Third-party authoring, LMS considerations

Why is it beneficial to have a third-party authoring tool outside of your LMS as opposed to having one within the LMS? We are going to provide some “food for thought” on why having an Authoring Tool outside of your LMS could be the smartest thing you do for your present and long-range eLearning success.

#1: Choose Quality: Let the Software experts do what they do best!

HireRoad develops a high quality Learning Management System because we are fueled and led by eLearning industry experts! The people who know LMS’s are making LMS’s, and they’ve been specializing in this creation process for over 15 years (Back when eLearning and LMS’s were emerging on the scene!). [The first versions of HR Learn, years ago, actually contained a built-in authoring tool – but we realized that we couldn’t offer a creation product as well developed as our LMS which housed it, or the other third party authoring tools available at the time.]  We have our pulse on the Industry and also are aware of what people are looking for in an LMS, so we have developed our product to meet, if not exceed, those requirements.

The same can be said for the creators of Authoring Tools.  The companies we recommend (and use ourselves) are well established and have extensive product knowledge and creation experience under their belts; therefore they deliver quality courseware authoring products!

#2: What’s Yours Should Stay YOURS

When you develop courses within a third party Authoring tool you are able to publish and keep those courses under your safe umbrella/on your server, outside of your LMS.  Separation from the LMS means that you are not married to the most costly portion of the solution (the LMS typically costs significantly more than the authoring tool).  Additionally, if you drop your LMS (especially if you’ve chosen a SaaS LMS), your content can travel with you (really, isn’t that the entire concept of SCORM?!)

#3: Save Money & Still Get What You Need

Third party Authoring Tools are typically far less expensive than the upcharge you encounter when purchasing an LMS with an Authoring Tool built in.  You could buy several different third party Authoring Tools for the same added cost of one built-in to an LMS.

For example, there is an LMS vendor/provider on the market that has purchased a third party Authoring Tool (one you could buy yourself), and have White Labeled and implemented that Authoring Tool in their LMS.  You’re being charged significantly MORE to purchase that LMS with the same built in Authoring Tool that you could purchase outside of the LMS for much less!

#4: Choose Freedom & Quality

You have the freedom to select the appropriate Authoring Tool for your specific needs (Authoring Tools are available at many different levels of complexity, ease of use, and cost).  The best LCMS for you may not contain the best Authoring Tool and vice versa.  Additionally, you can change tools based on the requirements of each particular piece of learning content you’re looking to create (PPT conversion, video based, mobile compatibility, etc).

#5: Plays Well With Others = Compatibility

Authoring Tools built-in to the LMS’s (and LMS’s that expect you to use their built-in Authoring Tool) tend to be less compatible with other third party Authoring Tool systems because they have been designed together and the customer base is rarely mixing and matching to expose compatibility shortcomings (and thus the motivation to correct them is low).  There is a low incentive for compatibility.  So you may not even be able to use an existing tool you may own if you choose to go with a LMS with a built-in tool that possesses poor compatibility.

I hope these points help you to understand the high and low sides of having a third party Authoring Tool.  While the seeming convenience of having an Authoring Tool built-in to a LMS may seem really intriguing, there are other factors to consider when it comes to creating and authoring your courses (whether inside or outside of your LMS).

Happy eLearning!