Center for Technology-Enhanced Learning

Authoring Tools at KIT

Learning with learning programs is almost a prototype of e-learning. Depending on whether the learning programs are distributed on CD or are accessible online, a distinction is made between CBT (Computer Based Training) and WBT (Web Based Training).

Learning programmes are usually designed so that they can be worked on by the learners as independently as possible. Often they have a structure and chapters like a book, but offer the advantage that the content can be enriched by media or interactive elements such as videos, animations, links or tests.

The creation of such learning programs can be very time-consuming, depending on the design. Developing a learning program yourself is therefore particularly useful if the learning content can be regarded as rather constant and a large target group for the content can be assumed. These criteria usually apply to basic courses in the university context.

If you want to develop digital learning modules yourself, you need authoring software. There is a wide range of fee-based and free authoring systems available, which are both rich in functions and easy to use. In any case, it is important that the chosen authoring software creates modules in the SCORM standard to ensure that you can offer your modules via different learning platforms such as Moodle or ILIAS.

Which systems can I use at KIT?


The learning platform ILIAS itself offers the possibility to create learning modules. To be more precise ILIAS offers two types of learning modules which differ mainly in the possible export formats. The ILIAS learning module editor allows the export as XML (for use in other ILIAS installations), HTML (for offline use) and SCORM 1.2 (for use in other learning platforms). The SCORM editor additionally offers the export as SCORM 2004 module, which enables working with learning objectives within the module. Working with the ILIAS authoring environment is easy to learn, especially if you already have first experiences with ILIAS as a learning platform. ILIAS can integrate multimedia content as well as self-tests into learning modules.

What other free authoring environments are available?


The program eXeLearning is a free solution for everyone. The open source program is easy to learn and enables even inexperienced users to start with the implementation of learning modules after a short training. You do not need any programming knowledge. With eXeLearning you can structure contents clearly, integrate videos or external websites or even integrate small self-tests into your module. The learning modules created with it can be exported in SCORM 1.2, for use within a learning platform, or in HTML for distribution via a website or CD.

Which authoring tool should I choose?

ILIAS offers the advantage that no software has to be installed. This means that no administration rights are necessary on the computer you are working on as the ILIAS editor is operated online via a browser. The ILIAS editor is an online authoring environment. This means that if more than one author should work on the same project the ILIAS authoring environment offers the possibility to work on a project independent of location and time without having to send files to each other and without having to check their versions. You need a KIT account to work with ILIAS.

With eXeLearning you work locally on your PC. You do not need a KIT-account and no internet access. For the installation you need administration rights on the corresponding PC. You create your learning modules independently from a learning management system. Learning modules can be exported in different formats.

Depending on the development setting, the use of one or the other tool may be useful for you.

Further information about authoring tools can also be found on the pages of