Adobe Captivate vs Articulate Storyline 3 vs iSpring Suite: A Feature Comparison

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Articulate Storyline 3 vs. Adobe Captivate vs. iSpring Suite
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In this article, we review the essential features of the three most popular eLearning authoring tools: Adobe Captivate vs Articulate Storyline 3, and iSpring Suite.

Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline 3 is well suited for a particular type of scenario. One solution will work for you when it’s necessary to immediately launch a large amount of eLearning content, while others provide a complex and detailed basis for authoring.

To make your choice between Adobe Captivate vs Articulate Storyline 3 a little less confusing, we’ve compared these authoring software in terms of their distinctive features. 

Comparison Chart:

A comparison chart: iSpring Suite, Articuate Storyline 3 and Adobe Captivate.
 iSpring SuiteArticulate Storyline 3Adobe Captivate

Type of solution

A robust yet easy-to-use suite of authoring tools for various training tasks.

An advanced standalone tool for creating interactive courses.

A powerful authoring tool for creating complex interactive courses.

Best suited for…

– Those who are under a deadline;

– Those who develop courses on their own;

– Those who need to turn pre-existing PowerPoint presentations, Word, and PDF documents into e-courses.

– Those who develop courses as outsourcers;

– Those who have large training departments;

– Those who have a basic understanding of programming (preferably).

– Advanced developers;

– Those who need to teach how to use software;

– Those who develop courses as outsourcers;

– Those who have a basic understanding of programming (preferably).

Ease of use

High

Medium

Low

PPT import
Converts PDFs and Word files into courses   
Built-in audio and video editor   
Number of question templates14 graded and survey questions 11 graded, 9 survey questions7 graded, 8 survey questions
Number of interaction templates142019
Role-plays   
 Software simulations   
 Virtual Reality projects   
Interactive flipbooks   
Tech support

Via phone, email, and online chat

Via email and online chat

Via phone, email, and online chat

 Price$770 per author/year$1,398 per license$33.99 per author/month

Adobe Captivate vs Articulate Storyline 3, and iSpring Suite

Now let’s dive deeper into the capabilities of each authoring tool, their pros and cons, and pricing. We hope these detailed reviews will help you decide which tool is best suited for your eLearning development and/or training needs. 

  1. iSpring Suite
  2. Articulate Storyline 3
  3. Adobe Captivate 2019

1. iSpring Suite

Rating: 4.8/5 – 254 reviews (G2 Crowd)

Vendor’s promise: “Create dynamic, engaging, and responsive eLearning content in record time. No training required to begin!”

iSpring Suite Full Service

iSpring Suite is a fully stocked eLearning solution for rapid course authoring. It works as a Microsoft PowerPoint add-in, which makes the course development process fast and hassle-free. After installing the program, you’ll see a new tab on the PowerPoint ribbon.

The toolkit has special modules for different types of online training tasks, including a quiz maker for assessments, a video and audio editor for managing video lectures and screencasts, and a tool for creating role-plays. You can make your learning content more visual with interactions. There’s a whole set of ready-made interaction templates for creating glossaries, catalogs, timelines, references, and FAQs.

Thanks to all these features, there is no need to manually configure complex interactive elements, thus allowing you to focus on content development. All the groundwork has already been done for you.

iSpring Suite is the easiest and fastest way to move a company’s official instructions, manuals, and textbooks online. If you already have PowerPoint content, you can turn these presentations into ecourses in just a couple of clicks. You can also quickly convert your Word and PDF documents into interactive ebooks with a realistic pageflip effect.

This program provides automatic adaptation of courses for mobile devices. You don’t need to create different versions of courses for desktop computers, smartphones, and tablets. Once done, your courses will work smoothly on virtually all devices.

Here you can view an example of an online course created with iSpring Suite:

Ease of Use

Most instructional designers value iSpring Suite for its seamless integration with PowerPoint and find it much easier to use than its competitors. If you’ve ever created presentations, you’ll be able to start using all the tool’s features immediately and produce content without needing to contact tech-savvy specialists or take training classes. However, despite its ease of use, iSpring software allows users to create complex scenarios, if the situation so requires.

Pricing

$770 per author/year.

Free Trial

You can enjoy the full functionality of iSpring authoring toolwith a 14-day trial without spending a cent. 

Goodies

  • Perfect integration with PPT
  • Simple interface
  • No learning curve
  • Tool for creating role-plays
  • Tool for creating interactive flipbooks
  • Suitable for mLearning
  • Excellent technical support

Issues

  • Can’t work without PowerPoint
  • No Mac OS support

What clients say

 “Absolutely fantastic product that is amazingly and easily user-friendly!” 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 out of 5 stars)

What do you like best?

iSpring is very easy to use, the tech support is extremely helpful and quick, and there are many different resources online that help you to learn everything quickly.

What do you dislike?

None that I can think of as iSpring is performing very well for us currently and we are very happy with how we are able to use all of the features of iSpring for our scholars.

 Alex F.
Assistant HR Manager

“In-depth experiences meet simplicity” 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 out of 5 stars)

What do you like best?

With iSpring Suite being a plug-in for Microsoft Powerpoint, it utilizes a familiar form factor that adds the necessary bells and whistles to create immersive lessons. You can preview your content as you move through the process, allowing for quality checks without the requirement to publish, upload, and analyze. My favorite aspect is the ability to embed online content on the screen, making the content directly available to the user without loading a separate window. You also have the ability to output different formats, allowing interaction across other LMS’s.

What do you dislike?

The only caveat I have is that it is not available in a Mac native format, requiring me to emulate windows to gain access to the program.

Eric G.
Assistant Professor

iSpring Suite

Fully-stocked eLearning authoring toolkit for PowerPoint. No training required to start!

Download for Free Learn more

2. Articulate Storyline 3

Rating: 4.6/5 – 233 reviews (G2 Crowd)

Vendor’s promise: “Create responsive interactive courses for any device.”

Articulate Storyline 3

Articulate Storyline 3 is an advanced standalone tool for creating online courses that is included into a eLearning suite, Articulate 360. Its interface is somewhat similar to PowerPoint, but it doesn’t emulate it in its full capacity. On the one hand, you’re not limited by PPT logic and have greater opportunities to create custom eLearning content. But, on the other hand, building courses requires much more time, since everything that you add semi-automatically in PowerPoint, has to be created manually in Articulate Storyline 3.

For instance, Articulate Storyline 3 doesn’t include a specialized conversation simulator, although it has all the capabilities for making role-plays. However, to do this, you need to go deep into working with layers and states of objects, and spend a lot of time on learning, and then fine-tuning, setting up, and testing.

Like iSpring Suite, Articulate Storyline 3 has a full set of tools for adding different objects to the slides and supports HTML5, which is the standard for mobile learning. Thanks to an adaptive player, courses created with this tool play beautifully on any device.

Ease of use

Articulate Storyline 3 is a robust tool that has enormous content creating capabilities, but the point is that it requires a lot of time to explore all of them. So, if you’re not ready to invest the time in training, authoring efficiency can be limited.

This toolkit works great for large L&D teams where there are all levels of eLearning developers, both beginner and expert, and all levels of course complexity are required.

Pricing

The price for a perpetual license is $1,329.

Free Trial

You can try Articulate Storyline 3 free for 30 days.

Goodies

  • More capabilities for customization
  • Robust animation options
  • Suitable for mLearning
  • A community for tech support
  • Great game-like interactions

Issues

  • Requires some training to start
  • No Mac OS support

What clients say

“Storyline 360 is Awesome” 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 out of 5 stars)

What do you like best?

You can customize the user experience in lots of ways. When creating a presentation, you can make it foolproof for the user. It is also easy to use, very similar to power point.

What do you dislike?

Sometimes it runs slow on my device. I have to save frequently because it will freeze and I have to close the program entirely to get it to work again. I would also like to see a more useful help feature because I get stuck sometimes.

User in Primary/Secondary Education
Small-Business

“So close to perfect” 

⭐⭐⭐ (3 out of 5 stars)

What do you like best?

Storyline is quick and easy to use to create slide based training. It’s to work with layers and triggers. It has a great content library for images and templates too.

What do you dislike?

For advanced users, you can’t modify system variables. It makes it hard to create dynamic, interactivr training. Video compression sometimes makes the video unusable.

It’s not built for mobile, just rescaled for mobile.

You can’t show or hide groups in a trigger. It all has to have objects individual hidden.

User in Financial Services
Small-Business

3. Adobe Captivate 2019

Rating: 3.9/5 – 153 reviews (G2 Crowd)

Vendor’s promise: “Conquer new learning landscapes with a smart authoring tool that lets you create all kinds of fully-responsive eLearning content.”

Adobe Captivate 2019

Adobe Captivate is a single standalone authoring solution which is suited both for solving simple training tasks (creating a presentation or a test) and for developing complex interactive courses. It has robust capabilities for creating Virtual Reality (VR) projects, and making interactive videos and studio-quality HD videos by simultaneously recording webcam and on-screen content.

There’s no special tool for building role-plays in Adobe Captivate, but it includes a module that allows you to generate software simulations with the help of effects, triggers, and slide settings. It will definitely require some skill and time to learn. A wide range of interactivities is another strong feature of the toolkit. You can make eLearning fun with drag-and-drop quizzes, puzzles, games, and other interactions.

Adobe Captivate license holders can find images, people cutouts, themes, scenarios, VR environments, interactions, and other assets for creating eLearning content in Adobe Stock and its Content Library.

One of the main focuses of this toolkit is creating mobile courses, with a feature that lets you customize output content for all types of devices and screen sizes. Given that fact, there are some unique features the purpose of which is to create a better mobile user experience. For example, the tool supports geolocation, and has special variables that can be used in your mobile course. For instance, in geography courses, you can show learners the symbol of the city where they live.

Ease of Use

Adobe Captivate is a powerful tool that uses new future-ready technologies. It has multiple great capabilities for delivering progressive learning experiences, but comes with a steep learning curve. Though there are multiple video tutorials, you’ll definitely need to take training classes to take advantage of all its capabilities.

Captivate is better suited for advanced eLearning instructional designers than for novice or intermediate-level specialists. It’s worth purchasing only if you or your company need to create complex courses and are ready to devote a lot of time to training.  

Pricing

Adobe Captivate is only available by subscription. You can subscribe for $33.99 / month (annual commitment and monthly payments required; early termination will incur a cancellation fee)

Free Trial

You can download and install a free 30-day trial version of Adobe Captivate.

Goodies

  • Capabilities for creating VR projects
  • Tool for making interactive videos
  • Built-in software simulator
  • Extensive mLearning capabilities
  • Mac OS support

Issues

  • Steep learning curve
  • No built-in conversation simulations

What clients say

“Using Captivate”

⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.5 out of 5 stars)

What do you like best?

I think captivate produces great online courses that have a look and feel of professionalism. They are very user friendly for basic projects. It also can get very sophisticated so it’s very versatile.

What do you dislike?

The advanced techniques are a little are to grasp. I feel like I need to be a developer to figure some of it out.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Captivate is a great tool for online modules and providing the users to have interactivity during the training. The product is very user friendly.

What problems is the product solving and how is that benefiting you?

Producing online modules and training videos to our customers and employees. Benefits are that they are easy to create quick basic modules that are responsive and interactive.

Cherie C.
Senior Curriculum Developer

“Its still mostly ignored by Adobe, but its my favorite”

⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.5 out of 5 stars)

What do you like best?

It is a blank slate and you can create anything. You can modify system variables, show/hide groups. Its the best tool for creating something that isn’t standard.

What do you dislike?

The audio caption process is funky. It also crashes a lot, and the backup process doesn’t always work. It’s hard to learn. It doesnt generate an easier review system.

What problems is the product solving and how is that benefiting you?

We were able to create more game based learning events. It links to Adobe files, graphics and libraries – so great for a large team. That makes it easy to update on the flu.

User in Information Services
Mid-Market

Adobe Captivate vs. Articulate Storyline 3 vs. iSpring Suite: Which One to Choose?

Every eLearning authoring tool has its pros and cons. More importantly, each of the reviewed software aims for different goals and different audiences. That’s why it wouldn’t be correct to choose the best one from among them. Still, we can state what each of the content development tools is best suited for.

  • iSpring Suite is the best solution for people who are under a deadline, develop courses on their own, and for those who need to turn pre-existing PowerPoint presentations, Word, and PDF documents into e-courses.
  • Articulate Storyline 3 is the best e-learning authoring tool for instructional designers who develop courses as outsourcers, have large training departments with their business, and have a basic understanding of programming.
  • Adobe Captivate is the best elearning authoring toolkit for advanced developers who need to teach how to use software, who develop courses as outsourcers, and have a basic understanding of programming.

FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions related to eLearning authoring tools. 

✔️ How do I choose the right eLearning authoring tool?

When comparing and selecting a course creation tool, you first need to consider what kind of content you’re going to create and whether you have any knowledge of instructional design and tech skills. If your authoring experience is causing headaches and forcing you to deal with technical issues instead of making cool content, perhaps opting for a product with a light learning curve would be a better option. 

To learn about other considerations that you need to keep in mind during the selection process, download this comprehensive guide on how to choose the appropriate eLearning authoring tool. 

✔️ What are the essential features of an eLearning authoring tool?

Key features include assessment capabilities, graphics and animation, audio and video support, branching scenarios and navigation, design customization, mobile learning support, various publishing options (HTML5, SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004, xAPI, etc.), and compatibility of the content with learning management systems (LMS). However, these are just must-haves. Authoring solutions may have many more options; for example, some of them allow you to create role-plays, build software simulations, or include collaboration tools. 

Conclusion

All the elearning authoring tools mentioned in this article offer free trials, so we invite you to dig in and discover which one is the best tool for you! If you want to produce content without investing your resources in consulting tech-savvy specialists and spending time on training, start with 14-day trial and explore all its features right away.

 
iSpring Suite

Fast course authoring toolkit

Create online courses and assessments in record time.

Fast course authoring toolkit