Not too long ago I wrote a post about my initial reaction to Articulate Storyline and its relation to Adobe Captivate. The post itself attracted a lot of attention, many of the comments passionately defending Storyline. It seems one thing is abundantly clear since Storyline has come onto the scene: the comparisons between the two programs are at an all-time high.
While doing my usual reading on all things e-Learning related, I stumbled across a pretty nice video by Cogentys (included at the end of this post) detailing a quick comparison between Storyline and Captivate. Without giving away too much of the video, I will say that I appreciated their approach at comparing Storyline not to just Adobe Captivate, but rather Adobe e-Learning Suite 2.5. What I like about this is that it makes price pretty much a wash as both are around the tune of$1400.
At first glance, I have to say that e-Learning Studio provides more bang for the buck (this package comes with Captivate, Dreamweaver, Flash, Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign). If you are a seasoned e-Learning pro, or you have a competent team, then this is basically a no-brainer – but that’s not to say that Storyline doesn’t have its own place in the mix.
As the video will point out, the learning curve for Adobe products is rather steep, so having all those extra programs doesn’t do much good if you can’t maximize their potential, and this is where Storyline carves out a good piece of the market. Their WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) approach, and intuitive integration to the extremely familiar Microsoft PowerPoint, enables even beginners the ability to create professional looking e-Learning, fast.
The fact that Storyline is married to PowerPoint is both good and bad. The good is pretty obvious: most organizations already have an abundance of PowerPoint materials that can instantly be created into e-Learning. Since Adobe Captivate struggles to integrate with PowerPoint (quite possibly their biggest flaw), this makes Storyline an extremely attractive option.
The “cool” factor for me is that Storyline comes with characters in various poses you can use for e-Learning. Too often instructional designers are stuck trying to make stock photography make sense in multiple situations. Articulate has a ton more of these characters available for purchase, which is great for those who prefer Adobe as you can take advantage of this “cool” factor as well!
One thing I think this video fails to give credit to is the support community of Adobe. Yes, Articulate has a good community, but Adobe’s is pretty much unmatched in size and knowledge capital (Personally, I can’t tell you the number of times “Captiv8r” has helped me on there… you Captivate users know who I’m talking about).
Maybe I’m also a bit jaded in this area as every time I’ve used the help forum for Articulate (which wasn’t often), I never really got a straight forward answer that worked. I remember one bug in particular with QuizMaker that the developers admit existed but said wouldn’t be fixed until the next release. I am assuming that it is fixed in this new Storyline release, but I couldn’t help but think, “really?? You’ve known about this for THREE years and haven’t even addressed it???”
I could go on and on about these two programs. My personal take on the matter is that time will tell if Storyline continues to lose out to Captivate, or if they can capture significant market share. I believe that Storyline is now strong enough competition to force innovation out of Adobe for their Captivate line, which is only good for our industry and something all learning professionals have been dreaming to happen.
Take 5min and watch the video comparison below: