rapid authoring
rapid authoring tools

Rapid Authoring

(RAP-id AHTH-er-een)

Solid Elements


What is a Rapid Authoring Tool?

A rapid authoring tool is software designed to allow for the easy, quick development of e-learning without the need for advanced coding skills.

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Key Properties

Rapid authoring tools share the following characteristics:

  • Software that is easily accessible to the general public
  • An interface that is familiar and intuitive
  • Allows for content to be generated and published to the internet or an LMS
  • Does not require advanced coding skills

Other Sources of Information About Rapid Authoring Tools

The Resources tab on the Articulate site has downloadable ebooks to help new users get started as well as a link to the E-Learning Heroes Community

Solid guidance from Brian about rapid authoring

Whats Your Formula book
Order your copy to learn more about rapid authoring tools and all of the related elements.

Elements that Bond well with Rapid Authoring Tools

Because rapid authoring tools are a primary means of generating e-learning content, there are a whole host of elements to consider bonding with your next online module project:


As mentioned earlier in this chapter, video in the form of a technical expert, an animation to illustrate a process, or an interactive experience that branches in different directions based upon a learner’s response can all help to break up the monotony of clicking “Next” to get to the subsequent screen.


Most rapid authoring tools allow you to upload resources, job aids, manuals, and other materials that can be downloaded or printed for reference after an e-learning module has been completed.

screen capture toolsScreen Capture

If you’re going to include images of software or other visuals that can be lifted from your computer screen, then ensuring you have a clear, crisp image by way of high- quality screen capture tools can help ensure your learner can see what you need them to see.

screen recordingScreen Recording

There are times when an explainer video that demonstrates the steps to a process or where to click on a screen is more effective than still photos. Uploading short videos using screen recording software can help learners see how a process should flow. Be sure to add video controls to your interface if this is something you plan to use so that your learners can pause and restart the video as necessary.

visual designVisual Design

By its nature, e-learning is a visual experience. Using rapid authoring software to develop e-learning modules quickly and inexpensively doesn’t mean that you should ignore basic visual design concepts. Be sure to determine the type of device on which learners will be navigating the module (the visual design and functionality will be different if learners are using a phone and need to tap in certain places compared with using a computer and being able to use a mouse to navigate). In addition, it’s important to use consistency with placement of buttons, font choices, color schemes, and screen layout. A haphazard visual design can lead to a frustrating learning experience.

35 MicrolearningMicrolearning

Short videos may be the most common thing that comes to mind when you think of microlearning, but rapid authoring tools can help you put together very short, focused e-learning modules that put the exact right amount of information into the hands of your learners and employees in their time of need.

learning objectivesLearning Objectives Taxonomy

Defining exactly what your learners should be able to do by the end of your e-learning module can help make sure you’re using the appropriate features of your rapid authoring tool. If you want your learners to be able to list the steps to a process, many rapid authoring tools allow you to create blank fields in which learners can type those steps, or perhaps you’d prefer to use a drag-and-drop style activity. If you want your learners to demonstrate their ability to suggest the appropriate product to their customer, you may want to use your rapid authoring tool’s feature for triggers, branching, and layers to create scenarios and provide feedback based upon the choices your learners make.


When you grow more comfortable in your abilities to use a rapid authoring tool, you can begin to develop e-learning elements that mimic popular video games such as Angry Birds or game shows such as Jeopardy or Press Your Luck. These add a degree of levity, fun, and engagement that help meet your learning objectives while keeping learners interested and attentive.

Books on eLearning and rapid authoring


Download the Element Sanity Check

Even if you haven’t yet purchased the book (what are you waiting for?!) you can get access to worksheets that will help guide you through the use of the elements of amazing learning experiences.