Eight Signs You've Outgrown Your eLearning Authoring Tool

Eight Signs You've Outgrown Your eLearning Authoring Tool
March 9, 2021
13 minutes
Eight Signs You've Outgrown Your eLearning Authoring Tool

As your organization's needs grow and change, it's natural to outgrow old technology like your eLearning authoring tool.

But how do you know it's time to make the leap? These things often creep up on us until we hit some critical mass, but it's easier to know whether it's time when you understand the alternatives out there and the ways they can make your life easier.

Here are a few signs that your current eLearning authoring tool may be causing problems that another tool could solve.

Sign #1: Your Content Looks Awful on Mobile (If It Works At All)

Given the ubiquity of mobile internet use, we've long passed the point where mobile functionality can be an afterthought.

It's critical for your eLearning to look polished and work smoothly on a mobile device. These days, there's no reason for a shift to mobile-first to be technically difficult. You just need an eLearning authoring tool that does the heavy lifting on your behalf.

dominKnow | ONE's Flow authoring option helps authors create truly responsive elearning pages that can adapt their layout to match any screen width they're viewed on.
dominKnow | ONE's Flow authoring option helps authors create truly responsive elearning pages that can adapt their layout to match any screen width they're viewed on.

Look for eLearning authoring tools that offer true-responsive functionality and HTML5-only authoring. Those features will optimize your cross-device compatibility without sacrificing the look and feel on large screens.

Sign #2: You're Tired of Dealing with Licenses, Upgrades, and File Transfers

Chances are, if you're still using a desktop eLearning authoring tool, you also have half a dozen other services and processes to support its use by your team. Even then, things don't run smoothly. Complications might include:

  • File transfer or sharing mechanisms
  • Sufficient file storage space and access to everyone who needs it
  • Confusion over the "right" file version
  • A limited number of software licenses to juggle, leading to access issues for remote work or additional devices
  • Off-site information security concerns that require VPNs, remote access, or other headache-inducing "solutions"
  • IT support to help with installations, upgrades, and the complications that arise from the use of separate tools
  • Multiple software versions, causing variations in output, as well as difficulty troubleshooting between teammates
  • Windows vs Mac software compatibility, not to mention device differences

That's a lot of baggage just to support an outdated software model in a modern working world. Especially since cloud-based eLearning authoring tools let you toss all that baggage out the window.

With a browser-based tool, each account allows a team member to securely access the latest version of the software from any location on any device at any time, regardless of operating system or platform. Everyone works with the exact same version of the software, on the exact same version of a file, and when you need to roll back to a previous file version, everyone is still on the same page.

Plus, file storage and tech support headaches are the SaaS company’s responsibility!

COVID-19 work-from-home measures have only exacerbated the problems with desktop software. Aren't you ready for something that just works for everyone, without extra work for you?

Sign #3: You're Sick of Traditional Full-Length Courses and Want to Mix It Up (Without Too Much Work)

Do you dream of adding microlearning courses to your training library? Turning traditional courses into knowledge base articles with just a few mouse clicks? Keeping printable job aids perfectly in sync with online training references?

An eLearning authoring tool with dynamic content production and single-source publishing can free you from your walled format garden. You can reuse content across formats with less effort and better serve your learning audience with a variety of resources to choose from.

Sign #4: Every Policy or Process Change Means Updating Dozens of Files

The same content reuse mechanisms that allow for multiple formats on the same subject also make every content update more efficient!

A single graphic can be stored in one place and pulled dynamically into dozens of projects. When you need to revise, you can overwrite the file and instantly update all occurrences.

The same is true of the actual topics you create for your elearning. Any topic – called a “learning object” – can be used in any number of different projects. Everywhere that topic appears, project formatting is applied so the topic looks like it belongs to the project, even if it was created for a project with a different look and feel. When changes are needed, update the learning object once and call it a day, as it gets updated in every project where it is shared.

Sharing reusable Learning Objects across courses lets you create and edit content once and synchronize changes wherever the content is used in dominKnow | ONE.
Sharing reusable Learning Objects across courses lets you create and edit content once and synchronize changes wherever the content is used in dominKnow | ONE.

Not all cloud-based eLearning authoring tools have this functionality, so verify before you buy.

Sign #5: You Have to Remake Your Content to Freshen Up the Look

Speaking of project formatting for different looks and styles, the right eLearning authoring tool can make updated eLearning design a snap.

With some tools, themes and templates can be centrally managed and edited, independent of your projects' substantive content. Once the look and feel is refined, a few settings can switch your entire library – or a subset of projects – to the new style.

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Sign #6: You're Constantly Struggling to Gather and Respond to Stakeholder Feedback

If you have a lot of stakeholders that review each project before it sees daylight, you don't want to deal with tracking loose paper scribbles and dozens of emails to know what your reviewers feel needs to be changed.

And you also don’t want the ensuing “treasure hunt” as you go through the course to sort out what each comment was really referring to.

You want an eLearning authoring tool with a native review workflow that helps you gather, organize and address stakeholder concerns.

Your subject matter experts and stakeholders can provide feedback from anywhere, on any device for any project created in dominKnow | ONE.

With the right software, you can get life-altering features like:

  • Automated review reminders for those forgetful stakeholders
  • A slimmed-down user interface for reviewers that's easy to navigate
  • Comments attached to the page or element level for clear communication and context
  • Reviewers' ability to like or comment on an existing thread for less feedback duplication
  • Authors' ability to reply to individual comments with explanations or requests for clarification
  • Compilation options for in-context feedback to make tracking and resolution easier

Sign #7: Your Hotshot Developer's Skills Are Being Held Back (or Newbies Are Overwhelmed)

When an eLearning development team is small, different skill levels may not pose much of a logistical problem. As the team grows, tiering and specializing is smart business, but finding one tool flexible enough to serve everyone becomes tricky.

On the other hand, the alternatives to finding the right tool are…not great. You can use multiple products and deal with countless complications, or you can shoehorn everyone into one tool that hinders productivity.

For the best results, you need an eLearning authoring tool that adapts to your team's needs. You want a tool that provides the power of customization to your senior designers but still supports easy plug-and-play for rapid eLearning development.

Don't have (or need) anyone with programming chops? You can still incorporate engaging content if your tool supports complex interactions without coding.

When it's time for SMEs and other reviewers to log in, you want to give them access to provide input without accidentally deleting half the course.

Then, to help all these jobs coexist in one space, you need your eLearning authoring tool's UI to slim down or expand to suit the user's role.

No, this isn't a fairytale. It's possible, and it's available now.

Sign #8: Your C-Suite Wants Data on How Training Impacts the Business

"Data, data, data – I can't make bricks without clay." Someone smart said that, I think.

When you're in L&D, xAPI is the clay you need for effective data mining.

xAPI, with its ability to track granular interactions and experiences, helps close the gap between training and job performance data.

In doing so, it allows us to pinpoint which training activities lead to the best performance outcomes. From there, we can link those outcomes to quantitative impacts on the business to prove the ROI of L&D investments.

However, first you have to collect the right data from your eLearning. That calls for an eLearning authoring tool that provides robust xAPI statement support.

Some tools even go as far as automatically generating xAPI statements to save you time and effort, but obviously you want the ability to author custom statements, as well.

Make sure the tool lets you configure the content to send statements to a learning record store (LRS), which will become the hub for your xAPI data. Even if you're not using an LRS yet, you may choose to, moving forward.

The ability to anonymize user data is another feature to look for.

Bottom Line

Only you can judge what's best for your business and when it's right to make a change. On the other hand, it's easy to get complacent with the status quo, and even easier to overlook the costs of not changing.

If you're teetering on the edge of knowing you've outgrown your eLearning authoring tool – or if you know that you have but aren't sure what's next – a trial period on a new tool can give you the chance to kick the tires and see how much of a difference it can make for your organization.

That's why we offer a free 14-day trial of dominKnow | ONE. We're a true-responsive cloud-based eLearning authoring tool. Using dynamic production, we offer multiple levels of content reuse to optimize your team's efficiency. Our tools come with robust xAPI support. We've also built a host of collaboration features into our software, from a native review workflow to adaptable user interfaces that serve multiple skill levels.

What are you waiting for?

Contact us today to begin your no-risk trial or to talk to one of our dominKnow experts about how we can help you!

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