Recommandations on size of Storyline courses?

Jan 29, 2013

Hello there

I have a one-day classroom course, which I want to make available as eLearning using Storyline. I have 5 powerpoints with appr. 150 slides. Add some demonstrations in the form of screencasts and I will probably end up with 200+ slides.

What is the recommandation? Should I put everything into one big course? If not, what is the recommended size? 

A related question is: Scenes clearly help to organize the slides. How many scenes should one have in a course?

Thanks in advance!

8 Replies
Simon Perkins

Hi Thomas and welcome to the community

With that much material, I'd personally look at how create the best experience for the learner, e..g splitting up into X modules, and how the company wants/needs to track it, e.g. do they need to track an overall score/completion or something more granular along the way?  200 slides is a lot IMO, so I'd definitely look at creating a bunch of more manageable modules.  It's a bit like picking up a trilogy - most people like to have 3 books and work through them 1 at a time.  There's often a stronger sense of progression with that.  Others prefer to have a single tome and just plough through it.  

Only you (or someone else with access to the content) can really answer how many scenes you should use.  It's really just a case of divvying up the content into manageable chunks, e.g. chapters/topics etc.  

Bruce Graham

Hi Thomas,

I would start be ruthlessly answering this question:

"How many of hose slides do I ACTUALLY need"?

Imaging you were paid $10 for EVERY word, image, sentence etc. that you could get rid of - how many slides would you end up with.

Then try the exercise with $100.

Then start to look at how to convert to effective eLearning - which may (in fact...) not use any of them.

Just because it works in a class it may not do so as eLearning, and you need to be prepared for that reality.


Simon Perkins

Yep, Bruce's point is key. Powerpoint can be great when you've a good (or better) tutor delivering in a classroom, but they can be awful when you're 'converting' to elearning.  Many tutors expect/want ALL their slides to be included in the latter, so that needs addressing big time.  

The other thing to figure out is how much content is 'missing', i.e. what does the tutor add to the mix, e.g. stories, anecdotes, case studies, elaboration, Q n A, illustrations/diagrams, etc.  It's not unusual to do a big re-write when 'converting' PPT slides from classroom-based to elearning.

Thomas Frisendal

Thanks guys - for the warm welcome.

My question was more in the technical realm - how big can it get?

I hear what you are saying, and I solemnly swear that I shall not reproduce too many bulletpoint slides in Storyline. Happy?

Anyways - this looks like a great tool. And my stuff is very visual - that is why I can easily take the oath in the line above...

Best regards


Steve Flowers

Hi, Thomas - 

There are definitely technical considerations but I think an "experience rule of thumb" will take care of all of it in a single swoop

When you organize your content elements you'll want to manage attention well and focus on a single concept or skill per lesson. My rule of thumb is 15 or 20 minutes per lesson - MAX. So as you gauge the scale of your packages, think in terms not of slide limits but in "chunks" of the experience that accomplish a building block. Either someone increases their skill in X by Y or they have internalized concept Z and are ready for the next level.

You may end up with more lessons, but in the end you'll have modular building blocks in digestible portions. Each deals with a specific component of skill or mental model building.

If you gauge 1.5 slides per minute (this isn't a good gauge, just an example), you're looking at 10 - 15 slides per lesson. Again, not a good gauge and you're probably more likely to see 15 - 25 slides per modular component.

This small modular component build approach offers advantages in your output builds as well. Smaller files will take less memory and publish faster. You can also easily arrange these differently and in different combinations for different levels of users. More flexibility overall.

I used to build ginormous monstrosities. I stopped doing that when I discovered the way of the small and simple:) Turns out it is better for everyone.

Steve Flowers

To answer your question, how big can it get. I think this depends a lot on the type of media you have in the file. But you could conceivably make something with 500 slides or a combination of slides and layers that is mind-numbingly complex for the developer and the participant This monster file would probably start to display problems with the story view mode and likely has a higher crash potential. It will also take longer to publish and save.

Less is (usually) better

Brett Rockwood

I can give an example of one with nearly 600 slides. It is a compliance-related project in 6 languages with multiple question pools in each language, which greatly adds to the number of slides. Due to LMS limitations we have to serve it up as a single course with a single completion requirement. I haven't had much trouble with the SL file — it seems fairly response when developing the content — but it does take a long time to save and an even longer time to publish...15+ minutes on a fairly standard Win XP workstation. The SL file is about 65 megabytes.

I've organized it into numerous scenes based on the language choice; each language choice is further broken down into different scenes just to help with the organization. It's quite a complex course but it does work.

Given my druthers I'd have made each language a separate course but that just isn't an option for this project.

So can you do a 500 slide file? Yes. Do I recommend it? No.

This discussion is closed. You can start a new discussion or contact Articulate Support.