There are many reasons to love the Story View feature in Articulate Storyline, a few of which I’ve recently shared (check out how to use Story View for organizing and arranging your content and six ways to save time customizing your slide design in Story View). This time I’d like to show you how Story View can help you manage the flow of your course, making it “branch-tastic.”
When building courses, especially those with branched navigation, building and keeping track of all the potential paths learners could take is a huge challenge. However, when working in Story View, you have a bird’s-eye view of the action, and so can see paths and outcomes more easily. This helps you avoid sinking unnecessary time and energy into navigating out of dead ends and rabbit holes as you develop your project.
Seeing the Big Picture
Story View’s big-picture perspective lets you view the relationships between your scenes and slides in a single place, so you can better establish and track the layout and flow of your project.
Similar to reading a map, when you’re building a learning path through your course, the two most important things to know are your starting point and your destination.
The starting scene that learners see when they launch the course has a small green flag next to its title. It will always be the top left scene in Story View. To change the starting scene, just select the scene you want your learners to start with and click Set as Starting Scene on the Home tab.
The lines and arrows you see in Story View represent the potential paths a learner can take through the course. They clearly show all the existing connections between slides and scenes.
In Story View, you can adjust how much of your project, and what level of detail, you are able to see. This is especially helpful as your project grows and you’re managing a lot of content.
One way to get an even better view is to expand or collapse scenes. You can click the minus sign in the upper right of any scene to collapse it so more of your course fits on the Story View screen. Or, click the plus sign to expand a scene for a more detailed, slide-level view of the project. A quick shortcut to collapse or expand all your scenes at the same time is to right-click in the Story View workspace and choose Collapse all scenes or Expand all scenes.
In addition to expanding and collapsing scenes, you can adjust how much detail you see using the display zoom level. Simply move the slider control located in the lower right corner of your screen and your layout will zoom in or out.
Selecting a slide in Story View displays all the possible pathways originating from it as blue arrows, so you can track outcomes more easily. You can even click these blue arrows to update the associated trigger and redirect where that particular branch takes the learner.
Managing Navigation Triggers
Story View also comes in handy when you want to customize two types of navigation triggers: the on-screen button triggers that you create, and those available in the built-in Storyline player. For example, when you let learners choose where to go by selecting custom on-screen buttons, it could be really confusing for them to also see a “Next” button on the player. The “Next” button would simply move them to the next sequential slide, defeating the purpose of branched navigation.
As you can see below, Story View lets you work with both custom slide triggers and player-related slide properties in a single view. To keep them in sync, simply add or edit triggers associated with the selected slide in the trigger panel, and configure slide-level player elements in the slide properties panel.
Because Story View provides both a high-level overview as well as slide-level details, including triggers and player elements, it’s the best way to wrap your brain around all the connections in your course. Trust me, this kind of perspective is critical to your sanity when you want to make sure everything works perfectly!
Story View can also help you identify potential trouble spots with your navigation. In addition to visually confirming that your links connect to the right slides, you can look for dead-end slides, as indicated by the link symbol pictured below.
The flow of your course is a critical aspect of any e-learning project. So take advantage of the perspective Story View gives you. It will save you time and frustration building perfectly branch-tastic courses!
Post by Mike Taylor
If you want to try this yourself but don’t have Storyline, no problem. Just sign up for a fully functional, free 30-day trial. And don’t forget to post your questions and comments in the forums! We’re here to help. For more e-learning tips, examples, and downloads, follow us on Twitter.