If you’re like me, you’re psyched about the 360° images feature in Storyline 360 and can’t wait to try it out! You’ve probably found the article on how to find and create 360° images and are ready to start using them in your next Storyline 360 project. But before you begin, there are some things you should think through. Like, when does it make sense to use 360° images in your courses? Also, should you let learners navigate freely or would it be better to guide them through your 360° image? 

Thinking through these questions before developing your course will help ensure your 360° images support your learning objectives. After all, you don’t want to use them just for the sake of it! Doing that could confuse your learners or, worse, distract them from the information you want them to learn.

In this article, we’ll talk about how to use 360° images intentionally in your e-learning and give you some tips on how to plan for them before you actually dive into course development.

1. Consider the Instructional Value

Whenever you’re deciding how to present e-learning content, it’s important to keep your learning objectives in mind. And when it comes to 360° images, it’s no different. For example, maybe you’re creating an onboarding course and you want to teach learners the office layout before their first day. In this case, a virtual office tour using 360° images is perfect! But if your objective is to teach something like basic negotiation skills, adding a 360° image might take away from the core content instead of adding value. 

Here are some questions to help you decide if it makes sense to use a 360° image in your next project:

  • How does using a 360° image support your learning objectives? For example, if you’re onboarding an employee and your goal is for them to know where to go on their first day, using a 360° image for an office tour could be very helpful. 
  • Does the content need a physical location for context? For example, a course on identifying security risks for frontline workers would greatly benefit from the context of a 360° image. However, if your course is on, say, the basics of negotiation, using a 360° probably isn’t as helpful.
  • Is this course on hard skills or soft skills? Using 360° images in courses that address hard skills—like identifying physical security risks—can be really helpful. However, for courses on soft skills—like leadership—they might be less appropriate. 
  • Does the course prepare the learner for a high-risk situation? If so, 360° images can be a helpful way to introduce these concepts in a safe environment. 

The answers to these questions will help you decide the best way to present your content—whether it’s with a 360° image or something else entirely!

2. Think Through the Basics

Once you’ve decided that an immersive 360° interaction is the solution, it’s time to plan it out. Here are some questions you’ll want to consider:

  • What 360° image(s) do you need?
  • Will you take your own 360° photos or look for stock images? 
  • What content will you include in the 360° interaction? 
  • Will you use markers or hotspots? 
  • Will you include any media elements in your markers or hotspots (videos, images, audio, etc.)? 

Answering these questions will help you start to picture the end result and think about what you need to get there.

3. Choose a Navigation Style

When planning your immersive experience, one of the most important decisions is whether to let learners navigate freely or guide them through in a specific order. To decide which navigation style makes the most sense for your project, ask yourself the following questions. 

  • Does the sequence of the content matter? For example, is there a procedure or process learners must follow? If the order matters, then guided navigation makes the most sense.
  • Are you using 360° images to create a branching learning experience? For example, if you’re presenting learners with a couple of choices, and then depending on the choice leading them to another 360° image, free navigation is probably a safe bet. 
  • Will your learners benefit from a trial-and-error experience? If so, then free navigation might be the way to go.

Once you’ve made a navigation decision, be sure to explain to learners how it works. Remember: this might be the first time your learners are seeing a 360° image, so it’s important to help them understand how to interact with it. You might also want to include transitional phrases like “up next” and “in this lesson” to help learners understand they’re entering or exiting a 360° interaction.

Wrap-Up

The 360° image feature is a great way to create immersive, custom interactivity. The tips in this article will help you create 360° experiences that are as impactful as they are interactive! 

Excited about using 360° images in your next course but not sure how to create them in Storyline 360? Check out the links below. 

And if you’re looking for inspiration, be sure to check out all the awesome examples created by members of the community in this E-Learning Challenge: 36 Interactive 360° Image Examples in E-Learning

Want to try building a 360° interaction, but don’t have Storyline 360? Start a free 60-day trial of Articulate 360 and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning. If you have any questions, please share them in the comments.

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