Do you design in your spare time?

Oct 18, 2018

Just a general thought, I still have so much to learn in the world of ID and every project is still very much a learn curve for me so I was wondering does anyone ever design in their spare time for fun? I would quite like to do this as I could create something that interests me. However I would need a new home computer and storyline doesn't come cheap. 

Would be great to hear anyone elses experiences and they've progressed as an ID.

Thanks Narissa

18 Replies
Regina Stephens

Hi Narissa, I'm an "accidental ID," and I love my job too!

I don't "design" in my spare time, but I am taking the first course of an online certificate program from the University of California at Irvine on eLearning and Instructional Design. It starts with the fundamentals of learning theories, writing objectives, and assessments, etc. It's really great, and satisfies my need to be creative and keep learning. 

Joanne Chen

Hi Narissa, technically I don't design just for fun. I design for testing my ability or the limitation of a software in my spare time but it has to be fun. Here are two examples I designed in my spare time for the above purpose and had a lot of fun when creating them. 

Multiplication game 

Guess my number game



Ridvan  Saglam

Hi Narissa, 

I kind of design something for fun in my spare time. When I see something nice created by other developers, I try to mimic it. Actually, e-learning challenges are great fun. As long as I have time, I share my examples, and if I can't find time to create something, I prepare a quick storyboard and prepare a rough design to complete it later. 



Nancy Woinoski

I work a lot, but always find time to design for fun. I do this mostly to experiment with new ideas that I might want to include in my work someday, to try out new tools and to push my skills to the next level.

I also take Ridvan's approach. If I see something neat on the web I try and recreate it in Storyline. 

Here is one example:


Nancy Woinoski

Thanks, Joanne, there is a lot going on in this demo but no AI - just a lot of JavaScript.  I didn't document how I did this but should. It might take a book instead of a blog.

I set up 2 arrays in JavaScript - one containing a ton of words and phrases that you might find in a nice response and another one containing words and phrases that you might find in a mean response. There is also some JavaScript to capture what the user types on the keyboard and send it to the code that checks it against the arrays (it took me a while to figure out how to capture the emojis but they work too).  If it finds words in the mean array, I branch the learner to a video of the girl being upset, if nice then to one of her being happy. I also set up a third branch with a more neutral response if the user typed something that is not in either array.


Simon Perkins

Hi Narissa

Once upon a time - going back 8-10 years - I had this thing called 'time on my hands' and a desire to get into ID.  That was a hugely committed and productive period for messing with tools, building courses, experimenting with different ID models and so on (eg Cathy Moore's Action Mapping Blueprint anyone?)  Fortunately I had a very supportive MD who enabled me to spend a fair bit of my day-to-day routine focusing on the same transition.    

I remember looking up to a number of people in the field - many of this very parish - who had been established for years and wondering how I was going to get to that place.  And my take away - 10 years on - is that there are always more things to learn.  Just look at an end-to-end project lifecycle; TNA, scoping, mapping, content gathering, "filling in the gaps", storyboarding, branding, templating, drafting, reviewing, redrafting, piloting, launching, gathering feedback, evaluating, measuring, improving ... and so it goes on.  

Sure it takes times ... so IMO it's important to keep chipping away where you can.  And to do so with passion.  And have fun. 

This community is an amazing place to use as your base ... the weekly challenges are incredibly helpful for developing various skills and building / reverse-engineering interactions ... and the blogs / articles / resources are super helpful too.

As for that 'time on my hands', I really have no idea what that is anymore!

Keith Lillico


I am different in most in the way I think. I do not design for fun on my off time, but my mind is always in design mode. I spend a lot of time on here and/or other L&D websites looking at training and deconstructing it. If it is a course built in Storyline I try to figure out how it was built (e.g., if they used triggers, variables, states, ect..). There are a 1000 ways to do everything in Storyline, and I have found that thinking through how I would do something is often better than seeing how someone else did it. There have been many times when a coworker and myself could not figure out how to build something, and we mapped out the triggers and variables on a whiteboard so we could figure out how they would go.

There are also some organizations out there like Designers for Learning that work with a new ID and pair them with non-profits and mentors to help them build their skill.

Also another but not so economical option. I do not see it advertised a lot. (I think I actually had to get on support chat and ask them) but Articulate does offer a student discount if you are enrolled in school. It's still very pricey but if I remember right it was about half the cost. If you could find a way to do a few freelance projects that may offset the cost. But that's often easier said than done.


Good Luck

Joanne Chen

Hi Zoe,

The video was made by Plotagon. As to multiplication game, it's a bit complex to explain how I built it. I created it several years ago in SL2. So I create a question bank with all posible one-digit multiplication and set 10 levels from easy to difficult calculating in 10 slides drawing questions from the question bank. But I think I might be able to create it with new random function in SL360 without using a question bank. I think it will be easier for me to explain the "how" if you point out a specific part/function in the multiplication game you like to know.

Taya Kristo

Hello, Narissa

I`m pretty much in the beginning of my journey and have unending sense of urgency to learn so I always design or read domain relevant literature in my free time.

By the way, if you are enrolled to any online course at the accredited university or you are a student its possible to get storyline with discount(I believe, since i checked only for articulate 360)

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