hen eLearning began to gain traction as the future of corporate and workplace training in the early 2000s, Articulate Storyline surfaced towards the head of the pack as an authoring tool with powerful functionality and SCORM compatibility.
Modeling the design of their desktop-based software closely off the Microsoft Office suite offered a sense of familiarity for users nervous about converting their face-to-face training to digital content.
Since then, it’s become the staple for many large businesses, and as Articulate rose, so too did the need for Articulate experts and third party providers to support L&D teams with the increasingly difficult-to-use software.
However, 20 years on from its birth, the question arises: is Articulate still the most effective tool for businesses today?
Best practices in eLearning have evolved rapidly over the past two decades as research has disproved many early assumptions about learning styles and methods.
In fact, many of the principles that guided the development early eLearning tools like Articulate are no longer popular, such as 30-60 minute long modules, interactive elements for the sake of interactivity, and expecting learners to be sitting at a desktop computer in an office to complete their learning.
Today, both learners and businesses are expecting concise learning experiences that can be accessed any time, on any device. Courses need purposeful interactions, and a high level of accessibility.
More than ever, businesses are looking for solutions that don’t require expensive software experts and long-lead times to deliver even the smallest of updates, let alone full courses.
In these crucial aspects, Articulate may be slipping further and further behind. Tools like Articulate could be under threat if they are unable to keep up with modern business needs.
The way we create learning is changing
One practice that is coming to dominate the eLearning industry landscape is companies tapping into the invaluable knowledge of their subject matter expert, to capture their unique know-how in short online courses. These courses can be shared to upskill teams throughout the entire business.
The knowledge that subject matter experts bring to companies is priceless. Not only does it reflect years of on-the-ground experience, but that experience is highly specialised to your business. Yet this knowledge walks out the door with the employee unless it is captured and shared.
At the same time, L&D teams are coming to realise the value of learner contribution in eLearning development. Learners and SMEs who participate in the development of learning experiences are more engaged and more invested in the learning culture of the company.
Unfortunately, Articulate Storyline’s notoriously difficult interface makes learner and SME contribution near-impossible. Geared towards complex, layered interactions, Articulate Storyline’s steep learning curve can restrict content creation to expensive L&D experts only.
Instead, more and more companies are looking for authoring tools that can support a grassroots, democratized learning culture. In this model, learning courses are created by learners and SMEs with the guidance of an L&D team.
The right authoring tool to enable this innovative new model of collaborative learning must be quick, easy and intuitive to use. It must be immediately usable in order to meet learners and SMEs where they are, not demanding hours of training before even beginning to use the tool. While Articulate Storyline’s enormous training resources may initially seem like an advantage, they could actually be a symptom of an authoring tool that has become too bloated and too complicated for learners and SMEs to use.
A collaborative, knowledge sharing approach to learning content creation also enables businesses to pivot incredibly fast, and stay at the forefront of any market or industry. How? With a tool that anyone can pick up in minutes, anyone in the business - learning designers, SMEs or learners - can quickly edit and update courses to keep up with changes and trends as they occur.
It’s no wonder that this new approach of collaborative knowledge sharing has rapidly gained popularity since its inception, and it’s only going to grow into the future.
HowToo Creator is ideal for a learner-generated approach
If Articulate Storyline 360 is no longer the answer, what is?
It could be HowToo.
HowToo was born from the frustration of expert learning designers Lisa Vincent and Jenny Barltrop. After 20 years working with tools like Articulate Storyline to produce hundreds of professional learning experiences for the top companies in Australia, Vincent and Barltrop were baffled at how these tools were still so widely used despite their lagging innovation and difficulty to use.
Fed up with the status quo, they turned their considerable experience to creating the authoring tool they always wanted to use, and HowToo was born.
With a passion for science and evidence-based learning, they designed HowToo to not only be easy and intuitive for anyone to use, but also to infuse learning best practices into the design of every course.
Instead of expecting creators to design every page from scratch, or adapt dated and disjointed templates, HowToo lets creators choose from hundreds of pre-built page designs. These flexible page templates are not only beautiful, but are also designed to reduce cognitive load, boost engagement and retention, and meet WCAG 2.1 Level AA standards of digital accessibility. This approach ensures every creator, no matter their expertise, can create beautiful and effective learning experiences.
In fact, HowToo reduces the time it takes to create courses by over two-thirds while still offering advanced functionality and branding tools. Even better, there’s no more designing two courses - one desktop, one mobile - for the same content. Every course designed in HowToo is automatically adaptable for every screen size, including tablets.
HowToo can slide effortlessly into your current setup. With SCORM and xAPI publishing on the HowToo Creator plan, you can immediately integrate with your existing LMS or LXP system, or explore HowToo’s own LMS, HowTooHub. HowToo also offers industry-leading digital security, with ISO 27001 certification and in-country data storage via AWS.
Compared to Articulate Storyline, HowToo may be the new kid on the block, but it’s already giving Articulate a run for its money.
Explore the HowToo authoring tool completely free, for as long as you like on the Starter plan.