Understanding the basics of e-learning course creation apps—also called authoring apps—is just the beginning. If you’ve started researching what course creation apps are and what they do, you know they help you build learning experiences that are viewed on a computer, tablet, and/or mobile device. But, if you aren’t a course creator or you don’t have much experience in the e-learning world, you might be surprised to find out how many different types of apps exist. 

E-learning course creation apps have one basic thing in common: they all help you build online training. The specific app you choose will determine what types of courses you can create and what that process looks like. Let’s take a look at the three main types of e-learning course creation apps and what differentiates them. 

Web Applications

This type of e-learning course creation app is hosted on a server and accessed through the web, so there’s no need to install anything on your computer. One major advantage of using a web app is that you can develop your content anywhere, anytime. All you need is a web browser and an internet connection.

Web applications often have streamlined user interfaces, making them easier to use than their desktop counterparts. If you’re new to e-learning and feel a little intimidated by all the complex apps out there, web apps are the perfect place to start! 

Some web apps, like Rise 360, allow you to create fully responsive e-learning—courses where the content automatically reflows depending on the screen size—without any extra effort. In today’s mobile world, not having to worry about how your courses will look across devices makes your life a lot easier. 

Desktop Applications

Desktop e-learning course creation applications, like Storyline 360,  are installed on your computer and typically work without an internet connection. They tend to be more robust than web apps, offering a wider range of features allowing you to create more advanced interactions—like interactive 360° images— and customize your courses more extensively. Desktop apps often allow you to import PowerPoint-based training materials to speed up development, but they really shine when you’re looking to build more immersive learning experiences. 

PowerPoint Plug-ins

These e-learning course creation apps are add-ons to Microsoft PowerPoint that allow you to add functionality—such as narration and quizzes—to your presentations. PowerPoint Plug-ins, like Studio 360, can be a good option when you want to use the same PowerPoint deck for both your online and in-person training because they allow you to simply add interactivity on top of what you already have in PowerPoint without converting it to another format. That way, you don’t have to keep two sets of training materials up-to-date.


Knowing the types of e-learning courses you plan to create is key to understanding what type of e-learning course creation app you need. If you know that you and your team plan on creating e-learning courses in a variety of structures, then you’ll want to look for a solution—like Articulate 360—that offers all the course creation apps you’ll need in one simple subscription. But, to truly build the best learning experience you’ll need more than the right apps—you’ll also need the right resources. Check out some helpful resources below that will kickstart your e-learning course creation process! 

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