Updated E-Learning Authoring Tools Comparison

The last 14 months saw an upgrade of every single tool in our comparison!  These tools had improvements in graphics, animations, mobile compatibility, and 508-compliance, among others.  With these new changes, I thought it was time to update our popular—and often controversial—authoring tools comparison.

As before, this is based solely on my opinion and experience.  Not even everyone in my own company agrees with me.  And we’d love to hear how your experiences might differ!

Comparison Grid 1-9-15Notable Changes

Since the last comparison about six months ago, Articulate Storyline got a bump up in the animations department.  There are several times as many animations as before plus motion paths!  This is enough for them to overtake Captivate.  (Captivate has more animations options, but I think Storyline’s are a little easier to use.)  Lectora got an improved score in graphics capability.  Lectora 12 now has the ability to crop and rotate pictures as well as create gradients, drop shadows, and other effects.  I like to avoid ties in this grid but can’t always.  So Lectora and Captivate are now tied in this department.

If you’d like to learn more about how these tools compare to each other, click here to view our latest comparison webinar (recorded on 1/9/15).

Diane Elkins
Diane Elkins leads Artisan E-Learning, a custom eLearning development company specializing in the use of rapid- development tools. Diane has been in the eLearning industry since 2001, speaks regularly at national conferences about eLearning, and is co-author of the popular E-Learning Uncovered book series.

8 Responses to “Updated E-Learning Authoring Tools Comparison

  • Thank You, Can you tell us what are your top Testing and Assessment Tools?

    • Diane Elkins
      3 years ago

      Great question! We have not worked with a stand-alone test/assessment tool. Any time we need a stand-alone assessment, we simply use the testing capabilities of any of these four tools. Some people who don’t need a full e-learning authoring suite like to purchase Articulate Quizmaker by itself (as opposed to buying the whole Studio suite). It is a very simple tool for creating fairly robust assesments, including randomization. However, we might switch to Lectora (which gets the #1 slot for testing from us) if there are really specific requirements about how the questions and the overall quiz function.

      • dfwenigma
        2 years ago

        Captivate is very quickly displacing Lectora but perhaps not Articulate Quizmaker. The new interactions in 9 plus the fact that you can now put knowledge checks into lessons means that Captivate is maturing. Still many authors forgo Captivate’s quiz features in favor of other tools because its a bit quirky.

  • Jennifer Froeschl Tomarchio
    2 years ago

    This is great! Any thoughts as to how Camtasia would rate among these features?

    • Diane Elkins
      2 years ago

      Great question. Camtasia is a great tool for video editing and software simulations. We use it ourselves for video projects and quick systems tutorials. It is not as full-featured as the other tools, especially in the area of interaction. It does have interactive capabilities, but not to the same extent. Many people who use Camtasia also use a separate tool for courses that require more features than Camtasia offers.

    • dfwenigma
      2 years ago

      In my mind Camtasia isn’t in the same category because it is a video editing tool. Camtasia can’t compared with much of anything else either because it isn’t just about video editing but it isn’t a tool that allows you to create interactions and there is no possibility of branching. That being said – one uncool thing about Captivate is that the video is NOT editable whereas Camtasia is much more flexible in this regard. Were the task demo only – no intent for interaction – watch it and be done a la YouTube – Camtasia is great. If I HAD to create a video with some interaction (quizzes) Camtasia is great for the Windows platform – but crossover to the Mac side of the house and it gets really ugly in that respect.

  • skjoldburger
    2 years ago

    Nice test. Any thoughts on Oracle UPK in comparison with the above?

    • dfwenigma
      2 years ago

      I would think of UPK and tools like Xyleme as being Single Source Authoring tools rather than instructional design tools. They manage full life cycle publishing and learning – and both are xml based tools. In comparison the others are desktop tools that generally produce SCORM or HTML outputs but they aren’t single source.

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