If you’ve worked with variables in Storyline 360, you know that they’re an incredibly powerful way to capture and recall information throughout your course.
There are dozens of built-in number variables to choose from in Storyline 360, and we’re excited to share the newest addition: elapsed time variables. Elapsed time variables help you track the total time a learner spends on a slide, a scene, or an entire course to create timed interactions and report information to your Learning Management System (LMS). Let’s take a closer look at some of the things you can do with these variables.
1. Tracking Learners’ Time
With elapsed time variables, you can now track the time learners spend on training. You even have a couple different options. You can track how much time they’ve spent on
- The entire course (using the Project.ElapsedTime variable)
- A specific scene (using the Scene.ElapsedTime variable)
- A specific slide (using the Slide.ElapsedTime variable)
And because your course can communicate the elapsed time variables data to your LMS, you can now capture this information and run detailed duration reports—which is especially helpful for compliance training.
2. Marking Courses as Complete After a Certain Time Period
You can also use elapsed time variables to mark a course as complete to your LMS. This is great for when you need learners to spend a certain amount of time in your course to satisfy a training requirement. To accomplish this, you’ll need to do three things:
- Create a true/false variable with a default value of False. I named mine ReachedThirtySeconds.
- Add a trigger to set the true/false variable you created to True when the Project.ElapsedTime variable changes if the project elapsed time is equal to or greater than your required time.
It’s important to note that the value of elapsed time variables is based on 0.001 seconds. To calculate the value you should enter in this box, take the number of seconds you want to track and multiply it by 1,000. To track minutes, multiply the number of minutes you want to track by 60,000.
For example, because I wanted to mark the course as complete after 30 seconds, I multiplied 30 x 1,000 and got 30,000—which is what I put in the value box.
Set a trigger to complete the course when the true/false variable you created (in my case, ReachedThirtySeconds) changes if its value is True.
And you're all set!
3. Revealing Content at Specific Moments
Another cool way to use elapsed time variables is to trigger events based on the amount of time spent on a certain slide, scene, or even on the entire course. For example, you can trigger a Help window to appear after a learner has spent an extended amount of time on a single slide—in case they’re unsure what to do next. To do that, you’ll follow a similar process as we did earlier to mark the course as complete.
- Create a true/false variable with a default value of False. I named mine ReachedTenSeconds.
- Add a trigger to set the true/false variable you created to True when the Slide.ElapsedTime variable changes if the slide elapsed time is equal to or greater than your desired time. In this example, I chose 10 seconds. As explained earlier, in order to calculate 10 seconds using an elapsed time variable, I had to multiply my desired time by 1,000.
- Set a trigger to lightbox a slide when the true/false variable changes if its value is True.
And just like that, your learners will see a lightbox appear after spending 10 seconds on that slide!
Want to see for yourself what that experience feels like? In the example below, a lightbox appears on the second slide after 10 seconds. Check it out:
Hopefully you’re feeling inspired now that you’ve seen a few ways you can use elapsed time variables. I can’t wait to see all the cool ways you’ll use them in your projects! Already have an idea about how you plan to use these new variables? Share it with us in a comment below! If you want to learn more about variables or how to use them with triggers, take a look at these helpful articles.
- Storyline 360: Adding Variable References
- All About Triggers: Everything You Need to Know
- Storyline 360: Working with Triggers
Want to try out elapsed time variables for yourself, but don’t have Articulate 360? Start a free 30-day trial, and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning.