Articulate on the Rise – first impressions of the new Rise tool

When Articulate announced something was coming ‘soon’ most people presumed it was the next version of Storyline. Indeed they were right, as Storyline 360 appeared, but what people weren’t expecting were some of the other tools in the Articulate 360 suite.

We’ll have our review of Storyline 360 soon but first let’s have an initial look at Rise. What is Rise? It’s an online responsive authoring tool which helps you create rapid content and I’ll tell you what - from first impressions it’s pretty good!

A quick review of Articulate Rise

To get it, you first you have to download the free trial of Articulate 360 which gives you links to all the other tools within the package (which I’ll come back to in my next review).  Once you first launch Rise, you’ll be presented with a menu which shows existing courses you’ve created and an option to create a new course. While tempting to dive into your courses, it’s well worth looking at the sample course Articulate has supplied so you can see the features Rise offers. This sample course makes it clear that it’s so easy to amend or add lessons to an existing course.

Pre-built interactive lessons and blocks make rapid design even easier

There’s some great looking interactive, pre-built lessons you can use such as a labelled graphic, process, and timeline. The quiz lesson allows you to build a basic multiple choice question. The process is a horizontal style lesson whereas the timeline is a vertical based lesson. You can add graphics, video clips, audio and embed video links to most of these lessons, which works very well. One of the best bits of Rise are the Blocks. What are these?

Imagine a vertical scrolling page where you can add different learning blocks to the page. It’s so easy to do, click the + icon to add a block and you’ll see the range of material you can add: standard text blocks (or text and graphic), statements, quotes, lists, images, gallery, multimedia, interactive and dividers.

My personal favourites are the Gallery, which is where you can add a host of images (and add text below) and the Interactive Blocks. You’ll recognise some of the names here – Accordion, Tabs, Flashcard Grid (coming late November) and Flashcard Stack (also late November). I’m sure new interactions will be added constantly: I’ve just noticed Button and Button Stack which weren’t there the day before. These buttons allow you to jump to any content you choose in your course.

Course sections improves learner journey

A course can be created with as many sections as you want (just a text label basically) or none at all. You can then add lessons to your course, again you can have them under a section or just on their own.

A user can go through the lessons one at a time, and once a lesson is complete, you can click on the icon to jump to the second lesson and so on. A nice animated progress bar shows on the left to show you when you’ve completed that particular labelled graphic. Once you finish the quiz you’ll see a results page with your score.

Managing settings is easy

Under Settings there are a few things you can change. You can change the Navigation mode from Free (navigate freely) to Restricted (complete lessons in order). You can add your own logo which will appear at the beginning and you can also change the colours and font of your theme.

Responsive design gets a boost

While you are building your course you can click on the Preview button to preview your page. What’s really nice is that you’ll see a range of icons along the top – Desktop (default), Tablet Portrait, Tablet Landscape, Mobile Portrait and Mobile Landscape. Other programs feature something similar: Lectora, Adobe Captivate and now Storyline 360 feature icons you can click on to see how it’ll look on other platforms.

Rise animates the different views when you click on these and you can interact and scroll down to see how the content will work and display on other devices. On smaller views the side bar is automatically hidden but you can always display this at the top by clicking on the icon.

Once you are happy with your course it’s time to export. Here you have a variety of options, SCORM 1.2 SCORM 2004, AICC, Tin Can (coming soon) and No LMS – web only. Once you download your zip file and it’s time to upload it to your LMS and give it a proper test drive on your devices.

In my tests, the content worked very smoothly on devices and the output looks very polished. We did have some issues however with the odd interaction (sorting activity, for example, seemed to break after a while on desktop) and on a tablet with iOS9 some of the vertical scrolling seemed to be quite jerky. Hopefully just some initial issues though, which I’m sure will be ironed out.

So first impressions of Rise, overall?

I came away very impressed. Creating different lessons online was very smooth and I didn’t have any issues with crashing. It’s great you can check how the content will look with the different views. The output was pretty good, I had the odd issue on iOS10 but I wonder if the stutters I mentioned earlier are down to iOS9.

Now the bad news-- it’s not cheap! It’s part of the Articulate Studio package so you can’t buy or subscribe to Rise. Something I think is a big shame. For existing customers it’s $599 a year (simply enter your serial number for Storyline 1 or 2 or Studio 09/13) and for new customers its $999 a year. The subscription as it currently stands, is an annual one -- you can’t pay for a monthly subscription.

As there are other tools out there that create responsive training, you might be wondering where this one stands.  In my opinion, it would be nice if you could change colours of pages (rather than just parts of the lessons) and have some different question types. Also it would be great if you could change the way the initial menu works and turn off the side bar by default on desktop view.

Articulate Rise is not going to beat some of the bigger kids on the block as it’s not as powerful, but if you’re after a tool where you can quickly create responsive training, then this is a great tool for that purpose. Obviously, other tools such as Adapt, Lectora, Adobe Captivate and Storyline 360 give you much more functionality to change the whole look and feel, add your own interactions etc, but I don’t think Rise is there to compete against these tools. It’s more a rapid tool to create responsive training and in that regard it does the job very well. I’m looking forward to seeing what other interactions Articulate will add to it.

Want to try Rise out for yourself? Simply create an account at www.articulate.com and download the 30 day trial of Articulate Studio so you can let me know what you think.

Next up I’ll have a look at new features of Storyline 360 so expect another blog post soon.