1. This is a great list Craig. I got to try out the Rapid Intake mLearning in beta nad it was a really great tool. The upcoming Articulate Storyline tool is going to be a wow as well though. Lectora is also looking to step up their game these days with Snap & Snap Empower. Bottom line, there are a LOT of tools for developers these days compared to 5 years ago.

  2. Nice post. Our experience is that there is no single tool that is best. You need to use the one that make the most sense for the task at hand. We have used Articulate, Rapid Intake, Lectora, as well as building in Flash if needed. I also agree that Storyline has some great WOW factor as well.

    1. That is one of the challenges with a RCAT. Hence, some on this list are perfect for both newbies and advanced e-learning developers.

      With the global economy as it is today, it is now more then ever, that people find one tool and use it across the board. I’m a big fan of 3rd party authoring tools over a LMS/LCMS that has a built in authoring tool.

  3. Excellent article Craig. Just one small correction: You haven’t seen anything new from Articulate since *2008.* Studio 2009 actually went live in September 2008 – and it may not get upgraded in 2012 since Storyline is now their priority. I love Articulate, but their engineering department doesn’t seem to embrace that “rapid development” philosophy. 😉

    1. I’m in the beta group for Storyline, which IMO is geared towards e-learning developers. It is still in test mode and they are working on HTML5 output. There is no doubt that a lot of people will end up buying the product – name recognition in the authoring tool market goes a long way.

      I have seen the latest version of Studio. It is still in the end a PowerPoint converter, with you sticking in audio and video clips. You cannot edit the code for the main product, however you can with Engage using HTML kit.

      While they plan a new version of Studio, the date has been pushed back numerous times. This tells me it still has some issues with it.

      This is a solid product, however it is not the best product in the market. It is a rapid content authoring tool that has a ceiling. As an instructional technologist, intstructional designer or e-learning developer you have limitations, which for these folks is a serious flaw.

      People who use Articulate Studio, for the most part use the main component – forget the name right now and Quizmaker. They rarely use Engage, which is too bad and they virtually never used Encode.

      It should have been mentioned in the article that I used Studio in late Dec 2009, and as noted above played around with the full version in 2011.

      Lastly, as far as I’m concerned as long as it says as a desktop solution, despite the overall growth of SaaS – “in the cloud” authoring tools, it will maintain a weakness.

      Yes, it is extremely popular, but I believe a key reason is that many folks are unaware of other rapid content authoring tools that are vastly superior to it. With over 110 authoring tools out there, many people only know about Articulate, Captivate, maybe Allen Interactions, Raptivity – which is more of a template solution.

      Now, I am seeing interest in other products including Rapid Intake and Claro from dominKnow – which is an online authoring system, albeit you can output a SCORM course into your own LMS – and you can do it as well with PENS. If you want a freebie, CourseLab rocks. They do sell a paid version, but the free one offers a lot of oomph and it is SCORM 2004 certified, which a lot of commercial products are not.

  4. Which tool would you recommend for the Mac? Tried Articulate with ad-ons but everything became very slow.

    1. My rapid content authoring tools directory, identifies which vendors work with Mac OS. Another alternative, which is better IMO, is to use a SaaS product that is browser agnostic.

  5. from the CourseLab website: “the free v2.4 creates output that is best viewed in Internet Explorer; creating cross-browser courses with v2.4 is possible but there are some limitations and special rules to follow.”

    Special rules? How inviting. can’t wait to put up a “best viewed in” icon. in other words, IT IS USELESS!

    1. I’ve actually created and viewed courses in Chrome and Firefox without any issue. On a side note there are LMS vendors who say the same pitch..as in..best viewed in Internet Explorer, even though you can view it in other browsers.

      If the courses are in a LMS that is browser agnostic, you won’t any issues.

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