline, which would make things easier for programming eLearning courses especially for people with no experience in this phase of the eLearning, thus their name of rapid authoring tools.
But after almost 10 years of experience in the industry, can I say there is a better authoring tool?
Well, with every project I develop, I can certainly say that there isn’t one tool that I can say it’s better than the others, because it really depends on the project and what features you need to complete it.
For example, Adobe Captivate is more ideal when it comes to responsive design. Why? Because you can define different screen sizes and then accommodate the content layout in those screen sizes, so you can ensure the images, fonts and actual interactions are not lost when viewing the courses in different examples.
On the other hand, Articulate Storyline has a very robust player or wrapper, that is responsive by itself (although the content always stays the same) but the design caters to a very modern audience.
We will obviously have a preferred tool, mostly because of what our clients like, but it all comes down to the requirements of the project, and which tool has the best features to fulfill those requirements, but that perception may change from project to project.