Today, hundreds of eLearning vendors produce instructional design software tools. And if you add all the other tools that instructional designers need in their work, such as communication and mind-mapping tools, the list becomes endless. Considering these circumstances, picking the best solutions might seem to be quite challenging.
But it’s much like going to the supermarket: if you know exactly what you need, you won’t spend eternity marching through the aisles and wasting money on pretty packages – you’ll spot the products you need and be out in no time. Follow this guide to narrow down the thousands of ID tools to a few that will work best for your case.
5 Tips to Choose the Best Instructional Design Software:
1. Identify Learning Needs and Objectives
First, understand why you need online learning. If you work in a company, training is used to upskill and reskill employees, so you’ll have a professional team that can overcome challenges and reaches new heights.
This is a fundamental goal of corporate training. To specify the objectives for your case, answer this question: “What do you want to achieve with online learning?” Write out the expected results of your training, and those will be your objectives.
2. Determine the Type of Content
Once you know what you want to achieve with training, determine the content format that’ll work best. For example, if you need to train employees to use new software, screencasts will be perfect. Online courses will be a great fit if you need an onboarding program for remote hires. Check out the most popular types of training content:
- Online courses
- Quizzes and surveys
- VR content
Note that you should not only think about your current training needs but also the potential requirements at this stage. ID tools either focus on a particular content type or offer a single solution for various content types.
So, if you need screencasts and video lectures now, but will need assessments and role-plays later, consider selecting an all-in-one solution instead of just video editing software. That way, you won’t be limited to a single format but will be able to design various kinds of content for future eLearning projects.
3. Define Software Requirements
Now, you need to determine the requirements for your ID tools. You already know what kind of content you’d like to create, so focus on other factors:
a) Feature set
Are you looking for advanced or basic features? Is there anything particular you’d like your tool to have? For example, an option to translate your courses into different languages. Or convert texts to lifelike machine voice-overs so you don’t have to record narrations yourself. Write down your preferences for each software.
b) Ease of use
Do you have coding and technical skills? Some authoring tools require them, so consider looking for easy-to-use solutions if you’re not good at tech. And you should understand whether you’ll be the only person using the tool or if others will use it too. You need to take their digital literacy into account as well, or you might get a tool that’s too complicated for your colleagues to use.
How much can you afford to spend on a tool? That’s an essential factor that will narrow the options down immediately.
4. Explore the Market
Okay, now you know the tools you’re looking for and their requirements, so you’re ready to go to an eLearning supermarket. You can either search for solutions on trusted platforms like G2 Crowd and Capterra or check out top lists of the best instructional design software. Pick out a few alternatives that match your criteria for each ID tool you need.
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5. Evaluate Vendors
Before you make a final decision, you need to test-drive your top runners. Contact vendors to request a demo of their product or download their free trials. See the software in action, try it out, check its look and feel, stability, etc. Choose it like you would select a car. This car will be your longtime companion – make sure you like it.
Once you’ve tried all the options, pick the one you like most. And that’s it, congrats! You now have instructional design software that’s perfect for you.
All that’s left to do is develop your instructional design skills and work with the fantastic tool you’ve chosen. Let us know if you have any questions in the comment section below.