If you’re shopping around for an eLearning authoring tool that offers flexibility and collaborative tools, you may have found a few contenders.
Almost certainly, one is Articulate 360. Another is dominKnow | ONE. They both offer similar functionality, including:
- A traditional (fixed-pixel) eLearning authoring tool
- A responsive eLearning authoring tool
- Software simulation or lesson authoring
- In-context feedback tools with an unlimited number of reviewer
- Collaboration features
- Administration features
At first glance, they seem to be equivalent toolboxes. Scratch the surface, though, and you’ll find a number of significant differences. In particular, they’re differences that will matter for large eLearning development operations.
|Articulate 360||dominKnow | ONE|
|Capable of Advanced Customization||X|
|Flexible Options & Configurations||X|
|Supports Multiple Skill Levels||X||X|
|Good for Beginners|
|Good for Advanced||X|
|Compatible w/Major Operating Systems||Windows only|
|Easily Switch Devices||X|
|Latest File/Version Available to Everyone||X|
|Easy to Gather Feedback|
|Can Address FB From Authoring Tool||X|
|Strong Administrative Control||X|
|Admin Controls Users & Permissions|
|Admin Manages Shared Assets|
|Admin Controls User Access to Files||only if admin is project owner|
|Admin Sees All Team Projects||only if shared with admin|
|Admin Can Monitor Progress||X|
|Admin Can Generate Activity Reports||X|
|Built-In Development Cycle Tracking||X|
Feature Richness in Articulate 360 vs dominKnow | ONE
dominKnow | ONE and Articulate 360 each have two main authoring tools: a traditional slideshow-style tool optimized for desktop learning and a responsive authoring tool that produces content optimized for all screen sizes.
Articulate 360’s traditional tool is Storyline and their responsive tool is Rise. dominKnow | ONE’s traditional tool is called Claro and the responsive tool is called Flow.
Storyline is an authoring powerhouse – there’s a reason it’s an industry favorite. It’s very sophisticated in the right hands, and many eLearning developers have spent years honing their expertise in the tool. This alone makes Articulate 360 the clear choice for some.
Articulate’s responsive authoring tool is much more limited in features and capability. Rise’s functionality continues to expand, but at the moment, there are still serious constraints that restrict both creativity and interactivity. Authors must work within a widget-style UI with no opportunity to step outside their built-in options.
Taking the tools together, project developers using Articulate 360 have to choose between control over the learner experience and responsive design. They can’t have both.
This is a significant problem, given the widespread adoption of mobile use today. To meet learners where they are, organizations should be prioritizing a fully responsive or mobile-first format.
dominKnow | ONE offers fully-featured tools for both traditional and responsive eLearning. Claro and Flow have almost the exact same capabilities, and this allows authors the freedom to choose the right design strategy for a project.
When it comes to responsive authoring, dominKnow’s Flow will feel far more robust and sophisticated than Articulate’s Rise: more project theme choices, more responsive block layouts, more advanced interactions, and broader configuration capabilities.
In the case of traditional authoring, Storyline loyalists acclimating to Claro will probably miss certain bells and whistles they’ve grown used to. However, dominKnow | ONE’s fixed pixel tool provides a significant amount of flexibility for customization and advanced design. The “how” of bringing ideas to life may differ, but the ability to do so is similar in most cases.
Skill Level Requirements for Articulate 360 vs dominKnow | ONE
The differences in Articulate 360’s authoring options also have a serious impact on the skill levels they can support.
Articulate’s fixed-pixel tool is best suited to experienced users. Storyline can have a difficult learning curve for beginners. Rise, in the meantime, is easy to tackle for newbies but disappointingly limited for power users. There’s little flexibility for novel design or interactivity.
To make things more complicated, Storyline and Rise have totally different interfaces – the UIs bear little resemblance even though they’re bundled together.
There are plenty of projects and teams where these quirks won’t matter. For plenty of others, Articulate 360 will still be workable.
However, some organizations could face fewer challenges with dominKnow | ONE. This is especially true for tiered teams and organizations with new but growing authors.
The power and UI of dominKnow | ONE’s two authoring options are the same, so authors of different skill aren’t automatically locked into one or the other. In fact, Claro and Flow are both designed to accommodate multiple skill levels. Highly configurable native widgets even make it possible to author some impressive content with little experience, but the tools are powerful and flexible enough to satisfy the demands of advanced developers.
One of the coolest features in dominKnow | ONE is the adaptive interface feature. You can choose from three options that match a user’s UI and permissions to their skills and needs. You can keep first-time developers out of trouble while giving your stars free reign, and the interface settings can change as an author grows in capability.
Fully Cloud-Based dominKnow | ONE vs Partially Desktop-Based Articulate 360
Stepping outside the authoring interfaces, Articulate 360 and dominKnow | ONE offer avenues for teamwork and collaboration. Many of these features hinge directly on cloud technology.
dominKnow | ONE is entirely cloud-based, meaning it’s accessed exclusively through a browser. The only piece you need to download is a lightweight software simulation tool so you can record within other applications. All content created within that tool is stored right back in the cloud.
Being cloud-based creates unique value for organizations.
- Users and licenses aren’t tied to any one device
- Assets and project files are always backed up
- Everyone is automatically on the same “latest version” of a file
- Software updates happen in the background
- All users experience the exact same interface regardless of operating system, browser, or device
- Certain IT costs are offloaded onto the software provider
- Organizations gain greater control over content management, file access, and oversight
- Real-time collaboration is possible from anywhere and asynchronous collaboration is simpler
Articulate 360’s apps are also largely cloud-based, but there’s one big exception: Storyline. It’s still a desktop-only program. The 360 version of Storyline connect to the cloud for stock media access, as well as filing sharing with an additional subscription. Otherwise, it’s a desktop tool.
Since Storyline is the main driver of production in Articulate 360, its desktop functionality means the benefits of the cloud are patchy or missing for the product suite as a whole.
Storyline software isn’t permanently tied to a device, but switching devices requires the installation of bulky authoring software and the transfer of project files.
Speaking of project files, the latest version of an active Storyline project will always be on somebody’s hard drive. Articulate warns users that editing a Storyline file from cloud-based storage puts you at risk of file corruption. Authors can back up or transfer project files through cloud storage, but this requires additional steps by forgetful humans. Only the primary author will have reliable and always up-to-date access to critical project files.
The fact that Storyline is desktop only also has consequences for collaboration in Articulate 360.
Co-Authoring and Collaboration in Articulate 360 vs dominKnow | ONE
Articulate 360 supports shared content and collaboration when you add a Teams subscription.
Teams allows collaborators to share custom assets and content for both authoring modes, in separate pools. Either way, you’re creating a duplicate of the original. Edits will only affect the copy you’re changing.
With Teams, Articulate 360 supports real-time co-authoring for responsive projects. This allows multiple contributors to work on different lessons in the same project at the same time. It’s possible in Rise because the software is cloud-based.
in Storyline, real-time collaboration of this nature is impossible because it’s a desktop tool. Asynchronous co-authoring can be managed by passing files through the Teams library, but for reasons we explained above, the process is cumbersome and error-prone. Without careful communication between co-authors, version mix-ups and redundant work can happen.
dominKnow | ONE supports real-time co-authoring in both Claro and Flow, with various features to help contributors work smoothly together. Content and assets can be reused in multiple projects in either authoring mode, and reused content is “smart.” Edits can be applied to all projects automatically, and it’s easy to see how many times an object is reused and where.
dominKnow | ONE and Articulate 360 each address one more collaboration problem: stakeholder review. Their solutions are very similar. Both allow you to invite an unlimited number of reviewers to view a project in the cloud and leave in-context feedback. Reviewers can interact with others’ comments and authors can get clarification or mark the thread resolved.
There are a few differences stemming from the fact that the review workflow is a native feature of the authoring tools in dominKnow | ONE and a separate application in Articulate 360. The consequence is that dominKnow | ONE’s review workflow provides a more streamlined experience for authors making edits. However, this will really only matter for organizations with a large volume of comments and edits.
Administrative Controls in Articulate 360 vs dominKnow | ONE
Organizations get administrative control over users with both dominKnow | ONE and Articulate 360 with Teams. Admins can add or remove users, reassign seats, manage groups of users, and so on. In both cases, admins can also organize and manage shared content or assets.
Administrative control over project files is where things really diverge.
In dominKnow | ONE, you have a lot of administrative control over projects. Administrators themselves can see and access all projects, regardless of who created the project or whether they’ve been invited. Admins can change users’ access to a project and even do so via mass action.
Many of the issues we’ve already discussed make administration of project files complicated in Articulate 360. There’s no built-in mechanisms at all for administrative control over Storyline projects, since the files are on authors’ hard drives. For Rise projects, access will be controlled by the project’s owner. This could be an admin, but if it’s a non-admin user, access is out of an administrator’s hands. They’ll only gain control when the project owner gets removed from the team.
dominKnow | ONE also provides admins with management tools that don’t have an equivalent in Articulate 360 Teams. For example, admins in dominKnow | ONE can see who’s done what, monitor progress, generate reports on productivity or asset use, and track the development process against custom life cycles.
dominKnow | ONE and Articulate 360 look like very similar product suites based on the types of functionality they offer. The differences between the two end up having a big impact on who will benefit from each.
Articulate 360 offers the powerhouse that is Storyline, a light responsive authoring tool, a solid feedback-gathering application, and collaboration with Teams. It’s a great package for freelancers and small teams who want to use Storyline but need a few ways to make clients’ and teammates’ lives a bit easier.
Bigger teams will feel the pinch of Articulate 360’s limits, and that’s where dominKnow | ONE comes in. It can empower authors on large, tiered teams to smoothly collaborate and make the most of their resources, and it will also provide management with the robust control over files, users, and productivity that organizations need at scale.