Do you want to become a better instructional designer?
We have a feeling that's why you're here.
Instructional design needs to be more than visual. You need a dynamic, thorough experience that helps your team understand complex (and sometimes boring) topics. If you succeed, so will your employees.
It's a lot of pressure, we know.
But you don't need to spend hours struggling to figure out how to strengthen or speed up your practices. Really, you just need to find the tools that can save you time, help you collaborate and create better training or educational materials than ever.
This article lists the top tools for instructional design available today. It's time to take your work, and team, to the next level.
The right tools can make all the difference. With suitable instructional design tools, you can create an online course and presentations easily. Make the process less overwhelming, and build something you're proud of.
Let’s check these tools out.
Top instructional design tools of 2022
Instructional design software comes in various forms and faces, each serving a purpose in the design process. This article covers the following tools for instructional design:
- eLearning Authoring Tools
- Whiteboarding Tools
- Mind Mapping Tools
- Graphic/Video Tools
- Audio Tools
- Project Management Tools
- Survey Tools
What are tools for instructional design?
Instructional design tools are quite varied. Anything that comes in handy in creating learning and training materials can qualify as instructional design software. Even an automatic tool to brew fresh coffee (if you can build one... let us know).
Among the essential features of instructional design tools are:
- Designing course structures.
- Creating interactive modules
- Integrating multimedia elements.
- Sharing with the learning group.
- Collaborating with remote team.
Good tools for instructional design help organize your knowledge, and typically create or work well with an accessible knowledge base or wiki.
Check how Crexi uses Scribe for documentation and training
eLearning Authoring Tools
7Taps is a micro-learning platform to create and deliver engaging short courses. You can build interactive modules to introduce team members to a process. 7Taps helps you to collaborate and automate course delivery over multiple channels. It’s fun.
7Taps Pricing: $84 per month (Free plan available)
360Learning is a collaborative learning LMS with a built-in authoring tool. Robin Nichols, US Content Lead at 360Learning, uses it to create and host eLearning courses.
“[360Learning] really is incredibly intuitive. The idea is to create courses that are interactive and multimedia. You can upload all sorts of formats […] to build a full, interactive course.” – Robin Nichols
360Learning Pricing: $8 per user per month
Scribe is a collaborative documentation software that captures your screen, turning your workflow into a step-by-by-step guide.
If you've ever had to crudely draw on a screenshot to highlight a step or stop and start a screen recording: Scribe is here to save you time, effort... and your sanity. Create beautiful, visual instructions without lifting a finger. Each Scribe comes with text and annotated screenshots. Use it for onboarding, training or just answering quick questions. Scribe is fast, flexible and best of all, so easy.
Scribe Pricing: $29 per user per month (Free plan available)
Gomo is a simple-to-use eLearning authoring tool. It’s a collaborative software with many advanced features available in other instructional design tools. You can use it to build multi-language, localized courses for a global network of learners.
Gomo Pricing: Tailored to needs
Thinkific is another online course builder that enables you to create, market and sell courses. Sophie Cross, Editor at Freelancer Magazine, uses it for her own marketing courses.
“I love the functionality and usability of Thinkific and have recently launched a referral programme for my learners with it.” – Sophie Cross
Thinkific Pricing: $39 per month (Free plan available)
6. Adobe Captivate
Adobe Captivate is a smart authoring platform for creating beautiful, mobile-ready courses. Its built-in content assets and interactions helps you speed up the creation of responsive courses and training resources. You can also import your existing content and graphics.
Adobe Captivate Pricing: $33.99 per month
7. Articulate Storyline 360
Articulate Storyline 360 is an authoring tool to develop custom, interactive courses that work on every device. It enables instant interactivity and dynamic content with minimal effort. With Storyline, you can build an immersive and engaging learning experience.
Articulate Storyline 360 Pricing: $1099 per user per year
Lectora is another powerful authoring tool to build your instructional design workflow. It’s quite effective in creating interactive and responsive courses. It has ready-made course logic and templates, theme and styles, and tools to enable productive course creation.
Lectora Pricing: $999 per year
Whimsical is a collaboration tool designed to help in ideation. Simon Shahriveri, Tech Lead at Open Study College, finds it useful for sorting and organizing cards, commenting and more.
“Whimsical is extremely user-friendly and highly interactive, providing the perfect opportunity for users, whether solo or in cross-functional teams, […] to create and deliver […] content quickly and effectively without compromise.” – Simon Shahriveri
Whimsical Pricing: $10 per user per month (Free plan available)
Excalidraw is a whiteboard tool for sketching diagrams with a hand-drawn feel. Ankita Tripathi, Program Manager at Twilio, recommends it for adding a visual appeal to courses.
“To explain the tough terms or lay out a roadmap, we need better diagrams. Excalidraw simplifies this entire process with free-flow hand diagrams to give it a human touch of drawing it on paper.” – Ankita Tripathi
Excalidraw Pricing: Free
Miro is a collaborative whiteboard platform to plan projects and map course architecture. It can help build design wireframes and involve everyone in the design process. With Miro, you can brainstorm and manage ideas with the help of sticky notes, images and more features.
Miro Pricing: $8 per user per month (Free plan available)
Mural is another collaborative whiteboard tool for productive and engaging brainstorms. You can reliably run design thinking sessions and plan projects with remote teams. Mural proves useful for asynchronous ideation sessions.
Mural Pricing: $9.99 per user per month (Free plan available)
13. Explain Everything
Explain Everything is a digital whiteboard to create engaging lessons. It can help you record tutorials and create interactive presentations. You can also assign activities and assignments to learners with Explain Everything.
Explain Everything Pricing: $34.99 per year (Free plan available)
Mind Mapping Tools
MindManager is a mind mapping software with visual productivity tools to plan course structure and processes. It allows you to present your ideas through flowcharts, concept maps and Venn diagrams. You can organize information in a way that improves understanding.
MindManager Pricing: $99 per year
MindMeister is a comprehensive tool for instructional designers to bring out their creativity. You can divide topics, add as many branches as you want and elaborate on them. MindMeister also enables you to add context, color code for clarity and embed media for maximum impact.
MindMeister Pricing: $2.49 per month (Free plan available)
XMind is a mind mapping and brainstorming app for visual designers to present their ideas. Sathyanand S, Freelance Creative Consultant, uses XMind for his workshop presentations.
“The beautiful interface [of XMind] can be used to make visual representation of my ideas and concepts. I have so far conducted close to 20 online workshops for designers, social media strategists, content creators […] using XMind.” – Sathyanand S
XMind Pricing: $59.99 per year
Diagrams.net is a drawing tool for creating flow diagrams, charts and mind maps. It has a range of customizable templates to enable you to diagram faster. It also has a built-in library of shapes and connectors to drag and drop on the canvas.
Diagrams.net Pricing: Free
CmapTools software is one of the popular tools for instructional design for training and concept explanations. It enables you to construct, navigate and share knowledge as concept maps. Its collaboration and publishing features are pretty helpful in easy representation and sharing.
CmapTools Pricing: Free
Venngage is an online tool for making charts and infographics. You can design infographics in, make visual comparisons, and create course slides in just a few steps. You can use it also for mind maps, flowcharts and graphs, apart from infographics.
Venngage Pricing: $16 per user per month (Free plan available)
Canva is a design tool for creating graphics for almost anything. It makes it easy to produce engaging content and resources with its ready-made assets and designs. You can work on your own or invite others to manage and edit graphics together.
Canva Pricing: $119.99 per year (Free plan available)
Figma is a powerful design tool to maintain design consistency across your project. Hua Shu, the co-founder of Typogram, uses it to design her presentations.
“I really like being able to save styles of typography and make components and templates. I can easily reuse them every time I create a presentation. This allows me to keep my branding style consistent.” – Hua Shu
Figma Pricing: $12 per user per month (Free plan available)
Loom is among the must-have instructional design software for instructional designers. You can use it to record your screen and camera simultaneously, edit the videos, and share them with everyone. With Loom, it’s breezy to explain things clearly and effortlessly.
Loom Pricing: $8 per user per month (Free plan available)
Clipchamp is a video editor to combine videos, images and audio seamlessly. It offers plenty of stock footage and audio to create an entire video from scratch. Its customizable video templates help you create explainer videos with in no time.
Clipchamp Pricing: $11.99 per month (Free plan available)
Audacity is an easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder. It supports easy editing of audio recordings and voiceovers. With Audacity, you can adjust sound quality, add effects and background sounds and export the audio file effortlessly.
Audacity Pricing: Free
Blakify is a text-to-speech tool to improve multimedia content. You can generate realistic audio with its AI voices and add them to videos. The available accents, pitch settings, speed and other features make it easy to create engaging audiobooks and courses.
Blakify Pricing: $29.99 per month
Otter is a transcription tool for tutors and learners to automate note-taking. Along with real-time captions, it also enables conversation and collaboration. Participants can highlight and insert comments and images with Otter as needed.
Otter Pricing: $8.33 per month (Free plan available)
Project Management Tools
Trello is a powerful visual tool for managing your projects, workflows and tasks. Whether you work individually or with a team, Trello boosts your productivity. It uses boards, lists, cards, and various automation tools to make project management easy for course designers.
Trello Pricing: $5 per user per month (Free plan available)
Notion is another project management tool to organize your project and manage your design assets. You can use it to house all assets, project files and workflow status in one place. You can customize Notion to organize every part of your design system.
Notion Pricing: $4 per month (Free plan available)
29. Google Forms
Google Forms is a common tool to get valuable insights from surveys. Instructional designers will find Google Forms convenient to create and share online forms among learners. They can design forms to save details, take feedback and do many more things.
Google Forms Pricing: $12 per user per month (Free plan available)
Typeform is another survey tool that is useful in a variety of cases. It’s an interactive tool that allows you to create quizzes and surveys conversationally. It has built-in photo and video libraries and custom flow to make it easy to design surveys.
Typeform Pricing: $25 per month (Free plan available)
SurveyMonkey is a comprehensive feedback and survey tool all instructional designers can use. With its templates, you can create surveys and start recording responses within minutes. It has hundreds of questions for a variety of industries across different survey types.
SurveyMonkey Pricing: $39 per month (Free plan available)
Wrapping it up: tools for instructional design
Whether you build online courses, employee training modules or workshop presentations, these tools for instructional design will put your plan on wheels. So, check them out today or just bookmark this article for future reference.