AppLearn is a widely recognised Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) that provides organisations with an intuitive, code-free editor for crafting in-app guidance and contextual support, but it’s far from alone in the marketplace.

Most DAPs – programmes which layer on top of existing software to reduce user frustration, help overcome resistance to change and enhance productivity by providing contextual guidance – offer similar benefits. They streamline user onboarding and support, increase the rate of adoption and maximise the ROI from business software.. But the features they use to bring about these benefits, and the effectiveness with which they do it, will vary from product to product. So it’s crucial to compare how AppLearn measures up against its rivals before deciding if it’s the right product for you.

What is AppLearn?

AppLearn prides itself on offering a user-friendly editor that creates in-app guidance and support without the need for coding. It’s a UK based software company and it specialises in personalised learning and digital adoption guidance within applications.

AppLearn was originally founded in 2011 by former professional footballer Mark Barlow and his son, Andrew, although both left the company in 2021. In January 2024, AppLearn was acquired by Nexthink, a market leading Digital Employee Experience (DEX) management software company which shared AppLearn’s vision of ‘eliminating digital friction in the workplace’.

One of AppLearn’s strongest selling points is the combined offering integrating AppLearn’s real-time contextual guidance and analytics with Nexthink’s end-to-end visibility and user sentiment analysis. An essential aspect of their sales pitch is that users gain their digital adoption expertise instead of just a software product.

The features of AppLearn are geared towards employee training rather than customer product adoption. They include analytics and feedback features to track user progress, identify bottle-necks and let you make the adjustments needed based on survey responses. In fact, AppLearn claims to have “category-leading” analytics to help you measure employee engagement with software from a single place.

The dashboards provided help you align your software metrics with your strategic objectives or initiatives to see more clearly whether your apps are fulfilling both your employee and business needs. AppLearn also claims “There’s no complexity or feature bloat.” The features offered are referred to as “modules” which can be adapted and customised to fit your particular requirements.

Why AppLearn Might Not Be the Right Fit

Despite their sales pitch, there are elements of AppLearn that might not be best suited to your own particular use case. Many of the reviews on G2 indicate that the design of AppLearn greatly hampers its performance. Some reviewers mention that particular features are too basic, processes are too hard to understand and that the user interface is overly complex.

Issues such as limited functionality with new releases, restrictions on the type of files supported, lack of customisation options and the fact that it doesn’t support desktop applications mean the AppLearn is of limited value to some organisations.

  • Poor design and limited customisation: For organisations who want a DAP that aligns with their unique aesthetics, for instance, businesses that prioritise their unique identity and the user experience, AppLearn may not be an ideal fit. There are limited customisation options within the platform and this makes it hard to meet branding requirements of specific companies. Although this won’t impact the way the platform works, it might make it harder for users to see the DAP as integral if it looks and feels very different to what they’re used to. It also limits how AppLearn resonates with a company culture.
  • Not compatible with desktop applications: AppLearn doesn’t work with desktop applications (i.e. software installed directly onto the user’s computer which typically runs offline). It only functions with web-based implementations in Chrome and Firefox browsers. In some industries this wouldn’t be an issue as online software solutions are preferred, but in others it would pose a problem. Security conscious sectors like financial services, healthcare, scientific research, defence and government, or legal services tend to use desktop applications as a more secure option. For those users, AppLearn might not be the best option.
  • Needs broader file type support: Some reviews on G2 point out the need for broader file type support, particularly when it comes to one as widely-used as Excel. Lack of Excel compatibility would be a major drawback for some users.  Interactive features within Excel are frequently indispensable for crafting training materials, so restricted file types reduce AppLearn’s functionality.

For many customers, AppLearn achieves its stated mission of ‘Making software change stick’  by fixing workflow inefficiencies, boosting digital onboarding and identifying bottlenecks within the software to improve user experience. For others though, AppLearn is too heavily focused on employee onboarding and doesn’t tick enough boxes to suit their particular needs. If that’s you, there are other products which may suit your requirements better.

4 AppLearn Alternatives

1. Omniplex Guide

As the latest addition to Omniplex Learning’s portfolio of products and services, Omniplex Guide is a relative newcomer to the DAP marketplace, but one that excels in fresh innovation. With over 30 years of experience, Omniplex Learning has empowered numerous organisations to design, create, and deliver impactful digital learning solutions. With similar determination, their digital adoption solution Omniplex Guide was launched to help businesses get the most out of their systems and technology investments.

The Omniplex Guide Suite offers three distinct products: Guide Workflow Assistant, Guide, and Guide Pro.

Guide Pro is the Omniplex product that offers the best alternative to AppLearn. It has advanced interactive in-app guidance, promoting learning within the workflow. Its features empower users with enhanced workflow capabilities, creating a dynamic learning experience.

Guide is perfect for fast authoring with a simple point-and-click editor, and it also gives you the flexibility to create a library of external content and URLs to enable diverse learning types. It has a rich feature-set including segmentation, grouping, analytics, multi-language support and the ability to export and share guides.

Other impressive features include simple guide creation, embedded content, user management, guide health (to automatically alert you to any steps in the guide that may be broken or need updating) and form validation.

There are pricing plans to meet the needs of every organisation and you can sign up for a free and instant product tour to see for yourself.

2. Pendo

Pendo is recognised as a prominent player in the Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) field and was one of the first products on the market 11 years ago. Having such a long history in this space gives it the advantage of evolving its products to meet the needs of its customers.

It’s a comprehensive and thorough product – although some reviewers see this as a negative, meaning you end up paying for features you don’t need. Pendo provides detailed insights at the user level, enabling you to monitor and analyse the actions of each user within your application or website. This in-depth understanding empowers product teams to map out user journeys, pinpoint areas of friction, and tailor experiences according to individual user interactions.

Pendo offers a range of tools designed to gather qualitative feedback from users via surveys, polls, and NPS (Net Promoter Score) assessments. This input yields valuable insights into user preferences, requirements, and areas of concern.

Renowned for its robust analytics capabilities, Pendo is also recognised for its role in driving product adoption through the strategic use of User Interface (UI) patterns to interact with users within the product interface, enhancing engagement for more efficient onboarding processes. However, some critics argue that the UI patterns provided by Pendo may be overly restrictive.

Other downsides to the product include a lack of real-life data updates, limited UI patterns for onboarding, a steep learning curve and high prices.

The main difference between Pendo and AppLearn comes down to their key focus. Whereas AppLearn focuses on helping users understand and effectively use software applications to maximise productivity and ROI, Pendo keeps its focus on providing insights into user behaviour and enabling businesses to make data-driven decisions to improve their products.

Pendo offers tiered pricing plans for startups, SMEs and enterprise level businesses, but it is renowned for being one of the more expensive DAPs currently on the market.

3. WalkMe

WalkMe is another leading player in the DAP world, focused on digital adoption solutions, offering interactive guidance, onboarding assistance, and user engagement features to help users navigate software applications effectively. WalkMe offers analytics features tailored to digital adoption, emphasising insights into user interactions with guidance elements and software adoption rates.

Unlike some other DAPs, WalkMe’s primary objective is to enhance user onboarding experiences. It also aims to improve user productivity, and drive software adoption rates within organisations. It’s key functionalities include interactive guidance to assist users in completing tasks and processes efficiently, seamless onboarding for new users, targeted messages, surveys and feedback mechanisms to engage with users and foster communication and customisation options for guidance flows, tooltips, and messaging, allowing organisations to tailor the user experience to their specific needs and branding.

WalkMe stands out for its exceptional in-app guidance and support capabilities, enabling personalised assistance directly within the application interface. Users can benefit from tailored in-app guidance, contextual tooltips, and links, as well as customisable onboarding checklists and product tours.

Additionally, WalkMe offers a resource centre with on-demand materials and an AI-powered chatbot for user assistance. For organisations embarking on digital transformation initiatives, WalkMe presents a compelling alternative to other big players like Pendo. It caters to the needs of product managers, UX designers, and customer service teams that want to elevate the user experience as a priority.

When it comes to integration, AppLearn and WalkMe have marked differences. AppLearn usually requires integration with the software application and might need setup and configuration to use the features effectively, whereas WalkMe offers more implementation options including browser extensions, code-based integration and embedded code snippets, which offers more flexibility

Pricing for WalkMe is typically aimed at Enterprise Level customers and custom quotes are available on request.

4. WhatFix

WhatFix is another strong contender for leader of the DAP pack. Its combination of interactive guidance, in-app support, task automation, analytics, and personalisation capabilities makes it a powerful tool for organisations seeking to improve user adoption and utilisation of software applications.

Favoured by Product Managers and UX Designers, WhatFix stands out for offering a comprehensive suite of features and capabilities designed to enhance user adoption and utilisation of software applications. The platform offers robust analytics and insights tools, allowing organisations to track user interactions, monitor software adoption rates, and gain valuable insights into user behaviour for informed decision-making.

WhatFix also excels at customisation. It allows for extensive personalisation of guidance content, enabling organisations to tailor the user experience to match their branding, workflows, and individual user preferences.

AppLearn provides customisation options for tailoring the user experience to specific needs and preferences, but the level of customisation and complexity may vary depending on the platform and the specific features being used. In comparison, Whatfix offers advanced customisation options and capabilities, making it suitable for handling complex workflows and specialised software environments.

WhatFix seamlessly integrates with a wide range of software applications, meaning it can be effortlessly deployed across an organisation without disruption. In fact, WhatFix prides itself on how seamlessly it can integrate with a wide range of enterprise software applications, including CRM systems and HR platforms among others.This is in contrast to AppLearn which may require more configuration and set up before it can be used effectively.

WhatFix also leverages artificial intelligence (AI) technology, to deliver intelligent assistance and recommendations to users, enhancing the effectiveness of guidance and support offerings.

In terms of its analytics capabilities, Whatfix provides robust analytics with detailed insights into user behaviour, interactions, and engagement within the application. It offers comprehensive tracking of user journeys, segmentation options, heatmaps, and session replays to visualise user interactions. In contrast, AppLearn’s analytics may focus more on tracking user progress through onboarding and training modules, with potentially less granularity and targeting options.

The pricing for Whatfix is subscription based and worked out through a custom quote. 41.4% of the WhatFix reviews on G2 are from Enterprise level organisations so it’s fair to assume the price tag will reflect this.

Which DAP is right for you?

Choosing the right Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) depends on lots of factors including your organisation’s specific needs, goals, budget, and existing tech stack, so it’s important to think about how your proposed DAP measures up against its competitors.

AppLearn is a well-respected DAP but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the right one for your own unique circumstances. It may be that alternatives like WalkMe, WhatFix or Pendo might better suit your needs.

And, above all, it’s definitely worth considering newcomers to the market, like Omniplex Guide, who can offer a fresh perspective and, perhaps, better suitability.

Different applications will offer different features and benefits so rather than making a decision based on what other businesses are using, start by identifying your own organisation’s digital adoption challenges and goals. Determine what you want to achieve with a DAP, whether that’s improving user onboarding, increasing software adoption rates or enhancing overall user experience. That way you can make a more informed decision about which programme is right for you.