Any suggestions for a "ghost" character within a story line?

Need to create a course and was thinking of a theme that would require one participating character be off the slides (because my character choices are all too young). My thought was to present the content of the story with a SME advising a family elder (grandfather, uncle, etc.) about a particular insurance product. So I need a youngish character which is no problem - however, finding an older character is my challenge.

I thought maybe I could have the older person be off "screen" if you will asking questions and have the SME be on the "screen" providing the answers. The other caveat is to develop the course without using audio.

Any suggestions or ideas of a way to make that viable or other ideas? Would love to hear from others!!!

8 Replies
Greg Faust

Let me see if I'm understanding--

You want two characters: a Subject Matter Expert (SME) and an older person

The SME is explaining insurance products to the older person

The character sets you have don't include any old-looking characters

To deal with this, you're considering having the older person's questions appear from offscreen (perhaps as word bubbles or something else), so the SME character is the only one we see.

Is that right?

diane clark

Yes Greg, you have it correct.

Another thought was to have a man with his back to the slide for the slides when he has questions and then not have him be on the other slides. My only issue with this format is I don’t think the Storyline characters are dressed this casually.

I've attached an example of a possibility.

Greg Faust

I'd start with the question: Why use characters at all? I don't mean that to be snide; by understanding what the characters are meant to accomplish, it sometimes becomes clearer how best to implement the characters.

Who is going to be watching this presentation? Are you trying to educate would-be insurance salespersons? Or are you trying to inform/persuade potential customers about the benefits of the insurance products you have to offer? If this is a marketing thing, you should consider seeking input from a marketing/psychology expert. For example, I know that television commercials get a lot of attention paid to the appearance (wardrobe, race, gender) of the characters in them, because the company wants as many people as possible to feel like they relate to the smiling people endorsing the product. I personally don't know enough about those kinds of details to help you.

Greg Faust

I've been thinking about this, and I remembered reading this and this. If they're old news to you, I apologize; I found them helpful, though.

In the context of informing about insurance, I wonder whether there isn't some way to help the learner visualize the tangible consequences of the insurance. Maybe I'm starting to understand your original question better; you're looking to show a productive conversation between the Subject Matter Expert and the potential buyer.

If I have that right, you could, instead of using characters, use stock photos of old people. Is your client an insurance company? I'd ask them whether they have stock photos available for your use (presumably they've created pamphlets and the like in the past). Failing that, there's no shortage of websites willing to sell stock photos for commercial use. I personally find the prices of such sites to be quite reasonable once I consider how long it would take me to go out and take my own pictures.

Anyway, those are some thoughts. I hope they're helpful, or, if they aren't helpful, I hope you come up with something anyway.

diane clark

Thanks Greg for the feedback and the links. I had seen them before but it was good to refresh the concepts of keeing the focus in the right area.

The primary audiences for the course is not for sales or marketing to clients, it's for internal staff such as a team of customer service folks who service the product after it's sold. That's why I was thinking a story/scenario/case study type of approach to build a thread line through the content and make it more relatable to the learner. In addtion, my thought was to have learners see why they might need to know about the product even outside the workplace to build engagement. That may be overly ambitious!

I'm trying to avoid a data dump approach but I also don't want it to be too busy or distracting. I've created other courses in the past with individual pictures of senior citizens and received feedback that the impact was just ok and that it seemed distracting.

So I'll try a couple of approaches and see how it goes.

Thank you SO much for the input and perspective!!

John Wagner

By now you may have already finished your course, or solved the age character problem, but just in case there might be others with the same issue, http://www.elearningart.com/ has tons of characters in all different ages and positions and expressions, including from the back, that are excellent to use with the in-house Articulate characters. Their price is very reasonable for an annual subscription. They also have some backgrounds, and settings that are quite good.