How to Select the Right Authoring Tool - Part 3 - Collaborating

Collaborating With Others

Two heads are better than one, right? Well, what if you could have a few different heads working on your eLearning courses all together? Collaborating with coworkers always results in more innovative, exciting work—but can your authoring tool allow that?

We dive into that exact topic in our recent eBook all about how to select the right authoring tool!

The eBook covers 6 different questions to ask as you’re researching eLearning tools.

In it, we cover:

Today, Let’s Talk About Collaborative eLearning Development & Review

Some projects might require you to collaborate with a whole team of developers. In addition, all developers and designers need an easy way to capture stakeholder feedback and review edits from subject matter experts (SMEs). Your authoring tool should make that easy for you.

Collaborating With Multiple Authors

Collaborative authoring tools enable multiple people to work together on an eLearning project. Everyone can share their expertise and help hit deadlines faster. By nature, only cloud-based authoring tools allow authors to work on the same course together at the same time—which means desktop tools like Storyline 3, Captivate, and the desktop version of Lectora don’t provide this option.

Benefits of Collaborative Authoring With Cloud-Based Tools

  • Efficient eLearning development workflow with other developers
  • Everyone can see changes as they happen
  • More transparency around what is being worked on and
  • No one accidentally does duplicate work
  • All your work is stored in the cloud
  • You can access the tool from anywhere
  • No need to worry about hard drives crashing or running out of storage
  • You can log into your authoring tool from any browser
  • You aren’t tied to your primary desktop computer in the office
  • Can use a Mac or a PC

Authoring Tools That Offer Collaborative Authoring

Lectora (online version), Storyline 360/Rise, Elucidat, Gomo, and others all offer collaborative authoring. The key differences among the tools include how they handle versioning versus simultaneous edits, how many collaborators they allow, and how much developers can customize content.

Collaborating in Lectora (online version)

Lectora has many features to make collaborative authoring efficient, including assigning specific tasks to team members, tracking the completion of those tasks, and making content available to reviewers without having to publish or export the title to another format. Revisions are automatically tracked with built-in versioning features and you can create multiple course versions alongside other authors. Unlike other authoring tools that offer desktop and online versions, both versions of Lectora use the same format, making it easy for desktop developers to comfortably explore a cloud solution.

Collaborating in Storyline 360/Rise

Rise handles collaborative authoring a bit differently. Changes appear immediately. Everyone works on a course simultaneously, but any section actively being worked on will be grayed out with the author’s profile image or initials next to it. Rise does allow you to set collaborators’ roles, and it limits what parts of a course they can edit. Since Rise does not include versioning, you may want to be careful about how many people you give unfettered edit access to.

Gomo and Elucidat offer collaborative authoring as well, but are limited to a more drag and drop, widget-based development experience. It’s not as easy to customize your training content.


Collaborative Content Review

When you’re done developing content, you probably have a few people you need to share it with for review and approval. Many developers share simple storyboards or outlines with their SMEs and stakeholders in Microsoft Word, but it can be hard to combine changes if different people are reviewing at different times and sending back multiple documents with changes.

To make things easier, the most popular authoring tools all include their own eLearning review tool.
ReviewLink (Lectora)

If you use Lectora, you can publish courses directly to ReviewLink at no additional cost whether you use the desktop or online version of Lectora. Then, send email invitations to unlimited team members, managers, or subject matter experts to review your course. Reviewers won’t need to download anything; they just visit the URL sent to them and use a free review account. This gives them the opportunity to add comments and attach files to specific areas of the course. They can also preview the course on various mobile devices without having to pick up a smartphone or tablet.

Review360 (Storyline 360)

If you have a Storyline 360 account, you also get access to Review 360, Articulate’s review app. However, Storyline 3 (the desktop version) users do not have access to this review tool. Just like ReviewLink, reviewers don’t need to download anything, they simply view the course in their browser. You can view comments and subsequent replies as threaded conversations. Review360 differs from ReviewLink in that it’s not designed to review mobile responsive content.

Adobe Captivate Reviewer (Captivate)

Adobe Captivate Reviewer is the most complicated to get set up, but provides pretty much the same capabilities in terms of viewing comments, responding to feedback, and sorting through comments. Instead of publishing straight from the authoring tool to the review site, as Lectora and Storyline do, developers must publish their project as a specific file type. Reviewers download the file and then open it using Adobe Captivate Reviewer. Reviewers must be on the same network to view each other’s comments. Reviewers who are not a part of the shared network must export their comments to an XML file and send it to the author.

Reviewers must also install Adobe Captivate Reviewer. This can be done without having Adobe Captivate on their computers. However, they need to install Adobe AIR before installing the application. Adobe AIR can be downloaded for free from the Adobe website.


Ultimately, the authoring tool you choose will depend on your eLearning development needs. Maybe you’re a one-woman shop and you don’t need collaborative authoring! Or maybe you’d the leader of a big team of developers and you’d love to be able to see what everyone is working on at any time.

We cover all these topics—and more—in detail in the eBook. Download How to Select the Right Authoring Tool now.