Keeping good documentation

Feb 01, 2018

Hello E-Learning Heroes Community!

I'm wondering if any of you have best practices to share about how you document your Storyline content? Let's just say that you are the Storyline developer and you just released your elearning product! Do you spend time during or afterwards to document the project?  If you were hit by a bus tomorrow (sorry to be morbid!), how do others know how to take over the elearning (if changes need to be made, etc.)? Of course, the new developers are able to look at your .story file. They may have a storyboard to show design outline (which may have changed during development).

Would love to hear your practices on documenting! Thank you!  

4 Replies
Phil Mayor

Anything Complicated i document with off slide shapes, all javascript that I use is commented.

I know of people who use the notes field.

I have picked up quite a few other peoples work to edit and normally only take 20-30 minutes to work out, the most complicated one took a few hours, I quite like seeing the different ways people can build things.

Ray Cole

Like Phil and Matthew, I put off-slide text boxes on some slides to leave a quick note for future developers (or for my future self, in case the task of updating the course falls to me). But I'm working on a course which is a lot more trigger-heavy right now, and I'm finding my usual practice of off-screen notes to be inadequate. I am thinking of doing a screen recorded walk-through of the trickier parts of the code.

I wish the trigger panel allowed us to put comments alongside the triggers. I wish I could "AND" actions together in a trigger analogously to how I can combine conditionals. E.g., "Adjust variable X to 10.0 AND jump to Slide 2.4 when user clicks if X >50 AND X < 100". I feel that one thing that makes triggers hard to read is when multiple actions are controlled by the same conditions, but I have to use a separate trigger for each one. If we could group them together, the code would be a lot easier to read, and it would simplify other issues too (like, when you have to adjust the trigger order, these groups of like-conditioned triggers would move together as a unit).



Renee Schuh

Thank you Phil, Mathew and Ray! Y'all are speaking my language completely. I can relate 1 million percent with Ray and Mathew's comment about the trigger panel. Like you Ray, I'm working with a ton (probably close to what you mentioned - I haven't counted but I wouldn't be surprised). It's for this reason I started this conversation. Gosh, if we could edit triggers by text/ changer... Dreaming... Thanks again for your comments!

Ray Cole

Renee, I feel your pain. It was actually Matthew who gave a number-of-triggers estimate, not me. But that number got me curious about my own projects' trigger-counts, so I took a look at a pair of projects that I'm working on that are near completion. I went through each layer of each slide and counted the triggers. I'm almost embarrassed to admit to the numbers.

  • Project 1: just over 800 triggers (This one's a choose-your-own-adventure type course)
  • Project 2: over 1600 triggers (This one's a simulation of an office that allows learners to explore what's plugged in where, to examine the labels on devices, and to solve electrical problems by changing where things are plugged in or, in some cases, unplugging them completely).

When projects get up around a few hundred triggers or more (I originally wrote "1000 triggers or more," but to Matthew's point, I think you do start to notice issues at a few hundred triggers), that's when you really start to wish for features like combined actions, comments, import/export, the ability to copy and paste multiple triggers at once, etc.

It gets really difficult (and tedious) to work with the trigger panel when there are 50 or more triggers on a layer. Even the way the panel scrolls (jerkily, not smoothly) can become a problem because it makes you lose your place as you are scrolling through a long trigger list looking for a bug or comparing it against a similar list on another button, slide, or layer.

Despite all that, I still feel it is worth the effort to create performance-oriented courses where learners must demonstrate that they can put knowledge into practice in realistic situations. Sure, it's much easier to create courses where the narrator reads slide after slide to the learner followed by a multiple choice quiz, but despite being easier to implement, that kind of course just has such limited instructional value that it is hard to justify wasting anyone's time on it. It is awesome that Storyline gives us the power to create performance-oriented e-learning. Now we just need a few improvements to make the task of developing these courses go more smoothly.



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