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Adobe Articulate vs Captivate: Which One Should you Choose?

Adobe Articulate vs Captivate? It's a hard decision when trying to choose from some of the best eLearning authoring tools available. Let's dive in and discuss the Adobe software from experts in the LMS industry.

29 Sep 2021 by Alastair Simpson

Unsure what Adobe Articulate Storyline 2 or Adobe Captivate 9 are and why you need to know about them in the e-learning world? In this Adobe review, we're going to break it down, step by step, so you can understand the authoring tool capabilities and what they both can do to help grow your business by producing interactive content.

What is an eLearning authoring tool?

Let's start with the basics! eLearning authoring tools are desktop applications and software simulations used to create and manage content for eLearning courses. We're here to examine their differences and help you decide which program best suits you when highlighting the learning curve in your company.

These tools are used by learning developers, businesses, and tech-savvy teachers to create an engaging online lesson or course content.

The most widely used installed authoring tools are Articulate Storyline 2, and Adobe Captivate 9. We're here to examine their differences and help you decide which program best suits you.

💡 Pro Tip: Read our guide for What Are Authoring Tools And Why You Should Use Them?

Adobe Articulate Storyline 2

Let's start with a breakdown about Adobe Articulate Storyline 2 so you can get a good feel for why it's a popular authoring tool for e-learning.

What is Adobe Articulate Storyline 2?

Although the new version is called Articulate 360, Adobe Articulate Storyline 2 specializes in eLearning software, with an impressive list of clients that includes Google and Microsoft. Storyline 2 is their latest installed authoring offering and software simulations, billed as 'interactive eLearning created easily'.

Not only is Articulate Storyline 2 a tool that offers amazing video creation, but you'll also find templated courses and quizzes to engage with learners and tools for the less experienced designers. Articulate Storyline is similar to PowerPoint but way better and easier to use.

Sorry Mac users, but...

A word of warning before you read on—Storyline 2 is Windows only, meaning that Mac users are out of luck! It is possible to run Storyline 2 on a Mac using virtual Windows software if you need to, but this is both time and cost consuming and can also hamper performance.

Note that Storyline 2's Windows exclusivity does not affect its performance on other Apple devices – Storyline 2 content can still be viewed on both iPads and iPhones.

How easy is it to use?

Storyline 2 is considered the more accessible authoring tool to use for two reasons!

Firstly, it has a similar layout to Microsoft PowerPoint, and secondly, it has a strong support community.

Storyline 2's layout is indeed similar to PowerPoint – it features a ribbon navigation display similar to that of the Microsoft program and can switch between a slide view and story view, allowing you to preview what you're currently working on quickly.

Storyline 2's support community is also a significant selling point, with an online forum that boasts quick responses from company staff and other users alike.

However, it must be noted that whilst Storyline 2's similarity to PowerPoint means that it looks familiar at first glance, it also means that many tools are lost in a dense menu system.

Adobe Articulate Storyline 2 Pros

Import your presentations easily

Articulate Storyline 2 has a vast array of variables, triggers, sliders, and timelines, as well as the ability to import existing PowerPoint presentations.

It also has adjustable illustrated characters and photographic characters and can implement both free-form and drag-n-drop questions. This gives Articulate Storyline 2 users a great deal of depth and customization in their content creation.

Free App

Storyline 2 also has a free mobile app for viewing content on iOS and Android devices for mobile learning, including an offline capability. However, the content itself does not adapt to mobile devices but is scaled down to fit the screen on which it is being viewed.

This means that some projects can look cluttered and complex on a small screen, and you may even have to design slides twice – once for use on computers and the other for use on smaller devices.

Features

Storyline 2 allows for both HTML5 and Flash publishing and features Tin Can API 1.0-, SCORM-, and AICC-compliant packaging.

Adobe Articulate Storyline 2 Cons

Price

Storyline 2 is more expensive than Adobe Captivate, with a price of $1,398USD. This figure rises if you don't have your own Learning Management System (LMS), as you'll also need to purchase Articulate Online for an extra $199 a month. Articulate Online is a simple and easy LMS that integrates well with Storyline 2.

Other drawbacks

Storyline 2 is Windows-only, as previously mentioned, meaning it can't be used on a Mac. It also lacks a few features—namely; there is no scope for video publishing or video narration. As mentioned, Storyline 2 does not adapt content for mobile devices but scales projects down to fit on smaller screens. Storyline 2 can publish to Flash, but this requires a separate app install.

It doesn't allow for real time sharing

Another major drawback of Storyline 2 is that it doesn't allow for real-time sharing of work in progress. Instead, a project must be published before it can be shared with others. This makes authoring with multiple people frustrating and time-consuming.

Adobe Captivate 9

On to the following Adobe software review, and let's talk all about Adobe Captivate 9.

What is Adobe Captivate 9?

Adobe Captivate 9 is Adobe's offering to the world of eLearning authoring tools and is billed as 'end-to-end design creation'.

Like Articulate Storyline 2, Adobe Captivate 9 provides dynamic PowerPoint importing options and is also compatible with the entire Adobe Creative Suite.

If you're familiar with the Adobe layout, Adobe Captivate 9 should feel somewhat intuitive to you—flexible content creation with multiple authors is something Storyline 2 doesn't provide. Inbuilt previews make it easy to see how your project will integrate with a range of SCORM-compliant LMS'.

How easy is Adobe Captivate to use?

If you're not familiar with Adobe products or instructional design, you face a steep learning curve with Captivate 9. Content creation can be tricky and frustrating, with many tools hidden or hard to find.

Even once proficiency is achieved, Storyline 2 is still a better authoring tool for creating content quickly without having the learning curve ahead (not necessarily to a higher standard).

The Adobe community provides videos and feedback for learners, but the company itself provides little in the way of support.

Adobe Captivate 9 Pros

Adobe Captivate 9 has a variety of exclusive features, including geolocation services—allowing for the creation of location- and device-specific learning experiences—gesture support, text-to-speech options, and auto-text captions, making it easier to use for instructional designers. Text-to-speech and auto-text are essential for the development of content for those with accessibility requirements.

Other key features include:

Asset library

Adobe Captivate 9 provides access to the 'asset store', an online library of over 25,000 layouts, scenarios, games, interactions, and people cutouts for use in your projects. This gives Adobe Captivate users all the tools for creation.

Captivate Draft and multi-screen authoring

Captivate Draft is tool in Adobe Captivate 9 that allows users to create storyboards quickly and easily and share them in real-time via the cloud. Those reviewing the storyboard don't need to have Adobe Captivate 9, allowing for quick feedback on projects.

Scenario Branching

Scenario branching allows for the visual mapping of different learner paths, whilst screen caster and screen caption options mean that high-quality product demos can be recorded.

Extensive publishing options

Extensive publishing options which include but are not limited to SCORM-, AICC- or xAPI–compliant LMS publishing, as well as PDF, EXE, SWF, iOS, Android, and Windows.

Adobe Captivate 9 cons

Like Storyline 2, buying Adobe Captivate 9 will also require buying Adobe's LMS if you don't already have one. Adobe's Captivate Prime is $4 a month / Per Registered Learner.

Adobe Captivate Price

Captivate 9 is the cheaper of the two tools, with an outright price of $1,229USD or the option to rent monthly for $29.99 a month, with a minimum contract of at least one year. Students and teachers can get the program discounted depending on the school.

Ask yourself the following questions before you buy…

Are you a MAC user? Familiar with Adobe? A student or teacher? If the answer is yes, look into Adobe's Captivate 9.

Do you own a PC, have high-level experience in eLearning development, and are looking to further your knowledge with the help of a strong support community? It would be best if you were leaning towards Articulate Storyline 2.

New to the eLearning world? No problem!

If you lack experience in the eLearning development process, you may want to stay away from installed authoring tools altogether.

Other tools include web-based eLearning content creators like us at Coassemble!

Our tools are used online rather than installed on the desktop and provide a much faster, simpler way to create content.

Layouts and themes are simple, interfaces are intuitive, and tutorials are provided, whilst customisation options are still retained.

eLearning experienced designers and development houses prefer the high-powered installed desktop suites like Adobe Articulate Storyline 2 and Adobe Captivate 9, but web-based tools like Coassemble are a solid, user friendly, simple alternative for those lacking experience and simply want to create a powerful engaging course that's better than using PowerPoint for example.

Why not try our FREE trial now and learn to build an exceptional online course easily.

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