Since the birth of elearning, a pair of innovative software giants have carved out their place as industry favorites: Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate. But with the rise of modern cloud-based authoring software, many learning managers and designers are looking for a resolution to the contemporary learning pains that come from desktop-based authoring tools.
In this article, we explore Elucidat as an alternative to Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate – to help you decide if it’s time to make the move to cloud-based authoring.
The authoring basics
Before outlining the differences between Storyline, Captivate and Elucidat, it’s useful to go back to the basics and highlight what all three can help you to achieve. With each of these authoring tools, you can:
- Create SCORM-compliant elearning content
- Include a broad range of learning interactions
- Include multi-media content
- Use assessments and course variations
- Create multi-device learning
Each tool clearly has the core features required to create great elearning content (as do Articulate Rise, GomoLearning and other alternatives to Storyline and Captivate that we’ve reviewed here). But it’s important to consider some of the outside factors that contribute to the way in which you use an authoring tool:
- The skills and experience needed to get great results from the tools
- The size and location of your team
- Your content development workflow (who is involved across the department or organization)
- The amount of content being produced and managed
- Whether you need to regularly update content to keep it fresh
- The available budget
Over time, such factors can often cause a landslide of issues, resulting in loss of productivity, poor ROI and an increase in stress.
The benefits of Storyline and Captivate
Storyline 360 is a desktop-based, “PowerPoint style” tool that requires a software download, and it’s only accessible on Windows. Captivate, also a desktop-based application, is available for both Windows and Mac and is one of the most powerful authoring tools available… and with that comes complexity and a steep learning curve.
Both tools embrace the classic PowerPoint interface, and most established instructional designers have some level of experience with them. Encompassing a decent range of interactions and control over content output, alongside a vast picture library, production of simple content is achievable.
For those authors with more advanced experience and skills, there is the capability to create complex animations for the learner to interact with. Storyline’s code is customizable, opening up full flexibility… if you have the skill to do so.
Much of Captivate’s functionality is aimed toward screen capture, allowing you to record and edit from within the application. Consequently, the most common and effective uses of the two are software simulation and animation-based courses.
Why would you want an alternative to Storyline and Captivate?
There’s no doubting it: in the right hands, you can create some really high-end elearning content using Storyline or Captivate. But we are regularly approached by Learning Managers and Designers in search of a solution to the challenges they experience using an offline desktop-based tool. Common requirements include:
- Enabling less experienced content developers to create high-quality output
- Management of elearning content at scale
- Streamlined workflows for teams
- Easier ways to update content
- Mobile responsiveness
- Data and insight into engagement with learning content
How is Elucidat a good alternative to Captivate and Storyline?
Overcoming the authoring skills gap
Storyline and Captivate are widely known as reasonably complex tools, especially when authors intend to create high quality, complex content. According to Towards Maturity’s 2017 Benchmark report, 66% of organizations are struggling to build teams with the development and learning design skills needed to use these legacy tools. Ben Digman, Learning Experience Designer at Vacasa, explained:
“We started to explore solutions like Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline and xAPI, but we couldn’t find an elearning developer who was strong enough in instructional design, and vice versa. We had hired some amazing people who, it turned out, couldn’t fully perform the job they were hired to do using those tools.”
Creating high-quality content is easy in Elucidat, as it uses a WYSIWYG interface and it allows you to apply pre-designed styles to new projects. The advantages of using a cloud-based tool really come into play when you save your pages and templates for future use, giving you instant access to them on any project. With an unlimited author license, course creation is opened up to less-experienced designers.
We recognize that great digital learning comes from more than the great tools you use to create it. Alongside the tool, we offer a range of professional services designed to support your teams to be successful, upskilling and supporting them to take your elearning to the next level. See us as more of a partner than a vendor.
Managing elearning at scale for diverse global audiences
Large companies with employees spread across the globe often work with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of courses, with multiple languages and variations. A desktop tool makes this tricky to manage.
Elucidat’s variations manager allows an author to create a central “master course,” which has full control over its “child courses.” Once an edit is made to a master course, the child will then follow – yet edits can still be made locally in a child course.
The most common and beneficial use case for variations manager is translation. Elucidat empowers authors to manage several course variations within one location, saving you the hassle of creating numerous versions and editing each individually.
Collaborative online authoring
Learning design teams are constantly growing, and are frequently spread across cities, countries and even continents. Lack of collaboration can hinder efficiency and hits the brakes on the production and review process.
Cloud-based authoring in Elucidat brings stakeholders into one unified location, so that authors, reviewers and decision-makers can work together on a course – any time, any place.
“The way Elucidat allowed us to collaborate had an immediate positive impact. We could go in and work on the project at the same time as someone else. This may seem basic, but it was a huge time-saver. Elucidat has been invaluable in helping to streamline our process of content production.” – Georgia Axtell-Powell, Online Project Producer at the Open University
Updating and iterating content
With desktop-based software, it can be time-consuming to update content or fix issues with courses once they have been released. Often, changing a single typo on a course can be a nuisance.
Elucidat allows seamless live edits and rapid releasing without exiting the tool, ensuring you’ll never have to re-upload your courses. As you’re always working on the most up-to-date version of the course in the cloud, there’s no need for multiple files.
With the rise of technology and millennials in the workplace, the demand for mobile responsive content has skyrocketed. Truly mobile responsive and adaptive elearning is vital for organizations wishing to engage with modern learners and to reach those who don’t have day-to-day access to a PC. The challenge with desktop-based software like Captivate and Storyline is that they are designed to produce content predominantly for desktops. Therefore, courses can appear squeezed – and, in several cases, unreadable on a mobile.
Designed to create both responsive and adaptive content, Elucidat ensures that no matter which device you pick up, you will always have a great learning experience. Using logic, Elucidat adapts and stacks your content to ensure the course always looks great. With the ability to make localized edits to each device, you can have full control of your content on any screen size.
Built-in analytics to better your courses
It’s safe to say that once your content is released, it’s difficult to know whether your course is really working. Traditional desktop tools, and even most LMSs, lack the abundance of data to help you adapt and better your elearning. Using xAPI, Elucidat’s analytics feature allows you to capture detailed information about your learners from directly inside our authoring interface.
Live visualization will show where learners are, which device they used, how long they spent, as well as how they answered questions, allowing you to closely track trends and depict information that is gold dust for learning providers and designers.
What else can Elucidat help with?
These are just some of the features Elucidat offers as an ideal alternative to Storyline and Captivate:
- Fully accessible interactions and tips on creating great experiences for all learners
- Unlimited data storage
- Ability to release multiple language variations as one course
- An on-hand support team (97% of authors rate themselves ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with our responses)
- An assigned Customer Success Manager to map your road to success.
Test out an alternative to Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate
There’s a lot to like about software like Storyline and Captivate, but there are huge benefits to more flexible, cloud-based platforms. If you want an authoring platform that will help you deliver real-life impact for learners and your business, then it’s worth dipping your toe in the water with a free trial of Elucidat.
Alternatively, book a free personalized demo to discuss how Elucidat can be a suitable substitute to your current solution, and transform your e-learning.