Articulate Storyline’s popularity is surging, in large part because of its incredibly user-friendly interface and customizable features; in other words, you don’t need to be a code whiz to create and publish dynamic, interactive courses. The e-learning authoring tool is now boasting a client list that includes Google, IBM, Nike, Microsoft, and Amazon, among others. Still wondering what the big deal is? Here are four ways any course builder can use Storyline to make eLearning easy (and fun).
Good, old-fashioned storytelling can help students master content more efficiently by creating compelling narratives that engage learners on an emotional level. And what better way to tell a story than through characters? Storyline comes with several free characters (both illustrated and photographic) that can be customized to display different expressions and poses, while more photographic characters are available for purchase. You can use characters to serve as "guides" throughout training modules, deliver personal feedback on progress, or act out scenarios for learners to consider.
Seasoned instructional designers know learners are more focused when the course structure is easily navigable and self-contained. Storyline allows developers to insert web objects in order to create a completely holistic learning experience, without asking users to navigate to other sites or files. Need your trainees to read a PDF manual before answering questions about it? You can insert it directly into the training screen, where it becomes a scrollable object. The same goes for other web-based resources, such as Google Forms, existing websites, and company intranet pages, which can become embedded parts of the overall course and allow for seamless navigation.
Storyline lessons can be packed with variables—tools that remember information throughout a lesson and deliver a customized experience based on that information. A user's name is a basic example; after being prompted to enter his or her name on an early screen, the learner will be personally addressed throughout the lesson. But variables can be as complex as the imagination allows. They can track which objects a learner clicked, how many times a question was answered before getting it right, what information was typed in a data entry field, multiple quiz scores—the list goes on. You can probably already see the most exciting implication of using variables: creating a fully customizable learning experience that responds dynamically to the learner's information, choices, and errors.
Storyline projects can be published as web projects (either HTML5 or Flash-based, depending on the output settings you choose) or SCORM packages that can be embedded in your LMS of choice, such as Moodle. Once live, you'll want a way to track usage of your projects to see how they’re being used. You have three options:
- Use your own LMS. If you're working for a company that has an internal LMS, then you're in luck: much of Storyline's interactive elements can be tracked through SCORM. Quiz questions, for example, can be individually weighted and assessed according to grading preferences you set when you publish your lesson. Even short-answer and essay question fields can be imported into most LMS reporting systems.
- Articulate offers its own LMS-like platform, Articulate Online, to track learner activity. The excellent news is that it works seamlessly with Storyline, analyzing user activity and capturing user-entered data that can be exported as customizable reports. The downside is the cost: $199/month is the cheapest deal they offer, and it only allows a maximum of ten lessons to be tracked.
In addition, Storyline's dynamic online community offers a space for designers to gather and share tips, stories, and hacks to use the authoring tool at its full power.
For more tips on building engaging courses, check out these blog posts:Five Tips for Creating Successful Instructional Videos