9 min read
Dec 29, 2020
Learning management systems (LMS)

3 Course Authoring Tools With Professionally Designed eLearning Templates

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a team of designers and developers helping you create your virtual course? That’s exactly the idea behind eLearning templates.

Sierra RogersContent Writer

If you’re planning on creating an eLearning course, trust us when we say that you’re going to want to use an eLearning template. In fact, if you’re going to use a course authoring tool anyway, why not find one that has its own library of templates?

Using a course authoring tool that comes with its own library of eLearning templates has major advantages.

First, you don’t need to source free (or paid!) templates that integrate with your authoring tool. Second, templates provided by software vendors are often created by professional designers. And lastly, if you need help using the template, you’ll have a support team to turn to that is familiar with the ins and outs of the process.

Whether you want to remotely train your employees or share your expertise with the world at large, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll cover three top-rated tools that have their own secret shortcuts when it comes to course authoring: eLearning templates.

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First, the basics: What are eLearning templates?

eLearning templates are pre-formatted files that are meant to help you create beautiful online courses easily and efficiently.

Why should you use an eLearning template?

Building an eLearning course from scratch requires design and flash programming experience, not to mention a significant amount of patience and time. In addition to saving time, other benefits of using an eLearning template include lower development costs, consistency in the design of the course, and opportunities to add interactive elements. 

Are there different types of eLearning templates?

When it comes to types of eLearning templates, if you can imagine it, there’s likely a template for it. There are templates for assessments, simulations, storyboards, microlearning, and many more course types. 

How do eLearning templates work?

eLearning templates are typically structured as a presentation with multiple slides. Most eLearning templates include a “master slide” that ensures consistency in color, structure, and navigation options. Every slide in the template is connected to the master slide, so making changes to the master will automatically update the rest of the template.

Once you’ve found a template you want to use and updated it with the appropriate content for your course, you need to import the template into your course authoring tool. Each tool has its own process for accomplishing this, but for a general idea of the process, take a look at Articulate 360’s step-by-step instructions here

Where can you find eLearning templates?

There are many websites that offer a wide variety of eLearning templates such as eLearning Brothers, Elucidat, and eLearning Art. Some course authoring tools offer their own eLearning templates — we’ll cover that next.

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3 top-rated course authoring tools that offer eLearning templates

Let’s take a look at three top-rated course authoring tools that offer their own eLearning templates.

To choose the products featured below, we analyzed user reviews for course authoring tools that offer eLearning templates on GetApp and chose those with the highest overall score. The products listed in this article are in alphabetical order; You can find our full methodology at the bottom of the article.

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1. Articulate 360: Learn from a community of experienced eLearning professionals

Articulate 360 is an eLearning authoring tool used by businesses of all sizes. Articulate claims it has everything you need to create an eLearning course, and we believe it. There are a handful of features within Articulate that help you publish your own virtual courses including slide templates, a full content library, design themes, and animation and interaction options.

Content Library 360 is Articulate’s one-stop shop for 7+ million royalty-free assets, including images, icons, illustrations, characters, videos, and eLearning templates. There are hundreds of slide templates available in the library, all designed by professionals and customizable. Many of these templates include already-built interactive material, which means you don’t need any experience in flash programming to create an engaging course.

It’s also worth mentioning that Articulate has an online community called E-learning Heroes, where users share their own templates they’ve created. Articulate’s Rapid eLearning Blog is another resource you can visit to learn from other developers or participate in challenges that help develop your skills.

A slide template from Articulate 360 featuring a multiple-choice question and embedded video (Source)

Articulate has three plan options targeted at freelancers, corporations, and academic organizations. They also offer a free trial so you can give their tool a test run (pun intended) before committing.

Is Articulate 360 the right tool for you?

If you have an ongoing need to create new eLearning courses, Articulate 360 is a great option for you. Not only is the company continuously updating its tool with new features, it is building a community where eLearning professionals can share knowledge and learn from each other.

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2. Easygenerator: Roll out employee training with minimal effort

Easygenerator is an eLearning and course authoring tool that’s used by businesses and education organizations of all sizes. Easygenerator is designed to be easy—it’s right there in the name. This tool features a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) interface, which means you can create and design custom courses with no coding experience necessary.

With Easygenerator, you can import Word documents, PDFs, videos, and other types of content to create your eLearning course. Or you can choose from one of Easygenerator’s ready-to-use templates and tailor it to your needs. Easygenerator’s template library includes pre-made courses for human resources, product management, sales, marketing, compliance, and leadership and development courses. 

Easygenerator offers a variety of free resources in addition to its course template library including content guides, ebooks, and helpful blog posts.

A fill-in-the-blank style Easygenerator product training template (Source)

Easygenerator offers a free trial period during which you will be assigned a success manager to your account to make sure you’re getting the most out of the tool, so be sure to take advantage of that opportunity.

Is Easygenerator the right tool for you?

If you’re a growing corporation looking for a low-effort eLearning tool to help roll out corporate training, Easygenerator is a great option. On the other hand, if you’re planning on creating courses from scratch, there may be a course authoring tool that’s better suited for your needs because Easygenerator’s template options are each built with a specific kind of employee training in mind.

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3. Thinkific: Build and sell online courses that share your expertise with the world

Thinkific is a learning experience platform used primarily by small to midsize businesses. Building an online course in Thinkific is simple: You just drag and drop uploaded content where you want it.

Like with Easygenerator and Articulate, no coding experience is required to create an interactive course with Thinkific. The tool helps you build an engaging learner experience by hosting a wide variety of multimedia types, including discussion boards, surveys, and videos. 

Thinkific’s template library includes options for building mini-courses, webinars, resource libraries, and premium classes (your flagship course). Each template comes with an instructional lesson to help you make the best use of the template and introduce you to some eLearning best practices.

Content created in Thinkific's course builder (Source)

One notable difference between Thinkific and the other two tools listed in this guide is that on top of building and designing online courses, Thinkific helps users market and sell them as well. Thinkific offers a free trial, so definitely experiment with the platform before jumping in.

Is Thinkific the right tool for you?

If you’re an entrepreneur or small-business owner that wants to share your expertise in the form of an eLearning course, Thinkific is perfect for you.

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Next: Explore more eLearning tools and templates

The products featured above are just three of the hundreds of options available to you. To learn more about eLearning tools, you can check out some of these additional resources:

Product selection methodology

To find the products listed in this article, we filtered our eLearning course authoring software directory to show only tools that offer customizable templates. From there, we chose the 3 products with more than 25 reviews published on our site within the last two years and an overall user rating above 4.5 (out of 5) stars. Products are listed in alphabetical order. To meet our market definition, course authoring tools must offer the following features: course publishing, storyboarding, and media import.

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