Help training about variables

Jun 04, 2014


I am looking for resources for training my department in general variable use.  I am working with a group that has classroom experience and basic web-design, but are intimidated by the complexity of variables.  My goal is to give them some basic scenarios to become comfortable with using variables, so they can use them in their own projects.

Does anyone know of any documents, resources, or scenarios they have used to teach people about what variables to use and when to use them?

Thank you,


5 Replies
Phil Mayor

I am not sure if you need a resource, variables are a way of storing and passing information.  Iwould look at running through some real world senarios with them e.g.

Build a menu that unlocks as you progress through the course 

Build a certificate or other course element with the users name in 

Build a data entry slide

Build a game with scoring

Build a progress meter

Post to twitter from within a course

I think most users will find building these examples will explain what variables are and how the can be used.

Jackie Van Nice

Hi Stephen!

Phil's suggestions are really good. He's right - if you just keep it simple and build one small example of each kind of object I think the ideas will start flowing.

You didn't mention basic training on variables, but there are 6 simple tutorials right here on the site that will walk you through each one. I turn to them to refresh my memory as needed:

And of course there's always the Storyline showcase that has some good inspirational examples of what you can do with variables - the description of each will tell you whether variables were used:

Steve Flowers

Here's an example that illustrates how to change a number variable, how to display the variable in a %reference%, how to setup a listener for one variable to change the value of another, and how to listen to a value to change the state of an object. Could be helpful to pull things apart and see how they work.

Jerson  Campos

Honestly, I would ease them in and start them with what variables are (in storyline). A variable is a symbol that can have different values. In storyline there are three types of variables.

  •  Text - This can store any combination of letters and numbers ( i don't think you can store special characters)
  • Numbers - Can only store numbers ( this allows you to add, subtract, multiply, and divide)
  • True/False - Can only have two values,  True or False.

You can also think of variables as Jars with labels on the outside and stuff stored inside.

The type of variable is the type of jar. For this scenario you can only store certain things in the three different types of jars. One jar you can only store buttons, the other jar you can only store bugs, and the last jar you can only store peanut butter or jelly, not both (True or false).

The labels would be the name of the variable. It makes things easier if the name of the variable applies to what it stores. If you are going to put beetles in one jar, it won't help you later on if you just label it "Jar01" (or variable01). Since you might change the content, in this case the bug, you can label it "Bugs".

The content, or values, of the jar can be changed at any time, but you can only have one value at a time. Think of the bugs as carnivores and they eat the previous occupant. If you need to do math equations, then make sure you create the numbers variable.

Here are some examples for the different type of variables

Text - : User name or text response

Numbers - Quiz Score, Slide numbers

True/False -Track if the user completed a slide or activity.

Just my two cents.

Alphonso Hendricks

Hi Stephen

Not sure of age group you engaging in your department.

Here are a few things I learnt about variables while using Articulate:

  • If initial value of variable is set to 0, then you cant multiply or divide that variable to change its value - you must add or subtract. 
  • If initial value of variable is set to 1, then you its mostly best to multiply or divide that variable to change its value, although you also add or subtract. 
  • to square the value of a variable, you simply alter the variables value by multiplying it by itself.
  • to take the square root of a variable - you start of by guessing as close to the square root as you can, then divide the variable by that guess, then add that guess to the answer obtained and finally divide by 1/2. (this is the main problem with Articulate and variables - they expect science and maths teachers to be restricted to adding, subtracting, dividing and multiplying - hence the involved process for determining the square root of a number)
  • And finally, I learnt that you can have a number variable called x. Then you can alter the variable by adding 7 to it and still end up calling the variable x (even though, now it is x + 7). To make peace with this concept I think of myself. I'm a variable called Alphonso and if my weight increases by 7kg, I am still essentially Alphonso.

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