Updated January 4, 2018
If you are involved in the elearning industry, then there is a strong possibility that you have at some point needed a rapid elearning development tool for course creation.
There are many options out there, but most instructional designers will align themselves with one (or a couple) of the tools below as they are considered the most popular in the industry today.
5 Best Rapid ELearning Software Programs
1. Articulate Storyline – This is the tool of choice for many because it is fairly easy to use and comes with some pretty nifty features and an extremely active support community.
2. Adobe Captivate – Along with Articulate, this piece of software is the workhorse of the industry. It has been around for quite some time and evolved (in a good way) in recent years. It has a bit steeper learning curve that Articulate, but it is just as powerful.
3. iSpring – If you are new to the elearning industry, you might have to dig a little before coming across iSpring. That said, it is a solid offering. It’s very easy to learn since it is an add-on for Microsoft PowerPoint.
4. LearnDash – A budget friendly yet feature-packed solution for creating elearning courses. Nominated as a Top ELearning tool by ELearning! Magazine, use it by itself or with any of the tools that are included in this list.
5. Lectora – This is a web-based tool that is best if your course is heavy with text. Not as common as the first two, but still quite a popular option.
All of the options above have their pros and cons. Personally, most of my experience has been with LearnDash, Adobe Captivate, and Articulate products.
Even since this article was originally written (almost four years ago now), these are the same players in the elearning software game. Each provider has evolved quite a bit to keep up with the times and overall growing use of elearning across all industries. If anything, this has benefited consumers. My personal view is that each platform has become significantly easier to use.
But when it comes to your project you don’t want to sacrifice functionality for ease-of-use. In the end you need to pick something that has enough functionality to help you meet your learning program objectives, but built in a way that helps you create content efficiently.
If you are new to elearning development, then LearnDash, iSpring, and the Articulate Suite of tools are a good starting point. You can then expand from there as needed. Articulate and LearnDash both have a very active support community both in forums and on social platforms like Facebook.
Articulate’s forums are enormously helpful, and LearnDash is built on the most popular content management system (WordPress) in the entire world. With both of these options you will have no shortage of resources available to you.
In the end though, the best program for elearning development really comes down to personal preference as well as the type of content you are creating. For example, when it comes to software simulations, I am a fan of User Productivity Kit by Oracle (not included in the list above but still worth looking into).
Perhaps you have another favorite that didn’t make the list – feel free to mention it below.