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Storyline, Captivate, Lectora – An Evaluation Checklist of 3 Rapid Authoring Tools

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Storyline, Captivate, Lectora - An Evaluation Checklist of 3 Rapid Authoring Tools

Choosing a rapid e-learning authoring tool that suits your training needs completely can be quite a challenging task. You need to consider various aspects such as cost, built-in features, flexibility of the tool, and the output it gives. Analyzing all these features can cost you a lot of time and effort. This blog intends to make it easy for you and help pick the right tool quickly.

The eLearning Guild has come out with a report that lists the most desired features in rapid e-learning authoring software. We will now evaluate the 3 widely used rapid authoring tools – Articulate Storyline 2, Adobe Captivate 9, and Lectora Inspire 16, based on the features listed by the report.

Features Articulate Storyline 2 Adobe Captivate 9 Lectora Inspire 16
Cost of one license (as of 22-Sep-2016) USD 1398 USD1099 USD 2174

Audio Capabilities

Can embed audio files 1 1 1
Can embed audio in interactions 1 1 1
Can record audio 1 1 1
Can perform basic audio editing 1 1 1
Can store audio files in a library 2 1 1
Can export recorded audio to MP3 1 1 1
Can add links to external audio files 1 1 1
Can perform advanced audio editing 2 2 1

Assessment Features

Can choose from a wide variety of question types (including multiple choice, fill-in, and hotspot) 1 1 1
Can show a review of the questions after scoring 1 1 1
Can format question pages as desired 1 1 1
Can track assessments 1 1 1
Can create randomized questions 1 1 1
Can shuffle answers 1 1 1
Can add media to questions 1 1 1
Can randomize questions from banks/pools 1 1(Needs to be customized) 1

Branching and Navigation Features

Can add simple branching 1 1 1
Can add custom navigation 1 1 1
Can add complex branching 1 1 1

Graphics and Animations Creation

Can make objects on the screen interactive 1 1 1
Can animate onscreen elements 1 1 1
Can edit images, basic 1 1 1
Can insert HTML5animations 1 1 1
Can choose from multiple transitions 1 1 1
Can insert Flash animations 1 1 1
Can add text animations 1 1 1
Can use built-in characters 1 1 1
Can edit images, advanced 2 2 2

Support for Videos

Can embed video files 1 1 1
Can embed videos in interactions 1 1 1
Can link to external or web video files 1 1 1
Can record screens 1 1 1
Can export recorded videos 1 1 1
Can pan and zoom 1 1 1
Can store videos in a library 2 1 1
Can perform basic video editing 1 1 1

Format Templates, Themes, Skins, and Text Features

Can use numerous text formatting options (styles, bullets, justification, etc.) 1 1 1
Can customize how interactions look and feel 1 1 1
Can create custom themes 1 1 1
Can create custom templates 1 1 1
Can customize built-in Player skins 1 1(Only a few features) 2
Can choose from built-in Player skins 1 1 1
Can choose from built-in themes 1 1 1

Games, Scenarios, and Simulations

Can add interactive scenarios 1 1 1
Can create simple software simulations 1 1 1
Can create complex software simulations 1 1 1
Can add simple game elements 1 1 1

Support and User-community

Has easy user support 1 1 1
Free intro training modules are available 1 1 1
Has an active user community 1 1 1

Progress-Tracking Features

Track in SCORM 1.2 1 1 1
Track in SCORM 2004 1 1 1
Track in xAPI 1 1 1
Track in AICC 1 1 1

Scripts and Variables Features

Can create user variables 1 1 1
Can use system variables, such as current date and time 1 1 1
Can use simple Java scripts 1 1 1
Can use complex Java scripts 1 1 1

User Accessibility Features

Can provide closed captioning for audio 1 1 2
Can provide closed captioning for videos 1 1 2
Can provide accessibility (Section 508, WCAG, etc.) features 1 1 1
Can use text-to-speech (with included voices) 2 1 2
Can work with JAWS and other screen readers 1 1 1

Integration with Social Media

Integration with Twitter 2(Needs to be programmed) 1 1
Integration with Facebook 2(Needs to be programmed) 2 1
Integration with other social media 2(Needs to be programmed) 2 1

Publishing Options

Can publish to mobile web (ex: HTML5) 1 1 1
Can provide responsive output 2 1 1
Can publish to Flash 1 1 2
Can publish to video 2(Screen casts can be saved as videos) 1 2
Can publish to PDF 2 1 2
Can publish to Microsoft Word 1 2 2
Can publish to a single execute file (.exe) for offline purposes 1

Hope you find this post informative. Go through the table for a quick comparison of the features when you need to zero-in on a tool for your online courses. Please share your thoughts through your comments.

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