articulate 360 feature image

Articulate released a new authoring tool, Articulate 360, in November 2016. While launching it, Articulate released a statement and described its newest offering as — Everything you need for course development in one convenient subscription”.

Articulate’s other popular products including Storyline 2 and 3 have been available to users via a perpetual license model. However, in departure from this pricing model, the Articulate 360 was being offered as a subscription-based service to be renewed annually.

Articulate 360 is essentially a suite of nine applications namely Storyline 360, Studio 360, Replay 360, Peek, Preso, Content Library, Articulate Review, Articulate Live and Rise. A subscription to Articulate 360 allows users to access the entire suite of 9 applications which aims to provide them with a comprehensive list of authoring tools to fulfill every requirement that arises while creating an eLearning course.

Overview of Articulate 360 subscription

Here’s a brief overview of all nine applications included in Articulate 360 subscription:

  • Storyline 360 (Desktop): Storyline 360 allows you to create interactive content and responsive courses which dynamically adapt to any screen size. Its in-built player supports multiple touchscreen gestures to make it more interactive for tablets and mobile users. Users can create unlimited number of interactions and Articulate claims Storyline 360 is “simple enough for beginners, yet powerful enough for experts.” Compared to the recently released Storyline 3, Storyline 360 has additional features such as content library integration, over 1.5 million content library photos, illustrations, icons and videos and in-built review tool called Articulate Review.
Demo of an interactive dial in ‘hand drawn style’ created with help of Storyline 360
A Christmas Game created by Sponge UK using Storyline 360
  • Studio 360 (Desktop) is a suite of authoring apps for Windows computers. It includes: (i) Presenter 360 which allows you to quickly create online and presentation based courses, (ii) Quizmaker 360 with which you can create dynamic quizzes, surveys and(iii) Engage 360 with the help of which users can create media-rich interactions for online courses by merely providing details in a form. Its brand new responsive player automatically displays when Studio 360 HTML5 courses are viewed on devices such as tablets and smartphones. The content adapts to size and orientation for every any mobile device.
  • Preso: (iPad) Included in your Articulate 360 subscription, is Preso, which is an iPad app that lets you create informal training videos on the go. You can add text and images, import PDFs, draw annotations, record narration and highlight important content with zoom and pan gestures.
  • Replay 360: (Desktop) A video-recording app for creating training videos. You can mix screencasts, video files, webcam videos, audio tracks and images with much ease. It allows you to capture screen activity and give learners a tutorial through content using your webcam video.
  • Articulate Review: (Web based) A powerful collaborative review tool which allows you to review your courses with multiple stakeholders. Essentially, the review feature makes it possible to share feedback on content created via Storyline 360, Studio 360, Replay 360, Peek and Preso within one web application. It requires no downloads and team members can see multiple comments and reviews in one central location.
  • Peek: (Desktop): This is intended to record screencasts/screen activity and you can customize screen recording area. Its features are reportedly similar to Replay 360, however it’s lighter and easier to use. You can upload these videos directly to ‘Articulate Review’ and by sharing a link can seek feedback on it from anyone.
  • Rise: (Web based): In addition to Storyline 360’s responsive player, Rise is solely to create responsive courses with ease and Articulate claims it’s designed to be simple and user-friendly for any designer or developer to use.
Demo course created by using ‘Articulate Rise’
  • Articulate Live: Articulate is well known for its online support and user communities and by the addition of ‘Articulate Live’ to suite of applications, it takes this forward by streaming weekly webinars for learning and development professionals that include presenters who are industry experts from around the world.
  • Content Library: There is an impressive selection of over 1.5 million images and professionally designed slide templates that are available to the subscriber via his subscription.

Pricing:

The annual subscription to Articulate 360 for new users is priced at $999 per user. For Articulate 360 Teams, the subscription is priced at $1299 annually. Academic discounts of approximately 50% are offered on individual and team plans. For existing users of Articulate’s products including Storyline 2 or Studio 13, promotional discounts are available for the first year of Articulate 360’s subscriptions.

Subscribers however don’t have the option to subscribe or buy individual applications and are required to subscribe to Articulate 360 to access any of the nine applications in the suite.

At present, there is also no option to allow users to avail a monthly subscription of Articulate 360 either.


Varied reactions from users of Articulate 360:

What users really liked:

  1. New users of Articulate 360 are in particular very happy with the ‘Articulate Review’ application. This feature will allow instructional designers to work more seamlessly with collaborators and SME’s — feedback can be consolidated contextually and managing feedback would no longer require spreadsheets.
  2. ‘Articulate Rise’ can produce fully responsive design courses. It has 7 pre-built lesson types and will allow eLearning developers to create interactive courses rapidly and even customise content creation by using ‘blocks’ to play around with text, images, bullets, lists, accordion and more. Simultaneously, they can also see how content and elements display on phones, tablets and other devices.
  3. Previous users of Storyline who’ve now transitioned to Storyline 360 find that the latter is more intuitive and the animations and transitions are smoother.
  4. Users in particular are very pleased with the addition of the Content Library and its integration into Storyline 360. The extensive selection available in the Content library application offers attractive templates which are capable of being imported to Storyline 360 or Studio 360 and allows users to customize it based on requirements.

What’s not gone down well with users:

  1. Subscription-based price model of Articulate 360 has not appealed to Articulate’s existing users. For Articulate’s other products, users acquired a perpetual license. However recurring expenditure to renew licenses annually may not be very financially viable for freelance developers and could be a heftier burden for small businesses, independent contractors and education.
  2. Articulate 360 can be used on a Mac on limited versions however for other versions it must be installed via third party software such as ‘Parallels Desktop’. For loyal Mac users, unless there is a native Mac version of Articulate 360, it could turn out be more expensive to use it via third-party software.
  3. ‘Rise’ application cannot currently be used alongside ‘Review’. Therefore while creating responsive courses, developers won’t be able to use collaborative features where stakeholders can give comments/feedback during the course development. Articulate, however, does confirm that they are working on adding ‘Articulate Review’ capabilities to Rise.
  4. Other limitations of Rise have also been pointed out: it does not allow adding of background images/videos, supports limited fonts, does not include any gamification features and other issues.
  5. Although responsive features in Storyline 360 were welcomed, its functionality remains rather limited: it retains the same proportions and scales down to fit the size of player. Developers could face problems due to very small sized font and find that interactive buttons have became difficult to access.
 

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Final thoughts

While ‘Articulate Rise’ and ‘Articulate Review’ have received some acclaim, reservations remain over the prohibitive packaging and pricing of Articulate 360. This is more so in the case of freelancers and smaller teams who may not need the entire suite of packages and licenses but have no option but to subscribe to all the products.

The effort to make courses responsive and add collaborative features in Storyline has been appreciated but the high pricing to get access to those features makes it an unconvincing transition, especially for those disinterested in other applications in the suite. An alternative approach in such cases could be to use review tools that work with Articulate already such as zipBoard. For those not convinced to make the switch to Articulate 360, such tools provide a great option to streamline the course development process from mock up to final product.


zipBoard is review and feedback tool that makes eLearning course development simpler and faster. It is compatible with authoring tools such as Adapt, Articulate, Lectora, iSpring and Captivate. To know more, check out how zipBoard can help with eLearning.

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