The ultimate e‑Learning design toolkit

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Here at TTRO we pride ourselves on producing stellar e‑learning content that bursts with interactivity and awesome design. We are constantly on the hunt for new, interesting tools and software to add to our design toolkit. In this article, we are going to share some of our favourites with you.

Articulate Storyline 2:

We consider Articulate Storyline to be one of our “trusty steeds” – they are a part of our TTRO family. We have been with them through many releases and iterations, and have had great adventures pushing the limitations of what we can produce with this particular tool. Since the content we develop is mainly customised, this software allows us to tailor-make each learning course for our specific clients’ needs. It allows for fantastic interactive elements and the incorporation of bespoke designs. We love the timeline element, and the fact that you can use simple triggers to control interactivity without having to be a master coder. It also allows the integration of more complex coding such as JavaScript, PHP and more.

We even received an honourable mention at the Articulate Guru Awards for the inventive ways that we have used their software.

With the release of the recent Storyline 360, we are very pleased that they have taken a very crucial step in allowing users to publish for mobile platforms – as we know we are well amidst the wave of mobile learning. Articulate has also released Rise, a “response course authoring tool done right” for multi-device deployment. We assume that this was based on the open source Adapt framework that was developed and made available by Kineo. This is a good software to use for developing nano or micro learning modules.

There has been a bit of a backlash after the release of Storyline 360, due to the new pricing structure, but we are still enthusiastic about the 2017 release of Storyline 3.

Adobe Captivate:

Adobe Captivate has been around for ages, and most content developers are very familiar with it. We have a special place in our toolkit for Adobe Captivate – it is simply the best for systems training and capturing processes. Captivate is great as it has great export settings, such as Interactive PDF formats. It also automatically detects if certain animation effects are compatible for HTML 5, which is very handy for multi-device deployment. The pre-sets in Captivate allow for easier customisation of the content, and it definitely beats Storyline with regards to its built-in transition animations. One of the big benefits to this tool is that it can screen record from Apple devices.


Balsamiq is TTRO’s go-to choice for easy-wire framing and mock-ups. It has a great user interface that has a vast selection of drag and drop elements that you can use when mocking up a layout. It is particularly handy in bridging the divide between back-end developers and graphic designers. UI is such an important part of design, and even more important in e‑learning as you want to create a great user experience for the learner. There is also a 30-day trial period for you to play with, before you commit.


Evolve is a part of the new wave of HTML 5 e‑learning authoring tools that have been built upon the Adapt open source framework. We like Evolve as it has been designed in a way that is easy for both Instructional Designers and Content Developers (we like to call them Digital Designers) to construct awesome micro-learning courses. The export settings are great, as you can publish both for SCORM and for standalone. It is also fully responsive across multiple devices. The Evolve team are constantly adding new features and are very open to suggestions from the e‑learning community. They have also set up a useful blog which gives examples of new features, interactions and informative video guides. We are excited to see the levels that this software reaches in the future, and are happy to include it on our “must-have” list for e‑learning design.

Adobe Creative Cloud:

Finally, it also goes without saying that the Adobe Creative Cloud is a crucial part of our design toolkit. Adobe is most likely one of the front runners with regards to design software and, without any serious contenders in that realm, will hold that position in our Toolkit for a long time to come.

We hope that this list comes in handy when deciding on what e‑learning tools to use, because they are sometimes expensive and command commitment with regards to licensing or subscriptions. We invest a lot of time researching and testing the latest software and tools out there, so consider us your Guinea pigs. TTRO believes in changing the perception of e‑learning, and utilize the best tools in helping us achieve new digital learning heights!

Author: Kate Atkinson

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