My Latest "Music Video-Like" Experiment [Demo]

Need some feedback on a prototype that I'm working on . . .

For my former employer, I have a small Storyline project to develop a module on leaders as developers of their people.  The company recently instituted development planning for all employees (separate now from annual performance planning) and this new module will be part of the new resources for management to help get them up-to-speed as developers of talent.

During the Storyline beta, I did two music videos for fun.  But I've always wanted to take that experience and, if possible, in the right circumstances, apply what I learned in a e-learning course in a way that works.

So I've been playing around with the following introductory "music montage" piece as a first prototype for my client.  I've seen the technique done before and am not sure what it is called (a type of mash-up?).


Normally I start a course and get right to the WIIFM to, among other things, encourage learner engagement and to get things moving.  This is a more "leisurely WIIFM," almost "reflective shock and awe" to get the learner to buy into why this course's topic is important. 

Questions--does the intro work?  Is it too much? I wanted it shorter but it "felt right" to be as long as the musical piece that I'm using. Normally I might use something like this at the end of a course instead of the beginning.

I like the fact that a Storyline project can be effective without a lot of fancy programming--just the right choice of material and some timeline and simple graphics magic to tell a message.  I could have done this in PowerPoint and exported as a movie but I wanted to do as much as I could in Storyline itself.  Also, the timeline was a life-saver.

(Disclaimer:  My client has not seen this prototype yet so it may or may not be something they approve or adopt.  However, everything used in the intro is public knowledge.)

Thanks for any feedback.

[Updated May 23:  Link to Demo v2 - thanks again everyone for all the wonderful feedback.]

41 Replies
Jeanette Brooks

Really nice, Gerry! I like the simplicity of the black/white/grayscale images. I also liked the way you used the zoom area about midway through. I found myself wanting a seekbar so that I could back up and re-read some of the items, and also so that I could see how far I'd progressed into the sequence. Also, I noticed the Credits link on the top bar of the player didn't seem to open anything.

Phil Mayor

I Like that Gerry, I like the black (I also notice its not pure black, nice) and white.  There are a few changes I would make (only a few and only minor).

On the slide you have a lot of quotes/descriptions.  I would cut these down to one per slide, with much larger text.

I would also highlight some key bits in the text in colour (I did notice you did this a couple of times).

Overall it is really nice, gives me some good ideas. Thanks for sharing

Gerry Wasiluk

@Jeanette:  Excellent point about the seekbar.  Makes great sense.  I just added one but because the "video" is one slide with a base layer and three layers (to accommodate the single audio track), it doesn't scrub through correctly.  Things get out of sync.  Bug?  May have to be everything on the base layer and not use layers.

The Credits link was a placeholder for future content, but I've added a lightbox slide now to accommodate that.

@Phil:  Thanks--will review and take a crack at some of your suggestions.

As always, appreciate the GREAT feedback!

Gerry Wasiluk

Bruce Graham said:

With a couple of minor exceptions - I LOVE THIS.

  • The slide that starts "Poor Succession Planning" I would like to see as several slides, or better still, infographics.
  • Whilst statements are interesting, I would love to see the addition of something that makes it "real" to them. "Do you know what you willl do when each person in your department leaves?".


THANKS for the ideas, Bruce.   

Got some infographics examples that might inspire me?  I've never done something like that before.

Yes, yes, on the second point.  Actually, that will hit them immediately in the "regular" course content, which I still have to finish up.  Want to save that for then. 

The sponsor also wants two videos from two senior executives in the course--in the the usual corporate style as talking head.  I may be challenged there to make them interesting but I got a couple of ideas there I'm excited to try.

Gerry Wasiluk

Phil Mayor said:

After watching that again, I am more impressed. 

I think I was half asleep last night and didnt do an autopsy on how it was done

The first thing that came into my head today was, how did Gerry keep the same music play over many slides, then I realised this was one slide!

Well done,

Thanks.  I used many layers at first to keep things simpler and so I could focus on a single sequence (gee, I would have loved to have just a layer preview for that ) .  Then I transferred the layers to the base slide.

I did keep three layers but when I realized the seekbar, that Jeanette wisely suggested above, to be accurate needed just the base layer, I transferred them also over to the base layer.

Rebecca Fleisch Cordeiro

Hi Gerry,

Great message. You sure convinced me!

Taking a stab here at my reactions.


  • The music. For me, it felt well-matched to the topic.
  • The B&W/grey. Felt quiet and serious. Made me want to watch more. And listen more.
  • The montage of people at the beginning with the zoom in. One of these people could be me (what's in it for me)
  • The text color and zoom in w/text color to reinforce the main point (signaling).
  • The addition of the seekbar (it was already there by the time I watched, but in reading through the comments I saw that it was added after JB's suggestion)

Bothered by

  • The speed of the text appearance. I'm aware I'm the only one who's commented on that, and that it could be me, but since I've been considered a "fast" reader, I thought I'd at least mention it. I needed more time to absorb the message. Arguably, I could pause/replay (but do I "want to"/ should I "have to"...the I being the Learner, not me specifically  .
  • Text animating in, for example here: "People cannot be expected to learn on expertise and just apply it routinely..."  I was very distracted when new text was animating in as I was still reading. May go back to bullet one, and only be me. In any case, I would have preferred either less animations, or maybe none at all, or maybe a fade?

Wondering about

Spatial contiguity. On the (Layer?) part that begins "Poor succession planning" I liked that the photos lined up at the bottom, but as each person faded in at the bottom, my eye was drawn away from the text, to the photo, back to the text, back to the next photo, etc.

Felt like I was working hard to go back and forth...extraneous processing? I was wondering if they could fade in near each piece of text and then maybe line up at the bottom after. Note that The 2nd and 3rd time through, it didn't bother me as much, but at that point I "knew" the material.

Hope you keep sharing. I'm learning so much from others' comments and breaking it down myself. Thank you.

Gerry Wasiluk

Excellent feedback, Rebecca.    That's exactly what i was looking for.  This is a first-time effect for me and I appreciate it. I tend to over complicate things some times so simplification possibilities are very helpful.

Will be making some adjustments in the next few days.  For one, want to consider doing the infographics that Bruce suggested in the sequence that you were wondering about.

Just love this community . . .

Rebecca Fleisch Cordeiro

Gerry, so glad it was helpful. When communication is simply through text, it can feel so critical. I contemplated not posting. Then I thought, well, but, he clearly wants feedback or wouldn't have requested it. And he'll see that I put time into it, watch it 3 feedback is thoughtful and constructive, not meant to be critical and negative. Very much looking forward to seeing progress!

Gerry Wasiluk

Rebecca Fleisch Cordeiro said:

Gerry, so glad it was helpful. When communication is simply through text, it can feel so critical. I contemplated not posting. Then I thought, well, but, he clearly wants feedback or wouldn't have requested it. And he'll see that I put time into it, watch it 3 feedback is thoughtful and constructive, not meant to be critical and negative. Very much looking forward to seeing progress!

Thanks, again.  You're GREAT!

Yes, when I ask for feedback, I clearly want it.    It's how I managed my team before I retired--everyone has something to add and that free flowing of ideas and viewpoints needs to be nurtured, encouraged, and treasured.  No one of us had to have all the answers but together as a team we should know most of them--or where to find them.

Feel the same about this community. 

I've made a couple of more minor tweaks from your suggestions and I'll show them later.  I've been working on the first content slides in the prototype and I'm deviated a bit from what I was given in the sponsor's PowerPoint.  That went right into a video of the VP and completely ignored the WIIFM that Bruce called out.

Gerry Wasiluk

Steve Flowers said:

Cool, Gerry. I noticed something strange on my end (Chrome on Mac) when I closed the window in the middle of the presentation. The music continued to play after the window was closed. Think it bust be a Flash player bobble on my end. Scratched my head for a bit wondering if you were being tricky with another window playing the music

Me, tricky???? 

I've noticed the same thing in one other earlier SL course i was working on, though I've not seen it lately.  Trying to remember if seeing that was before a current Flash player update????

Jill McNair

Hi Gerry,

I thought this prototype is great.  I think that it will grab the learners' attention and give them the message, "here's what we're going to learn about"  It's a unique way to communicate the learning objectives and build motivation (e.g. "you're right - I don't know how to do this!")

I am in agreement with all the other feedback, and here's my 2 cents:


  • IMHO, I would change the text highlight color.  Pink conveys calmness/softness to me, but I think that you are looking to convey boldness/strength here.  I think that using your same orange highlight color would work, or a darker shade of red - just not a pastel color.
  • I found myself wondering who some of the quote authors are, e.g. Agha Hasan Abedi, Larry Bossidy, which distracted from my concentration on the information.  Consider adding their titles/company or book they've written.
  • I was looking for you to make this about the learner and tie this into the course, e.g. we told you that it's a big mistake not to do this kind of planning, but don't worry, we're going to show you how."  Or a challenge to learners - if we asked you now for your (succession/employee development) plan, would you have one?  By the end of this course you will."  Also do you have a cool stats where 3M's rates are much better than the scary national stats you shared because you train your managers so well?  

RE: George Gilder quote slide

  • The highlight  of the phrase, "lifelong cycle of learning" shows up after the entire quote has loaded, which seemed a bit distracting - calling my eyes back there when I was still reading the final words of the quote.  Think that it would be better to have it appear highlighted from the beginning.  
  • Also, you change the image after the quote loads to a a very similar image.  All I noticed initially was the fade out-fade in (which I thought might be an error).  I kept reviewing and reviewing this and finally noticed that the picture changed.  Since it's not obvious, I would consider simplifying the slide by eliminating the second picture.

RE: "poor succession planning" slide

  • I know that you are thinking about reworking the layers starting with "poor succession planning...", so this idea might not apply anymore, but if you are going to keep the five images of the people at the bottom, I think that it would make a more powerful point (based on slide content) for the people to disappear, rather than appear.    
  • Also, the smaller font was a jolt from the larger fonts used on the earlier pages.  My brain said, "oh no - lots of reading coming up" when the first line appeared.  I think that if you are going for the "music-video-like" experience, you cannot have any slides with lots of words on them.
  • If you are considering the infographic route, here's a bunch of examples curated by our very own David Anderson.  
  • If you are not considering this route, just consider putting each point on it's own layer with a larger font.

All right Gerry, I think that this is a nickel or dimes-worth.  Hope it helps!