Storyline 3 vs 360: Which is better

Articulate (Storyline) 360 is by far the better product to use as an instructional designer, with a host of supporting tools and greater authoring capabilities to enable you to create awesome, engaging, learner-focused courses, that change peoples lives for the better.

Remember, if you’re on a Mac, you’ll need to use a Windows emulator, with Parallels being the best out there.

Storyline 3 vs 360: Which is better


Storyline 3 vs 360: Which is betterFor instructional designers, as well as learning all the necessary theories and skills needed to succeed in the L&D industry, one thing we all need to do is learn how to use authoring and content creation tools. This is to be able to produce cutting-edge, learner-focused eLearning experiences.

But with so many eLearning tools out there, which do you choose? We would recommend Articulate Storyline due to its enormous potential to create detailed, engaging, and branching training experiences.

There have been numerous iterations of Storyline over the years, with the current version being articulate 360. But what are the differences between the versions, and how has the platform evolved over the years?

In this post, we will look at the main differences between two of the most popular versions of the programs; Storyline 3 vs 360: Which is better?

Storyline 3 vs 360: Which is better

What is Storyline

Storyline 3 vs 360: which is better

Storyline is a leading eLearning authoring tool in the instructional design industry, which learning professionals can use to create online training courses. Storyline has a bit of a learning curve, but the great thing is because it’s slide-based, if you’ve used PowerPoint before, then you shouldn’t have any issues getting to grips with it.

The program has a huge array of features to enable you to produce your planned courses, whether by written or visual storyboards come to life, and help your learners achieve their goals.

Storyline is simple enough for beginners to learn but complex enough for expert designers to create truly amazing learning experiences.

If you work in the learning and development field and have a need to create online courses, Articulate Storyline should be your first port of call; you won’t regret it, and it seriously brings into question our post title, Storyline 3 vs 360: which is better?

Storyline 3 vs 360: Which is better

Who is Storyline aimed at

Man sitting at desk on apple mac
Photo by Karolina Grabowska:

Storyline (either version) is definitely not aimed at the “I’ve never created any eLearning ever” layman; you will need to have some ID (instructional design) knowledge ideally, to get started to make the best of the program.

Related: Articulate Storyline – A Tool that Supports your Instructional Design Strategy

The best-selling point of Storyline is the almost unlimited creative possibilities when it comes to designing corporate training content. Being able to import your designs, graphics, and resources, the huge amount of templates available, as well as being able to develop pretty much any interaction you can imagine, whatever your needs are, there is a good chance Storyline can help you in your role.

Remember, though, not all companies have Instructional designers or a dedicated learning team, so sometimes it may fall on HR professionals to create these educational courses. Due to this, it would be best if course creators do some research, attend webinars, engage with some professional development, participate in ID communities, and get used to Storyline when first using it. Lastly, practice building some test courses before attempting to launch into final development for their organizations or clients.

Storyline 3 vs 360: Which is better

Are they both accessible on Windows and Mac

Windows vs Mac

Both Storyline 3 and Storyline 360 are available on Windows only natively, in other words, you install them onto your C drive, and from there, you can get going straight away and start using them.

What about Mac’s?

When considering our question again, Storyline 3 vs 360: Which is better – So, if you don’t have a windows machine and prefer to use a mac instead, you wouldn’t be unable to use either of these Storyline versions, but you do have hope, and that hope comes in the name of Parallels.

Parallels is a virtual environment that you can install on your mac laptop or computer to emulate a windows environment where Articulate Storyline, both 3 and 360, can run smoothly.

Remember, as mentioned above, Parallels is a virtualized Windows environment, so you will need to ensure you do everything you can to keep it running smoothly.

Here are a few tips to help you maintain your Parallels in top running condition.

Storyline 3 vs 360: Which is better

Subscription vs perpetual license

So, let’s get back on track, and talk about our comparison at hand, and talk about how licenses of both platforms differ. Pricing can be a real deciding factor when thinking about, Storyline 3 vs 360: Which is better, and is worth knowing upfront so you can make an informed decision. 

Storyline 3

Articulate Storyline 3

Storyline 3 was introduced before Articulate went the way of the subscription model. For this version of their best-selling product, the pricing was very simple and a one-off payment

This meant that after you have initially paid for Storyline 3, it is yours forever, except for upgrading to Storyline 360. 

The price includes all features that enable you to set yourself up, ready to create some great eLearning content. 

In 2022, Storyline 3 has two prices, one for new customers and a preferential rate for existing customers. 

Check them out below.  

New Customers
Existing Customers
$1,398.00 USD (one-off payment)
$699.00 USD (One-off payment)

If you want an excellent introduction to the world of eLearning and need a dedicated authoring tool but want straightforward pricing, a single, do it all product with no add-ons, then Storyline 3 could be for you. Just be aware you won’t have access to some of the best functions and upgrades that 360 has to offer, and your courses will reflect that by being a little less engaging and can become out of date over time. 

Storyline 360

With Storyline 360, you can create beautiful, engaging courses

Storyline 360 is actually part of the new articulate holistic subscription called Articulate 360.

Articulate and Storyline 360 are massive developments from Storyline 3, both for the new features articulate introduced for this version but also the broader scope for creating scenarios and online training.

Related: Top 10 eLearning Authoring Tools

Articulate 360 includes numerous major and minor programs and services to help you develop beautiful courses; these programs include:

Articulate 360 Additional Tools
Storyline 360
Rise 360
Peek 360
Studio 360
Replay 360

Articulate 360 also includes numerous new sourcing assets and services that can be accessed through the Articulate 360; let’s take a look at these epic platforms:

Articulate 360 Sourcing Assets
Articulate 360 Content Library
Review 360
Articulate 360 Training

Articulate 360’s subscription is available on both a monthly basis and also can be an annual payment which will provide some discount. My company pays the annual fee, and for what it offers us, both for developing internal and external training, it’s great.

These services alone are totally worth the increase in price with moving to a subscription model, and for myself, as someone who uses the product 5 days a week and has created hundreds of learning experiences over the years, honestly, the upgrade to the responsive player, the content library, considerably more interactions available to be built, it is just a no brainer.

Related: Taking the confusion out of Articulate Storyline licensing | Lingel Learning

If you want to up your level of eLearning production, and either you or your business can afford the cost of the license, don’t think; just do it, when you break it down, it’s easy to answer the question, Storyline 3 vs 360: Which is better?

One thing you should know is that Storyline 360 is only available as part of the articulate 360 subscription; unfortunately, even though many instructional designers have asked time and time again, you cannot purchase Storyline as a lone platform, which, if that’s all you need can make it expensive, but with everything 360 offers, on balance, it is worth it in my opinion.

One thing some Instructional designers do ask, is why Articulate doesn’t make these platforms available to purchase individually? Honestly, it’s a great question and one I have asked Articulate myself. The overall answer is that they want to have a subscription service to enable easy updates and push new features easily to all users across all the platforms spoken about above and provides way more functionality than ever before. It also provides a more stable revenue stream for Articulate to rely upon to continue building features that users really want.

So, what’s the pricing than for articulate 360?

Pricing for Articulate 360 is quite simple, really, and is based on 3 different categories:

Articulate 360 Businesses who typically use Articulate
Academic Institutions

For each of these, there is a mixture of teams and personal use plans to choose from.

There are also discounts for some of these plans as well, with up to 50% off for academic institutions.

For any international readers, all these prices are in US dollars.

So here’s the rundown:

Articulate 360 License Pricing
Teams Plan = $1,299
Personal plan ($999) – Teams plan ($1,299)
Educational – Personal Plan ($499) – Teams plan ($649)

These will all be paid annually upfront; there is no option to do a monthly payment plan, so there definitely is an upfront cost, so consider carefully if you feel it’s worth it.

I’ve heard a lot of conversations on LinkedIn posts and the eLearning Designers Academy Community where new instructional designers are questioning whether the price is worth it and whether it’s prohibitive in relation to a barrier to entry.

There is definitely truth to all of these points, but I feel this is based on everyone’s personal situation; but I would say you should view it as an investment, a way of generating income by using an industry-standard tool; you’ll definitely set yourself up for future success.

Storyline 3 vs 360: Which is better

What’s included with Storyline 3?

Storyline 3 screenshot

As we have already discussed, Storyline 3 is on a perpetual license, meaning everything you get with this 3rd iteration comes with the platform, with no additional costs involved. 

Storyline 3 is the core authoring tool but doesn’t come with the stunning features of the 360 subscription, which we will discuss in our next section, but it’s a sweet upgrade from Storyline 1 and 2.

Some of Storyline 3’s greatest upgrades consist of the following:

  •     Allows you to structure text with tables, which can be great for organizing your content.
  •     Create and add closed captions. We have worked with WCAG and Section 508 in the past, and this feature is an added bonus if you do any work for disabled employees.
  •     The motion paths are much more advanced, and new trigger events let you create more game-like content
  •     A new responsive player that will look great on tablets and mobile phones.

Personally, I would only recommend purchasing Storyline 3 if the following is true:

  • Your budget doesn’t stretch to the continual subscription of Storyline 360
  • You aren’t worried about having access to future updates and feature enhancements
  • You only want a single platform, not other authoring tools such as Articulate Rise. 

Related: Getting started with Storyline 3

So when it comes to Storyline 3 vs 360, If you need a solid eLearning tool that will allow you to work in the industry, has only a single payment for access, and creates friendly, engaging online courses, then Storyline 3 will definitely work for you, but if you need more than that, then give Articulate 360 a shot, and that leads us nicely into our next section on this post. 

Storyline 3 vs 360: Which is better

What’s included with Storyline 360

Articulate 360 Screenshot

As mentioned somewhat above, Storyline 360 is part of the broader Articulate 360 subscription. Regarding Articulate’s eLearning products, the 360 package provides instructional designers with a wealth of options to create and develop really cutting-edge learning experiences for their clients or organizations.

So, let’s take a look in detail. 

Storyline 360

Storyline 360 is a desktop application that allows instructional designers to create beautiful, engaging, and responsive eLearning experiences.

With Storyline 360, there are endless possibilities to create stunning courses, lessons, and templates, whichever type oof content you wish to design, whatever the learning objective or outcome you are working toward, Storyline 360 can help you achieve amazing results.

Rise 360

Articulate Rise is a cloud-based rapid authoring platform that makes creating fully mobile responsive courses quick and super simple. Being a web-based app, anyone can use it with not much instruction. As it’s a template-based product, you can mock up beautiful instructional courses that wow learners and make it so simple for learning to occur anywhere on any device.

Studio 360

Articulate Studio is a suite of eLearning authoring apps that are a nice compliment to Storyline and can help your authoring in numerous ways. These supporting programs include:

Presenter 360: The fastest, easiest way to create online, presentation-based courses.

Quizmaker 360: Quickly create dynamic quizzes, surveys, drag-and-drop assessments, and more.

Engage 360: Create media-rich interactions for your online courses simply by filling out a form.

These programs can be a great partnership to working with the two primary 360 authoring programs, Storyline and Rise, as they can provide additional content that can allow you to make professional, learner-focused courses. 

Peek 360

Articulate Peek is a really nice program that allows you to record your screen; whether you’re on Mac or PC, you can record your entire screen or just a portion of it, save it and share it with whoever needs to see your work. Think of this as a lightweight version of Camtasia or Screenflow.

Review 360

Review 360 is all about collaboration and feedback on your instructional design projects. Firstly, whether you use Storyline or Rise, you can upload your project(s) and share a link with co-workers, SMEs, stakeholders, or leaders to gather documented, personalized feedback, where you can see comments on what worked well and what needs improvement.

Content Library

The content library only came into existence when articulate rolled out its 360 subscription in November 2016. This allowed engaging templates, characters, and course assets to be rolled out to users, which enabled much more creativity in course design. 

Storyline 3 vs 360: Which is better

Why should you move to Storyline 360?

Ok, so the biggest question is here, it’s why you’re here, right, Storyline 3 vs. 360: which is better? 

Well, here is my opinion from someone who uses articulate 3-5 days a week and also uses other articulate products, I think everyone with the means should switch to articulate 360, and here’s why I say that.


Articulate 3 is excellent for a few reasons, it is a one-off payment, it has really nice features that enable you to create nice training courses, and is relatively simple to use. 

But here’s the deal. 

Articulate Storyline 360 is an absolute game-changer, GAME CHANGER. From Storyline 360 itself has more authoring features compared to Storyline 3, such as: 

Articulate 360 Features that separate it from Storyline 3
Responsive Player
Content Library
Upgraded Quiz Tracking
SVG Support
Dialogue Layers
Peek, Review, Studio and many more supporting tools

The ability to create responsive courses is so important nowadays, and for some people, if courses do not work on mobile or tablets, they won’t even entertain the idea of learning from them. 

Now the one downside is that it can be seen as a pricey upgrade, mainly because articulate is providing a vast amount more in the 360-package compared to Storyline 3, and you get constant lifetime upgrades, which is really quite amazing, so you never have to have the problem of falling behind when it comes to content creation strategy. 

Storyline 360 is arguably the biggest, and best upgrade articulate have done in their history. If it is affordable, do it, don’t think, whether it is you purchasing or your business, it provides so much upside with minimal downside, it just makes sense. Also, it hardly ever crashes, so stability is excellent. 

If you want something more simplistic and budget is a hurdle, then articulate 3 might be the best solution. 

Final Thoughts

So, you’ve read this entire blog post and seen the pros and cons of both articulate 3 and 360, so what do you do now?

Before purchasing, make sure you’ve done your research and due diligence, and ensure that both products meet your learning/training strategy requirements, whichever you choose.

The other thing about articulate 360 is that you can do a 30-day free trial to try it before you buy, but you’re not obligated to purchase the product if you don’t like it.

But do you know what, I’m pretty confident you will be happy; the next thing, though, is to aster the platform, and lucky for you, the 360 subscription (as mentioned above) comes with a wealth of training webinars to up your skills.

So, what are you waiting for, get online, go to the articulate website, and give it a try, and with all things considered, when thinking about Storyline 3 vs 360, if budget isn’t  barrier, go with the 360 subscription.

Also, let us know how you get on; we’d love to hear from you.

See ya later course creators!

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