May 25, 2018
Be Wary of Authoring Tool Comparisons
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May 25, 2018
Be Wary of Authoring Tool Comparisons
I've been an eLearning designer and developer since 2005. In 2015 I started my own eLearning design company. I began to create Adobe Captivate video tutorials to help promote my business through my own YouTube channel at https://youtube.com/paulwilsonlearning. These videos were intended to attract potential clients looking for a skilled eLearning designer and developer. This strategy proved successful as I've worked with clients from all over the world, helping them build highly engaging eLearning solutions. My YouTube channel presented an additional benefit of attracting aspiring Captivate developers to seek me out as a teacher. I now offer both online and onsite training on Adobe Captivate, teaching the skills that users need to build engaging and interactive learning.
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When I first got into designing and developing eLearning, it was around 2004, and the first authoring tool I used was Adobe Captivate 2.0. A year or two later, the company I worked for purchased a new LMS. That LMS was from SumTotal, and they also wanted to sell their authoring solution as well. This authoring tool was Toolbook, and I believe it was version 9. A year or two later I left that company and started working for another organization that used Adobe Captivate and I’ve used Captivate ever since. There were some small jobs done in Lectora and Storyline along the way as well, but I didn’t spend enough time in either to form a solid opinion.

Based on that, you might think that I would be qualified to at least offer my opinion with a comparison between Toolbook and Captivate, but I feel differently. I presently use the current release of Captivate. I’ve not actively used Toolbook in many years. Most of what I learned about Toolbook has faded from memory. It was a powerful piece of software that published to HTML before many other authoring tools, but that’s about all I recall. In fact, it doesn’t matter what I remember because even if I had the perfect recollection of the software, Toolbook has updated several times since I used it. The best comparison I could give is to compare Toolbook from ten years ago with Adobe Captivate 2017 Release. Of course, this wouldn’t be very fair to Toolbook.

Since most people are like me and don’t use more than one authoring tool at a time, I would be suspect of any comparisons between multiple authoring tools. Also, if someone is trying to convince you that software A is better than software B, ask yourself what’s in it for them? Does that so-called eLearning expert work for Software A and ultimately is trying to discredit the competition and boost their sales? Hmmm.

If you’re a decision maker in your organization looking to purchase elearning authoring software for your people, make sure you talk to your eLearning developers and find out what they have used in the past. Ask them what they liked about that software and what they didn’t like about it. Find out what sort of support the software creator offers. Consider what the software includes. If you have to purchase additional software to accomplish the same thing that a single competitor provides in one package, that great deal may not be so good after all.

6 Comments
2018-07-03 22:14:22
2018-07-03 22:14:22

Thanks Paul for sharing this. I am just coming back to the site and am trying to catch up with things I missed. I am working on composing my thoughts for a blog entry somewhat related to this topic. You make a great point. What are the motivations behind the bias. Thank you again!

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Shelly Gooden
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2018-07-04 11:51:10
2018-07-04 11:51:10
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Shelly Gooden
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I’ve seen my fair share of Storyline fans trying to convince me and my fellow Captivate users that Captivate is extremely out of date, when in fact the only thing that is out of date are their facts. Like I said, I don’t have any skin in the game other than I enjoy using Captivate and would like to continue to see Captivate succeed.

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2018-06-01 15:23:23
2018-06-01 15:23:23

I wrote this post mostly because I see many users and so called experts write something dangerously out of date. My feeling is that if you can’t talk about the current features of two currently released products you shouldn’t write about a comparison piece at all. I also wrote it to warn my fellow Captivate users to watch out for people with an agenda to sell them something that isn’t going to solve their problems.

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2018-06-01 03:21:56
2018-06-01 03:21:56

Paul, it is always a challenge if we compare every tool available and start using it. We have to decide what to accomplish and then decide one tool to carry out the development.

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2018-05-31 02:37:19
2018-05-31 02:37:19

I agree, Paul. I have made an attempt to compare Captivate and Storyline, just about a year ago, with video links, but people tend to defend their own tool as much as they do their religion or political leanings.

Today I watched a webinar by Diane Elkins comparing the two tools, hosted by Training Magazine and Adobe. I thought she did a very good job comparing the strengths of each. For those who don’t know, she has written books on each tool, so she is quite conversant in the subject.

If anyone is interested in my comparison, they can see it here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/captivate-2017-vs-storyline-360-joe-ganci

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2018-05-31 00:54:17
2018-05-31 00:54:17

You are so correct in your analysis..
At the end of the day, it is your level of mastery of the selected software..

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