What tool should I use?

There are a number of different tools you can use to develop your online training course, from full-service rapid authoring tools like Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate to a more basic solution such as PowerPoint. In addition, complementary tools like Photoshop or Audition can help you edit the individual elements that you will use in your elearning. 

Here are some popular tools in use here at MIT. Many of them are available via a free trial, and some include built-in tutorials. We've also included links to available Lynda.com lessons below each tool.

Still not sure which tool is right for you? Check out this tools comparison video for an overview of the most popular ones: Screencasting Fundamentals

Adobe Captivate

Many consider Adobe Captivate to be the top of the line solution for eLearning, and for good reason. It offers a myriad of features and tools within to create just about any animation, interaction you can think of, including the ability to use Flash. It also integrates with Photoshop, Audition, and Premiere Pro (see below) so that you can edit images, audio and video seamlessly from within the course you are designing. While it will take a little bit longer to master, you can still learn some basics very quickly. Captivate is a good tool for any serious eLearning designer/developer to at least know a bit about.

There have been many versions of Captivate, the current version being Captivate 8, which offers responsive design options. Tutorials for previous versions can also be found in Lynda.com.

Captivate 8 Essential Training

Captivate 8 Advanced Techniques

Captivate Projects: Quizzes

Captivate Projects: Mobile and Responsive Design

Captivate Projects: Drag and Drop Interactions

Adobe Photoshop, Audition and Premiere Pro

While these are not rapid authoring tools in themselves, they are imporant companion tools you may want to use when creating your elearning if it will include images, audio or video that may need editing. All three are available via the MIT Software grid, as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud download.

Articulate Storyline

This is a favorite of the Knowledge Management team in IS&T for creating slide-based eLearning. It's very similar to PowerPoint in look and feel, but offers much more robust audio, timing, layering and interactions. It's easy to learn the basics to get up and running, though you can really dig deep to create some very advanced looking modules. The eLearning Heroes blog and website regularly publishes templates, tutorial videos and other content related to using Storyline that we in IS&T review frequently for tips. In addition, there are a number of Lynda.com lessons you can access with your MIT login.

Up and Running with Articulate Storyline 2

Articulate Storyline Advanced Techniques

Articulate Studio

Before Articulate designed the rapid authoring all-in-one Storyline product, they offered this add-in for PowerPoint, which offered the ability to turn a PowerPoint slide deck into a click-through elearning module that could include audio, interactions and quizzes. Check out this link for a comparison of Studio vs. Storyline. 

Up and Running with Articulate Studio


If your focus is screencast videos, you may want to consider Camtasia, which is a simple but effective tool for recording steps on your screen, with the ability to add audio. While it doesn't offer all of the features of Storyline or Captivate, it's a great starter tool 

Camtasia Studio 8 Essential Training .


This very inexpensive web-based screencast tool allows you record on both Windows and Mac, and is very simple to learn and use. A limited version is free, but for editing and unlimited recording, upgrade to pro for just $15/year. 


You may have already heard of this popular screen capture tool, but did you know you can also create videos with it? While we typically use Snag-it for static screen captures, you can use it to record screencasts and narrate them as well.

Windows Snipping Tool

Yes, that's right - the one that comes pre-installed on your Windows machine. Many of us use it all the time for superfast screen captures when we don't need to fiddle with them afterwards.