By: Dani Watkins On: October 25, 2013 In: Blog Comments: 0

I hear this question a lot from other developers, which tool should I pick? I answer, “it depends on your content and several other factors. It isn’t a cut and dry answer.”


This past year, ZPS has been on somewhat of a road show presenting at ASTD ICE, Training 2013 and will round out the year at ASTD TecKnowledge, speaking on the topic, Let Your Content Drive the Tool.

With the recent release of Articulate Studio ’13, many instructional designers are asking, which do you choose Storyline or Studio? First, I like both tools, but you need to answer these questions:

  1. What sort of content are you creating?
  2. Does the content exist in PPT currently?
  3. Who does the development and updating? SMEs or IDs?
  4. What are the developer’s skills?
  5. How interactive is the eLearning?
  6. What licenses do you currently have?
  7. What version of Office is your organization currently using?

The answers to the questions will lead you to the tool that is right for you. In my opinion, I personally, like to work in Storyline better than Studio. However, I am fairly technically savvy and like the stand alone software that enables me to create Interactivity Level 3 courses. I love the timeline, states, triggers, possible variables, and layers. This isn’t to say that you can’t do some of this in Studio, it is just a different process and for me, takes a little more development effort. While the learning curve for Storyline is steeper than Studio, the payoff is in the functionality you can use to make more interactive courses.

On the other hand, if you are creating content that is less interactive (yes, I know  this isn’t ideal, but let’s live in the world of reality), and you are less technical or better yet, your SMEs design the content, then Studio may be the product for you.

Another consideration is what software you currently have. You have to consider what versions of Office you are using. Is the version of Office supported with Studio? Check the system requirements: and

Finally, consider what licenses you already have and of course your budget. Plan for next year. If you want to expand your software options, build the licenses into your budget.

As a freelance contractor, I also always consider what the client will need to update the materials when we are gone. If they have in-house talent who are more eLearning technically savvy, then I would choose Storyline. However, if they aren’t as technical or don’t have the talent internally, I would lean toward Studio.

Bottom Line: Focus on the content. Avoid the ‘shiny, new thing’ syndrome where you get mesmerized by the cool software and go back to the basics, what is the best solution for the content.

Want to know what Articulate says? Check out this blog

Still have questions, come see us at ASTD TecKnowledge for our interactive session, Let Your Content Drive the Tool.

Dani Watkins
Dani Watkins, Chief Learning Experience Officer
Zenith Performance Solutions
Dani Watkins is the Chief Learning Experience Officer and owner of Zenith Performance Solutions. She has designed and delivered instructor-led, eLearning, vILT, blended, and 3D Immersive training courses for business skill, proprietary, and technical content across many industries. She most recently was awarded the 2014 Bronze Brandon Hall Group Excellence Award for Best Custom Content. When she isn’t igniting learning experiences, you can find her hanging out with her family or running a Colorado trail.

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