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What is an authoring tool?

An authoring tool is a software that exists either standalone or alongside an online training platform and enables users to create learning content with various forms of media.

28 Aug 2020 by Rocco Brudno

Online training platforms offer a variety of tools and features to help you grow your business and team at scale. Of all the different offerings, a training content authoring tool is arguably the most powerful for online training platforms.

Authoring tools do several things for training processes:

  • Bridge the gap between experienced and amateur trainers
  • Rapid content authoring tools accelerate training delivery
  • Allows for rich and interactive training creation that your team will enjoy
  • Enable the conversion of legacy content into online training

Below we’ve gathered a brief history of how authoring tools began and what some earlier applications were. We’ll also provide some great examples of how you can use an authoring tool to grow your team.

What is an authoring tool?

An authoring tool is a software that exists either standalone or alongside an online training platform and enables users to create learning content with various forms of media. Because of the intent of such content, authoring tools are mainly used for eLearning or online training.

Sometimes referred to as course authoring software, an authoring tool typically offers very niche content templates that can improve training content. These training templates are built on proven training practices by experts and offer valuable psychological backing to create effective pieces of learning content.

By 1999, the SCORM authoring tool (Shareable content object reference model)standard was the first form of specifications for eLearning authoring tools. Though it wasn’t until 2004 that the standard was globally accepted, a SCORM based authoring tool is still used as the basis for eLearning platform content creation.

Examples of what is an authoring tool

Authoring tools can be broken down into two categories:

  • Original content authoring tools
  • An all in one online training platform or LMS’

Original content authoring tools

These are authoring tools that allow you to create content from scratch with little to no media to start with. Adobe Captivate is one of the most commonly known authoring tools that sit within this space. Typically requiring some training design experience, these tools have a high learning curve but can create very captivating content (pun intended).

All in one online training platform

Learning management systems (LMS) or online training platforms often offer an authoring tool pre-built into the platform. This type of training course authoring software works great within the platform to create content that maximizes your delivery and assessment features. These are great entry points for authoring tools because they typically have a lower learning curve to utilize.

💡 Pro Tip: Still weighing the pros and cons of an authoring tool that’s standalone or part of an all in one LMS? We did all the work so you don’t have to! Check out a complete guide on buying an LMS with Built-in Authoring Tool and learn which option is best for you!

How does an authoring tool benefit you?

Your team and business growth should always be a foundation for any training process. Authoring tools can help training by rapidly creating training, shortening the time and resources needed to deliver a process.

So what are the benefits of a rapid authoring tool for your online training process?

According to Brandon Hall Group, a survey of 10,000 companies found that:

  • 31% are worried they won't be able to create training content fast enough
  • They also found that deploying a rapid authoring tool can reduce training creation time by 20%
  • 45% of companies leverage on the job exercises as part of their training. An authoring tool allows you to create shareable content that can be accessed from anywhere
  • Over 53% of businesses stated an authoring tool was their top technology for online training in addition to or part of an all in one online training platform or LMS
  • Only 6% of training content is currently designed for mobile learning. By using a training content authoring tool, you are able to design your training so that it will be accessible through mobile devices.

💡 Pro Tip: For tips on how you could cut online training costs, check out our blog on eLearning authoring tool money-saving ideas. You’ll have everything you need to fit an authoring tool in your budget (and still come out ahead!).

The power of a rapid content authoring tool

Course authoring tools used to be a nightmare to navigate. However, with recent improvements to the technology, you can author original content in a matter of moments. This is because a training content authoring tool like Coassemble leverages eLearning templates that contain powerful tools built into the platform.

How an authoring tool can bridge the gap for inexperienced training designers to create rich content is in the heart of these templates. eLearning Templates can include a variety of different authoring tool options for content including:

  • Text, image, and video media tools
  • Engaging presentations
  • Interactive content with challenges and hot spots
  • Checkpoint questions, quizzes, and exams
  • And more!

By using templates that training design experts created in an authoring tool, you can easily create engaging content for your team. Best of all? These tools won’t break the bank, and often create a wealth of time-saving resources your team will benefit from!

Want even more information on how authoring tools can be used? Check out our full blog on Authoring to get even more ideas on how to leverage course creation software.

We hope this helps you learn a little more about what is an authoring tool. These powerful content creation tools can help anyone build more effective and engaging training for teams. For even more ideas on how to build a successful training process, chat with us today! Our experts have tons of experience in helping customers find the best use case for their online training needs.

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