When I discovered Articulate Studio ’13 was released, I immediately downloaded and installed the trial version. Although you may prefer the design freedom you’ve found in Storyline, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the new Studio ’13. It now borrows quite a few of the features we like in Storyline, giving it a truly fresh upgrade.
If you have legacy projects created with Articulate Studio ’09, you’ll feel compelled to enhance them with the improved functionality and look of the newer product. You’ll also like Studio ’13 if you are new to eLearning or are in need a rapid production tool—design and development are faster with this version.
Overall, Articulate Studio Pro ’13 has a light and modern feel that you can sense in how it looks and responds.
Don’t Know the Products?
If you’re not familiar with Articulate Studio, the Professional version is now a bundle of four products that convert PowerPoint slides to a running multimedia presentation or interactive eLearning course. Presenter is the foundation program that works as a plug-in with PowerPoint. Engage and Quizmaker can be embedded into Presenter to add interactivity, exercises and test questions. The new Replay product allows you to capture screencasts and webcam video separately or simultaneously. Replay is not reviewed here, but looks like a powerful addition to the suite. Now on with the features.
1. One integrated player for all products
As Tom Kuhlmann mentioned in our podcast interview, the previous version of Articulate Studio used a different player for each product (Presenter, Quizmaker and Engage), creating a “Frankencourse” that had three different design styles within one course. In Studio ’13, the three products are well-integrated and seamless. You can’t tell where one product starts and ends, so that Engage interactions and Quizmaker exercises or test questions merge perfectly with the Presenter player. This is a huge change and should improve learner satisfaction.
2. Slide Properties support nonlinear navigation
Not only has the Slide Properties interface been redesigned, you’ll find improved functionality in the properties. Most important, you can now control the navigation on each slide without needing to make your own navigation system. You can choose whether a slide has a Previous or Next button, providing more sophisticated approaches to branching.
3. Greater control over the player
The player is now similar to the one used in Storyline. You can more easily control the features you want to display in the player, such as Title, Menu and Resources. And it’s easier to edit the menu items.
4. You’ve got characters
Studio ’13 comes with the same illustrated and photographed characters you find in Storyline. You will find a Character icon on the Presenter and Quizmaker toolbars and in the Engage Media box, making insertion quite easy. My only concern is that over time, learners around the world will end up seeing the same characters in all of their courses. Still, this is a great option for people with no funds to buy characters and it encourages storytelling and using scenarios.
5. You can display an Exit tab
It may seem simple to you, but many users are still unsure of how to close a course when it runs in an LMS. You now have the option of displaying an Exit tab next to the Resources tab in the upper right of the player. This makes quitting more graceful.
6. New publishing features
In addition to publishing to Flash, you can output a file in multiple formats, including HTML5 and Articulate’s Mobile Player, which optimizes it for the iPad. There’s also a download option so users can view a course when they are not online.
7. Engage is modernized and has more interactions
Engage, the interaction builder, is lighter and modernized. The interactions are styled with a flat look and work correctly. In the previous version, it was difficult to work with bullets. There are also ten new interactions, including an image zoom, accordion, checklist and glossary. See the window for choosing interactions below. Previous interactions are improved too. My favorite improvement? In the Labeled Image interaction, you can turn off the swirling marker animation so that the markers remain still.
8. It’s much easier to edit the colors in an Engage theme
The user interface for editing Engage theme colors is straightforward. You’ll figure out how to use it quickly because the interface is better and Preview mode works nicely.
9. Quizmaker has free-form interactions like Storyline
I must admit this is another giant breakthrough. You can now design more complicated interactions in Quizmaker, which you can integrate into Presenter. You can create your own drag and drops, hotspot, text entry and pick one or pick many exercises and use them for discovery learning, to reinforce and practice or to assess skills and knowledge.
10. You can adjust where the feedback box displays
One problem with the old version of Quizmaker was that the feedback box often covered up answer choices, so learners couldn’t see both the answer choices and feedback at the same time. That is no longer true in Studio ’13. Similar to Storyline, Quizmaker now allows you to access the Feedback Master to adjust where the feedback box is displayed. You can create new Feedback Masters so you have many options, such as creating your own style of box. To access the master, select the View tab and then Feedback Master in the toolbar. See below.
I couldn’t be more pleased with the new Studio ’13. It seems to take care of most or all of the problems found in previous versions. Yes, it was long in coming but it was worth the wait.
Get The eLearning Coach delivered to your Inbox every few weeks, with ideas, articles, freebies and resources.