Keeping your audience engaged is a crucial factor for making your eLearning programs successful, but learning and development teams frequently don't have enough help when developing course-supporting content, like images, graphs, or infographics. This dilemma leaves them wearing many hats— in addition to managing learners and building courses, L&D has to serve as a graphic artist, video producer, developer, and user experience specialist.
Creating assets can be time-consuming to produce and challenging to update. L&D teams need content creation options that are easy to use, aren’t a time suck, and don’t break the budget. Here’s a round-up of full-featured and reasonably priced eLearning tools that will kick start your creativity and help you design compelling course content your learners will love.
Interactive content like surveys, quizzes, and games make learning more engaging, but they can take a great deal of time to design. However, these three tools can speed up your processes:
What it is: Genially is a web-based tool that lets you build interactive content like presentations and infographics and can make images interactive. Their suite of templates and resources was designed with educators in mind, and their intuitive software will speed up your design process.
How it helps L&D teams: Genially features an interactive scenario branching tool that can help make eLearning more engaging. These scenarios use media and special effects to allow learners to make choices and think about their answers. For example, in the branching scenario below, new customer support team members select from two choices on how to best respond to a support ticket.
Cost: Genially offers several plans that range from free to $79.15 per month.
What it is: Mainly known as a survey tool, Typeform can help you tackle poll creation and quiz development. Their web-based software includes an interactive feature that asks one question at a time, making their polls and surveys more engaging and leading to more completions.
How it helps L&D teams: Typeform offers a wide variety of templates, which makes creating polls and quizzes a lot faster. They also integrate with dozens of tools like Google forms, Slack, and Asana, so there's a good chance it connects with at least some of the systems you already have in place.
Cost: They have a free, limited plan, and paid options range from $29 to $99 per month.
What it is: iorad (pronounced eye-oh-rad) is a desktop and web-based interactive tutorial builder that can make the process of creating step-by-step tutorials for websites more accurate and less painstaking.
How it helps L&D teams: Building tutorials can be a grueling process because you have to make sure you don’t miss any steps—if you do, you have to start your work all over again. iorad can save you a lot of time by improving your tutorial’s accuracy because it works by “watching” you perform a task and automatically turning it into a tutorial you can share with your learners.
Cost: Business plans range from $200 to $3,200 per month, and they have a free plan that is limited to public-only tutorials. They also offer a 50% discount for valid not-for-profit institutions and personalized enterprise accounts for companies with strict cloud service restrictions.
Even if your learning management system includes video recording features, you may want to create videos or audio outside that platform or take advantage of additional control or features. The following tools can help you look like a pro by amping up your video and audio quality.
What it is: Descript is a web-based, all-in-one transcription, audio, and video tool that includes several advanced but easy-to-use features that make editing, mixing, and mastering your content a snap.
How it helps L&D teams: Descript takes an entirely different approach to editing—instead of cutting, dragging, and deleting clips on a standard timeline, videos and audio get transcribed into a document you can edit. Their Filler Word Removal tool scans for repeated words and "ums and uhs" and eliminates them with a single click. They also include live collaboration and editing, so multiple people on your team can edit or comment on a file at the same time.
Cost: Descript has a free plan that includes up to 3 hours of transcription. Their full-featured plans range from $15 to $30 per month.
What it is: Don’t let the Adobe name scare you. Adobe Premiere Rush is video editing software that’s less complicated and easier to use than the full version of Premiere, and you don’t have to pay for a full Creative Cloud subscription to use it. For example, Premier Rush consolidates every editing function into one straightforward interface.
How it helps L&D teams: Very few people have time to learn how to use full-blown video editing tools—Premiere Rush shortens the learning curve by simplifying its workspace and controls. Unlike the full version of Premiere, it’s available as a mobile app that syncs between mobile and desktop so you can create on the go.
Cost: Adobe offers a free 30-day trial of Premier Rush, then it’s $9.99 per month. The subscription comes with 100GB of cloud storage.
Visualizing data through images, charts, and graphs helps communicate the importance of the data you're presenting and improves stickiness in learners' brains—visual explanations have been shown to enhance learning. These tools can speed up image creation and editing and give them a professional touch.
What it is: Pixlr is a photo editor that lets you edit photos and create designs in your browser or on your phone. They offer two main tools—Pixlr X for quick photo manipulation like cropping or removing backgrounds and Pixlr E for more advanced editing like batch editing.
How it helps L&D teams: Since it's web-based, your whole team can use it without downloading software. Pixlr E includes templates of all types to jumpstart your designs, and they have a separate, free background removal tool that uses AI to improve accuracy. They even have a tool for animating designs in a few clicks.
Cost: Pixlr’s free version gives you access to Pixlr X and E and their basic editing tools. Monthly subscriptions include their full suite of tools and templates and range from $7.99 to $29.99 per month.
What it is: Visme is an online tool that enables the creation of charts, graphs, and infographics. It has drag-and-drop capabilities, pre-made icons, and templates that deliver professional-looking results.
How it helps L&D teams: Visme saves money and time because you can create multiple types of media in a single tool and don’t have to juggle multiple types of software. Without the right tools, it’s tough for anyone to make a graph or chart that looks good.
Cost: The basic version is free and includes five projects, 100 MB of storage, and limited templates. Plans that give you full access to their templates and features range from $25 to $49 per month.
Storyboarding and collaboration tools can help you get thoughts out of your head and plan out your design more methodically so you don't forget about your best ideas. Sketching out your ideas upfront—like mapping ideas for a complex video series—gives you the chance to see possible problems, which saves time and money in the long run. Use these tools when designing your course flows or planning out supplemental video content.
What it is: Storyboarding is a process filmmakers use to visualize how a film will develop scene by scene. Boords is a web-based tool that creates storyboards, shot lists, and lets you gather feedback while you're planning out a video. You can design individual panels to highlight the essential parts of your video and add, remove, or reorder your panels.
How it helps L&D teams: Boords' team feature allows multiple users to edit storyboards at the same time. Any changes your team members make get updated in real-time without refreshing your page. You can also share your storyboards with anyone using a unique link.
Cost: Boords pricing ranges from $36 to $120 per month. They offer a 50% discount for educational users and non-profits.
What it is: Miro is an online collaborative whiteboard software that supports brainstorming, planning, and managing workflows. It’s helpful to use when you’re in the concept development stage, like mapping out your learners’ journeys or producing a series of courses.
How it helps L&D teams: Their “Miroverse” repository includes several course creation templates, and their virtual sticky notes provide a fun place to save ideas where you won’t lose them. You can also digitize your real-life brainstorming sessions by converting physical sticky notes into digital notes.
Cost: Miro has a free version that includes three boards, and monthly subscriptions range from $10 to $20 per month.
Animation is a great addition to your courses because it can immediately make your courses more engaging. The challenge with animation has always been its complexity—it takes a lot of skill, so it’s traditionally been reserved for motion graphics pros because it’s so complex. These tools open up new possibilities by simplifying the process and making unique animation styles possible for teams on a tight budget.
What it is: Vyond is a unique cloud-based animation tool that helps you create attention-grabbing videos you can use to create new eLearning courses or spice up your existing course content.
How it helps L&D teams: This software makes it easy to build character-driven stories, interactive scenarios, and data visualizations using free, customizable pre-made templates—including several designed for L&D. You can also import your own music, sound effects, or video files to create further customizations. All of their plans include the ability to change the colors on their props and themes to match your brand, and their professional and enterprise plans open up video collaboration and shared library features.
Cost: Vyond has three paid plans that range from $299 to $999 per user. They also offer an enterprise plan for teams who need advanced security features.
What it is: Powtoon is a user-friendly, web-based tool that makes creating animated videos as straightforward as putting together a PowerPoint presentation. In addition to animations, their platform can make whiteboard doodles and screen recordings, and you can use it to design your own custom characters to use inside your videos.
How it helps L&D teams: Powtoon can save you a lot of time and frustration because they’ve broken down the process of making videos into a handful of simple steps: write a script, record a voiceover or upload background music, create your base slides, add features like graphics, backgrounds, and characters, then adjust your timings. They also have hundreds of training video templates to choose from, and you can incorporate video footage you’ve already filmed.
Cost: Powtoon has a pro plan for $89 per month or $228 per year and a pro+ plan that’s $197 per month or $708 per year.
Collaborative Learning can be more engaging than traditional, one-sided training because learners become active participants. It improves retention and course completion rates and transforms employees by empowering them to make learning a two-way exchange.
A Collaborative Learning management system can turn your employees into active learners by giving employees a voice. 360Learning makes it easy for L&D teams to build engaging and relevant learning content while putting learners in the driver's seat. Find out how Collaborative Learning can help your teams right here.