If your organization is creating CME e-learning content, are you using cloud-based authoring tools yet? Cloud-based authoring tools allow you to create courses in your browser rather than using a desktop application. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits and risks of using cloud-based tools for CME e-learning.
What are the benefits of cloud-based authoring tools for CME e-learning?
Cloud-based e-learning tools (also known as authoring tools or authorware) offer major advantages over installed desktop software. When services are hosted in the cloud, content creators can use any kind of device to log into the tool and develop or update training materials. For example, you can use Apple, Linux, and Windows computers to create or update content. You can even work from a tablet.
Several authors can collaborate on the same content in a cloud-based environment. For example, a subject matter expert, a designer, and an writer can all work on the same project at the same time. There is no need to email files back and forth or concern about version control.
A physician reviewer or CME committee outside of the content team can be added without the friction of having to download and publish to a separate location.
Storage & backups
Because your files are in the cloud, storage space and accessibility is not a concern. Backups are done for you and included in the cost.
Cloud-based tools are frequently updated to ensure they always offer the latest features for course authoring. You are always working on the latest edition, and there is no need to manually install updates or replace outdated software.
Compared to desktop authoring tools, a cloud-based e-learning authoring tool can be more cost-effective for an organization. The benefits of collaborative editing and not managing desktop software results in a net saving of time. The upfront cost of the software is much lower, and the predictable subscription costs can fit conveniently into your organization's budget.
What are the costs?
Most cloud-based tools are sold on a software-as-a-service basis, which means you have to pay a regular subscription to be able to use the software. Although this imposes an ongoing cost, it also means there is no upfront cost. We’re seeing a range of $500-$2,000 a year per user depending on the tool and features.
What are the risks of cloud-based authoring tools for CME e-learning?
All cloud-based software solutions carry some risks. Your content and courses are stored with a vendor outside of your control. There is always a chance that their data could be temporarily unavailable if the provider is having an outage. However, you can reduce the risks by choosing a provider with a proven track record of keeping data safe. Ask to see security and compliance statements before selecting a vendor.
And of course, if you lose internet access, you won’t be able to work. If you stop using a vendor, you files won’t be available unless you’ve already downloaded them.
Provided you are not putting patient data in your content (and if you’re ACCME accredited, you’re not), then we don’t see a strong argument not to use cloud-based authoring tools for your CME courses.
Ready to find out more?
To learn more about we can help you deliver your CME e-learning, cloud-based or not, contact EthosCE today!