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The Complete Package: Things To Consider Before  Choosing An LMS With Built-In Authoring Tool

More and more organizations investing in an LMS are looking for smooth integration with existing systems.

11 Sep 2018 by Christopher Pappas

More and more organizations investing in an LMS are looking for a smooth integration with existing systems. That integration is starting to include authoring tools, because of the costs associated with licensing and supporting two different systems.

If you choose an LMS with a built-in authoring tool, then all your support needs are covered in one place. But are you getting the best, up-to-date technology with this built-in option? Will your online training content be impacted if you want to shift to a new LMS? Take a look at some of the pros and cons of an LMS with a built-in authoring tool.

Would An LMS With a Built-In Authoring Tool Be Right For My Company?

In general terms, companies that have in-house trainers and specialists would benefit most from an LMS with a built-in authoring tool. That’s because they allow for speed in creating a new online training course and can be learned easily by any new L&D team member.

Companies that have a limited need for online training but a range of different audiences may also benefit from this type of authoring. That’s because it’s easy to copy an existing online training course, edit and publish it in a short space of time. Perhaps the online training course will stay the same except for different terminology or language. Here are some of the positives of opting for an LMS with a built-in authoring tool:

Easy To Learn

Your eLearning developers will benefit from a more limited set of features, which will allow them to learn the tool quickly. They can also train new hires quickly, and even allow for user-created online training content.

Quick To Create An Online Training Course

If everything is contained within one tool, then you skip the complicated phase where an online training course under review needs to be exported between two systems. For companies who regularly require new time-sensitive online training courses, such as legal or compliance training, this will be a huge benefit.

Avoid Additional Software Training And Costs

Two tools, two vendors, additional training. Owning an LMS with a built-in authoring tool means you only need to deal with one vendor during the LMS implementation process. The cost savings is often the driving factor for companies choosing the built-in option.

Would I Be Better Off With A Third-Party Authoring Tool?

Organizations with an ambitious L&D strategy, targeting the value-for-money benefits of an LMS, will want the very best design options available. This is generally better in third-party tools, simply because those companies are constantly focused on updating and innovating. That’s their lifeblood and what gives them the edge over their competitors.

If you opt for a built-in authoring tool, you’re often tied to your supplier, as they have your content within their product. This means you might then struggle to migrate your data if you ever decide to switch. A few of the benefits you’ll find with a third-party authoring tool include:

Freedom To Switch To A New LMS

It does happen. You can move to a new LMS and be told that the content you created in your previous built-in authoring tool cannot be migrated. In some cases, you can lose your content if the supplier’s tools are proprietary. You can avoid this risk completely by choosing a third-party supplier.

Continuous Improvement Of The Authoring Tool

Third-party authoring tool providers stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest developments. If you choose wisely, you’ll always have access to the best of what’s on the market. Plus, you can share your queries and feedback with peers online.

3 Tips To Consider For Choosing The Right LMS With Built-In Authoring Tool

Identify Your Expectations

Not only should you clarify your training objectives, but what you expect from the Learning Management System. How does it fit into your overall online training strategy? What purpose does it serve? Do you need to be able to create interactive online training resources suitable for modern, tech-savvy learners? Or are you looking for more basic design elements and course creation tools?

It’s also wise to set a realistic LMS budget so that you know which LMS options are within your price range, as well as weigh whether it’s more cost-effective to invest in the complete package or create your own custom software package.

Take Stock Of Your Current Assets

You may already have authoring tools that you can use to create memorable online training content. If you want to continue using these platforms, you must ensure that they’ll mesh with your new LMS and that there won’t be an overlap that hinders your resource allocation.

For example, two tools that have similar features or built-in media assets. Evaluating your current online training materials also helps you choose the best LMS for your organization, as you can determine which LMS supports your preferred formatting and how easy the migration process will be.

Evaluate Your L&D Team’s Skills

Your L&D team will use the LMS on a daily basis to develop and monitor online training initiatives. Therefore, you need to consider their needs, expectations, skills, and experience levels when choosing the LMS. You should also evaluate their work processes to determine which authoring tool features they require. For example, they must be able to change the default settings and assign personalized online training paths.


The industry is changing constantly, and LMS vendors are well aware of the cost-conscious nature of senior leaders. Budgets are tight, and L&D savings are sought fiercely. Thus, there is naturally going to be a shift towards better functionality in the built-in authoring tools.

These systems can help you avoid the bulky, inefficient process of creating, reviewing and publishing between two separate tools. That means fewer development hours and a lower learning curve, since there’s only one platform to master.

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