With so many different authoring tools on the market, how are you supposed to know which offers the best features for your needs? Whether you’re a beginner in this niche or you have experience, making sense of the information can be tough which is why we’ve decided to compile a complete guide to both Trivantis Lectora 16 and Articulate Storyline 2. By the end, you should be in a better position to assess which of the two authoring tools offers the more advantageous features.
For other content in which Articulate and lectoraa and some other tools are compared have a look at our articles on elearning software.
Before we head into each of the authoring tools in turn, we should first note that both Trivantis Lectora 16 and Articulate Storyline 2 are huge within this particular niche. Even if you don’t really know the industry too well, you’re likely to have heard of at least one of these solutions. For many experts, they suggest the functionality is very similar for both authoring tools (in addition to the interface). With this in mind, our focus will be on the finer details and where the differences can be seen.
With two of the biggest authoring tools in the industry, you might be wondering how they can be that different. From an outside perspective, you would be half right because there are certain similarities between the two. In addition to allowing for scalability requirements, they offer high-quality interaction, responsive design, numerous themes, variables and triggers, drag-and-drop interface, compatibility with Flash and HTML5, extensive character libraries, opportunities to work on mobile, and no real issues with SCORM/Tin Can standards.
Therefore, you would think the differences don’t play too much of a role but the first significant one comes with the price tag. While Articulate Storyline is available for $1,400, Trivantis Lectora 16 is one of the most expensive authoring tools from the biggest names and you’ll have to pay at least $2.300. At this point, we don’t know just how either of these companies justify their costs. Of course, we would hope that both assessed their offering before creating an appropriate pricing structure. Today, however, we’re going to find out!
Articulate Storyline 2
Of all the authoring tools on the market, Storyline 2 is widely considered to be one of the easiest to use authoring tools and beginners should find this learning curve to be the shortest. Once you load the program, it feels familiar even if you haven’t used the program previously and this is likely to be due to the PowerPoint-like design. If you have any issues, you can simply canvas the community in the forum and it won’t be long before you receive a genuinely useful reply.
Simulations – When it comes to simulations, Storyline 2 is a market-leader. After recording a screencast, you can edit it into a simulation with ease. With the recording itself, this is normally done in the dimension that best suits your course which is a huge advantage. Whether you choose to edit your creation as a standalone video or as systematic slides, you can crop and adjust your content however you desire.
Animations – Earlier, we made a comparison to PowerPoint and it would be fair to bring this comparison back up again for the animations. In total, you’ll have access to 16 customizable entrance/exit effects. Furthermore, you can try the 23 animations/triggers and the control options you have will help. Just recently, many different motion paths and sliders were introduced but unfortunately this doesn’t cover up for the fact there is a lack of detail for mobile; even with a simple swiping feature, the program could be improved significantly.
Mobile Support – While on the topic of mobile, you can publish to a player for both Android and Apple devices. Considering mobile is so important these days, this is highly beneficial.
Images and Other Media – In terms of image editing, there are several tools to utilize including borders, glows, cropping, color change, contrast control, blend, shadow, reflections, and transparency. All this time, the picture quality will be maintained so you don’t have to worry about this suffering as a result of changes. Aside from images, you can also record video and audio; however, you will need to edit the audio and screen as one.
Quizzing – Finally, quizzing is very much a part of Storyline 2 with five free-form options, filling the blanks, eleven graded options, three pre-made pages, and nine different survey opportunities.
Summary – All things considered, Storyline 2 is one of the strongest authoring tools where you can enjoy the ability to convert slides into free-form questions, slide layer availability, solid software simulations, and a vast array of customizable characters.
On the flip side, there are also some negatives reported from the community of users and this includes a lack of stability, poor support for PowerPoint, no option to publish for YouTube, and a minimized player for mobile devices.
While the Lectora authoring tools are extremely beneficial if you’re in this industry, it’s the community that gets it over the line as a ‘big’ company. Whenever people buy this solution, they feel as though they’re part of the family and this is something Trivantis has built from scratch.
When compared to Storyline 2, one of the biggest differences between the authoring tools comes from the interface. With Lectora offering more functionality, it can be a steep learning curve getting used to where everything is located. However, we wouldn’t say it has been poorly-designed because, after a while, you notice that everything is where you’d expect. If you run into any trouble, the helpful wizards can be used for guidance.
With the ribbon navigation, you’re reminded of PowerPoint once again but there seems to be a greater balance and authenticity. What’s more, your views are customizable depending on whether you want thumbnails or a tree view. For page titles and other processes, you can take advantage of the one-click shortcuts and these can be useful for progressing your course. With the standard subscription package, you can also upload up to five different courses to ReviewLink; this is a superb collaboration tool.
Simulations – If there was one major downside to Lectora 16, it’s the mediocre simulations and they seem to be holding Trivantis back somewhat. Sadly, everything has to be done alone due to the lack of preset actions including recording video and audio as well as making edits. With embedded recording, we also find a feature that perhaps falls behind the industry average too. Of course, this all changes with an investment in the Inspire package which offers the eLearning Brothers library, Camtasia recording software, and Snagit.
Animations – For custom animations though, Lectora regains our confidence. Why? Thanks to 20 unique actions, you can cater to media, object management, variables, navigation, and more while also enjoying 16 different entrance/exit effects. Additionally, you can use triggers to perform certain actions. Rather than getting lost, all these actions are viewable in an action pane so you can make edits and shift their priorities. Where Storyline 2 fell with mobile tools, Lectora 16 offers the all-important ‘swiping’.
Mobile Support – If you’ve heard Lectora 16 is lacking mobile support, this was true back in the day but now they excel with extreme visibility and an easy interface on all devices.
Images and Other Media – With image cropping, reflection, shadows, and image handles, you can make changes without having to worry about the quality of the image being affected. Elsewhere, you can record your own video and do all the editing within the software itself. With cool effects such as ‘Fade Audio In/Out’, you can really take advantage of this great tool. With a simple upgrade to Inspire, you’ll also have full access to Camtasia and its publishing options.
Quizzing – Finally, Lectora has always excelled when it comes to quizzing and nothing changes this now. Compared to all others on the market, Lectora is much better in terms of features, design, support, and all-inclusive creation. With a total of nine LMS compliant-options, users can also use surveys and mini games (Flash-based). As the creator, you can set a passing score and pool questions. Overall, the options here are wide and varied and likely to boost your course many times over.
Summary – With all this in mind, the positives can be found in quizzing, the brilliant animations, and the responsive design. On the other hand, the learning curve for beginners can sometimes be too steep, the cost can be too much, and the poor video/audio recording can cause issues.
Which is the best authoring tool?
So now we know exactly what each authoring tool offers, which is the best authoring tool for your needs? Before anything else, we should note that e-learning experts are very quickly moving away from PowerPoint for presentations and courses and this is because it falls further behind the competition every day. With the audience now more sophisticated and knowledgeable than ever before, people seem to know what they want and you need the tool that allows you to match the audience as best as possible.
As you would probably expect, we cannot provide you with a ‘correct’ answer and this is because we all have different variables in play. When assessing your budget, timeframe, ability, and needs, they’re going to be different to every other person in the market so we could never fall on one side or the other definitively within a general guide such as this.
For Storyline, t is simple and will be great for beginners but many find it lacking the features of Lectora. Therefore, it can be used by beginners or those who don’t need all the bells and whistles that comes with other options. With Lectora, we have a program that won’t hold you back if you already have several ideas and some experience with programs such as this.
Before making a decision, assess YOUR needs for authoring tools as opposed to what everyone else is saying, compare these with the list of features (and your budget!), and the answer should make itself clear.