The much hyped and anticipated release of Articulate Storyline (SL3) 360 was released on Thursday 10th November.
I immediately downloaded the trial & installed, to see what has improved.
The colour of the ICON and app feel is modern (adobe like), however the actual Storyline application is identical. Every icon/button is the same as SL2.
Next step – read the documentation to see WHAT has been updated. The key answer is the package or suite of apps as opposed the SL app itself. It now comes packaged with Rise (responsive web content builder – the future of this app?), Preso & Replay. I am yet to play around with Rise, so I focused my testing on SL 360 as a standalone product.
The key improvements between SL2 and SL360 are around the mobile and responsiveness of the published packages AND a substantially improved “Asset library” (templates, images etc) to use in developing courses.
So on a positive note, if you are a SL2 user, you can literally jump into 360 and with a learning curve, continue developing your eLearning content. In fact, over the last four days, I rebuilt our AICAC program (which was originally developed using SL1, then upgraded a couple of years back to SL2 and over the last few days – SL 360). Nothing had changed at all. When I opened my storyline file from SL2, It prompted me to upgrade the file (which I did) and it opened identically and created an automatic SL2 backup file (which was great). From there – nothing looked any different at all.
When I published the package there were only two very minor changes – Articulate 360 publish option (online) and “HTML5 with Flash fallback” default format. Everything was identical. So I cancelled that “upgrade” and then commencing rebuilding the AICAC module from scratch.
My AICAC file is quite large by elearning standards – and the app on occasion did appear to freeze temporarily from time to time – but not causing any concerns. It does have an auto-save and auto-recovery function if the application crashes.
Hence – I have published my AICAC program in SL360 and all works perfectly fine… So… I am finally left with the million dollar question – What do I get for being forced to spend $ 999 USD each year for this product? Previously, I spent US$1200 for a perpetual license for SL2 and now I am being asked to spend approx AU $ 1300 every year for a product which hasn’t provided me new features (outside of updates in the responsiveness – which could have been an update to SL2).
The answer from Articulate’s perspective is of course – the Suite of programs you now get. On the surface IF you used all these apps (or equivalent) – you’d be spending no more than your current annual licenses of equivalent programs. Problem of course – is you already have these apps, licenses etc… So I am guessing that MANY Storyline users MAY be a little disappointed that they are essentially paying significantly MORE for the product and not really gaining anything over SL2 (unless they start using Rise, Studio etc).
From my perspective, I must purchase and move forward as we offer professional subscriptions to our online content – so we essentially need to have the best responsive capabilities etc. I am also expecting many improvements to the suite over time, and as I LEARN these other suite applications – I am confident I will get the most out of my investment.
However, I am a little disappointed in the pricing model – its a massive change and expense for those used to spending US$1000 as a once off, to paying the same amount every year. Having said that, there Corporate licenses seems incredibly appealing (very little to enable multi-users from same organisation) – so I guess that tells me WHO Articulate are targeting as their ideal customer?
I will update this post in 30 days or so as I dive deeper into the offering.
Keen to hear other perspectives…