29 Free eLearning Tools

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The world is awash in “free” these days.

“Free” consultations, “free” samples, “free” eBooks; they’re everywhere. Some of them are genuinely free, but many are just “free” and you don’t realize until it’s too late that they’re “free with the purchase of…” or “free for two weeks if you input a credit card first.”

I’m a simple guy. I like my “free” things to be free, period.

29 free elearning tools

In the spirit of free, and not “free” I’ve put together a list of the best free tools you can use specifically for eLearning functions (for instance, I’m not a fan of saying Skype counts as a dedicated eLearning tool just because you can do face-to-face classes with it). I’ve organized them below into sections for course authoring, learning management systems, and mobile apps.

Course Authoring

authorPOINT Lite

A free version of a commercial authoring tool, authorPOINT Lite creates eLearning content by converting PowerPoint presentations. The free version does not include live video/audio functionality or the ability to save as a SCORM compliant flash presentation. This is installed, not web-based, software, and is used by a plethora of institutions of higher education.

CourseLab

A freeware version of the commercial product, CourseLab 2.4 allows eLearning content creation in a “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) programming-free environment. It’s installed software for Windows computers, and is available for download at the CourseLab website. Customers seem to be concentrated in academic, rather than corporate, eLearning organizations.

EasyGenerator

A web-based course authoring tool, EasyGenerator offers a limited free version of their software. The free version is limited to one author and ten courses, and only allows publication to the internet, not to an LMS. Aimed primarily at the corporate eLearning market.

eXe

This is an open source content authoring application that allows you to design eLearning courses without HTML or XML knowledge. It is SCORM compliant and can run on Windows, Mac, or Linux. eXe is meant primarily for use by teachers and academics.

GLO Maker

An open source tool, GLO Maker is a free download that helps you build “GLOs,” or “Generative Learning Objects” which are “rich, interactive learning experiences.” It allows deployment to mobile devices. The software is generally aimed at academic eLearning course designers.

iSpring

iSpring Free is the free version of the iSpring’s online eLearning suite course creation tool. The free version is limited in some ways (it doesn’t support videos or custom branding) but allows for SCORM compliant course creation through PowerPoint. Primarily aimed at corporate eLearning course authors.

LAMS

The Learning Activity Management System is a free open source tool to create and deliver online learning activities. LAMS allows for SCORM compliant course creation, and includes integrations with many LMSs like Moodle, Sakai, and others. It caters to both academic eLearning and corporate training.

Multimedia Learning Object Authoring Tool

This open source tool creates SCORM compliant “learning objects” that can include video, audio, images and text. It includes an online demo which allows you to create test learning objects of videos and images.

RELOAD

An older open source project RELOAD (Reusable eLearning Object Authoring and Delivery) is managed by the University of Bolton and provides an editor to create SCORM compliant courses.

SmartBuilder

You can sign up for the free version of this hosted authoring software at their website.  It provides an object-based authoring environment to make course creation intuitive and straightforward. Clients for SmartBuilder lean towards the corporate side of eLearning and training.

Udutu

An online course authoring tool that supports video, audio, graphic, and text functionality within courses, Udutu also follows a “WYSIWYG” format to simplify eLearning content creation. It’s meant for use by either corporate or academic eLearning professionals.

Xerte

An open source suite of browser-based tools, Xerte lets you to author content with no programming knowledge required. It allows for the creation of mobile compatible content that does not rely on Flash. It is currently in use by a variety of corporate and higher education organizations.

LMSs

Eight Free and Open Source LMSs

This list is an in-depth breakdown of each of eight free, freemium, and open-source LMSs.

ATutor

An open source LMS available for free download.  This free tool has an active community of developers and continues to be updated.  It is aimed primarily at the academic market and includes custom themes and web-based content delivery.

Morzino

Not a traditional LMS, Morzino seems like a closed eLearning ecosystem where educators can create and publish eLearning content, and run a “virtual school” where they track student progress, assign work, and share custom-created apps. It is focused on academic, rather than corporate, eLearning.

Pearson OpenClass

A free LMS integrated and run through Google Apps, OpenClass is optimized for Higher Ed and K12 organizations. Mobile learning is a big focus, and it comes with course authoring and social learning functionality.

Mobile Apps

Aviary Design Suite for Education

A design tool to create, modify, and share digital assets like presentation slides and images. Aimed at educators in an academic setting.

EduBrite

A “personal LMS” for small businesses and educators with authoring, testing, and repoting. Free for 25 users.

Eliademy

A tool to create an online learning environment utilizing Google Apps. Free for five users.

Engrade

A free, Google Apps gradebook and LMS. Aimed at the academic market.

ExamGeneral

A free Google Apps tool to create and track exams and tests.

Class.io

An individual course management app for teachers.

What else?

Did I miss any cool, free (not “free”) tools?

Looking for Training software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Training software solutions.

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About the Author

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JP Medved

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J.P. was formerly content director at Capterra.

Comments

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A couple other great tools: QuickQuiz Slack App a great quiz tool if your team uses Slack. Great way to quickly understand what your team knows.
There is also Scormify which is a free tool for converting elearning content into SCORM compliant courses. Quick and easy to use.

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Yes – there is another missing tool: http://www.mindsetter.com for creating sustainable micro learnings. Perfect for follow-ups for live trainings. Easy to use. comes within a didactic concept. Go for it and register. The Basic Version is completely free!

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https://Time.Graphics it’s an amazing free online timeline maker! Perfect for #eLearning, #analyze, #analytics, #trends

[…] object authoring systems here is an article you might find interesting. This links to another collection of 29 […]

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I can also recommend MOOC Stepik. It has integrated course development tools, adaptive learning mechanisms, many types of tests. Everything is free, if a course is open to anyone. There is a paid part, if you want to make courses for the limited number of students.

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Thanks for the information.
I am looking for tools that will enable me teach physics and maths online that is completely free.
Also one that can enable me create tutorial videos free too.
Thanks

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You can also find a free downloadable authoring tool, Scorm compliant, at MindOnSite. His name is MOS Solo: http://www.mindonsite.com/product/mos-solo/

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Hey JP,
Great list with some great content!
You might want to check out the open source interactive authoring tool that me and my team is working on called H5P. It has lots of different content types and is reusable 🙂

Thanks for the content,
Thomas

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Hi Elizabeth,

We actually mention Canvas in our post on free and open source LMSs:

https://blog.capterra.com/top-8-freeopen-source-lmss/

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If you are looking for a free LMS, Canvas is free. The free version of Canvas is called “Free for teachers”. It has all the course functionality of a paid for instance with the exception of being able to upload SCORM.
http://www.canvas.instructure.com

Here are resources about Canvas: https://community.canvaslms.com/community/answers/guides

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Hi Tad,

Many of them do. For instance, authorPOINT Lite is an installed software, not web-based, so almost by definition it will have offline functionality (CourseLab is similar, I believe).

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JP,

Do any of these tools support offline viewing of the eLearning they produce?

Tad

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Exam General does not seem to be a Google app. If I click on the “Exam General” link it says there is nothing there, and when I go to http://www.examgeneral.com it is not free 🙁

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Hi Soonek, I’d look into screensharing tools like Google Hangouts, or screencasting tools like Jing for something like that.

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Thanks for sharing. I intend to have free Maths tuition blog where I can show the flow of working steps as if I am writing the steps in front of you. Anyone can share what type of software is there and where can I get it. Thanks

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Hi Keirron, many of the tools listed in the “Course Authoring” section above will do what you need, though if you’re still looking, you might consider something like Jing. It’s a free screencasting software that may do what you need.

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Hi, great blog. I’m looking for affordable or free software to take PowerPoint presentation and create as videos with audio. I use a Mac. Can you recommend anything!

[…] PowerPoint are also choices. If you’re looking for some other free tools, you might check this list from Capterra. If you’re technically inclined and looking for free or open source tools, you might think […]

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JP Medved! Thanks this elearning tools very helpful. 🙂

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Hey this absolutely amazing! Thanks for sharing these free eLearning tools that I can use absolutely for free! Now I can get free access to eLearning sites anytime I’ll be needing knowledge and information on academic aspect.
Here are more eLearning smart ideas:
http://theelearningcoach.com/reviews/12-elearning-related-tools/

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Yes, Medved, I recommend PresentationTube at http://presentationtube.com. PresentationTube offers a video presentation recorder and video sharing platform to help teachers and students easily produce and share quality video presentations in a new way. The video presentation recorder allows presenters to narrate and annotate PowerPoint slides and synchronize a variety of essential visual aids, including webcam streaming, whiteboard, drawing board, web browser content, and desktop recording. The recorder automates the process and ensures that teachers and presenters only need minimal technical knowledge and spend no additional time creating materials. The platform uses YouTube API to upload and combine the video with scrollable slide thumbnails, allowing the learner to move to the respective video content and control both the progress and length of video presentation.

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Thanks for posting this. Some excellent resources here.

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