Articulate 360 vs Storyline 3: Which Is Better For You?


Creating training content is a critical part of teaching online. There are multiple tools that allow educators to create either individual courses or full training packages. This article will help you decide which authoring tools to choose between Articulate 360 or Storyline 3.

While Articulate 360 is a suite of products including the upgraded version of Articulate Storyline 3 as Articulate Storyline 360 it is important to know if you want to upgrade and what you get out of it.

The most important things to consider are:

  • Included Software
  • Features
  • Compatibility
  • Ease Of Use
  • Exporting Content
  • Pricing
    • Subscription Types
    • Upgrading to the Latest Version
  • Support
  • Training
  • Which One To Choose

Now that you know what the most important aspects of the two options are, let’s find out which one is the best for you!

Included Software

The two options are very different in terms of the included software. One is a software suite and the next version including the next version of the second stand alone product.

Articulate Storyline 3 

Articulate Storyline 3 is a standalone authoring tool that allows educators to create engaging eLearning training content. Therefore, it can be bought as individual software without any additional tools.  

These style of products are often referred to as eLearning packaging software and you create your eLearning Content in other tools.  Articulate Storyline does have some simple editing tools but generally you will create your content elsewhere and import it in.

If you want to know more about the different types of eLearning Content you could import check out this article.

ARTICLE: The Ultimate Guide to eLearning Content Types

Articulate 360 

Articulate 360 provides powerful features for creating amazing training content for your online course. It is a software suite that includes the following tools:

  • Studio 360 
    • Storyline
    • Peek
    • Replay
  • Rise 360
  • Content Library 360
  • Review 360

Studio 360

It is a software solution that includes three powerful tools.

Storyline 

Articulate Storyline allows educators to create power point style presentations into engaging courses. It is a template-based authoring tool that makes it easier for teachers to create courses that can be run on multiple devices.  It is the next version of Storyline 3.

Peek

This tool allows teachers to record screencasts and upload them into Articulate Review. It works on either MAC and Windows. Articulate Peek can be successfully used to share educational screen recordings with collaborators and students. 

Replay

Articulate Replay enables teachers to record and edit personalized screencasts. It can be used for webcasts recorded using your web camera.

Features

Feature wise because Storyline 3 is the older version of Articulate Storyline 360 the whole of its feature are included in the Articulate 360 suite of products. 

Articulate Storyline 3 

This software provides heaps of functions that will make the authoring process easier. It will result in more engaging training content for your online courses and speed up your development process which will cost you less.. 

The most important features of Articulate Storyline 3 are:

  • Easy Authoring
    • Characters
    • Replaceable Fonts
    • Picture Placeholders
  • Animations
    • Transitions
    • Motion Paths
    • Entrance and Exit Animations
  • Interactions
    • Triggers
    • Markers
    • Buttons
  • Multimedia Importing
    • Images
    • Videos
    • Audio
  • Branching
  • Templates

Let’s find out how those features will help you to create engaging training content for your online course.

Easy Authoring

All the features included in Storyline 3 benefit from an intuitive interface that makes them easy to use. You can use characters that are already drawn in templates or even create your own ones. 

If you want to change the font you have used in a certain course, Storyline 3 offers a feature that significantly reduces the time spent replacing text. With several clicks, you can replace the font in the entire course or even in specific potions of the training content. 

Animations

With Storyline 3 it is easy to create interesting animations that can be successfully used during your course. In matters of animations, it is similar to Microsoft PowerPoint. The transitions can be easily added from the main menu.

When it comes to the entrance and exit animations, Storyline 3 is able to handle any kind of requirement. Moreover, the motion paths can be easily designed using the available tool. This way, the animations can be personalized to fit your content. 

Interactions

The third version of Articulate Storyline features some of the best interactive tools available on the market. The trigger functions have been enhanced and now are capable of synchronizing with different activities performed by students or teachers. 

Multimedia Importing

While kind of a given if you wanted to use eLearning packaging software it is still important to note that Storyline 3 can import most multimedia formats.  This means you can bring in images, audio and video in multiple formats.

Branching

The ability to split the training into branches is a handy feature that allows you to change what the student sees depending on what answer they give or result of a quiz.  While you could do complex branching it is advisable to not over use this feature and if you find yourself getting too complicated maybe think of putting it in two separate projects.

Templates

Templating in Storyline 3 is quite basic and while it does have the feature and you will most likely use it you will find the limitations quite quickly.  The first is that you can not build one template on top of another which means you can not have complex templates to save time and effort.  Think of them more like slide masters in Powerpoint. 

To learn more about what features does Articulate Storyline 3 include, check out their official website: 

LINK: Articulate Storyline 3 Full Feature List

Articulate 360 

Compared to the above-mentioned standalone software, Articulate 360 is a software suite that includes several other tools. Therefore, the latter comprises significantly more functions. 

The most important extra features that Articulate 360 includes compared to its previous version are:

  • One-Click slide insert
  • Text-To-Speech conversion
  • Enhanced player (including zooming function)
  • Additional triggers 
    • Course completion
    • Jump-to-time
    • Improved trigger panels
  • And more. 

To learn more about what features does Articulate 360 have, I recommend taking a look at the following comparison: 

LINK: Articulate 360 vs. Storyline 3 – Full Feature List

Compatibility

Like with most software products the Articulate software is only forward compatible.. Articulate Storyline 3 is completely compatible with the Articulate 360 suite. However, vice-versa compatibility is not guaranteed. This aspect depends on several factors such as:

  • Used content format
  • Triggers used
  • Set motion paths

Files created with Articulate Storyline 3 can be edited using Storyline 360. That is not possible when using older versions of this software (Storyline 1 and 2) and you have to follow the upgrade path.

Ease Of Use

Both software benefit from an intuitive interface and after the initial training from one of Articulates training providers. Teachers won’t then need much more training to upgrade from Storyline 3 to Articulate Storyline 360.

The two interfaces have all the tools listed in the upper section (similar to Microsoft Office Suite). The description of the tools is easily understandable. However, in the unlikely case you have trouble using the integrated interface I suggest using the Help and . 

To learn more about how to manipulate and take advantage of the two interfaces, you should take a look at the following articles:

ARTICLE: Storyline 3: How to Properly Use the Interface 

ARTICLE: Storyline 360: How to Take Advantage of its Interface 

Exporting Content

The two software are very different in terms of exporting options. Articulate 360 offers a wider variety of file types that can be used for exporting the created training content. 

Articulate Storyline 3 

This tool offers several different publishing options:

  • Web Distribution
  • Articulate Online 
  • LMS Distribution
    • TinCan
    • SCORM
    • AICC
  • Other Local Media
    • CD/DVD
    • USB/Network Drive
    • Kiosk
    • Email

To learn more about how to publish/share your training content using this tool, I suggest reading the following article:

ARTICLE: Articulate Storyline 3: How to Publish and Share your Content 

Articulate Storyline 360

This suite offers a wide variety of publishing options. The available variants are:

  • Review 360 (included in the Articulate 360 suite)
  • Web Distribution
  • Video File (e.g. Youtube)
  • Articulate Online
  • LMS Distribution
    • TinCan
    • SCORM
    • AICC
  • Other Local Media
    • CD/DVD
    • USB/Network Drive
    • Kiosk
    • Email

To learn more about different methods of publishing or sharing your training content, you should take a look at the following article:

ARTICLE: Articulate Storyline 360: How to Publish and Share your Content 

Pricing

Price is an important factor that influences your choice in matters of content creating tools. The two above-mentioned software have very different pricing patterns. Let’s find out which one fits your budget better. 

Subscription Type

These authoring tools come in two different subscription formats. One is bought for a lifetime, while the other one is renewed monthly or yearly.  The once off lifetime license costs more but you never have to pay again for that version.  The subscription is cheaper up front but will cost you more over time and includes product upgrades.

Storyline 3

As I have said before, Storyline 3 is a standalone tool. This means that it can be bought without buying any additional applications. When buying a license for Articulate Storyline 3 you get to use it for a lifetime.  This is very attractive if you like most other people skip a version on software tools before you upgrade.

Articulate 360

This software suite comes with a monthly or yearly subscription program. Therefore, as long as you pay the monthly or yearly fee you can use all the included applications. If you like always keeping up to date and like that product upgrades are included this is the option for you.

Upgrades

Whether you use Storyline 3 or Storyline 360 you will create your training content in a particular version.  This means when you upgrade the software you have to make the choice of whether you keep your existing training material up to date as well.  This is a major factor in when you upgrade your software depending on how much training content you have.

Storyline 3 

When new versions of Storyline are released, you have to pay additional fees to upgrade your software. Generally, upgrade fees are 50% of the total cost of a new product.  You will get emails from Articulate with discounts on upgrading. 

Articulate 360

Whenever a new version of one of the applications included in the software package is released you automatically gain access to it. You do not have to worry about keeping your software up to date, thanks to the fact that Articulate provides the latest software versions with the monthly and yearly subscription program. 

To learn more about the two subscription plans offered by Articulate, I suggest watching the following video:

VIDEO: Storyline 3 vs Articulate 360: Which One Is Right for You?  

Support

Both of the products are supported by the same support desk and you can purchase that support with the product on a yearly basis as well as having access to the E-Learning Hero’s forum.  Just a funky name they have given their forum.

FORUM: https://community.articulate.com/

I must say I have seen many forums in my time and 90% of them are poorly managed and quite worthless.  The articulate forum is quite different though and as well as a very active user community it also has staff answering questions or pointing you to answers quite quickly after posting on there.  Very well run from my personal experience with using it.

The support you purchase from Articulate also allows you to call them and get help with the product.  If you need to reset your license key as they allow for only 2 installs, you can do this on the forum too.  So you can install it on your laptop and computer but if you change either of these you will have to contact them. 

Training

There are two forms of training you can get for Articulate and that is the official training from their website through certified training partners generally in person.  Or you can get the unofficial training through somewhere like Udemy.

For the official training partners you can go here:

https://articulate.com/training

And the Udemy courses you can go here:

https://www.udemy.com/topic/articulate-storyline/

Which One To Choose

The only person that can answer this question is you. Based on the above-mentioned features of the two authoring tools you should be able to figure out which one is the best for you and your online course.

I recommend sticking to Articulate 360 Suite as it includes several amazing applications that proved to be very helpful along the time. Plus its monthly subscription system is a big advantage when you are unsure which one to choose. If you realize you do not need all the tools included in this package but only Storyline, you can always switch to the standalone software afterwards. 

Glen Brown

I am a Technical Trainer and Manager with over 20 years experience in IT, Education and Business. I have multiple qualifications on each topic including post graduate qualifications. I have a passion for sharing knowledge and using technology to do this. If you would like to know more about me please see the about page of the website.

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