Top 5 Tips to Choose the Best Gamification Design Elements

Gamification is being extensively used in eLearning to drive engagement and motivation with the use of game design elements. Acquiring virtual points, completing a series of activities, and competing with fellow learners do bring a fun element to an otherwise severe curriculum. They also stimulate the learner to learn or gain more knowledge, besides helping them easily comprehend difficult concepts.

However, gamification isn’t about the random placement of design elements. It’s a careful study of design principles involving psychological factors. A good gamification design motivates the learner. Hence, when starting with creating a gamification design, it would be ideal to keep the end goal in mind – be it business benefits, learning goals, and so on. That would make it easier to select the right elements for the gamification design.

While there is no one framework or design to suit all learning needs, typically, there are five essential factors that bring out the best in a gamification design.

“Gamification is 75% psychology and 25% technology.” – Gabe Zichermann, a gamification expert and Founder & CEO of Gamification.Co

How to identify the right gamification design elements

It is important to note that replication of an existing gamification design may not necessarily work each time. Every design should ideally bring out personalization for the learner. There also needs to be a balance between all the elements. Overdoing any one element, simply because it seems to click, cannot be the basis of a gamification design.

So, what are some of the best elements that should be introduced in an gamification design for eLearning – without making the elements too obvious?

Here are our top five tips for getting it right:

1. Storyline – A gamification storyline must capture the audience, right at the beginning. It needs to be engaging to grab and sustain the attention of the learner. For example, you can personalize your content or capture the learner’s name, right at the beginning.

These techniques to introduce immersion put the learner in the thick of the action. Having great graphics definitely helps, and so does maybe adding some challenge for the learner. Thus, a compelling and engaging storyline builds the excitement for the completion of a course.

2. Rewards – Rewards provide extrinsic motivation to a learner. A sense of achievement or recognition push the learner to achieve more. Some gamification designs do include penalties as well, though these may not necessarily work.

Instead, badges and stars which are awarded for completing specific actions have proved to be more effective. It helps if the rewards and penalties are closely connected or associated with real-life learning outcomes. Another good idea is exchanging reward points for merchandise or collectibles.

3. Competition – Timers and countdown clocks work great to make the game more interesting. Creating a sense of urgency often helps the learner focus on the task at hand. A gamification design can also have learners compete against themselves. For example, having a leaderboard in the gamification design can provide learners a chance to better their scores.

4. Progression – This is about the way the levels are designed. Progression would mean that higher levels have increased complexity or tougher scenarios which require the learner to go through the multiple learnings they have done till then and apply those.

Learners get satisfaction from successfully completing increasing levels, and this motivates them to put in continued efforts. There could also be increased rewards or increased penalties. Course completion certificates and badges are good examples of progression elements to be used in a gamification design.

5. Feedback – Learners need to know how well they are doing. A performance meter, for example, after every question, can be a good idea to provide the much-needed timely reinforcement. Feedback can be in different formats such as progress bars, encouraging messages, and so on.

In fact, one can also add information nuggets as a feedback mechanism for a wrong answer. Be it immediate feedback or delayed feedback, adding this element to the gamification design makes learners aware of their skill development.

The final trick lies in how all the gamification design elements are assembled to create a lasting experience for the learner. This means an interesting narrative will need a responsive interface along with a dynamic feedback mechanism to collectively enhance knowledge retention.

While that may sound exhaustive, it isn’t about a complex design. Simply put, a good gamification design will have the best elements incorporated into the core of a learning course. It will have a combination of some or all these elements to capture the learner’s interest.

The Octalysis Framework for gamification design

Yu-Kai Chou, a gamification pioneer, designed the Octalysis framework which identifies the eight core drives within humans that motivate us to take up different tasks or activities.

The objective of this blog is not to dive deeper into the Octalysis Framework. However, it would be good to know that any application or experience needs to have at least one of these core drives to engage the user in a real learning experience. These drives throw light on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation factors in humans, and hence make it easier to design a gamification framework.

The Octalysis Framework for gamification design

Harbinger recently helped a US-based fast food retain chain with scenario-based gamified training to train their drive-thru workforce using real-life experiences. Our fun and engaging gamified training solution motivated the workforce to achieve perfection and helped them learn quicker and deliver on the brand’s standards.

Harbinger’s expertise in eLearning gamification

Gamification is one of the most promising ways of elevating learner experience and creating impactful learning. Harbinger’s gamified instructional solution has helped multiple organizations deliver effective business results using a variety of authoring tools like Storyline, Captivate, and HTML5. More so, its award-winning gamification framework has allowed organizations to rapidly add gamification elements to eLearning in a cost-effective way.

Harbinger recently hosted a Power Hour on ‘What Businesses Need to Know about Gamification in Learning’ with industry experts Paul Schneider, SVP – Business Development, dominKnow; Jeanne Bakker, Founder of Brain Bakery; and Vikrant Nene, General Manager – Capability Development, Harbinger Interactive Learning. This interactive webinar was hosted by Dr. Vikas Joshi, CEO of Harbinger Group.

What Businesses Need to Know about Gamification in Learning

In this session, Vikrant shared interesting ways in which Harbinger uses gamification to quickly develop varied learning experiences. He also gave several examples of different gamification design elements for specific learning objectives.

Gamification is preferred because it triggers human emotions such as excitement and accomplishment for effective learning as well as makes learning more visible. If you too are keen on knowing how gamification can make your eLearning content unique, do reach out to us at info@harbingerlearning.com.

How to Build a Gamification Strategy – An Expert View

Gamification strategies are one of the best techniques to improve knowledge retention. In eLearning, a gamification strategy involves using unique gaming elements and techniques to stimulate the learner’s interest and increase their participation. It has also proven to be helpful in increasing collaboration between learners, when applicable, and enhance their cognitive abilities. In fact, the rising inclusion of gamification in eLearning is one of the top reasons for the latter’s market growth.

Well-designed gamified content focuses on leveraging intrinsic motivating factors in the user to encourage them in the learning process. For example, the leaderboard is one type of game design that challenges users to compete against one another and finish the task. Then there are reward programs like badges and points to push learners to keep learning. Gamification creates an emotional connect between the learners and the content. Surprise elements, hidden challenges, and so on, keep up the engagement levels with the content and ensure course completion.

That said, there are different gamification elements that incentivize learners to perform better and induce a positive learning attitude. As gamification analyst Karl Kapp rightly puts it, “Gamification is the cover to add the interactivity, engagement, and immersion that leads to good learning.”

On that note, let us look at the key aspects of building a gamification strategy.

The Mechanics of a Gamification Strategy

A popular perception of gamification is that it is most suited for a younger audience. The truth is, gamification can make any content engaging and much more compelling for any type of learner age group. Gamified content offers real benefits to the learner, bringing in excitement and a fun element to ensure course completion.

The first step is to identify the learning objectives and understand the target learners. Accordingly, learner-centric gamification elements need to be designed. User character types often play an important role at this juncture. Keeping in mind the audience and their needs, the design strategy progresses.

Kapp says, “Gamification is not bounded by technology or the need to be delivered online; it doesn’t have to be digital. Instead, gamification is a design sensibility.”

Several gamification components can be used to increase learner engagement, as standalone elements or in combination. For example:

  • Progress bars are useful for motivating learners to finish uncompleted tasks
  • Rewards for unlocking new levels, achieving higher goals, and incentivizing positive actions
  • Badges work great for accomplishments
  • Points and scores provide instant gratification
  • Celebration icons provide much-needed encouragement

The Mechanics of a Gamification Strategy

Whichever components you choose, one thing which experts additionally vouch for is giving feedback. It could be either in the form of delayed feedback or providing constant feedback such as hints or tips. Note that feedback greatly adds to the learning experience

It is important to remember that your content should be able to carry the gamification elements. Not all types of content can be treated in the same way. In fact, there cannot be a pre-determined gamification strategy. The strategy needs to be altered according to the learner demographics and learning objectives. This will make the learner experiences far more fruitful.

For example, if you plan to provide some learning control to the user, a certain piece of content might demand branching scenarios while another content might be more effective with options to select one type of reward over some other kind. This type of element selection depends on the treatment the content demands. Lastly, it is also a good idea to consider adding eLearning assessments. These are an essential ingredient of a gamified course and help track learner progress.

There are a host of areas where you can consider gamification. It can be helpful for increasing engagement with your product, onboarding employees, and more. There are also different components, including objects, elements, and tools, which enable gamification strategies. As mentioned above, it all depends on the target users. For instance, what strategy may appeal to a marketing professional may not be suitable for a designer.

Whatever the plan may be, your gamification strategy must encourage learners to complete the session. The key to building a gamification strategy is adding the micro-interventions that have an outsized effect, in terms of how well the learning happens.

Want to know how Harbinger can help you gamify your content? Check out our gamification framework.

Know More from the Experts

One of the biggest misconceptions about gamification is that it is an overwhelming project. The truth is it doesn’t have to be. Gamification can work with your existing content. The main idea to consider is to create moments of anticipation and curiosity at the right places. As mentioned earlier, if done right, gamification can be a smart move to increase knowledge retention.

Harbinger recently hosted a Power Hour on ‘What Businesses Need to Know about Gamification in Learning’ with industry experts Paul Schneider, SVP – Business Development, dominKnow Learning Systems; Jeanne Bakker, Founder of Brain Bakery; and Vikrant Nene, General Manager – Capability Development, Harbinger Interactive Learning. This interactive webinar was hosted by Dr. Vikas Joshi, CEO of Harbinger Group.

What businesses need to know about Gamification in Learning

An interesting insight that Jeanne shared during the session was that our brain is like a pattern-finding machine that affects retention. It also works the best when it is curious. What gamification does is it surprises users at regular intervals. And as soon as the brain is surprised, it gets more interested. Hence, even if we can keep the same content, tweak it a bit, or add little things that surprise people, the retention will go up. The trick is to not make it feel like a game.

Harbinger’s award-winning gamification framework allows organizations to rapidly add gamification elements to eLearning in a cost-effective way. Our easy-to-use, fully customizable framework makes it extremely easy for any organization to add a layer of gamification to any type of learning content and quickly develop varied learning experiences.

If you have an idea to discuss, please write to us at info@harbingerlearning.com. Harbinger experts will be happy to help with your organization’s unique eLearning and gamification needs.

Harbinger at Learning Solutions Conference & Expo 2022: Our First-Hand Experience

Finally, the in-person conferences are back! And the timing couldn’t get better with Harbinger attending the Learning Solutions Conference & Expo 2022 after a long hiatus. To give you a sense of this L&D event, it brings professionals together to exchange thought-provoking ideas on new innovations, tools, and services in the industry. This year, Rohan Bhosle, Associate Director – Business Development at Harbinger Group, attended the three-day conference and came back with some great experiences to share.

Harbinger at Learning Solutions Conference & Expo 2022

Here are the excerpts from a quick chat with our L&D expert about his experience attending the Learning Solutions Conference & Expo 2022:

Can you give us a sense of what the Learning Solutions Conference & Expo 2022 was about?

Rohan:The conference was a gathering of learning professionals in the fields of instructional design and eLearning development and different L&D stakeholders including the leadership of various organizations.

The objective of this conference was to bring together experts from the L&D industry as well as learning platforms and custom content service providers under one roof to share their ideas, products, and services which could help in achieving their learning and training development goals. Besides, with the dynamic L&D landscape and the ever-evolving technology, how some of this can be leveraged by different organizations to skill, upskill, and reskill their employees was the talk of the town.

The profiles of the attendees included instructional designers, graphic designers, visual artists, eLearning developers, L&D managers, decision-makers, and other stakeholders. From the vendor side, there were mainly product owners and sales professionals.

How was the atmosphere at the conference? Were there any interesting discussion points?

Rohan:Though the attendees were fewer as compared to previous years as many were attending their first in-person event after the pandemic, it was overall a great experience. The conference was well structured with each attendee given the option to select between green, yellow, and red bands which indicated how comfortable one was with either a handshake, fist bump, or no contact at all.

There were some great sessions and speakers who spoke on various topics like AR and VR, microlearning, gamification, instructional design, development tools, and platforms. I observed that there was a strong focus on incorporating microlearning and converting bigger modules to shorter self-paced eLearning formats and videos.

AR and VR, as always, was a hot topic. However, after talking to a few attendees, I realized it’s a good-to-have type of solution rather than a must-have. Moreover, it is not yet scalable and has very limited use cases. Furthermore, making VR accessible is challenging for the differently-abled audiences as there are various senses in play during this immersive experience.

There was definitely a trend and buzz towards incorporating accessibility in all learning programs. Many organizations want to include eLearning accessibility, but unfortunately, they don’t know how to go about it.

Apart from this, I had conversations around organizations wanting to aggregate different systems like HRIS, LMS, LCMS, content repositories, WordPress sites, and so on under one common place for learners to access.

Interesting discussion points at Learning Solutions Conference & Expo 2022

How were the interactions with the fellow attendees? Any technology or offerings trends that you noticed?

Rohan:I met a mix of professionals from different organizations. A majority of them were solution providers, learning products, and platform companies. I also got an opportunity to meet some of the L&D leaders who are helping enterprises achieve their learning objectives.

The discussions revolved around what new Harbinger is doing in the custom content development and learning technology development space, and nudge learning for reinforcement which was an eye-opener for many, and people did see a need and use cases for that.

There is a strong push for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity (DEI). It is a key focus of enterprises now, and they are in different stages of implementing it. We spoke about how it could be incorporated into their learning modules and how Harbinger can help give a facelift to courses by making them accessible and DEI-friendly.

In one of my discussions with a participant, we touched upon the whole learner-centric and learner-driven ecosystem where they rely a lot on different content sources like YouTube, Udemy, and Coursera as well as some specific modules developed for them in-house. There was also a buzz around enabling learning in the flow of work, making sure content can be accessed not only from the LMS but from tools like MS Teams, Slack, and so on.

With things getting back to normal, there were ideas shared around adopting a more blended way, with a mix of classroom, VILT, and self-paced eLearning.

Top 5 Things Attendees Were Expecting at The Conference

  1. How and why to implement accessibility
  2. Enable learning in the flow of work by integrating different platforms
  3. Diversity, Inclusivity, and Equity
  4. Metaverse (seemed more like a buzz)
  5. Learning about state-of-the-art authoring tools and learning technologies

How did the conference add value to you as an L&D professional?

Rohan:I attended an in-person conference for the first time after the pandemic. So, meeting exhibitors, attendees, and participants in person was a wonderful treat. We spent some good time over lunch and coffee sessions, discussing the outlook of the L&D industry as well as what they are currently witnessing.

This time, at the conference, there were a lot of learning platform companies who had their booths, trying to solve different challenges. Every individual whom I spoke with had different perspectives of where we are headed with a boost of technology in learning.

For me, I got a chance to learn a lot about new platforms, solutions, and pain points of different organizations. It was great to learn from different content creation and delivery platforms out there. I also got to dive deep into a few known challenges like learner retention and engagement and how organizations are using more game-based or gamification-based learning to resolve them.

Attending the Learning Solutions Conference & Expo was a great experience and Harbinger looks forward to connecting with L&D stakeholders for their various eLearning needs. For any questions on how Harbinger can help with gamification, eLearning accessibility, and learning technology development, do write to us at info@harbingerlearning.com.

Best Use Cases of Articulate 360 vs dominKnow | ONE

In a previous article, we outlined the biggest differences between the eLearning authoring suites Articulate 360 and dominKnow | ONE.

We wanted to follow up because all those differences have a common root. The products were designed with different customers in mind, and as a result, the ideal use cases are very different. We touched on it before, but it’s worth examining further.

Articulate 360 is an excellent choice for freelancers, as well as organizations and content development contractors whose responsive authoring, collaboration, and content reuse needs are modest in scope.

dominKnow | ONE provide significant advantages in productivity for organizations whose content development teams are large, scattered, or quickly scaling, as well as those that have large quantities of overlapping learning content. It’s also a much stronger tool for authoring responsive learning content.

What Are the Ideal Use Cases for Articulate 360?

Articulate 360 expands the collaborative possibilities from its flagship product and main draw, Storyline. It’s a great solution for freelancers and small organizations, especially with the add-on product Teams.

Freelancers

Freelance eLearning developers are probably the most ideal target audience for the Articulate 360 product. They benefit from Articulate 360’s features without needing the added functionality of Teams.

Freelancers are unlikely to feel any of the comparative downsides to dominKnow | ONE at all. Desktop-only software is a non-issue when you’re the only content author, as are real-time collaboration, content reuse, and strong administrative control.

On the other hand, Storyline-based authoring is still in great demand and considered an essential by many clients. Few freelancers will run into the expectation that they know or use dominKnow | ONE.

With Articulate 360, Storyline users will gain access to an impressive stock library – course templates, characters, photos, videos, and other assets to make their job easier.

Freelancers who’ve had a make-do review process will find Review 360 to be a blessing. With one click, you can share a project to an unlimited number of reviewers and collect all of their feedback in a single place. The reviews are left in-context on the relevant page, clarifications and additions from other users can be threaded on initial comments, and you can mark issues as “resolved” in the app.

Freelancers whose clients expect robust responsive content may need an alternative tool, but there are plenty of jobs that can be tackled with Articulate 360.

Small Teams

By adding a Teams subscription to Articulate 360, you get collaborative mechanisms that are perfect for small teams.

Teams facilitates real-time coauthoring in the responsive tool, Rise, and asset sharing options in both Rise and Storyline. You also gain user administration capabilities.

Articulate 360 with Teams will work best for organizations that fall within certain parameters. It’s perfect for:

      • Organizations that focus their efforts on traditional or light responsive eLearning
      • Teams with a small number of authors who can be trusted to maintain assets and project files
      • Small content libraries with little audience targeting or content overlap

Outside of those parameters, Articulate 360 could still serve your team, but features found in dominKnow | ONE could help things run more smoothly.

eLearning Development Companies

Articulate 360 works for eLearning development firms for the same reasons as freelancers and small teams. After all, these contractors often exist at the intersection of both.

As small groups working on projects with a limited scope and duration, Articulate 360 with Teams can serve eLearning development companies well.

The same limiting factors for collaboration will apply, however so, certain projects or clients may present challenges.

What Are The Ideal Use Cases for dominKnow | ONE?

dominKnow | ONE is designed for teamwork, content reuse, and the management of large content libraries. Its authoring tools are as robust as any, but dominKnow’s roots are those of a learning content management system (LCMS).

That gives it a different kind of power to dominKnow | ONE and serves a few specific needs that Articulate 360 doesn’t.

Large eLearning Departments and Quickly-Growing or Scattered Teams

dominKnow | ONE’s strong administrative capabilities, fully cloud-based nature, stronger collaborative mechanisms, and native review features can all make a big difference for large organizations or those with particular personnel challenges.

dominKnow | ONE’s administrative capabilities are much more extensive than Articulate 360 Teams. Combined with the fact that all assets and project files are in the cloud, this means greater control and security for your intellectual property – especially compared to Articulate 360 where, due to the nature of Storyline, a lot of IP is scattered across users’ hard drives.

In dominKnow | ONE, administrators can directly change users’ project access or permissions. They also have greater oversight over the work. Admins can see updates and progress on all projects under their control. They can generate executive reports. They can even refine the overall development process with features like custom life cycles and publishing checklists.

All of those features – currently lacking in Articulate 360 – become increasingly necessary for large, high turnover, or quickly scaling organizations. You need strong central control and oversight under those conditions.

Large and growing teams will also benefit from the fact that both dominKnow | ONE’s authoring modes provide better support than Articulate 360’s for real-time collaboration and use by authors of varying skill levels. We discussed this in-depth in the previous article, so we won’t dig too deep here.

Finally, large organizations often have a laundry list of stakeholders that need to provide their input on eLearning projects. The review tools for dominKnow | ONE are similar to Articulate’s but with additional features that help manage the chaos of a long or review process, including review scheduling, automated reminders, and a more streamlined experience for the ones doing the editing.

In Articulate 360, reviews occur in a separate app, so completing edits requires switching back and forth between multiple tabs or windows. In dominKnow | ONE, authors can see and interact with reviewer feedback from inside the editing interface for convenience. Additionally, both Articulate 360 and dominKnow | ONE allow in-context resolution of issues, but dominKnow | ONE also lets you see all unresolved comments compiled in a single place. That can be helpful when managing a large volume of feedback.

Even some small teams can benefit from what dominKnow | ONE has to offer. The cloud-based interface, collaborative features, and administrative control can all help address the unique challenges of geographically distributed teams.

Whether you’re a fully remote organization in just a couple time zones, tagteaming contributors on the other side of the globe, or working in an office but with others who are far away, dominKnow | ONE can reduce delays and confusion by keeping everyone on the same page, communicating easily across time and space with continuous access to the right files.

Organizations that Need Robust and Dynamic Content Reuse

Articulate 360 allows some content sharing, but in a way that works best if your content requires little reuse, is rarely updated, or is fairly modest in size.

That’s because content is shared by duplication. You can’t look up where identical content is located or how many times it’s been used. If something changes, you’ll need to find and change every instance by hand to keep materials consistent.

That makes it a nightmare for Articulate 360 users to ever update content in a massive library, but it’s also problematic for small content libraries with lots of reuse or frequent updating.

When you reuse content in dominKnow | ONE, each project file draws from a single instance of the content. That instance can be edited once for instant, universal updates, and this method also makes it easy to see exactly where and how it’s used.

This doesn’t just facilitate quick updates. A dynamic method of content reuse opens up a world of possibilities for more efficient authoring.

It makes it possible to deliver the same content in multiple formats with little effort, so learners can experience it as microlearning, a formal course, a knowledge base article, or a presentation.

It also makes granular audience targeting much more feasible. By leveraging content reuse, it’s low-effort to make and maintain a company-wide training with role-specific examples or location-specific information.

dominKnow | ONE also makes it possible to apply themes and formatting to content dynamically so that giving a project a revamp, rebranding, or changing the delivery mode is as simple as applying a new template to existing content.

Dynamically applied styles are also great for small but universal changes. If a compliance organization suddenly expects all materials in a new font or size, it’s just a few clicks away.

Projects that Require Sophisticated Responsive eLearning

We covered this fairly extensively in the first article, but it’s worth repeating here. If your goal is to create responsive eLearning that’s highly interactive, varied in format, and innovative in design, Articulate 360 can’t help you. dominKnow | ONE can.

Articulate 360’s responsive authoring tool Rise has come a long way. It was extremely limited when it first launched, in everything from supported languages to interactivities. It’s gained a lot of functionality since then.

Rise works perfectly well for responsive projects with a simple layout, a similar look, and well-established types of interactivity. If that’s what you need, then you’re set.

However, responsive authoring in dominKnow | ONE offers advanced interaction and custom design on par with its traditional authoring. Both modes are similar in capability to Storyline, which puts responsive authoring in dominKnow | ONE leagues ahead of Rise.

In addition to a broader potential for creativity and user experience, dominKnow’s responsive authoring tool supports a greater variety of ways to present content. In Rise, all projects look very similar, like a minimalistic webpage. dominKnow’s Flow makes better use of the responsive medium with project themes that vary from a searchable knowledge base to a traditional course or an instructor-led presentation. You get more possibilities than traditional authoring, not less.

Conclusion

For certain organizations, dominKnow | ONE can improve the security of intellectual property, increase supervision for large or scattered teams, make it easier to manage large amounts of input, and facilitate collaboration from near or far.

Its content reuse capabilities can dramatically increase the efficiency of authoring and maintaining projects with overlapping content, making it possible to offer audience targeting or multiple styles of eLearning on the same topic with limited resources.

dominKnow | ONE can also offer responsive authoring that makes full use of the format’s flexibility while providing hefty creative power.

For individuals or organizations that don’t need any of the above, however, any gains would be outweighed by the likely effort of learning a new tool and converting existing content. Especially since Articulate 360 can facilitate teamwork, improve the stakeholder review process, and provide light responsive authoring while you continue enjoying the familiarity and power of Storyline.

A Big-Picture Comparison of Articulate 360 & dominKnow | ONE

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
Storyline
(traditional)
Rise
(responsive)
Claro
(traditional)
Flow
(responsive)
Feature Richness X
Capable of Advanced Customization X
Flexible Options & Configurations X
Supports Multiple Skill Levels X X
Good for Beginners
Good for Advanced X
Platform Cloud Cloud Cloud Cloud
Compatible w/Major Operating Systems Windows only
Easily Switch Devices X
Latest File/Version Available to Everyone X
Collaboration NA
Real-Time Co-Authoring
Asynchronous Co-Authoring
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.

Conclusion

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.