Is taking a "shell" approach possible in Storyline?

Apr 02, 2015

Hi fellow developers!

We have a need to build a course in one file--which I anticipate is going to be quite large at the end of the day. (I know the ideal is to break it up into smaller files, but that's not an option for reasons I won't bore you with)

In presenter, you could take a "shell" approach, described below. Has anyone successfully done this in Storyline 2?

  1. To manage the publishing of large courses:
    Create a course shell .story file which has placeholders for all screens in all lessons but there will be no content
  2. In this shell you can do all the linking
  3. Do a save as to this shell file and save it into individual .story files for each sections that you are working
  4. Publish the shell separately and publish each section separately
  5. Open the published folder for each section, let’s say section 3 and under data folder copy the swf files for the section 3 slides and paste them in the published folder of the shell file

    Here is a video of what I am talking about:

Many thanks,

5 Replies
Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Gretchen,

I haven't seen folks using this set up in Storyline in regards to copying the data in the published output folder, but I have seen them link directly to the story.html file in the "shell" .story file. All the pieces will still need to be hosted on a server or similar to be able to link to them and access the course elements. 


Ryan Martin

+100 on this!!

This is the approach that Michael Allen takes, and is the only solution for those actually building Activity Based eLearning.

Storyline simply can't handle elearning like this:

And there is no glory using 1 billion triggers & variables in a .story file. (And good luck keeping your sanity when your juggling multiple projects like this.)

Ideally, you want a Menu page that highlights the sections (learning activities). The Menu notes whether a section hasn't been started, in progress, or complete. The section would include a list of learning activities that relate to that section; Sales Process for example.

These learning activities would be intense (from a Trigger / Variable standpoint) to be custom & engaging. Picture my own Broken Co-worker as just a scenario activity within a larger module and you can see how complex this can get.

Alleninteractions' Kaiser Permanente project contains 18 "broken co-worker-like" scenarios. Which makes sense from a real-world learning experience.

They are able to do this because of a "Shell Approach". And Micheal Allen is wicked smaht, and has been building this ways for years -- building the most engaging elearning in the process.

Ashley, can you expand on your solution. Provide a screenr perhaps? (This obviously has me excited if the opportunity exists to develop this way.)



Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Ryan,

I'm not sure how I would set up a screenr on this, but I'll try to write the steps I've seen other users take. 

Each of the individual courses, would be published and place within a hosting solution (web server or similar). Once you've done that you can use the story.html link within the "shell" file, you link a button, object or just text on your menu slide to each of those story.html files. They'll likely open in a new window - not within the regular course player, and since they're all separate course, there won't be tracking between each course or back to the shell course. 

Again, I haven't set it up personally, but I've seen other users discuss it - so currently it's an "in theory" set up. 

Ryan Martin

Hi Ashley. Unfortunately this isn't good.

The main thing is tracking, and more importantly, showing the learner their progress in the SHELL menu.


Hope this is on the roadmap, since it's just smart development. 

One solution is to break up the learning activities into micro-modules, but this will get silly fast and trying to explain this to a client would be, well, difficult.


The other solution is to have the LMS do the locking, unlocking, and progress tracking of "sections" (now micro-activities) ... But again this is unfortunate and due to a limitation of Storyline.

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