Articulate (Storyline) Vs Adobe (Captivate)

Hi folks,

We are looking to strategically invest in tools from one company . We really like Articulate and 90% of our content has been built in Articulate tools (though we have eLearning Suite too). In the next 6 months we are looking to grow the eLearning team and hence want to standardize on one tool. The answers to the questions below will help us make our decision:

  1. HTML5 for Android: Today, Storyline output works on iPad (and works well I must say). However, we have 20K+ learners in India where Andriod is very popular. Is there going to be a HTML output that is compatible with Andriod.
  2. Mobile app framework: Learning is going mobile. Is there an app framework that we can leverage here. Note our LMS is based on Moodle.
  3. Custom Player Skin: While we love the default articulate skin, we want our courses to look unique and want a custom skin. In the past we purchased the skin from eLearning brothers. However, the dont offer skins for Storyline.
  4. Future StoryLine releases: We like to be on the cutting edge of eLearning development. I want to know if there will be another version of Storyline in say.. 2 years. We want to make sure that we invest in an evolving platform.

Thank you so much for your support.

Regards,

Payal

38 Replies
Mark Schwartz

Hi Payal,

Please accept answers to your questions:

  • Android: Thanks for yourfeature request, this really helps us prioritize future development focus.
  • Mobile app framework:Not sure what you mean, can you elaborate more on what you're looking for here?
  • Custom Skin SDK: We'reworking on an SDK for Storyline and hope to have it ready for preview in a fewmonths
  • Future versions of SL:Yes, you can expect future versions of Storyline. We don't pre-announce futurerelease dates, but your estimate is not out of line
  • Windows 8: Yes, wecurrently support Windows 8

I hope that answers your questions.  Have you had a chance to evaluate Storyline against Captivate?  What are your observations?

paul brennan

For what it is worth I originally bought captivate and used it to produce several commercially viable e learning programmes which I developed for two fairly major organisations. I found it hard work but ultimately achieved the aim thanks to help from the captivate community. I then tried the trial version of storyline and after only 10 days use I bought it. I have been blown away by what storyline will do and more importantly how easily it will do it. I have found lots i can do in storyline that i can't do in captivate with a much more polished end result. The only thing I can do in captivate that i haven't been able to do with storyline is save it in pdf format. If the programmes were motor vehicles I would compare captivate to a tractor and storyline to a comfortable saloon car with a satnav. Both will get you to your destination eventually, but one will get you there a lot quicker, leave you less stressed and allows you to arrive in a lot more style.

Morten Skoglund

I have to agree with Paul Brennan here. I have myself created alot of software simulations and other types of courses in Adobe Captivate. But when I tried Ariculate Storyline I switched over after a short trial.

What I appreciate the most with Articulate is how easy it is to create engaging and highly interactive content with it. Adobe... well Adobe is Adobe and in my view most of the Adobe software have a steeper learning curve. I can really recommend Storyline if you are a new content creator. And later when you are gettings some experience, you will find that Storyline is also very powerful compared to other tools out there

What I don't like with Articulate Storyline is the lack of focus on Android. I hope that improves in future releases

Ben Riller

You would think that developing for Android would be something that the Articulate strategic planners would be able to think of themselves, without having to wait for a "feature request" (for sound business reasons if none other). But then the "feature request" response on the forums does seem to be a bit of a stock reply even when what are either basic shortcomings in an e-learning authoring/design tool or obvious directions for progress are pointed out, much to my mirth and perhaps that of other Articulate watchers.

Melissa Hathaway

Hey there!  My previous organization purchased Storyline late last year and found it easier to use than Captivate, but 85% of our users want to access our online training modules via their Android tablets and smartphones.  We didn't realize when we decided to purchase Storyline over Captivate that it was more optimized to iOS than Android.  After creating hundreds of OLTs optimized for PC/laptop, we had to create duplicate modules that were optimized for tablet/smartphone.  Trial and error showed that we also had to minimize the functionality/interaction originally used in the PC/laptop version in order for the mobile version to interact and display correctly.  Ended up being a LOT of extra work, trial and error.  

I am at a new organization now (week two) and must admit that I'm considering Captivate 8 instead because it it automatically optimized for iOS and Android.  I wouldn't have to create duplicate modules and cut down on the types of interaction in my module like I had to do with Storyline.  I hate the fact that Captivate has a larger learning curve, but at this point it might make sense to bite the bullet and just go with Captivate--especially since we do so many system simulations for online training modules here.

Michael Hinze

Melissa Hathaway said:

Hey there! My previous organization purchased Storyline late last year and found it easier to use than Captivate, but 85% of our users want to access our online training modules via their Android tablets and smartphones. We didn't realize when we decided to purchase Storyline over Captivate that it was more optimized to iOS than Android. After creating hundreds of OLTs optimized for PC/laptop, we had to create duplicate modules that were optimized for tablet/smartphone. Trial and error showed that we also had to minimize the functionality/interaction originally used in the PC/laptop version in order for the mobile version to interact and display correctly. Ended up being a LOT of extra work, trial and error.

I am at a new organization now (week two) and must admit that I'm considering Captivate 8 instead because it it automatically optimized for iOS and Android. I wouldn't have to create duplicate modules and cut down on the types of interaction in my module like I had to do with Storyline. I hate the fact that Captivate has a larger learning curve, but at this point it might make sense to bite the bullet and just go with Captivate--especially since we do so many system simulations for online training modules here.

Storyline 2
Mark Schwartz

Melissa Hathaway said:

Hey there!  My previous organization purchased Storyline late last year and found it easier to use than Captivate, but 85% of our users want to access our online training modules via their Android tablets and smartphones.  We didn't realize when we decided to purchase Storyline over Captivate that it was more optimized to iOS than Android.  After creating hundreds of OLTs optimized for PC/laptop, we had to create duplicate modules that were optimized for tablet/smartphone.  Trial and error showed that we also had to minimize the functionality/interaction originally used in the PC/laptop version in order for the mobile version to interact and display correctly.  Ended up being a LOT of extra work, trial and error.   

I am at a new organization now (week two) and must admit that I'm considering Captivate 8 instead because it it automatically optimized for iOS and Android.  I wouldn't have to create duplicate modules and cut down on the types of interaction in my module like I had to do with Storyline.  I hate the fact that Captivate has a larger learning curve, but at this point it might make sense to bite the bullet and just go with Captivate--especially since we do so many system simulations for online training modules here.


@melissa:  Don't be seduced by Adobe Captivate's responsive claims.  We don’t believe that Adobe’s approach is the answer. Adobe claims that Adobe Captivate is responsive, which in web terms means that the content will reposition itself to fit the screen of any device. But what it really means in Adobe Captivate is that e-learning developers must simultaneously build three versions of their course for desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. It’s a highly inefficient, tedious workflow that makes creating even the most simple project for three form factors an agonizing experience for several reasons. 

We also believe that “mobile learning” isn’t one size fits all. People use tablet and smartphones differently, and in different contexts. Tablets lend themselves to “lean back” experiences, where learners have the time and inclination to dive deep into content. They won’t mind working through a decision-making scenario that lets them practice real-world skills on their tablets.

In contrast, people use mobile phones when they have a few minutes in between tasks, or when they’re “on the go.” They don’t have time for involved scenarios or lengthy courses. They just want information that will help them do their jobs better in the moment. For example, salespeople might access simple quizzes on the way to sales calls to brush up on product details.

Studio '13 and Storyline enable you to easily build computer and tablet based courses without any extra effort.  We believe phone based learning is a different use case altogether, and you'll suboptimize your mainstream courses if you also build for phone use.

Steve Flowers

Hi Melissa -

You might want to give Storyline 2 a spin. There are many fixes in place for Android and iOS published runtimes. You might find it offers quite a bit better support for mobile browsers than SL1.

Authoring tools are a personal choice. Some folks really prefer Captivate for some of the features it offers. Others prefer Storyline. Give both a try and make the decision for how well the tool works in your environment and in your workflow.

I do agree with Mark about the design of a mobile experience. It's more than rearranging or shrinking a set of slides. Devices offer a lot more functionality than a desktop environment and are used in a bit different context. This calls for a bit different thinking in many (maybe most) cases.

Good luck with your exploration and your choice! You're welcome here either way

Morten Skoglund

Mark Schwartz said:

Melissa Hathaway said:

Hey there! My previous organization purchased Storyline late last year and found it easier to use than Captivate, but 85% of our users want to access our online training modules via their Android tablets and smartphones. We didn't realize when we decided to purchase Storyline over Captivate that it was more optimized to iOS than Android. After creating hundreds of OLTs optimized for PC/laptop, we had to create duplicate modules that were optimized for tablet/smartphone. Trial and error showed that we also had to minimize the functionality/interaction originally used in the PC/laptop version in order for the mobile version to interact and display correctly. Ended up being a LOT of extra work, trial and error.

I am at a new organization now (week two) and must admit that I'm considering Captivate 8 instead because it it automatically optimized for iOS and Android. I wouldn't have to create duplicate modules and cut down on the types of interaction in my module like I had to do with Storyline. I hate the fact that Captivate has a larger learning curve, but at this point it might make sense to bite the bullet and just go with Captivate--especially since we do so many system simulations for online training modules here.


@melissa: Don't be seduced by Adobe Captivate's responsive claims. We don’t believe that Adobe’s approach is the answer. Adobe claims that Adobe Captivate is responsive, which in web terms means that the content will reposition itself to fit the screen of any device. But what it really means in Adobe Captivate is that e-learning developers must simultaneously build three versions of their course for desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. It’s a highly inefficient, tedious workflow that makes creating even the most simple project for three form factors an agonizing experience for several reasons.

We also believe that “mobile learning” isn’t one size fits all. People use tablet and smartphones differently, and in different contexts. Tablets lend themselves to “lean back” experiences, where learners have the time and inclination to dive deep into content. They won’t mind working through a decision-making scenario that lets them practice real-world skills on their tablets.


In contrast, people use mobile phones when they have a few minutes in between tasks, or when they’re “on the go.” They don’t have time for involved scenarios or lengthy courses. They just want information that will help them do their jobs better in the moment. For example, salespeople might access simple quizzes on the way to sales calls to brush up on product details.

Studio '13 and Storyline enable you to easily build computer and tablet based courses without any extra effort. We believe phone based learning is a different use case altogether, and you'll suboptimize your mainstream courses if you also build for phone use.


For a while now I have been trying out Captivate 8, creating the same e-learning course in both products simultaneously. I have to agree with Mark here.

Mobile learning isn't "one size fits all". If you want to create a course that fits PC, tablet and a smartphone, you actually have to create that content 3 times... It's mindbogglingly tedious and takes a lot of time. Ok, you can use Master slides to control the background to a great extent, but every image, textbox, interactive element, videos etc etc that you work with beside the Master slide, have to be created 3 times over. For me that is a no go.

I rather prefer to create content for PC and Ipad. I am going to take a look at Storyline 2 and see what's new there. Personally I am back in Storyline after trying to build the same course in both products. The time it takes to create something is far less in Storyline than in Captivate and if you add that to the steeper learning curve in Captivate.

I recommend Storyline to both new e-learning enthusiasts and those who are experienced with creating content.

@melissa: I am sad to say that if you decide to use Captivate you still have to do ALOT of work.

Just my 2 cents

Harri C

Hi Melissa,

Just to weigh in on the Captivate 8 responsive design front....

I built a demo course with it and tested it with people in the organisation to see how well it worked on various devices and we ran into A LOT of issues, amongst which were:

1- Interactive content is not supported in the AOSP browser which (until recently when chrome took over) was the default browser for android phones.

2- Several colleague using IE on their PCs could not even launch the content.

3- On a few of the iphones the content didn't seem to know what size it should be and kept jumping on the screen almost as if it was trying to resize by aligning with the top of the screen, failing, then trying to resize aligning to the bottom of the screen.

Overall we decided it was not the way to go.

Hope this helps

Todd Thornton

@melissa

I have all the tools (and most others not mentioned yet) and I'm going to respectfully suggest we've all been doing mobile wrong. As long as your customers have bandwidth on their devices/using wifi, I've found short videos designed properly can be the backbone of your courses. For me, this has worked better than anything else. You can then "also use" the videos inside of Storyline 2/other tools when necessary to package up or use these products to create short interactive standalone sessions. If mobile users have trouble accessing, it's not the end of the world because they've already seen the related video.

I can watch House of Cards from my Nexus 5 phone, my tablet, or my 24 inch computer screen and for all practical purposes the content is all delivered in an acceptable manner/relatively similar experience. (It's not HD on the phone but it doesn't need to be) Phones are approaching the size of small tablets so while I understand the argument of mobile is a different experience, other than the menus, it's not different when consuming other content. It does need to be different when you use a text first approach to learning, but not video first which is my point.

For instance, here's a link to a video we did about obtaining an FBI background check. (I don't have the budget of a Fortune 500 company) The goal is to cover the information a couple of ways so that even if they don't read anything else, they can still get it done. We're trying to make the backgrounds busy to keep their attention, and keep it focused/useful on task with larger objects on screen. We also link to the exact information they need at the end. (Of course that link could be anything, technical document/etc) That's all handled in the interface of our video streaming provider so it can be changed at any time without redoing the video. We upload once and there's 6 different versions created to accommodate different devices up to HD.

Using video is the only way I've found to deliver across all the platforms. You don't have to worry about using the Articulate app in addition to your LMS app or how good the Android support is on certain phones. If they have a Smartphone, they can get the content. Going forward we'll be able to use interactive HTML 5 layers on top of the videos. Actually you can do this now, but iPhones don't support it as Apple doesn't allow another browser to take over. (Works on the iPad)

I realize a lot of people here will say, but what about the interactivity? I guess my response is what most people are calling "interactivity" is just turning pages/having something appear. Granted the new slider in Storyline 2 has some interesting possibilities and like I mentioned you can still create those things, but let's be honest. 90+% of "interactivity" we all see in e-learning today is clicking buttons/having something appear on screen. I would argue if you give people the information they need/can use in 3-8 minute chunks via video with easy access/links to additional material they can then view if necessary, they'd choose that over a longer "interactive" session.

Good luck whatever you decide to do.

Todd

Rick Nusz

From an end user standpoint Storyline is the way to go. Sure there are some things missing (and some of those things are found in Version 2!) but it provides the fastest, easiest way to get a project complete and ready for use. Don't get me wrong, I like Adobe products. I have most of them but I usually use them to add functionality to Storyline. I did try Captivate 8 and I didn't like it. Previously I had used version 4 so I was kinda surprised by that.

Captivate seemed like a 1970's Cadillac while Storyline ran (runs) like a Ferrari once you understand the concepts involved.

The only thing I would like to see in Storyline is more video based tools like Camtasia has. Replay is good for some stuff, but doesn't come close to Camtasia. I recently built a video course with Camtasia and served it up with a Storyline wrapper. It was like having the best of both worlds and my end users loved it.

Courses I've built with Storyline seemed to work fine on alternate platforms for me. Android, iOS, Windows 8, desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone. There are a few minor things I have to keep in mind when building a course for each platform but Storyline is capable (although sometimes I'm not) of handling it. I've run Storyline on Windows 7 & 8, 32 & 64 bit, on desktop, laptop, and tablet (Win 8.1) and have not had any problems with it. I don't have a Mac but I do have an iPad and the content has always run fine on it with the player.

The skin, I thought, could be customized and I thought eLearning Brothers had some. Some of it requires going outside the Storyline box to manipulate it though and there are times I wish I could do it all within the program.

I know I'm not directly answering all of your concerns and this is more of a general address to anyone else who wonders about Storyline vs Captivate. These are some of the things I would have liked to have known when we were trying to make a decision way back when.

I would say that Storyline + Camtasia have tackled every project I've had a hand in! Storyline for interactivity and control and Camtasia for adding emphasis in videos. Good luck!

Ben Riller

Good to see a momentary flash of decent debate going on in the forum, or on this thread at least thanks to Melissa, instead of the usual mutual wallowing and back-combing, or stonewalling by the Articulate people.By the way, why so little defence (or not) of Storyline, a.o.t the latest Studio, which certainly must have some advantage over Storyline for some users?...Sorry, was going to say more here but Casta Diva has just come on over the radio. Must dash to the kitchen and stand in a trance for a few minutes.

Brent Coco

Wow, what a great thread!

I'm primarily a Storyline 1 user, though really like Camtasia Studio for software demonstrations.  Camtasia Studio 8 is not very stable, however.  I have had many problems with publishing quirks or crashes during long recordings.  When Camtasia DOES work, however, the callouts, transitions, and ease of use are fantastic.  I wish Articulate would make a similar program with such great functionality.

To ask a question, does anyone use programs in the Mac environment?  Either native or through emulation?  I would like to experiment with more video content and use Apple Motion to enhance the visuals.  I've never tried Storyline through BootCamp or Parallels and am a little hesitant to do so.
Camtasia for Mac is awful (Camtasia Studio is PC only) and Captivate I just don't like working with (native Mac or PC).  I'm investigating Screenflow as a substitute for Camtasia.

Any Macheads with advice?

Hugh Gardner

One of the things that people often forget when choosing is factoring in the support and community.  If I post here, I can usually expect an answer from a Articulate employee within the hour, and in many cases 2-3 other users or Super Hero users before that.  When I used to post on the Captivate forums I would have anywhere from 4+ hours to 2-3 days before I got an official response.  Anyone who works under the gun know that is not a survivable option.  For peace of mind on that front alone its worth going the Articulate route.

Related to this is the fact that Articulate has a small , focused set of programs so you can expect resources to be allocated to keep them all being pushed.  Conversely Adobe has a ton of programs, and on the pecking order Captivate is Tier 3 or so, well below the support that Photo Shop or Illustrator get.  

Ralf  Baum

I want to agree with Hugh.

I've been working with Captivate since Version 1 but it is really very tough to get specific information about questions and problems.

It is not only a question of support. It is also the curiosity that gets stimulated in the Articulate Forum.

Imho it is really important to get some inspiration by other users. This is the best way to get deeper into working with the tool.

Matthew Bibby

Brent Coco said:

To ask a question, does anyone use programs in the Mac environment?  Either native or through emulation?  I would like to experiment with more video content and use Apple Motion to enhance the visuals.  I've never tried Storyline through BootCamp or Parallels and am a little hesitant to do so.

@Brent, I've been using Storyline via VMWare Fusion and it works perfectly. The trick is to make sure that your Mac is powerful enough and that you have enough RAM dedicated to the Virtual Machine. I have a dual monitor setup and typically have Storyline open on one monitor, and various mac apps open on the second monitor. It is easy to copy and paste from Mac to Windows and to share files between the operating systems using a shared folder (although it is important to not work on your Storyline projects from this shared folder).

I've been using Captivate since Version 2 and since switching to Storyline I have only used Captivate to make changes to old projects. Despite having a subscription, I haven't bothered to download CP8. Storyline is not only more capable (where it counts) but is also a lot easier to use and troubleshoot. Every version of Captivate seems to come with its own set of specific bugs. Theses bugs aren't documented anywhere, but workarounds can often be found (think duct tape). These workarounds become part of the development process, and then a new version of Captivate is released with a whole new set of bugs that require a number of new workarounds and a few more days of frustration.

Brent Coco

@Matthew

Thanks for the tip on RAM allocation.  That's great comfort to know you haven't had any issues with the emulation software.  Another Mac question, if you don't mind...

I have the option for a MacBook Air 13" with a more traditional resolution, or a MacBook Pro 13" or 15" with the higher res Retina screens.  Does anyone have any recommendations on the Mac system options?  I'd lean towards the MBP 15" for the screen real estate but don't want to deal with large headaches for resolution issues/scaling issues due to the Retina screen.  Also a little hesitant about the size/weight of the 15" (but that's more of a personal preference).

Thanks