Instructional designers are super humans! As an ID, you need a T-shaped skill where you learn to combine several skills with one specialty. Alongside, there are so many tools that you need to use in order to get your work done. I know how you feel so let's break down the best tools for instructional designers that can help you get things done.
Here are the best tools for instructional designers
Articulate 360 Suite
Articulate 360 Suite is one of the most popular tools for instructional designers. Once you subscribe to the Suite, you can access their famous products—the Storyline 360 and Rise.
- Articulate Storyline 360 is a slide-based authoring tool that is similar to Microsoft Powerpoint. You can create Storyline slides by adding text, images, and videos easily to create an interactive course experience. It’s highly customizable that’s why it’s so popular with instructional designers. Perfect for enterprises.
- Meanwhile, Articulate Rise is a different tool from the Articulate Storyline 360. It’s a cloud-based editor where you can build your visuals straight into your mobile app. It’s highly accessible and looks great on mobile devices unlike the Storyline 360 which is only available on desktops. Perfect for small to mid-size businesses.
Pricing: For independent instructional designers, you can start with the individual plan of $1,099 annually.
Adobe Captivate is a learning management system for instructional designers. Since it was created by Adobe, it’s perfect for Adobe users who have Creative Cloud licenses. Captivate has several useful features such as ready-to-go slides, quick start projects, all-new asset stores, interactive videos, immersive learning experience with VR, and so on.
Pricing: You can start with a single subscription for individuals as low as $33.99 monthly.
Teachfloor is an all-in-one powerful tool for instructional designers, course creators, and corporate trainers. Its modern user interface allows your work to get done quickly because all the tools you need are in one place. It’s flexible and customizable, which is perfect for instructional designers in any industry.
Teachfloor offers many options for online live courses with Zoom integration or uploading of prerecorded lectures with a scheduling option (Semi-synchronous collaborative learning). Users can also run their communities with discussion boards, offer responsive feedback with Peer review, and even engage in 1-on-1 chats.
The best thing about Teachfloor is that you can create really engaging programs aiming to reach more than 85% of completion rate of them. This can happen, because the platform is designed to give all the necessary tools to apply a collaborative learning methodology.
In addition, Teachfloor allows you to do everything: create quizzes, upload SCORM files, and video links, and has an app integration like Miro.
Pricing: Pro starts at $69 monthly for up unlimited students. It offers a free trial for 14 days and a scheduled live demo with customer support.
Kahoot! is a popular gaming software tool for instructional designers and educators. Learning becomes powerful when it's gamified. Whether you are creating modules, courses, training, or even a short facilitated workshop, you can make it engaging by using Kahoot! features. Instructional designers are using Kahoot! as a quiz, icebreaker games, polls, etc to make the presentation or lessons more interactive.
Pricing: Kahoot! has different pricing plans depending on what you need or what you do. They have the Kahoot! Starter for $10/month if you want to test out their plans. They also offer Kahoot! for one-time events for bigger conferences or events that need collaboration among audiences.
QuizGame is an alternative gaming software tool with Kahoot!. Same with Kahoot!, it allows you to play an interactive game with learners. It offers built-in games and different gaming features. The best thing? They have analytics reports where you can measure performance analysis in your training.
Pricing: Their pricing is user-based. The minimum subscription is $5.78 for 3 months license with 100 users. If you aren’t sure if this works for you, you can schedule a free demo with their team.
HyperIsland Toolbox has a wide variety of tools and methods for facilitation. Since collaborative learning is on the hype, it’s so much important to insert these kinds of highly-engaging activities in your training, courses, and modules. Activities are well-described and feedback-friendly.
Pricing: The toolbox is completely free.
SCORM Hero is a free SCORM converter tool for instructional designers. Unlike other tools, you don’t need to download SCORM Hero to use it for converting your files to SCORM. You just need to drag and drop the documents, videos, and presentations that you would like to convert. Easy right? Try it now.
Pricing: It’s completely free.
SCORM Cloud by Rustici Software is online software that supports authoring tools such as SCORM (SCORM 1.2 and 2004), AICC, xAPI, and cmi5 packages, LTI, and PDF and MP4 files. It’s so easy to use for starters. You can also upload the file you converted using SCORM Hero to SCORM Cloud and test it out.
Pricing: You can test out their product with a 100 MB storage limit with 10 registered users a month. If you need more, you can upgrade to the next package of $75 per month with unlimited storage and 50 registered users.
Dominknow is a cloud-based authoring tool for instructional designers and eLearning experts. It has several features like a highly-intuitive platform, lets you collaborate with your team, and is responsive and accessible as all your files will be completely cloud-based. It’s also a learning management system (LMS) that lets you scale and be efficient at work.
Pricing: The solo (or with the cheaper fee) is $97 per author monthly with unlimited projects and reviewers. They also have packages for teams, $1,497 yearly, and for businesses, $1,997 yearly.
Content creation Tools
Hemingway App is an online app that makes you write bolder and clearer. Instructional designers are also content creators and content writers. Hemingway app helps you to make your writing readable to your learners, making sure it’s not boring or difficult to read. It lets you write and edit at the same time.
Pricing: It’s completely free, and downloadable on your desktop
ScreenFlow Solutions is your video-editing buddy. It lets you create and publish content through its powerful capturing and editing features. ScreenFlow allows beginners to create professional videos for any audience in just a few clicks. This tool is helpful for instructional designers to create and edit videos in a professional way.
Pricing: It starts at $169 perfect for Mac users
VoiceThread is a cloud application that you can run into your web browser anytime, anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. It’s an on-the-go application that you can download on your mobile. It lets you create, upload, and share different types of media. You can share the files with specific people or open them for everybody. These are just some of its powerful features. Try it to see if it fits your needs.
Pricing: Schedule a free demo with them to know the pricing
Maestro Storyboard Template
Maestro Storyboard Template is a free template for eLearning experts and instructional designers. Storyboarding can be difficult without a useful template at hand. Maestro created a useful template for you to save your time and effort to make dashing storyboards for your clients.
Pricing: It’s free for everyone. You just need to submit your name, email address, and job title
LucidChart is an online collaborative tool for instructional designers that lets you create, do, and brainstorm easily with everyone. Instructional designers use LucidChart for their storyboards, brainstorming sessions, and other complex visuals with their teams.
Pricing: It’s completely free with 3 editable documents, 60 shapes and 100 templates. If you want to upgrade, you can for as low as $7.95.
Miro Board is a good alternative to LucidChart. It’s highly intuitive with a clean design for any type of visualization and collaboration. What’s best about Miro is it is integrated with several other popular tools like Figma, Notion, Jira, and Teachfloor. You won’t get lost on how to use it as it provides hundreds of templates created by its users in the Miroverse. So it’s not just for storyboards, but for other tasks too.
Pricing: It’s completely free with 3 editable boards, premade templates, and core integrations. If you want to upgrade, you can do so with $8 monthly for teams.
You're not an Instructional Designer yet?
Instructional design (ID) is not dead—it evolved! As an instructional designer, the work isn’t easy yet it’s rewarding. According to Devlin Peck’s study, 94% of instructional designers are either satisfied or very satisfied with their work-life balance.
In other words, instructional designers are happy with their jobs. How cool is that? If you want to start your career in ID to get that happy work-life balance, start by taking up online courses and by reading books.