- Rapid Development - Yes, it still takes time and effort to design and develop a quality eLearning experience but Articulate has definitely sped up the development process for me. I went into this just hoping to eliminate the steps I was taking to convert my power point into a Captivate file but got more than I was expecting with Quizmaker and Engage. I was expecting these tools to speed up development but I was not expecting the quality results. Before diving into this I thought these tools were just for cookie cutter eLearning and not as flexible as you see in the Screenr videos here and here and here.
- Community - I had been following Tom Kuhlmann's Rapid eLearning blog for quite a while and have learned a lot from him but I had no idea about all the great Screenr videos, blog posts, and forum posts from other Articulate gurus such as David Anderson (@eLearning), Dave Mozealous (@dmozealous), and Jeanette Brooks (@JeanetteBrooks) all of whom have already helped me troubleshoot an issue or sparked a creative idea for a project after only a month of using Articulate. The community's ability to show me the potential of Articulate products and quickly help me troubleshoot an issue is what truly sold me.
- Bandwidth - The learners in my organization are what I like to call "Bandwidth Challenged." You may have read previous posts of mine describing the problems I have with learners computers freezing on SCORM based Captivate projects. This is no problem with Articulate. SCORM based projects are running like a dream even for my "Bandwidth Challenged" learners. I believe this may be due to Articulate producing a package of smaller files compared to Captivate publishing one big .swf file. However, I am using Captivate 3 and I have heard that this is not as much of a problem in Captivate 4.
- PowerPoint Integration - I often find myself doing the majority of the work in power point then importing those slides into Captivate to make the final touches and publish. I felt like I was taking extra steps by jumping between the different programs and thought I might be able to save time and possibly get better results using a tool that integrates with Power Point. I was right about saving time and pleasantly surprised about the difference in results of the published files. I have noticed that power point slides with Articulate come out with a cleaner, crisper look and smaller file size compared to Captivate.
- Flexibility - Compared to other tools that integrate with Power Point, Articulate is more flexible. There are many more options giving you control of the navigation and behavior of each slide and the overall template. I've only completed a couple of projects so I feel like I am just scratching the surface with all of the customization options available.
I am excited about the potential for future projects now that I am able to leverage the best of what both Articulate Studio and Adobe Captivate are best at. I'm sure not everyone will agree but from the perspective of a busy eLearning Developer in a smallish organization, Articulate will definitely improve the quality of many projects and reduce the time it takes to produce those results. Please help others lost in all the software options by posting your take on Articulate, Adobe Captivate, and other eLearning development tools.