Storyline vs. Rise: When To Use Which?

If you build online training, you’re likely familiar with the Articulate 360 suite of e-learning tools. Articulate 360 tends to be the go-to for most training developers as it’s a robust suite that offers everything needed to create e-learning; this includes multiple authoring tools, video recording software, an image library, and a Review tool. As part of the Articulate 360 suite you get access to two authoring tools: Storyline 360 and Rise 360. One of the most common questions people ask is “When do I use Storyline vs. Rise?”. Each tool serves a unique set of needs, but when you’re new to them, it can be hard to know which to use when. Here are some best practices for when to use Storyline vs. Rise. 

Use Rise 360 for…

Super-rapid development. There’s no doubt about it: Rise is the quicker tool for e-learning development. Popping in the different types of blocks is very quick and easy to do. From there, you simply add your text, insert a few images, and you’re done. I also find development is made easier by the fact that you can have a lesson that scrolls endlessly, instead of being confined to a slide’s dimensions.

Text-based content. Rise works especially well for text-heavy content, such as job-aids, policy documents, employee handbooks, and standard operating procedures. Pretty much any business document can be converted into a Rise course, so, if you’re thinking of putting it into a PDF document, consider a Rise course instead. 

Collaborative course development. Between Storyline and Rise, Rise is the more collaborative tool of the two. It allows you to have multiple people working in a course at the same time. So, if you need to involve multiple course creators, or if you want your Subject Matter Expert or reviewers to be able to make edits directly to the content, you’ll probably want to use Rise.

Seamless mobile experience. Rise offers a better experience across devices, hands down. The main reason is that Rise is responsive and automatically adapts to different screen sizes, whereas Storyline content is restricted to it’s slide dimensions. If your content will be heavily used on mobile devices, Rise is definitely your top choice.

Use Storyline 360 for…

Customization capabilities. If you’re looking to really control the look-and-feel of every screen, the fonts, the colours, and everything about your content, then you will want to use Storyline. With Rise, you’re limited to the block types, so if you want to go beyond that in terms of on-screen activities and the look-and-feel of your course, you need to use Storyline. 

Extensive interactivity. Storyline is an extremely powerful tool for building rich interactions; it even allows you to easily add logic and conditions to your interactivity so you can really control the experience and make all kinds of cool things happen on-screen. You can add animations and do things like build custom games and activities. If you want something really feature-rich, unique, or game-like, you’ll want to go with Storyline. 

Software simulations. Software sims are an excellent way to get learners using a new application without the risk of being in the real system. If you’re looking to create software sims, you’re going to want to use the screen recording capability in Storyline. This allows you to record your process once and easily break it down into step-by-step slides that automatically include captions, hot-spots, and more.

Keep the above-mentioned tips in mind next time you’re getting ready to develop a course, and use them to consider what is the best tool for the project at hand. Remember: you can have the best of both worlds and include Storyline content within a Rise course, using the Storyline block. I have used this feature a lot myself, especially when doing product training and wanting to bring in a few software sims. Personally, I find Rise to be my go-to because of its ease-of-use and mobile responsiveness; I fall-back to Storyline when I need to do something more custom or special. 

How do you decide whether to use Rise or Storyline for a project? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Let me know in the comments, and follow me on Twitter for more e-learning and training content

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