eLearning Authoring Tools Overview

eLearning Authoring Tool Evaluations - GoAnimate, Easygenerator, and eNetAuthor

GoAnimate, Easygenerator & eNetAuthor Evaluations

Objectives

In this course, you will learn about three web-hosted eLearning tools that are used to author content and create animations - GoAnimate, Easygenerator, and eNetAuthor. We'll look closely at key features, consider advantages and disadvantages, and finally determine the best application of each tool.

After completing this course you will have a broad overview of each tool and be able to: 

  • Outline the key features
  • Describe advantages and disadvantages  
  • Determine best usage

Tool Highlights

A Closer Look - GoAnimate

Overview

  • Create polished animations at any skill level.
  • Use animations independently or in conjunction with a formal authoring tool, like Lectora or Storyline.
  • Quickly create fun and engaging videos that standalone or are part of a larger course design.

GoAnimate - Key Features

Key Features

  • Ease of use - Animated infographics videos, 2D animated videos, and whiteboard animated videos.
  • Assets - Wide range of assets across many industries and occupations or create your own.
  • Publishing - One click to a variety of outputs.
  • Text to Speech - Automatic lip-sync.
  • Collaboration - Teams can create together.
  • Trial Period - 14 Day access to all features.

GoAnimate - Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Product enhancements and bug fixes continuously applied because they are centrally hosted.
  • Library containing tens of thousands of pre-animated assets.
  • Drag and drop interface.
  • Simple drag & drop interface.
  • Top tier plan for multiple users.
  • Academic version for schools with more controls over sharing content publicly without teacher approval.
  • Text to speech - Spoken dialogue and narration can be recorded directly into the platform or imported as an audio file.
  • Integrates with any tool that accepts MP4 upload, like Storyline.

Cons

  • No Live Chat help available for basic account plan – GoPublish.
  • Small user community.
  • Collaboration with other users using GoTeam only (no collaboration with non-users).
  • Doesn’t have student interactivity options – this tool is best for a Receptive learning Architecture where the student is presented with info rather than interacting with it.
  • No testing, assessment, or quiz functionality.
  • No simulation capabilities.

GoAnimate - Pricing

Pricing

Tiered pricing structure by account type

  • GoPublish - $39/mo $299/yr – produce HD videos.
  • GoPremium - $79/mo $599/yr - produce Full HD videos with no GoAnimate logo.
  • GoTeam - $159/mo $999/yr - GoPremium features plus collaboration, font import and other features.
  • GoAnimate for Schools (K-12) – $79/year (1 teacher only) and tiered pricing based on number of users.

A Closer Look - Easygenerator

Overview

Easy Generator is another great tool for creating professional-looking courses easily online. 

  • Web hosted and only requires internet access from any type of computer. 
  • Collaboration features, versatile templates for content authoring, and a WYSIWYG interface (what you see is what you get). 
  • Learning interactions and testing or knowledge check features. 
  • Courses can be shared by private link and there are numerous other output options including SCORM.

Easygenerator - Key Features

Key Features

  • Quick ramp up.
  • Learning assessments and testing templates.
  • Adaptive learning to strengthen skills and knowledge while making it more fun and directed to an individual’s needs.
  • Engaging questionnaires like multiple choice, drag and drop, and fill the blanks.
  • Templates that can be edited for a branded look and feel.
  • Secure and protected access. 
  • 14-day free trial period and a limited use free plan with no time limit.

Easygenerator - Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Tool is free for limited use giving the opportunity to use it for small efforts or assessment purposes.
  • Upgrade or downgrade at any time (no refunds on downgrades made during a billing cycle).
  • Great for new course developers or educators with limited tool experience who want to start simple and scale up as they grow.
  • Ability to organize courses into learning paths.
  • Multiple learner language options for courses.
  • Multiple language options for tool (author UI).
  • Work done real time, no need to preview changes/updates.
  • Built in question pool, assessment tool and survey tool.

Cons

  • No assets - you have to import your own visuals and graphics.
  • User has to sign up for the most expensive monthly option to get full functionality that is similar to other tools.
  • Doesn’t have feature to record key strokes to demonstrate applications features.
  • Cannot upload PowerPoint and other document types directly – must use embed codes from Google Docs or Slideshare.
  • Lacks user forums or an active user community for idea exchanges, help, and general info sharing.

Easygenerator - Pricing

Pricing

Easy Generator offers a free trial and several paid plans as well as a free limited functionality plan for an unlimited time:

  • Free - $0 (after the trial period users will default to this limited use version)
  • Starter - $29/month
  • Plus - $49/month
  • Academy - $69/month

A Closer Look - eNetAuthor

Overview

  • eNetAuthor is a cloud-based authoring tool for projects from concept to delivery. 
  • Quick way to create high quality and engaging eLearning content without any specialist knowledge.
  • Provides advanced features for experienced users from concept to delivery. 
  • Real-time project visibility and supports the management of eLearning creation and delivery and seamless transition between project stages eLearning teams can work more effectively.

eNetAuthor - Key Features

Key Features

  • Web Hosted and accessible from anywhere and from any computer as long as you have an internet connection. 
  • Continuous product updates.
  • Quick and easy to create high quality and engaging eLearning content.
  • Advanced features for more experienced users.
  • Highly customizable allowing experienced developers to view the entire code for the page (HTML, CSS and JS), implement custom scripts and take charge of the content functionalities.
  • 30-Day free trial on both plans offered.

eNetAuthor - Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Experienced developers can view the entire code for the page (HTML, CSS and JS), implement custom scripts and take charge of the content functionalities (developer license required). This could also be considered a downside as customization makes support more difficult.
  • Generous 30-day trial period.
  • Streamlines the process from storyboarding to authoring, review, and tracking.
  • Allows managers or anyone with project oversight to create dashboards on user statistics, task completion, produce management reports, and various types of status reports.

Cons

  • Customized tool configuration can also present a challenge around getting product support from a vendor - changes you make to code can make it hard for others to troubleshoot issues unique to your configuration.
  • No 24/7 Customer support - users outside of the Greenwhich Mean timezone (like the U.S.) can face at least a day wait for answers to questions or issues.
  • Lack of a user community for support and ideas makes it especially challenging for new users and novice content developers.

eNetAuthor - Pricing

Pricing

eNetAuthor has two licensing options:

  • Author - $2,200 per year
  • Developer - $3,650 per year

Choosing The Right Tool For You

Steps for Choosing the Best eLearning Authoring Tool            

  1. Determine your budget and objectives: Before you even begin to research authoring tools, you’ll need to know how much you can spend and what you're trying to accomplish. If you want something that's free, but has many of the functions of comprehensive authoring tool you may want to opt for Easygenerator that offers an affordable entry into the eLearning world. GoAnimate is also a great choice for a tight budget if you want to create animations instead of boring presentation-like training. 
  2. Assess your eLearning skills: Are you a novice? Or, do you have extensive eLearning development experience? If you're new to the industry, having a tool that matches your learning curve is critical. All three tools reviewed today could easily be mastered with a little effort making creating your first courses a rewarding experience.
  3. Narrow down your list of features: With an abundance of authoring tools on the market it's overwhelming to navigate through all the bells and whistles that each has to offer. If you have a clear idea of what you need to accompliosh with a tool, you can begin to identify the features you must have and that will allow you to stay focused on just the tools that satisfy your requriements and not become distracted by features you may not need or know how to use.
  4. Define the level of support that you need: Not all tools offer the same type of or level of support. Will you be able to reach them 24/7 via email or phone? Or, do they just offer online support? What about user communities and Q&A webinars? Some level of support is always needed to deal with unexpected glitches or when you need guidance on how to use the tool. You need to know that you can count on them to help you figure it. In looking that tools we evaluated today, Easygenerator offers the most options for support with instructional videos, blogs, Q&A webinars, an online getting started guide, and a searchable help database.
  5. Leverage trial periods: All three of the tools reviewed in this course offer trial periods, but Easygenerator is the most generous offering unlimited free use of the tool's basic functionality. So, if you need a lot of time before you can decide if something is a fit, this is a good tool for you to explore.