New to products and frustrated

Dec 16, 2013

I have been doing the tutorials for weeks and attempting to master these product applications.  I am frustrated and need help. I am attempting to build an event planning course and not doing well.  Does anyone know someone or anyone that knows articulate and can help me get the template and course going? 

7 Replies
Bruce Graham

Hi Cyndi - and welcome to the community.


First - take a deep breath - any (powerful) product takes a little while to master

Secondly - given that you are doing the Tutorials already, what specifics are you getting stuck on? Try to figure out what is the first thing you need help with?

Do you need "technical" help, or do you need "design" help?

If you can post what you have got, it will be easier for us to show you ways to work with it.

Try not to get too frustrated, we are all here to help you along here, once again...welcome.

Cary Glenn

Hi Cyndi, don't worry about perfection for now. Your first course will probably suck, I know mine did. Start off with getting the information and practices onto the screen. I wouldn't worry about resource pages and masters slides yet. Go to Insert >>New Slide >> Basic Layout. Always keep in mind the end goal, by the end of this course the learning will be able to do ...

Break the information into small chunks and arrange them into some kind of logical order. I've written the chunks onto sticky notes and then rearranged the topics until I've found the a suitable way to present the information. Write up some realistic scenarios for people to practice.

Once you are done. Start over again. Then start dealing with master slides etc.

Kimberly Read

Hi Cyndi, When I'm designing I like to start with thinking about what I want learners to practice. I try not to get bogged down in how to develop the interaction when designing - I save the how step for later. Instead I concentrate on visually creating a mock up of the content I want learners to interact with.

For example, if a learning objective is to be able to sequence event planning tasks (just making this up here - maybe like "book location, arrange for entertainment, create guest list, decide menu) and you want them to practice, then maybe the practice could be a drag and drop interaction so they can sequence tasks into the correct priority order. So, if it were me I would create the content for the priority list of things to do when event planning and find some images that would be visually appealing and support the content (maybe like a clipboard).

Then I would work backwards from that practice and ask myself - what does the learner need to know in order to sucessfully complete this interaction? Then I would script audio and create a section of the course that teaches the correct priority order (and why). When I sequence the course I have that instruction precede the interaction (but when I design I create the interaction first).

The whole development step is easier for me once I have solidified plans for the content. During development if there is an effect or interaction I don't know how to create then I Google my specific questions as I develop. This keeps me from getting lost in the sheer amount of training available on the Articulate boards. That way I'm not just randomly watching "how to" videos all day long, instead I'm looking up what I need to learn at the time I need to learn it.

Hope this helps and that all goes well with your project.

Stephanie Harnett

Do you have an outline of the topics completed? Is your content written and on a storyboard in some fashion (I.e.; do you understand the flow of topics)?

If yes, then take a look at the storyboard and identify what you think might be 5 or 6 common layouts. For example, you might have 2 layouts for content slides, a layout for a home slide, 2 layouts for quiz slides and maybe another for summary or key point slides. Create those as master slides and make them devoid of color or graphics for the moment. Then assemble your content into slides using those layouts. If there is a natural separation in topics (i.e.; lesson 1, lesson 2, etc..) you may want to organize the slides into logical scenes.

From this point, you can begin to finesse by creating a custom color theme, font theme and adjusting the master layouts to make the information look a bit better. You'll have to figure out what text stays on-screen, what is animated, what is narrated. Hopefully some of those ideas have already been expressed in your storyboard. If not, you might want to hold on developing further until you examine your content and determine the right balance of media.

Pure graphic design really doesn't need to come at the beginning of a project. It can be applied later after you know you've got your content in a good, balanced state. You can pick up on a design theme by looking at the clients website or some of their other presentations and print materials and as a starting point, just mimic this in Storyline. 

Steve Flowers

Great advice here. Kimberly's advice is really key. Think about practice first. Practice is the gateway to feedback. The relationship between practice and feedback is the stuff that makes training crash or fly. Here's a sequence I recommend to folks working through to objectives from a presentation I gave a few years ago. Some folks tend to jump arbitrarily to objectives, playing verb darts on Bloom's taxonomy. This makes it much harder to tie meaningful interactions to objectives. Starting with practice / performance is a much better way to go.

Cathy Moore uses a process she calls action mapping. This is another way to prioritize actions above information.

Crafting a vision and building a plan that can be executed can be really challenging. I think what you're experiencing isn't so much frustration with the tools as a misunderstanding of what those tools can actually do to help propel you through the process. Tools can help. But they get in the way if you don't know exactly how the tools can help you reach the goal.

Remove the development tools from the picture for a bit. Grab a piece of paper and a pencil, or a set of index cards. Once you can draw a diagram of the flow of the experience, write up some brief narrative that sells the flow in a way that you yourself would buy it, once you have the concept you're probably ready to crank up the computer and start crafting some sequences and prototypes. Once you have it in your head and some rough documentation outlined in a tangible form... now the tools can help.

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