Bat signal/ SOS/ Course help/ Barter

Sep 25, 2013

Hello friends,

This is a make-it-work or loose my job moment.  And I'm hoping someone can help.  

Months ago I took on a project to create a new Security Awareness course.  I met with the SMEs, proposed ideas, did my research and then.... completely froze.  Completely and inexplicably locked-up.   Since it was the first big project that was put in my lap to do from start to finish, I was afraid of telling anyone that I was stuck and had no idea what to do.  I've started and finished lots of other little projects since then with no problem.  All the while, those around me thought this was getting done.  And in my head I kept saying, "Just do it.  Get it done."    But I didn't.  Couldn't.   

Yesterday, the reality set in.    My colleague and friend found me out and gave me a come-to-jesus talk.  This program needs to be out by October 15.  Which means it needs to be beta-tested next week.   And if it's not, there's almost no doubt the reaction I would get from my superior. 

I'm asking for your help.  If there is anyone reading this who has a Security Awareness program that you would feel comfortable sharing that I could tweak to fit our needs, PLEASE send me a private message.  Or even if you only have scenes or sections that you would be willing to offer, please send me a private message. 

I would be more than grateful.  (literally)  I would like to offer my services to anyone who can help. 

In return for any help you can give, I will offer pro-bono freelance Storyline work in any form you need (creating and setting triggers, content editing, creating interactions, etc) for any programs you're working on.  You can see some of my work in other posts I've put on here.  

I'm praying for the best.  Preparing for the worst.

p.s.  If you believe that getting fired is what I deserve, please keep those comments private.  

6 Replies
Natalia Mueller

Hi Kevin,

First of all, breathe. You can do this. You DO have the time. I know you didn't ask for advice but since I don't have a file to give you that's all I have to offer. Couple of things, get some more time back if you can. A beta test period can be much shorter than that, especially in an urgent situation. Resist the urge to start at the beginning and develop each slide to completion. You'll give yourself an ulcer.

There IS a way. What is your company's standard for courses? Are they accustomed to top of the line interactions and navigation or are there still plenty of click-n-reads around? Scale yourself back to their standards. Consider creating a totally bare bones, linear course all the way through completion. Use a community template for your palette and just get the content in there as text. I bet you can have it finished in 2 days. Now - bear with me - this is obviously not what you want to turn in. But once you have a fully functional (albeit naked) version of the course, you can treat it as your storyboard and begin to take passes (or iterations) through it. During each iteration keep the course fully functional and add to it with each version.Save each version separately. This way you can blow the whistle at any time and have a completed course. This is much better than having 5 beautiful and interactive slides that you can't use because the course isn't finished. This is just based off of what software developers have been doing for ages. It works.

The beauty of this method is you can start breathing as soon as the first iteration is complete because then you look at all the time left as opportunity to just keep making it better. I'm also willing to bet that your stakeholders are actually happy with the results of one of the early iterations vs. our ID standards that would take 6 months. 

Or maybe someone will just give you a file. We all deserve to have our hides saved at least once. But if that doesn't happen, take heart. You do have enough time to make this happen. You don't have to reinvent the content (or design) wheel.Plus you have a weekend. Use it. It's worth your sanity.

All the best to you,


Vasily Ingogly

If it were me, I'd google "security awareness course free" or "security awareness course download", find an existing course you can adapt, and ask the permission of the owners to use if (offering them money if needed to get the permission).

Another option might be to search,, and for individuals/companies that have "security training" listed as an area of expertise, and create a crash project with one of them to develop something quickly.

Bob S


You aren't the first to do this, and you won't be the last.

Natalie is about as spot-on as it gets here. Her answer is perfection and exactly the approach I would take. I've coached ID's through this exact situation before. You just have to take the first step. 

Couple of other specific steps to keep in mind...

  • Take the first step... now... .right now... 
  • Go back to basics and just start outlining. You've met with the SME's you have enough to start.
  • If changes are needed later, or more information emerges, incorporate it. But GET THE OUTLINE DONE NOW... TODAY

Now you have a plan to work against. Huge stress relief.... trust me. That pit in your stomach will shrink, because now it's "just" work.... and you know how to do that.

  • Next, develop a simple, repeatable template. Quick and dirty. Or grab one as Natalie suggested.
  • Make a couple of tweaks, but keep it simple and clean so you can flow any type of content into it.

Now you have a plan and a shell to start banging slides out. Just do that. All night, all weekend. Get the first pass done.

The pit will diminish further. Now you can go back tweak, add, tweak, readd, to make it "better".

  • Focus on the easy wins for the tweaks
  • Focus on the ones you have a "vision" for already
  • Skip the ones that are harder, or you aren't sure how to pull off yet
  • Tweak up till the very last minute knowing that if you don't get the tweak done, you already have something to roll for beta.

It's a lot of work. It's a lot of cofee. It's a lot of stress.  But you CAN do this.... start now.

Good luck and let us know how you triumphed once the beta rolls,


Phil Mayor

I think you have plenty of time, as natalia says, the beta test period needs to shrink.

Look at what you have previously built can you reuse some of those interactions?

Storyline has iunteractions built in can those be repurposed?

There are plenty of interactions on here (Montse shares some great ones).  Along with Tom David and Mike repurpose those.

You have 17 days in effect to get this built, get something built and in beta testing, take stock, do some building whilst the beta test is going on.

You need to break this up into small tasks and complete each one.

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