Tag: authoring tools

22 Mar 2024
STEM based authoring tools

What features should STEM-based authoring tools contain?

The education landscape has changed today. The students want to learn through the modern means.

There are new opportunities set forth by digital means. STEM subjects like science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are better understood with digital tools. Students can have problems understanding mathematics. But when eLearning is used to teach them these subjects, their lives become easier. The teachers must know how to use these tools so that they create effective eLearning materials with their aid.  

But the first question is how to choose these eLearning authoring tools. There must be some features present mandatorily in such tools:

  • Diagrams:

Such tools must be able to create effective diagrams for, e.g., the teachers can create a Milky Way galaxy through them. Then there can be a drag-and-drop functionality designed around the galaxy so that the students can understand the names of the planets and their satellites.

The authoring tool must allow the inclusion of all kinds of scientific data into the eLearning module. You must be able to display the data just like you want.

Interactive elements are a crucial part of STEM education. Students must be taught through quizzes which help them retain information better. So, a STEM authoring tool must have the feature to build quizzes.

  • Equation editor:

There must be an equation editor built into such tools. An equation editor helps the students to edit the equations for their font size, color, and alignment. There should be a feature to write long numbers that are generated through satellite-based observations like the distance of the Earth from the Sun.

There must be equation editors that allow printing of matrices, integers, fractions, and summations through the authoring tools. Having these features is integral to an authoring tool so that students can learn advanced mathematical concepts through them.

Equation editors should also be compatible with other tools. This way you can save equations and use them in other tools, exporting them through the authoring tools to other tools. The scientific data can be about planets. It refers to the data that has been aggregated and not tampered with at all, called observational data.

  • Huge Vector library:

Such data can be in fields such as anthropology, which refers to the advancement of human beings. So, when explaining how human beings evolved at all, including various shapes of human beings is necessary, such as how they walked like animals. Such data can also be about astronomy, which includes the position of planets and stars at various times of the year. So, the STEM authoring tool must be able to exhibit all such data.

Ecological data is also a kind of observational data. This data shows how the ecosystem is balanced through different organisms. Hence, the authoring tool must contain the feature to draw organisms and show their movements, like predators running after their prey. Cell diagrams should also be present in the vector library so that students can learn about them through drag-and-drop functionality. This goes for other body parts, such as the eyes. So, there should be a comprehensive vector library that includes various kinds of animals and as many shapes, numbers, and equation signs as possible.

Experimental data also needs to be stored in an authoring tool and shown to students. Such data can be in the form of chemical equations and hence the authoring tool must have the feature to write such data. Such data can be generated after doing experiments like mixing two compounds together. There should be vector shapes like test tubes present in the authoring tool to depict an experiment. There can be prebuilt animation to show when the two compounds are mixed. Either the animation should be a part of the module, or the teacher should be able to create it without having an extensive knowledge of coding. The two test tubes should move away to show the result that occurs when the first two are combined.

  • Curriculum-based templates:

Authoring tools should have various templates available so that STEM education can be easily imparted.

A tool that has many templates can make it simple for the teachers to add content. They just need to edit the template and show the template to students. Such templates must be in sync with the subject curriculum you are trying to teach. For example, there can be a template about the food chain so that you can just change the animals in it. There must be templates that pertain to a grade level in a school. The most important aspect of eLearning is that the students need to have fun while browsing the modules created through such authoring tools.

In the end, the teachers should be given training to use such tools. When they know how to use such tools, they can easily implement their creative ideas.

20 Jan 2021
authoring tools

How are authoring tools helpful in elearning?

Elearning can be done easily with prebuilt templates as they are present in the authoring tool. 

Rapid authoring means the use of templates and assets to generate learning content. A template can mean a single screen layout to slide layouts which correspond to the same design. However, as you gain more experience, you realise that pre-built templates are not enough. All the templates do not meet the standard. 


There are many authoring tools, such as Lectora, Storyline 360, and Captivate which have templates available. Adobe Captivate also includes stock images. However, the templates of Lectora are preferable because they can be changed. These templates are from an AssetLibrary which includes the complete source. So, the background of such templates can be changed, changing various objects. 

For example, you can change the colour of the background of the template. Apart from that, you can also change other minor things such as the rounded corners of the template. You can also change the font of the headline of the template. 


There are also object states which you change in Lectora. For example, you can make sure when you hover on a button, its colour changes to the brand colour, rather than colour grey. But it’s important to have the source file of the template to be able to make such change. 



There are also character images that are part of a course. Such characters can be of use to IDs because they can use them to convey emotions. Apart from that, characters with different ethnicities are given. This makes sure that the IDs can represent various cultures. You can use two characters to create a conversation between them to represent a scenario. The characters in the elearning tool have different emotions and props too. You can also get characters from the internet and upload into your authoring tool to be used in the course. These characters can be in the form of PNG images. 

Apart from characters, the other vector graphics such as objects are also present in the elearning tool. You can use them to ensure that you display the necessary objects in your course. You can resize these graphics. Icons are also present in an authoring tool.  You can also use icons rather than bullets in a course. For being able to use such vector graphics and icons, you must have checked the stock library of the authoring tool that it contains such items. 

Video and audio 

These are also important parts of an elearning video. But you will need to get the help of a production company if you don’t have the audio or video in the authoring tool. You will have to get the audio recorded from the production studio. You can save money and time if the assets such as background music are given in a course. Apart from that, there should be various sound effects also. 

There is also the feature of text-to-speech in authoring tools such as captivate. Although it consists of machine-based voices, it can be quite helpful as compared to recording sound in a studio. Such a text-to-speech feature helps in rapid authoring. 

Another benefit is video clips. Its because the audience pays more attention to such videos. Such authoring tools also have screen transition effects and object and character animation effects. You can check all these features in an authoring tool. It’s important to check them before you start developing a course. You have to compare various authoring tools that include such characters, text-to-speech feature and character animation etc. The important thing to check is whether you want to give a course to the CEO created through these templates. 


17 Dec 2020
elearning accessible through authoring tools

How to make elearning accessible through authoring tools?

The authoring tools are used by so many elearning companies these days.

But how to make sure that their content is accessible by all kinds of learners.If accessibility is not taken care of from the start, there can be problems in the end. Then modifications have to be done to make the output accessible. So, e-learning companies should try to use learning tools that can give an accessible output.
For example, you can use visuals that also have audio. It’s important to have audio not only for the learners who are visually impaired, but for those learners who don’t have enough time to watch. Such learners only want to listen to the output. Hence, they want audio/narration in the output of the authoring tool. Besides that, the authoring tool should also give you options to change the text size. With a good text size, many of the learners can read the text in the elearning module.
Elearning which is accessible can be used for better training purposes. With better accessibility, the learners get maximum satisfaction from the learning tool.


Lectora is one such tool that has high accessibility features. This software has a feature called Use Web Accessibility Settings option that can be used for developing the course. When this feature is turned on, the course will become completely accessible.

  • There will be the inclusion of an ALT tag for the image. This tag will make sure that in case the learner is not able to read the content he can understand it when the screen reader software announces the content of the ALT tag.
  • It will create captions
  • You can also enable the property of “language”. It will make sure that the screen reader knows that a text block is in a different language from the main language.
  • There will also be an outline shown around the different objects. These objects are the button, entry box and a checkfield. This outline will be shown and you can edit the properties of this outline.

Storyline 360 

Storyline also has accessibility features, but they require manual work. The trainer just needs to use it carefully. 

  • The trainer can create closed captions with this feature.
  • The second point is that text-to-speech is the same as closed captions.
  • You can also get closed captions into the output externally.
  • You can change the font size of the text when watched in storyline 360 a player. This player also has the “skip navigation” feature so that the users can use keyboard shortcuts for watching the video. 

How are courses translated?

If the content is getting created for various learners around the world, then localization features need to be included. The authoring tool should be able to translate the content when the learners are not able to understand the language of the module. The trainers should use XML localisation interchange file format(XLIFF) so that translation is easy. This standard can be used for storing translated language. In XLIFF only one course is created in various languages as desired. When the elearning module containing the XLIFF format is given to translators, then they translate the file. The learners can then choose the “language selector” feature and view the course in any option.
The XLIFF is based on the Gomo framework, so the textboxes containing the content are modified to fit the changed language. This is how accessibility can be increased in elearning courses.

16 Dec 2020
cloud based authoring tools

What are the advantages of an authoring tool hosted on cloud?

Having cloud-based authoring tools is important for elearning companies these days.

Cloud computing makes sure computers are available to users without directly managing them. These computers provide computing power and data storage to users. Now, authoring tools which can store elearning content on the cloud are used. There are the following benefits of using authoring tools which use the cloud:

High security
There is a lot of security in using an authoring tool which stores the content on the cloud and can be accessed through the internet. The data gets a backup online. So, even if your computer suffers a crash, you can get the data from the cloud. Since the data is stored on the internet, your computer does not need to have massive hard drives to store the data. Just think of it as storing the data on Facebook like images unlike storing it on computers which can be affected by a virus. 

Time is very important for an elearning company. A company should indeed be able to create good content for the clients as and when they need them. Any MNC company which has workers working in different locations will need benefit from an authoring tool which can provide access to elearning over the cloud. This way, workers in different countries can access this course with ease. This will make sure workers get access to it in a short period. It takes a lot of time when MNC employees in different locations have to send files to each other. Instead, when the course is stored online, they don’t need to contact each other for files.

Easy work
Creating elearning content is also easy when the content is stored on the cloud. It’s because the team might be working from different locations. So, the team members can easily collaborate because everything is accessible through the internet.
All the course content is stored on the cloud which means every team member can check the course and provide feedback irrespective of their location. 

All learners can access it
Courses that are stored on the cloud can be accessed by learners from any part of the world. They can also be accessed by authors from anywhere. All they need is an internet connection to be able to access such content.

Simple installation

It’s also easy to work on e-learning software when it’s hosted on the cloud. There is no need for the installation of the software on the individual device of every team member in an eLearning company. Apart from that, as far as security is concerned, team members can be given login credentials so that they access the software and the course. Team members find it troublesome when they are sitting on their laptops to work and the software asks them to wait for some updates. This does not happen with software that is hosted on the cloud. 

Easy storage of video content
It’s easy to store video content on a cloud-based server rather than on desktop. When you are using video content in your elearning module, it’s better to use a server for hosting such content. Using such content is necessary to ensure that the learners are interested in the course. An authoring tool stored on the desktop cannot store video content unlike an authoring tool stored on the cloud. 

Simple permissions 
There are also multiple permissions which need to be granted in case the authoring software is installed on different PCs. This is not the case with an authoring tool which is installed on the cloud. It’s installed on the server. Once you create admin credentials, an admin can make sure who in the elearning company is permitted to access the authoring tool on the server. Even permission to use particular features of this tool can be restricted.
So, this is how a cloud-based authoring tool can be helpful for an elearning company.

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