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With so many different learning design solutions available, figuring out which is right for you is tough. You know you want to manage and develop your training content more efficiently, but need to figure out which tool is best. I've got you! In this post I'll help make your choice easy, sharing my personal experiences using dozens of different learning design tools with large teams and projects, with my picks of the best learning design software.

These software applications are versatile enough to handle everything from creating interactive elements like multiple-choice questions to adding voiceovers to your courses. Now, wouldn't it be nice to have all these capabilities at your disposal?

What Is a Learning Design Software?

Learning design software is a digital tool that facilitates the creation and delivery of digital learning experiences. Often used by educators, instructional designers, and corporate trainers, it supports the production of structured eLearning courses, interactive multimedia content, and comprehensive knowledge bases.

Overviews Of The 12 Best Learning Design Software

1

iSpring Suite

Best for interactive eLearning creation

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.7
357 reviews

14-day free trial

From $770/author/year

iSpring Suite is a comprehensive eLearning authoring toolkit that integrates with Microsoft PowerPoint to enable the creation of educational content. It allows users to transform PowerPoint slides into interactive online courses, complete with quizzes, dialogue simulations, and video lectures.

Why I picked iSpring Suite: I selected iSpring Suite for this list because it supports the creation of responsive content that works on various devices, and it facilitates the publication of courses to learning management systems (LMS) in SCORM, xAPI, cmi5, and AICC formats. Additionally, the software provides analytics for tracking learner progress and assessing the effectiveness of the training materials. The tool also includes a feature for recording voice-overs and syncing them with animations and transitions. 

Standout Features & Integrations

One of iSpring Suite's key features is it's range of interaction templates, which can present content in an engaging way, such as timelines, references, glossaries, and FAQs. It also provides the ability to create dialogue simulations to practice communication skills and simulate real-life conversations.

iSpring Suite integrates with Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Salesforce, Bitrix24, Shopify, Microsoft Outlook, PowerBI, BambooHr, OrangeHRM, and Tilda Publishing.

Pros

  • Provides a content library of over 89,000 eLearning assets
  • Responsive technical support
  • Seamless integration with Microsoft PowerPoint

Cons

  • Lacks some compatibility with Mac
  • Can be difficult to set up
  • Limited graphics compared to competitors
2

Elucidat

Best for collaborative course design with a cloud-based platform

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.6
76 reviews

Free demo available

$1,200/user/month (billed annually)

Elucidat stands out as a cloud-based e-learning authoring tool that enables organizations to design high-quality digital learning materials collaboratively. The solution offers a host of robust features designed to assist the rapid development and delivery of mobile-friendly, interactive e-learning content.

Why I Picked Elucidat: I picked Elucidat because it stands out for its emphasis on collaboration. Its cloud-based platform enables multiple users to work on a project simultaneously, making it ideal for team-oriented environments. This tool makes it onto the 'best for' list because its cloud-based collaborative course design allows for real-time updates, making the course design process more efficient and effective.

Standout Features & Integrations

Elucidat offers a feature called 'Styles' that allows users to apply a consistent design across all pages of a course, which helps in maintaining brand consistency. Additionally, it provides impressive integrations, notably with learning management systems (LMS) like LearnUpon and TalentLMS, allowing you to smoothly transition your course content into your preferred LMS.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use interface with no programming knowledge required
  • Cloud-based for ease of access from any device
  • Collaboration-friendly with real-time updates

Cons

  • Users may experience a learning curve due to a wide range of features
  • Lacks some advanced customization features
  • The high cost may not be affordable for small businesses
3

dominKnow

Best for streamlining content creation with robust authoring tools

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4
40 reviews

Free trial available

Pricing upon request

DominKnow is a highly versatile eLearning tool designed to simplify the process of content creation. With a range of authoring features at its core, it allows you to create, share, reuse, and collaborate on courses and learning materials in a streamlined way, making it especially effective for those looking to optimize their content creation process.

Why I picked DominKnow: I chose DominKnow for its ability to transform the eLearning landscape by offering a comprehensive suite of robust authoring tools. Compared to other learning design software, DominKnow stands out for its ability to simplify content creation, turning complex tasks into manageable ones. That's why I believe it's best for streamlining content creation.

Standout Features & Integrations

DominKnow boasts a powerful suite of features including content management, responsive course design, and collaborative authoring. These capabilities ensure collaboration and consistency across all courses. Key integrations include Learning Management Systems (LMS) like Moodle and Canvas, and other platforms like xAPI and SCORM for tracking learner's progress.

Pros

  • Enables collaboration on course creation
  • Strong integration with various LMS platforms
  • Comprehensive authoring capabilities

Cons

  • Annual billing can be a commitment for some
  • Steeper learning curve for new users
  • Higher price point compared to other options
4

Adobe RoboHelp

Best for creating knowledge bases and user manuals

30-day free trial

$29.99/user/month.

Adobe RoboHelp is a professional authoring tool ideal for developing help systems, e-learning content, knowledge bases, and more. It combines a rich feature set with an intuitive user interface to enable the creation of various types of informative content, making it the perfect choice for knowledge bases and user manuals.

Why I picked Adobe RoboHelp: In my quest for the best learning design software, Adobe RoboHelp stood out because of its specific strength in creating knowledge bases and user manuals. It brings a blend of functionalities that precisely cater to these needs, which many others in the market don't specialize in. Hence, I chose RoboHelp as the best tool for creating knowledge bases and user manuals.

Standout Features & Integrations

Adobe RoboHelp offers features like a WYSIWYG HTML editor, single sourcing, multilingual output, and content management. It can integrate with Adobe Captivate to import simulations and demos, and other Adobe Creative Cloud tools for improved multimedia capabilities.

Pros

  • Multilingual content output
  • Integration with Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Robust features for creating knowledge bases and user manuals

Cons

  • Limited integrations beyond Adobe's own software ecosystem
  • It has a learning curve for beginners
  • Pricing might be steep for smaller organizations
5

dominKnow | ONE

Best for its versatile eLearning content management system

Free trial available

Pricing upon request

dominKnow | ONE is a comprehensive eLearning authoring platform that offers an all-in-one solution for creating, collaborating, and managing eLearning content. Its robust content management system (CMS) sets it apart, facilitating the creation and control of various forms of learning materials.

Why I picked dominKnow | ONE: I picked dominKnow | ONE because it offers the versatility not found in many other eLearning tools. It has a powerful CMS that handles a variety of eLearning content types, such as courses, simulations, and test/quiz. I believe dominKnow | ONE is best for its eLearning content management system as it efficiently manages multiple forms of learning materials within one platform, streamlining the course creation and distribution process.

Standout Features & Integrations

The key features of dominKnow | ONE include an intuitive interface, a variety of responsive content templates, and built-in project management tools. Also, the platform allows for collaborative content creation, providing real-time updates and version control.

On the integration side, dominKnow | ONE supports SCORM, AICC, and xAPI standards, and it integrates well with a range of Learning Management Systems (LMSs).

Pros

  • Wide range of integrations with LMSs
  • Supports collaboration and project management within the platform
  • Versatile content management system (CMS)

Cons

  • Limited customizability in some templates
  • High price point could be prohibitive for small organizations or individuals
  • Steeper learning curve for beginners
6

Adapt Learning

Best for creating responsive, multi-device learning

Free demo available

Free (open-source)

Adapt Learning is an open-source eLearning authoring tool that specializes in creating responsive and adaptive eLearning content. Its focus is on delivering the same learning experience across all devices, which makes it the perfect tool for creating learning content intended for multiple devices.

Why I picked Adapt Learning: Adapt Learning made my list because of its unique approach to responsive design. Unlike many other tools that simply adjust content to fit different screens, Adapt Learning truly creates a learning experience that's optimized for any device.

This made it stand out in my comparisons. In my opinion, it's the best tool for creating responsive, multi-device learning, as it enables content to truly adapt to the learner's device for an optimal learning experience.

Standout Features & Integrations

Adapt Learning's primary feature is its ability to create truly responsive and adaptive eLearning content that provides a consistent learning experience across multiple devices. It also has an extensive range of themes and plugins to tailor learning to specific needs. As for integrations, Adapt Learning is built to support SCORM, xAPI, and AICC, making it easy to integrate with various Learning Management Systems.

Pros

  • Extensive range of themes and plugins for customization
  • Open-source with an active community for support and updates
  • Truly responsive and adaptive content for a consistent multi-device learning experience

Cons

  • Might not be the best option for those looking for out-of-the-box solutions without customization needs
  • Potential hidden costs with hosting, customization, or support
  • May require technical knowledge to use and customize
7

Brainshark

Best for boosting productivity with on-demand training capabilities

Free demo available

Pricing upon request

Brainshark offers an innovative platform geared toward enhancing learning and productivity through its on-demand training capabilities. Its suite of tools and features makes it possible to create, distribute, and track content, aligning well with the need for businesses to boost productivity and training efficiency.

Why I picked Brainshark: I selected Brainshark for its ability to elevate the traditional learning experience with an emphasis on on-demand training. In comparing various platforms, I judged Brainshark to have the most effective features for enabling flexible and accessible training modules. This is why I firmly believe Brainshark is best for boosting productivity by offering unparalleled on-demand training capabilities.

Standout Features & Integrations

Brainshark provides a wealth of features, including content authoring, coaching, and analytics that empower organizations to conduct training when it's most needed. Its integration with prominent platforms like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and Seismic makes it versatile and adaptable to different business environments.

Pros

  • Rich analytics and reporting capabilities
  • Integration with major CRM systems
  • On-demand training features

Cons

  • Customization options may be limited for specific use cases
  • May require time for user orientation
  • Additional base fee for usage
8

Articulate 360

Best for all-in-one eLearning course development

30-day free trial

From $1399 /user/year

Articulate 360 is an extensive eLearning tool that offers a variety of features for comprehensive course creation. It includes everything from an authoring tool to a library of course assets, making it the go-to solution for all-in-one eLearning course development.

Why I picked Articulate 360: I selected Articulate 360 for its breadth of features and capabilities that support all phases of course development. Its uniqueness lies in its suite of integrated apps and resources, providing an all-encompassing platform for course creation.

Given these reasons, I judge it as the best fit for those seeking an all-in-one solution for eLearning course development.

Standout Features & Integrations

Articulate 360 offers several crucial features such as Storyline 360 for custom course creation, Rise 360 for web-responsive courses, and a vast asset library with millions of images, videos, and templates. The platform integrates well with LMSs, with support for SCORM, AICC, and xAPI, enabling smooth deployment of courses.

Pros

  • Integration with most LMS platforms
  • Extensive asset library with customizable templates
  • Comprehensive tool suite for full-course development

Cons

  • Relatively steep learning curve for utilizing the full feature set
  • Cost could be a barrier for individuals or smaller organizations
  • Might be overwhelming for users seeking simple solutions
9

Adobe Captivate

Best for creating interactive eLearning content

30-day free trial

$33.99/user/month (billed annually)

Adobe Captivate is a powerful eLearning authoring tool known for its ability to create dynamic, interactive eLearning content. It allows developers to craft unique, engaging digital learning experiences, fitting perfectly with its reputation as the ideal tool for interactive eLearning content creation.

Why I picked Adobe Captivate: I chose Adobe Captivate for its robust capabilities in creating highly interactive eLearning content. It offers a level of interactivity that many other tools lack, allowing course designers to engage learners more effectively. This high degree of customization and interaction is why I determined Adobe Captivate to be the best tool for interactive eLearning content creation.

Standout Features & Integrations

Adobe Captivate features include responsive course design, converting PowerPoint to eLearning, and advanced quizzing scenarios. It integrates with Adobe Creative Cloud, which offers additional resources for content creation, as well as with major Learning Management Systems (LMS) for content delivery.

Pros

  • Features for converting PowerPoint presentations to eLearning courses
  • Integration with Adobe Creative Cloud and various LMS platforms
  • Advanced interactive content creation capabilities

Cons

  • The complexity of the tool may lead to a steeper learning curve
  • The pricing may be high for individuals or small organizations
  • The software can be complex for beginners
10

Lectora Inspire

Best for creating immersive learning experiences

30-day free trial

From $117 /month (annual billing)

Lectora Inspire is a powerful eLearning authoring tool that excels in crafting immersive and interactive learning experiences. Its advanced features facilitate the creation of unique and captivating content, aligning it with the purpose of engaging learners deeply.

Why I picked Lectora Inspire: When selecting tools for immersive learning experiences, I found Lectora Inspire a standout. Its capabilities go beyond basic authoring, offering features that help in designing immersive, interactive, and scenario-based learning modules. I believe it is the best for crafting engaging and immersive eLearning content, as it is robust and feature-rich, allowing for deep learner engagement.

Standout Features & Integrations

Lectora Inspire offers a variety of engaging elements such as branching scenarios, quizzes, interactive videos, and augmented reality experiences. These make it possible to create immersive and interactive content.

As for integrations, Lectora Inspire supports SCORM, AICC, and xAPI, and it can be integrated with many Learning Management Systems.

Pros

  • Good integrations with popular Learning Management Systems
  • Supports creating augmented reality experiences
  • Robust features for creating immersive and interactive content

Cons

  • Some features might be complex for basic eLearning needs
  • Might have a steeper learning curve for new users
  • Higher price point than some other tools
Preview Image - <h2 class="c-block__title b-summary-table__title c-listicle__title h3" > Compare Software Specs Side by Side</h2>

Compare Software Specs Side by Side

Use our comparison chart to review and evaluate software specs side-by-side.

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Other Notable Learning Design Software

Below is a list of additional learning design software that I shortlisted, but did not make it to the top 12.

  1. Lectora

    Best for its rapid eLearning development feature

  2. iSpring Suite 11

    Best for PowerPoint-based course authoring and LMS integration

  3. Rise

    Best for its user-friendly interface and responsive design

  4. Vyond

    Good for creating animated videos for eLearning

  5. Whatfix

    Good for creating interactive walkthroughs and onboarding materials

  6. LearnDash

    Good for integrating eLearning functionality into WordPress sites

  7. TalentLMS

    Good for blended learning and a scalable LMS solution

  8. Moodle

    Good for open-source LMS needs and customization

  9. Evolve

    Good for developing responsive eLearning content with a sleek design

  10. Gomo Learning

    Good for designing responsive and adaptive HTML5 eLearning content

  11. EdApp

    Good for microlearning and mobile-first eLearning content creation

  12. Raptivity

    Good for interactive content with customizable templates

  13. XMind

    Good for creating mind maps and brainstorming eLearning content

Selection Criteria For Picking the Best Learning Design Software

I've evaluated dozens of eLearning tools with a specific focus on functionality, features, and usability for course creation, course delivery, and learner engagement. The following criteria were instrumental in my decision-making process:

Core Functionality

  • Course Creation: The tool should enable you to design, author, and publish engaging online courses.
  • Course Delivery: The tool should facilitate the easy distribution of courses to learners, ideally through multiple formats.
  • Learner Engagement: The tool should offer features to keep learners engaged, such as quizzes, interactive content, and social learning options.

Key Features

  • Integration: The tool should easily integrate with other platforms, such as learning management systems (LMS), HR systems, or websites.
  • Reporting: The tool should offer robust reporting features to track learner progress and course effectiveness.
  • Mobile Learning: The tool should support mobile learning for access to courses on the go.
  • Customization: The tool should allow for customization of course layout, design, and content to align with your brand and specific learning objectives.

Usability

  • User Interface: The tool should offer a clean, intuitive interface that makes course creation and management straightforward. For eLearning tools, features such as drag-and-drop course builders, easy-to-use design templates, and interactive content editors are crucial.
  • Customer Support: A tool should provide prompt, helpful customer support to address technical issues or queries. This can come in the form of live chat, email support, phone support, or an extensive online knowledge base.
  • Onboarding: For more complex eLearning tools, an effective onboarding program or resource library is important to get users up and running quickly. Clear tutorials, how-to guides, or training webinars can significantly enhance the user experience.

Most Common Questions Regarding Learning Design Software

What are the benefits of using learning design software?

Learning design software provides several benefits including:

  1. Efficiency: They streamline the process of course creation and delivery, saving you time and effort.
  2. Engagement: With features such as quizzes, interactive content, and multimedia support, they enhance learner engagement and retention.
  3. Flexibility: These tools often support mobile learning, enabling learners to access courses anytime, anywhere.
  4. Integration: Many learning design tools easily integrate with LMS, HR systems, or websites, creating a learning ecosystem.
  5. Insights: Robust reporting features offer insights into learner progress and course effectiveness, informing future course development strategies.

How much do learning design software tools typically cost?

The pricing for learning design software varies significantly based on the specific features, the number of users, and the level of customer support provided. They usually employ a subscription-based pricing model charged either monthly or annually.

What are the typical pricing models for learning design software?

Most learning design software tools follow a subscription-based pricing model. Some offer tiered pricing, where different levels of functionality and features are available at different price points. Others may charge per user or per course, or provide unlimited access for a flat fee.

What is the typical range of pricing for learning design software?

The pricing for learning design software can range from around $20 per month for basic tools to several hundreds of dollars per month for more comprehensive, enterprise-level solutions.

What are the cheapest and most expensive learning design software?

The least expensive learning design software typically starts from around $20 per month for basic functionality. On the high end, comprehensive solutions with advanced features can cost several hundreds of dollars per month. For instance, Adobe Captivate starts at $33.99 per user per month, while Articulate 360 starts at $999 per user per year (around $83 per user per month).

Are there any free learning design software options?

Yes, there are free options available, like Moodle, which is an open-source learning management system. However, keep in mind that while the software itself may be free, there may be costs associated with hosting, customization, and support. Also, free versions of paid software often come with limitations on features or the number of users or courses.

Other Design Software Reviews

Summary

To conclude, the selection of learning design software is a crucial aspect of creating engaging and efficient eLearning courses. The tool you choose should not only be able to deliver your content effectively but also provide additional features such as integration with other systems, user-friendly design, and insightful reporting.

Key Takeaways

  1. Define Your Needs: The 'best' learning design software is subjective and depends largely on your specific needs and context. Define the core functionality you require, your budget, and your desired level of support before beginning your search.
  2. Consider Usability and Support: Even the most feature-rich software can fall short if it's not user-friendly or lacks adequate customer support. Consider the learning curve and the level of support provided by the software vendor.
  3. Evaluate Key Features: Consider the unique selling proposition of each tool. Some excel in interactivity, some in integration, and others in user experience. Identify the features that align best with your eLearning objectives.

By keeping these factors in mind, you'll be well-equipped to choose the learning design software that best fits your needs.

What Do You Think?

While I've strived to provide a comprehensive list of the best learning design software currently available, the landscape of eLearning tools is vast and constantly evolving. So, if there's a tool that you believe deserves a spot on this list, please don't hesitate to share your suggestions. Your input will not only enhance the quality of this resource but also help others in their search for the right learning design software. I look forward to hearing your recommendations.

By Hannah Clark

Hannah Clark is the Editor of The Product Manager. Following six years of experience in the tech industry, she pivoted into the content space where she's had the pleasure of working with some of the most brilliant voices in the product world. Driven by insatiable curiosity and a love of bringing people together, her mission is to foster a fun, vibrant, and inspiring community of product people.