Is Articulate Storyline right for you?

New to eLearning? This series summarises the key “need-to-knows” of four eLearning course authoring tools: Articulate Rise, Evolve, Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline. In this post we look at Articulate Storyline.

A pricey, powerful, high-end eLearning course authoring tool that gives great results to those with time, interest and effort. All that’s missing is the capability to create truly responsive courses.

What I like about Storyline

  • Power: Storyline and Captivate are very similar pieces of software that are arguably equally powerful. Like Captivate, Storyline is based on a PowerPoint-like blank page. It also offers course authors the capability to build complex custom interactions (using built-in logic called “triggers” and JavaScript). Storyline does though incorporate some neat additional tools that are absent in Captivate, including dials and sliders that can be used to create really interesting interactions. Storyline.
  • Stability and smooth operation: Using Storyline is a smoother experience than Captivate. It’s smarter, cleaner and more modern. In my experience the courses created are more stable (i.e. more likely to work as planned first time) than Captivate’s.
  • Community: Articulate’s community is second-to-none, with lively forums, plentiful up-to-date YouTube videos, as well as real “community spirit” events such as eLearning Challenges, where users of the software are challenged to create an eLearning interaction along a certain theme or using a certain element.

Things to be aware of

  • Does not create responsive courses: Frustratingly there is in my opinion no meaningful responsive design function that allows courses to be used on mobiles, tablets and desktop/laptops alike. Storyline courses can be set to resize when viewed on a smaller screen, but something that looks great in a desktop can be far too small to be readable/usable on a mobile in portrait mode. Articulate does provide a “mobile player” that essentially makes the navigation/menus of your course responsive (i.e. they are resized for use on a phone), but the content itself remains the same in any device. Another option for those who subscribe to Articulate 360 is inserting an interaction created in Storyline into a Rise course (Rise is part of the Articulate 360 subscription and is fully responsive), but here still the interaction itself will simply resize rather than rearranging itself in a tidy way appropriate for the screen. These solutions are appropriate for some uses, but not all.
  • Learning curve and complexity: As with Captivate, to use the power offered by Storyline a course author will have to invest significant time and effort into learning how to achieve the results they desire. Again, there are templates that might offer exactly what you need (or you’re prepared to compromise). Consequently, Storyline is not a great choice for the casual, occasional eLearning course author.
  • It’s expensive: A lifetime licence for Storyline is $1,398. If you want it as part of the Articulate 360 licence (so that Rise and other tools and resources are included) it’s $1,299 per annum.

Take a look at a Storyline course here.