What is an authoring tool? How to choose a digital book maker?
Interactive textbooks and digital educational content are the norm today, rather than an extra – especially since more students are learning online than ever before. If you’re looking for an eContent design platform, here’s a quick look at what an eLearning authoring tool is and how to find one that suits your publishing needs.
So, what is an eLearning authoring tool?
It’s authoring software like a digital book maker enabling you to create media-rich digital educational content like digital textbooks and interactive content – or anything we’d label eContent.
Usually, it won’t require any technical skills from the user, offering easy-to-use tools and templates to create engaging learning materials for students.
Why use an eLearning authoring tool?
There are at least several reasons for choosing an interactive content authoring tool instead of custom educational software development. Let’s take a quick look:
- It speeds up the educational software development process. It’s a crucial benefit if you want to create digital textbooks and other educational content quicker and respond to the rapidly evolving needs of the market.
- It lowers the costs of digital textbook creation. The price is closely tied to the development speed and the number of people involved in the process. With an interactive content authoring tool like mAuthor, you don’t have to outsource the educational software development or hire skilled developers.
- It allows the creation of educational content at scale. By creating visual and functional templates, you can produce much more eContent while keeping it reliable and consistent. mAuthor, for example, includes 140 ready-made modules that you can use to create your interactive lessons and digital textbooks.
What to look for in an eLearning authoring tool?
- Ease of use. A WYSIWYG editor (WYSIWYG stands for “what you see is what you get”) will allow your editorial staff and authors to create rich interactive eContent with absolutely zero coding skills. On the other hand, a cloud-based tool will make it easy for your team to edit the eContent anytime and anywhere without worrying about backups or software installations.
- System compatibility. The interactive content you create should be system-agnostic. Moreover, with today’s increasing popularity of mobile devices in education, mobile readiness is an absolute must.
- Accessibility. Check if the digital content created in your content authoring platform or digital textbook converter is compliant with the latest web content accessibility guidelines. Now it’s an essential feature of any digital educational content.
- Adaptive learning. To make your eContent more functional and widely usable in different scenarios, your eLearning authoring tool should have adaptive content authoring capabilities. This essentially means it should be flexible enough to adjust to the student’s skills as they go through the lesson or course.
- Multiple applications. Check your digital book maker for the environment in which you want to use your digital content. Is it a website, an LMS, or maybe an offline player? The more flexible the tool, the better.
- eLearning standards compatibility. Check the compliance with popular eLearning standards to make sure your content is usable across LMS platforms. For example, the content created with mAuthor is SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004, and xAPI (Tin Can) compliant, making it compatible with most standard eLearning LMS platforms.
- Tech support. Does your Scorm authoring tool offer technical support in case of problems with the software? Can they work things out quickly and reliably?