We’ve all been down this road before. We look for a piece of software, thinking it will make our lives easier. Yet we soon discover that what we expected to be “simple” is actually quite more involved and intimidating than we thought.
This is a common issue among those who identify a need for course-creation software. We’re told that a Learning Management System (LMS) is the industry standard. So we jump right into an enterprise-grade LMS, when in fact a simpler platform might have been more appropriate.
Learning Management Systems are designed to perform many tasks involved with course creation. They are powerful tools that offer a wide range of advanced functionality. The flip side is that there is a lot to learn. To get proficient, you’ll need to master several key concepts, through training courses and tutorials. The more you use the software, the more comfortable you’ll get… and the more you’ll be able to do. However, it can take months to catch your stride. Typically LMS platforms require a dedicated team member who has the capacity to learn the software and manage all training.
But if your definition of “easy” means downloading a solution from the cloud and creating a great course that same day, there are a range of intuitive course-authoring tools out there!
These tools require little-to-no training and have enough functionality to more than meet the needs of the average user. Think of them as “plug-n-play” software solutions that can be used by anyone in your organization!
Here are five key features to look for in course-authoring software.
1. Pre-made course templates
Why reinvent the wheel? Make life easy on yourself and take advantage of professionally designed templates. Your course will look amazing, and you’ll have the flexibility to choose between a wide number of lesson formats to organize the subject matter. And if you want to test what your students have learned, you have options. Multiple choice. True and false. Short answer response. All of the above!
2. Drag and drop interface
When Jef Raskin and the team at Macintosh introduced the concept of “drag and drop” to their first personal computer in 1984, they revolutionized the concept of user-friendly computing. Today, watch any three-year-old kid on an app and you’ll see just how easy it’s become.
Developers of self-authoring software tools have enthusiastically applied proven user experience (UX) solutions, integrating drag and drop functionality to make creating a course or lesson as easy as ABC. Want to add photos? Text blocks? Bullet points? Platforms that allow you to drag and drop content will make your life an absolute breeze.
3. Monitoring and analytic tools
It’s one thing to have a software package that makes it easy to create a great course. But it’s just as important to have an easy way to determine if your team members have completed it. Today, you don’t need a full-LMS platform to get advanced functionality at a glance.
Many of the more accessible learning systems can provide a trove of valuable insights that will help you continually refine and improve your courses. For example, tools that tell you how long people are taking to complete the course. Average test scores. Completion rates. It’s all at your fingertips through intuitive dashboards and reporting.
4. User experience
Self-authoring programs have removed the barriers between effective course creation – and the learner’s experience and outcomes. Instead of spending the bulk of time navigating complex, overwhelming platforms with unnecessary functionality, those responsible for developing courses can instead focus on creating great content. This allows course creators to ensure users get the most out of each lesson.
5. Multiple platform capability
The easier you make it for employees to take their training, the more effective it will be. These days, that means giving them the ability to complete courses on their smartphones, tablets, PCs, and Macs, on both IOS and Android.
Be sure to choose a “responsive” training software that scales to provide a great user experience on multiple devices. (The technology isn’t quite there for all of you to do a course on your refrigerator yet, but we’re sure someone is working on it!)
Now comes the hard part. Deciding which platform is right for you, and which one makes the grade for ease of use. Be sure to do your homework. See if you can take a demo.