I often find myself comparing the tools and features in Articulate Storyline to a big box of Lego bricks: you’ve got everything you need to build pretty much whatever you can imagine. But the downside of having all of that power and flexibility is that there isn’t really any one way to build something. What works best for me may not always be best for you.
And sometimes the workflow habits you’ve picked up using software (PowerPoint, for instance) can color your perception of what you can do in another tool, like Storyline. Instead of pushing the envelope and expanding what you can do in the new tool, you find yourself building the same basic things in the same basic ways, just with a different tool.
Ready to break some habits and try something new? You’re in the right spot! I’ve got a few easy swaps—simple switcheroos you can make to your workflow—that can make a big difference in your productivity and creativity. Here are three of my favorites to try for your next project.
1. Swap Slides for Slide Layers
When you’re first transitioning to Storyline, it might seem easiest to put each thought on its own slide, similar to what you might do if you were laying out a static PowerPoint presentation. While that approach gets the job done, it can bloat your file size when you’re working with a lot of content. Another drawback: later on, it may end up being a lot more maintenance for you when it comes time to update that course!
From where I stand, there’s an even bigger opportunity with breaking free of static slides: getting out of that presentation mindset and embracing all of the possibilities of interactive e-learning. For creating interactive e-learning, you’ll find that swapping static, text-heavy slides with slides that prompt learners to click and explore is much more fun and creative to design, and results in a much more engaging and effective experience for your learners, too See how easy it is to add a layer in this quick video I made with Peek.
Want to bump it up a notch? Check out How to Transform Boring Text Into a Click & Reveal Interaction by Nicole Legault to see how to use slide layers to evolve your course from boring text to an inviting click-and-reveal. And for some easy-to-follow how-to steps for adding layers to your Storyline project, check out this article from our knowledgebase.
2. Swap Layers for States
If you’re accustomed to creating e-learning in PowerPoint, you’ve probably thought to yourself at one point or another: Wouldn’t it be cool if I could make a button that glowed or changed color when the learner’s mouse hovers over it—just to give them a little visual invitation to click?
Well, with Storyline you can do that and more using object states. Storyline gives you the ability to assign states to the objects on your slide, like characters, shapes, and buttons. Objects can have a different appearance based on how your learners interact with them, like a subtle color shift for hovering, or a grayed-out appearance for items they’ve already clicked. Here's a quick video explanation of states...
You can also change a character’s expression or pose based on the learner’s choices, like in this example.
And states can be a handy way to display additional information … similar to how you might use a layer, as in this example.
Pro Tip: Changing object states takes a few more clicks than changing information on a layer, so if you’re working with a lot of content that might change, it may be smarter to keep that content on a layer, rather than part of an object’s state.
Need an easy-to-follow guide for getting up to speed with states? Don’t miss this handy tutorial Storyline 2: Adding and Editing States (although the same information applies to both Storyline 1 and Storyline 360).
3. Swap Copying & Pasting for Slide Masters
Years ago, when I was first creating e-learning in PowerPoint, I would copy and paste objects I wanted on every screen—buttons, for instance.
Then a very good friend (who presumably couldn’t endure the agony of watching me tediously copy and paste everything) clued me in: slide masters are your friend.
And boy was he right! Slide masters are a wonderful feature in PowerPoint and equally helpful in Storyline. That’s because they save you tons of time. With them you can create and apply different layouts to slides with just a few clicks. This means you can spend a few minutes creating a slide content layout with items that need to be globally available, like navigation buttons or a slide header, and then apply it to as many slides as you need throughout your project. Here’s a quick Peek video to walk you through how it works …
For more help on working with slide masters in Storyline, don’t miss this article, Using Slide Masters in Storyline 2.
Pro Tip: Storyline also features the ability to customize feedback masters so all of your quiz feedback can have the same custom look and feel throughout your course. Learn more about working with feedback masters here.
When you’re transitioning into a new, more powerful tool like Storyline, it can be a little intimidating at first, but E-Learning Heroes is your go-to spot for helpful advice, tips, and how-tos to shorten your learning curve. Check it out, starting with some of these handy articles and discussions:
I’ve given you three super-easy swaps to try. What about you? What are your favorite workflow swaps and timesavers? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.