Is Evolve 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 Evolve.

Evolve is a web-based eLearning course authoring tool. It artfully balances powerful, customisable course elements with the simplicity of a web interface. It can do more than Rise, but it requires a little more expertise and patience.

What I like about Evolve:

  • A balance of power and simplicity: On the surface, Evolve sounds like a Rise clone. It’s not. Compared to Rise, Evolve has more elements to choose from and many more ways those elements can be configured to suit your needs. There are also a variety of ways to alter the appearance of your course.
  • Courses work on any device: Courses created in Evolve work on any device, with no extra work required form the course author.
  • Brilliant branching: Branching scenarios can be incredibly powerful and interesting learning experiences, but in traditional tools they can be very complex to set up. Evolve provides an excellent visual mindmap style interface for designing branching scenarios that makes them much quicker and easier to implement. There’s even an element that allows branching videos.

Evolve - Branching function

  • Collaboration: Like Rise, it’s web-based, allowing any number of course authors to share, work and comment on courses across your organisation.
  • A fair price: At £30 per month it’s significantly less than some of the higher end tools on the market and cheaper much to get your hands on than closest competitor Rise (which requires an Articulate 360 subscription).

Things to be aware of

  • Settings for each element can be extensive: Some users who wish to tailor elements of their courses may be intimidated by the sometimes quite exhaustive settings. With power comes complexity!
  • Limited immediate support: Compared to Articulate, there are fewer tutorials on YouTube and elsewhere and, although there is a forum, it is not as active. On the plus side, the Evolve team have always answered my emails quickly and fully (and they’re UK-based so there’s less waiting around for an answer).
  • Powerful, but not as powerful as Storyline and Captivate: For a web-based tool you can do a lot, but it is simply not designed to provide the full “blank page”/design-whatever-you-want power of higher end packages. You will be working within limitations (but you’ll be working faster and easier than with many of the alternatives).