Adobe Captivate 9 vs. Articulate Storyline 2 vs. iSpring Suite 8.1

Adobe Captivate 9 vs. Articulate Storyline 2 vs. iSpring Suite 8.1

Many course authors are interested to know the key differences between the top e-Learning authoring tools on the market. We surveyed e-Learning developers about their experiences with the popular e-Learning authoring software Articulate Storyline 2 and Adobe Captivate 9, and compared their feature sets with iSpring Suite 8.1.

Overview

Each of the compared tools is well-suited for a particular type of content authoring. Some users prefer to work within the familiar PowerPoint interface, while others require more complex functionality and are comfortable with standalone authoring software and a new interface.

Professional e-Learning content developers often have all three of these tools, and use each of them periodically for different tasks: iSpring Suite for rapid content development, and Articulate and Adobe for complex content development. 

Below, you'll find a comparison chart of Articulate Storyline 2 vs Adobe Captivate 9 vs iSpring Suite 8.1. It reviews their specific features and functionality, allowing you to understand what type of e-Learning content can be created with each tool. Further down is a brief overview of each product, with a list of pros and cons for each one. 

Comparison Chart

This chart draws up an overall comparison of the key features needed for e-Learning.
CharacteristicsiSpring Suite 8.1Captivate 9Storyline 2
Price$697$1,099$1,398
Integration with PowerPoint
+
-
-
Publishing to Flash
5
4
4
Publishing to HTML5
5
4
3
Mobile Player Adaptation
5
4
Not Available
Mobile App
5
Not Available
4
Publishing to Video (MP4) / Upload to YouTube
5
5
Not Available
Recording Audio Narrations
5
4
4
Recording Video Narrations
5
Not AvailableNot Available
Synchronizing Audio/Video Narrations
5
4
4
Audio Editor
4
4
4
Video Editor
4
3
3
Screen recording
5
4
5
External Objects
5
5
5
Characters
5
5
5
Navigation Control
5
4
4
Quizzes
4
3
5
Interactions
3
4
5
Dialogues
5
Not Available
Not Available
Customizable Player
5
4
5
LMS Support
5
5
5
Protection
5
Not AvailableNot Available
Section 508
4
4
4
International content support
4
5
5
Own LMS Integration555
Integration with Cloud Sharing Service
5
Not Available
Not Available
Additional Features
Freeform Type QuestionsNot Available
4
5
Triggers
4
4
5
VariablesNot Available
5
5
Text-to-Speech OptionNot Available
5
Not Available
Geolocation supportNot Available
4
Not Available
Multi-device previews
4
5
3
Transitions
5
4
4
Slide Animation
5
3
5
Software SimulationNot Available
5
5
Windows 32/64-bit SupportedYes/YesNo/YesYes/Yes

1. Adobe Captivate 9

Pros:

  • Free integrated library of characters and templates
  • Text-to-speech option
  • Simultaneous development of different versions of one course for playback on various devices
  • Free form and drag-n-drop questions
  • Software simulation
  • Variables and triggers

Cons:

  • Requires special training to master the software
  • No video editor
  • No mobile app for viewing created content
  • No Conversation Simulation tool

Review

Standalone software that allows users to develop interactive courses with triggers, variables and layers. Has a unique feature of converting text to speech, which is convenient for creating voice-overs. Content can be created for various devices, but not all the materials adapt to mobile devices: you need to select a Responsive Project for that, and there’s no opportunity to make imported PowerPoint presentations adaptive. Requires a steep learning curve to master the tool. Sometimes bugs may occur.

Learn more about Adobe Captivate

2. Articulate Storyline 2

Pros:

  • Interface similar to that of PowerPoint
  • The pictured characters have flexible settings
  • Free form and drag-n-drop questions
  • Software simulation
  • Variables and triggers
  • Free mobile app for viewing content on iPads and Android devices

Cons:

  • No publishing to video
  • No opportunity to add a video narration
  • No content adaptation for mobile devices
  • No Conversation Simulation tool
  • High price

Review

Standalone software that allows users to develop interactive courses with triggers, variables and layers. The interface is similar to that of PowerPoint, which makes the navigation easy. Also has some basic effects similar to those of Microsoft PowerPoint. The created content doesn’t adapt to mobile devices (it is displayed the same way as on desktop only scaled down), which makes it difficult to interact with the content on mobile devices.

Learn more about Articulate Storyline

3. iSpring Suite 8.1

Pros:

  • Really easy to use, users can work in the all-familiar PowerPoint interface
  • Already existing PowerPoint presentations can be used
  • Player and content adapt to mobile devices
  • Contains a unique tool - Conversation Simulator
  • Content can be published directly to iSpring Cloud sharing platform
  • Free mobile app for viewing content on iPhones, iPads and Android devices even offline

Cons:

  • Few interactions
  • No Software Simulation
  • No drag-n-drop questions
  • Doesn’t have variables and uses the PowerPoint triggers

Review

iSpring Suite works as a PowerPoint add-in, which makes it very easy to use. Since almost no learning curve is required, content developers can immediately start using all the tool’s features. iSpring Suite has a built-in QuizMaker, Conversation Simulator and other tools that enhance PowerPoint presentations. The software preserves all the original PowerPoint effects when publishing to Flash, HTML5, and video. The adaptive player allows users to create content for various mobile devices. There are few interactions and no variables, but the software works stably and the output content is high quality.

Learn more about iSpring Suite

Conclusion

Standalone e-Learning authoring tools like Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline do not depend on a base program such as PowerPoint for operation. Like PowerPoint, they use a graphical environment to arrange objects on slides, but offer deeper capabilities for user interaction through programming concepts like variables and system states. These capabilities require knowledge and training to utilize to the fullest, and thus may not be desirable or necessary for all content authors.

The core functionality of PowerPoint is quite adequate for most uses, though some of the deeper programming elements may be difficult to find. iSpring Suite is integrated with PowerPoint and brings many of those elements closer to the surface for users to find, and also extends the capabilities of PowerPoint with web technologies to provide a fully-rounded user-friendly experience.

Given the simple learning curve of iSpring Suite and the rapid authoring process, if you don’t already have it in your authoring toolkit, it’s worth a closer look. Adobe and Articulate also offer free trials, so we invite you to dig in and discover the best tool for you!

See these three tools compared on G2Crowd business software review platform

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