"Custom Shows" in Storyline?

Forgive my PowerPoint parlance, but does Storyline have a built-in feature like Custom Shows? Here's my  scenario: I need to present all the slides in more or less sequential order, but then at the conclusion of the first pass, evaluate which sets of slides need to be reviewed in another pass. Some slides are included in multiple sets. For instance, if you missed the question on slide 12, then you need to review slides 6 - 14; if you missed the question on slide 16, then you need to review slides 8 - 10 and 16 - 20.

I've managed to do it "the hard way," using a bunch of custom variables, which I set when a given question is answered correctly and then parse at the end of the pass to determine how to circle the user back through the slides during the next pass. Basically, I read any relevant variables at the start of a given slide's timeline. For instance, slide 6 would need to know whether you've previously answered the question on slide 12 correctly during the previous pass, but slide 8 would need to know about slides 12 and 16. If you don't need to see it, then we go to the next slide automatically. It's mind-numbingly convoluted, but I couldn't see any other way to make it happen.

It would be really nifty to have custom shows for this purpose. Since I know ahead of time which slides go together, so I could just say if you missed the question on slide 12, you need to see custom show X, which contains slides 6 - 14, and be done with it. That would be a lot easier to manage than manually querying hundreds of individual slides.

Of course, I'm open to any suggestions. Can something like this be done with scenes and I'm just missing it? It would seem that scenes might be a potential candidate, except you can't have a slide shared across multiple scenes. Thanks!

7 Replies
Bob Wiker

Seems like scenes fit into the solution somewhere here. Maybe the way to do it would be to create your overall main sequence of slides, then duplicate & drag the necessary slides into their own scene(s). For example:

  1. Create slides 1-30
  2. Duplicate & drag slides 6,7, 9, 10 into Scene A
  3. Duplicate & drag slides 3,5,8 into Scene B
  4. Duplicate & drag slides 16-20 into Scene C
  5. Duplicate & drag slides 16-19, 22, 24 into Scene D
  6. Set up navigation to/from main sequence and your Scenes accordingly.

If/when your content changes you'd have to re-duplicate and re-drag the updated slides to your subordinate Scenes, but that would likely take less time than other convoluted and script-based solutions.

Tip: To document what you're doing for the sake of others who might work on your project (or even for yourself 12 months from now!) create a Scene titled "Developers Notes" and put this sort of info on a slide in that scene. Leave the scene disconnected from any other part of the course. Voila. You'll be a hero next time the course needs updating or changes.

Greg Edwards

@Mike, because our content developer decided that some slides support multiple questions (as in my example, slides 8 - 10 support the questions on slides 12 and 16), we need to present those when either question is missed. So, if I used scenes to compartmentalize my content, some slides would need to be in multiple scenes. And I can't always rely on those supporting slides falling sequentially before or after the question to which they relate.

@Bob, that's a good point about just duplicating those slides to simplify navigation. I really dislike the idea of having to manage changes across duplicates, as it's a pretty common need for us to change and correct details (e.g., charts, films, labs) used throughout our scenarios. But you're absolutely right that it would streamline development. Right now, I have so many hand-offs from one specific slide to another that I can't really re-sequence anything without breaking something else. I'll consider your approach next time I build one of these.

Oh, and I really like your idea about the Developer's Note slide! +1

Mike Taylor

I can see how keeping track of updates to all the duplicated slides could be a challenge 8-) Being able to reuse content slides the way you're thinking of would make a great feature request.

For the other part of your question, you could use variables and conditions to make the review only go to the sections related to missed questions.  Here is a previous conversation along these lines. That thread has a demo, sample file and a great screenr to help with the logic that makes it all work.

Bob Wiker

No need to perform the same update(s) to duplicate slides! Here's what to do:

When content changes on a slide, make the changes to the slide and then copy-and-replace that entire slide in all other scenes that use it. For example, let's say you make changes to slide 14 in your main content sequence. After updating slide 14, copy-and-(re)place the entire slide into scenes that have duplicates of slide 14 --- let's say Scene 3 / slide 4, Scene 4 / slide 2, and Scene 5 / slide 6. Takes 60 seconds or less to do the copy-and-paste in Story View.

To me, it's easier to do the copy-and-(re)place of entire slides than it is to manage and keep track of all those variables and triggers and what-not. I find it's faster, too, than doing all the initial variable-and-trigger setup. And, if anyone ever has to modify one of your lessons I find this architecture easier to work with than a collection of variables-and-triggers to have to unravel.