The Most Popular e-Learning Tools [GRAPH]


It seems like every day there is another e-Learning tool claiming to be the be-all, end-all for e-learning development.  This is pretty nice since it means that the industry is really starting to take off, although I can’t help but wonder if there are some companies out there who are trying to make a quick buck rather than really create something useful for instructional designers.

That said, this got me thinking: which e-learning tools out there are the most popular?  After searching Google, e-learning sites, forums and the like, I found an interesting chart created by Kapp Notes from a survey administered asking the very question I was looking for an answer to.

Ignoring the first two (MS Word and MS PowerPoint), it was interesting to see that Adobe Captivate has a pretty strong hold for e-Learning centered tools.  In all honestly, I would have assumed Articulate would have been more widely used.

As for the MS Word/PowerPoint dominance, I’m not entirely sure how to explain it, other than perhaps these were used for storyboarding?  I mean, who uses MS Word for e-Learning?

When I think about what I use during instructional design, I would say it’s a healthy combination but the one that is always present is Adobe Captivate.  I used Articulate/Captivate together, Oracle UPK/Captivate together, PowerPoint/Captivate together, and so on… When it comes to how I have used Captivate, it has mostly been for software simulations, but occasionally for uploading PowerPoint.

I suspect that my story isn’t all that different than other e-Learning developers out there.  One thing to remember is to not to get too comfortable with just one technology – stay versatile and on top of industry trends.

Have a great weekend!


Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Let's Talk! | Twitter

9 Responses

  1. Interesting graph Justin, but I think you would need to identify the subject matter and align this with choice of tool to get a full picture of the choices of authoring tool. As you mentioned, you use Captivate largely for software simulation and I would not be surprised if there wasn’t a strong association between Captivate usage and IT application training. I’m sure if you segmented the results by subject – for example, management development or cultural awareness programmes that are scenario driven, there might well be a different distribution of authoring tools.

    1. Hi Jeremy, thanks for the comment. I completely agree, this particular survey didn’t give enough specific details for accurate analysis. For instance, we don’t even know the sample size (was it 10, 100, or 1000 people?)… More information should have been given regarding the subject matter at hand for a more accurate snapshot of tool useage.

  2. Surprised here, too – would have assumed Articulate had a larger percentage. Also agree more information is needed, but it is an interesting 10,00 foot view.

  3. Who uses MS Word for e-learning?–I do. I’ve designed E-learning courses that includes documents delivered in a variety of formats including MS word. As for MS PPT I use that also, along with a PPT to Flash conversion application. The end user can’t tell the difference between that an a course designed entirely in Articulate or Flash.

    One question to consider is, how will HTML 5, as it becomes more widely used, effect the use of Flash among instructional designers? I have heard widely divergent opinions on this, but regardless of who is correct, it’s a reminder that our tools are just that, tools. It’s what we fashion with our tools that is important.

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