storyline

Storyline vs. Captivate Part 2

SL2vsCAP8

Today is a continuation of last week’s comparison. For a full comparison, check out this post.

Feature Captivate 8 Storyline 2 Notes
Editing Images You can do basic image edits within Captivate and it also integrates well with Photoshop since they are both Adobe products. Captivate also includes an image library that allows you to easily reuse images and save edited versions within a project. Storyline also allows minor editing such as cropping, flipping, adding outlines, adjusting brightness/contrast, etc. Captivate is the clear winner for managing & editing images within a project.
Smart Shapes Includes a variety of built in smart shapes such as lines, a polygon tool, speech and thought bubbles, block arrows, and banners. The look of the shapes is fully customizable. Storyline offers a somewhat larger selection of built in objects including more polygon options, starbursts, a “No” symbol, and a large variety of callout styles.
Mouse Effects Captivate allows you to insert and edit a mouse pointer. You can simulate clicking on something on the screen, decide where the mouse will enter from, and add in a few other features like slowing the mouse before it clicks. With a right click on the mouse, you can also align a pointer with where it left off on a previous slide. SL does almost everything Captivate does on this. In addition, it has a HUGE number of options for the pointer and automatically aligns the pointer on consecutive slides so that there is a smooth transition.  The only feature that Captivate does better is the option to change the click effect, which is a visual indication that the mouse has clicked. This is a great feature for software demos.
Image Buttons Captivate has some specialty “image button” styles. These are images of highly stylized buttons. While they have several text options for each style, you are limited to those options and can’t change the text. The neat thing about buttons in SL is that the program comes with a slew of built in icons that can be used on any button in addition to, or without, words. There are just a few built in styles but all buttons are fully customizable and you can use format painter to copy and paste a custom style. Both programs allow you to use any image as a button, but the inclusion of built in icons makes SL a little more useful.
Widgets &
Interactions
Captivate includes a host of built in widgets that are basically canned interactions. While several of these are more fun than instructionally sound (Jeopardy, word search, etc.) there are some useful options here. In particular, a widget that allows learners to take (and print) notes. There are also several pre-built click and reveal interactions (accordion, tabs, timeline, etc.) and widgets for inserting YouTube video and web objects. Storyline includes many, if not all, of the same options as Captivate. Some of these are presented as quiz questions (radio buttons, drag & drop). Some are presented as templates (tabs, timeline). Some are downloadable from their website as templates (games). Some are just presented as regular features (glossary, video, & web objects). The only widget/interaction that I think Captivate does better is the notes taking feature. There are some workarounds in SL, but none are great. Many of these can be built out from scratch, but using the built in options allows for a quicker build.
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Storyline 2 vs. Captivate 8

SL2vsCAP8

As an eLearning professional, I know that choosing a software platform can be difficult and even confusing. I have used both Captivate and Storyline (multiple versions of each) and have been curious about ZebraZapps and other platforms that seem to have interesting features. It can be difficult to really find information that compares the various tools.

Lucky for you, dear eLearning professional who is trying to pick between Storyline and Captivate (that totally describes you, right?), I am embarking on a journey to make your life a little easier. This summer I am taking a class that focuses around Adobe Captivate (version 8). I am also a regular user (and superfan!) of Articulate Storyline 2.

So, I decided to try and check my bias at the door and do a series of posts comparing the two systems. I will also be adding to this post along the way as a kind of master document. If you find this is helpful, or have questions about particular features, please comment below and let me know!

 Feature Captivate 8 Storyline 2  Notes
Operating Systems PC and Mac versions, projects are compatible between the 2 versions but you must have a separate license for each. PC only, but I believe a Mac version is in the works.
Workspace setup Captivate gives you quick access to an object’s properties and timing menus. On the Mac version, there are 2 different sets of menus which can get confusing. For example, both set have an option for inserting slides but offer different layouts. Storyline is set up to make it easy to build interactions. It is centered around triggers, layers, and states. You can pop-out the timeline, notes, triggers, and layers panels to fully customize your view. You can also add any function to a quick access bar. Storyline’s layout feels more intuitive to me, but that could be because I am used to it. I do, however, really prefer the triggers and layers system as I find it allows me to easily create custom interactions.
Working on multiple projects Can have multiple projects open in one instance – uses a tab system. Have to open a new instance of SL for each project. Being able to copy and paste within the same instance is nice when you want to pull info or a setup from another project.
Themes 11 built in themes. 16 different slide layouts built in. 27 built in themes. 12 built in slide layouts. Tons of free slide templates available to download and import for free from their site. Both allow you to import from PPT or build your own master slide layout.
Timeline Drag an object or slide to change its timing in .1 second increments, regardless of the zoom. Drag an object or slide to change its timing in .25 or .125 second increments depending on zoom. Detailed timing changes that require more precision than the timeline offers are easier to make in Captivate.
Aligning objects Alignment toolbar can be added to your permanent view, which is very handy. Alignment options include all those in Captivate, plus the ability to resize all to the largest or smallest and have any alignment oriented to the slide or just the selected objects.
Changing button/caption styles Can adjust shape (10 options), fill, outline, shadow, and reflection. Can adjust shape (72 options), fill, outline, shadow, reflection, glow (in the colors of the theme), and soft edges (a vignette type of feature). Both of these programs give you almost unlimited options for how you want your buttons and captions to look. SL makes it slightly easier by presenting your defaults in a nice visual way, but allowing you to tweak until you are content.
Setting default button/caption styles Easily set your default styles for objects within the Preferences settings. SL does not allow you to change defaults. It uses the theme colors and type of object to offer a range of presets instead. You can use Format Painter to easily match styles. While the Captivate option here is nice, it is also a little cumbersome if you use different styles for different projects. The Format Painter (along with some good ol’ copy/paste) is a little friendlier for smaller projects.

Bond, Coupon Bond

A few weeks ago, the ELH Challenge of the week was to create a math game. I was very excited about this one but life got in the way. I also knew I’d be working on this little gem.

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The Task

For those that don’t know, I recently started a position working at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. All day long I get to work with faculty on how to design their courses with the learners in mind. And occasionally I get to make something fun with Storyline!

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One of the classes I am working on is an introductory finance course. The instructor has a coupon bond that she usually uses in class to show students what bonds look like and explain how to value a bond. She wanted to create an online piece that students could complete at home that accomplished this same goal.

The Design

2015-04-22_11-32-20I think it’s pretty obvious that a module on bonds needed to have a James Bond theme. There are lots of great easter eggs and design elements for the Bond fans out there. This is still being worked on but is now at a solid beta version. It’s not a game per se, but I think it’s fun!

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Note that this is geared towards students
minoring in business and this module occurs a few weeks into the class. It assumes some pre-existing knowledge on the part of the student like how to use a financial calculator. If you need help with the answers, you can find them at the bottom of this post.

Click the image below to check it out. Leave a comment to let me know what you think!

(Remember, you can find a cheat sheet below.)

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Please contact me if you need answers for progressing through the demo.

New Year, New Opportunity, Renewed Template

I’ve been a little quiet lately because, well, winter, but also because I have been in a period of transition.

Starting February 16th I will be the Assistant Director, Instructional Design at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. This exciting new opportunity means I have been spending some time wrapping up projects and loose ends at my current position.

As part of that process, I’ve updated some of my old templates from Storyline to Storyline 2. I thought I would share one with you guys today.

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This “Cards Against Humanity” knockoff quiz was created for the very first eLearning Heroes challenge I participated in, about a year ago. Here it is again in all its Storyline 2 glory. You can click on the image above to download it.

If you just want to enjoy the game, or check it out before downloading, you can play the original version.

Storyline 1 users, you can download the original version here.

Enjoy!

Mixing Up the Drag & Drop

It’s the holiday season which means lots of baking in my household. Pies, cakes, bars, cookies… you name it, we make it. With so many treats on my mind, I decided to build a delicious drag and drop demo.

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Baking Basics walks you through the process of making a cupcake batter. It showcases a lot of Storyline features including branching, animations, and a slider. But the icing on the cupcake is a custom built drag and drop interaction that gives feedback based on both where and when you drop an object.

Order in a drag and drop is important if you want the learner to demonstrate knowledge of a process such as baking or, on a more serious note, putting on a biohazard suit.

Mapping Your Route

To add an element of order to your drag and drop it’s helpful to first map out the sequence of events. This is part of my map for this project:

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Adding in Feedback

For each potential misstep, I added in a custom feedback layer. Constructive feedback was created for when an object is dropped on the wrong target or in the wrong order.

I also added subtle feedback for when steps are completed correctly to let the learner know they are on the right track.

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Making Order Matter

Now all you have to do is add in some variables and triggers using your map as a guide.

  • First, I created a True/False variable for each variable listed in the map.
  • Then I created a trigger for each action to change the value of the corresponding variable when complete. This is also where I added in any corresponding conditions.
  • The final step was to trigger feedback layers if an action was completed in the wrong order.

And that’s it! To learn more about creating drag and drops in Storyline (& Storyline2), you can check out this tutorial or post your questions below. And you can click the image below to try your hand at making some vanilla cupcakes.

Happy baking!

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Cartoons Compete: PowToon vs. GoAnimate

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Sometimes in eLearning you need to create a quick animated short, either to insert into a longer course or to stand on its own. Storyline 2 actually makes this pretty simple, but there are some platforms that exist that make it even easier by providing built-in graphics; we all know that creating or finding images can take forever!

Two of the leaders in this area are PowToon and GoAnimate. As I mentioned last week, our team recently switched from PowToon to GoAnimate. In the process of switching, I was looking for a comparison of the two but not much was out there. So, if you are thinking about purchasing or switching to one of these platforms, you’re in luck!

 

Pros

PowToon is simple to use.  Creating and timing objects is easy. I like the way that PowToon uses a timeline even though you can only view and adjust one object a time on it. It has the basics and the free plan has some good features and options.

Cons

AUDIO. You can only import 1 audio file into the entire project so both creating the audio and timing it to your slides can be really tricky.

You also don’t have much control over the props and characters. They are set in stone. So, if the prop you need doesn’t really fit into your color scheme, too bad.

Pricing

The free plan offers a decent selection of styles and can be a good way to get started with PowToon. It will only let you share your video through YouTube or with a direct link, so if you want to download videos this isn’t a workable option. However, you can pay per export. The thing that I really don’t like about the free version is that it has both a watermark and an annoying outro slide at the end that has a little “created using PowToon” jingle.

For $228 a year you can get a pretty good business plan that allows you to download videos, get rid of the watermark and outro, and has a lot more included styles though not all of the styles. The only downside to this plan is that you are only allowed to use the videos for your own business; they can not be sold.

If you want the whole shebang, it’ll cost you $684 a year, though they sometimes run specials that will allow you to get the best plan for the price of $228 a year.

Why we switched

GoAnimate offers superb control over both audio and visual elements. You can even create your own custom characters in several of the styles and sync their talking to your audio narration.  It’s impressive! In addition, you can make characters actually hold objects (and they move with the objects in hand) and there are several more options for exits and entrances in addition to motion paths.

Also, you can search for a particular prop among all styles which is super handy and something I was often wished for with PowToon.

GoAnimate also has lots of features I didn’t know I was missing like a Ken Burns effect, great built-in “scenes” that can be modified as needed, and cool infographic animations.

What’s missing

I think my only let down with GoAnimate is that timing objects is a definitely trickier. There is a timeline but it only shows the scenes and audio, not the individual elements in each scene. You have to time objects relative to each other which can be tricky and makes time the full scene difficult. I think the best workaround for this is to create several short scenes with a couple of things happening as opposed to one longer scene with several actions.

GoAnimate does make this a little smoother than PowToon, including the fact that handwritten text matches up exactly with non-handwritten text, an issue I battled in PowToon more than once. I also just realized the other day that you can fit the scene duration to the content so that helps as well.

Pricing

The free plan for GoAnimate doesn’t allow exporting either, however you can copy embed code for the video or share a link. Also, the branding is a little less intrusive than that of PowToons in that there is only a small logo and not a jarring outro. However, you can only create videos that are less than 30 seconds long.

The mid level plan is $299 a year, about the same a PowToon and with basically the same additional features.You do get access to ALL the styles with this plan which is nice but you still have a watermark and can only use the videos internally.

The high level plan is $599 a year, considerably less than PowToon and, in my opinion, with a great deal more to offer.

In addition, GoAnimate offers a team subscription. It’s pricey, starting at $2000 a year for 3 subscribers, but allows separate accounts to collaborate on videos which is pretty handy.

So which one is better for me?

Glad you asked! Overall, I think GoAnimate is a better tool with more bang for your buck.  If they would add slide elements to the timeline, I would even call it close to perfect! However, if you are looking for a great tool to create some (longer than 30 second) free videos, PowToon definitely has the upper hand. Either way, these tools are easy to use and can really up your animation game!

Do you use either of these? Or another tool that you like?  Please share your experience in the comments!