Updated Comparison of E-Learning Authoring Tools
With the release of Studio ’13 a few weeks ago, I thought it would be a good time to update my authoring tool comparison grid. As always, this grid reflects MY OPINION of working with each of these tools. There’s lots of subjectivity, and I’d love to hear in the comments section how your perspective might differ.
If you’d like a more scientific approach to authoring tools, check out the eLearning Guild’s recent authoring tools survey report (you must be a member to view) or register for their free webinar about the report (where I will be a panelist).
Here’s the overview—details below. 1=first choice, 4 = last choice.
In this post, I’ll focus on how Articulate Studio’s comparison has changed. For commentary on the other applications, see my previous post on the subject.
Studio ’13 is a very nice upgrade that features new Engage templates, additional quiz questions (including drag-and-drop), feedback layers, HTML5 publishing, characters, and a unified player, among other things. (See list of new features.) The tool has more variety and flexibility than before, but none of the changes have fundamentally changed the positioning of the tool in the broader landscape. It is still PowerPoint based, and many of the interactive features are still template based. For that reason, many of its scores have not changed – it is still easier to use and has better graphics capabilities than the other tools in the grid, and it still has less power than the others – but that’s by design. In these areas, the ratings have not changed.
So let’s look at where there is some movement and “almost” movement.
Studio ’09 could not output to HTML5, so it was a non-starter for iOS delivery. The new version can publish to Flash, HTML5, and the Articulate Mobile Player, much like Storyline. I haven’t been able to spend a ton of time testing it for iPad, but early indications are that most features work very well on the iPad. Because of that, I’m going to put it ahead of Captivate, since Captivate still has a decent list of features that don’t work in HTML5. But I won’t give Captivate a 4. It may be a cop-out, but I don’t feel any of the tools deserve to be ranked last in this category. All of them have had significant improvements and continue to do so.
Studio ’13 is still not Section 508 compliant, so it still gets a 4. However, a little birdy told me that 508-compliancy will be available in a free upgrade in the near future. In the meantime, Lectora has furthered its lead in this category. Their 11.3 upgrade that came out a few weeks ago complies with the (WCAG) 2.0 – Level AA.
Studio ’13 comes with a standalone utility called Replay that lets you record your desktop and your webcam at the same time. The editing interface lets you switch back between the two (or do picture in picture) very easily. You can also add simple captions, images, other video, etc. It’s a nice utility that’s very easy to use. Before Studio ‘09 got a 4 in this category because it had no capability in this area. It still gets a 4 because the tool is not as full-featured as the screen recording options in Captivate, Storyline, or Camtasia (part of Lectora Inspire), but it is still a really nice addition to the suite and is great for folks who want to put together something quickly – which, again, is Studio’s positioning in the market.
So this is a case where the numbers may not tell the true story. In my opinion, the upgrade is definitely worth the money. But it is important to realize that it is a different type of tool than the other three, so we are in a bit of an apple-orange situation.
What are your thoughts?