Time to be proficient in Studio/Storyline

Apr 03, 2014

Does anyone have a rough no. of hours it takes to become highly skilled in Articulate Storyline and Studio?

I'm aware of Omniplex training which holds a 3 day course in the UK but that would be around 20 odd hours total.

So enough to get a foundation to build on.

I'm curious about how many hours of creation and experimentation and learning you would need to get to an upper-intermediate and then advanced level.

I'm sure this is reflected more in the quality of courses produced and the amazing technical and design ability that members of the E-Learning Heroes community possess.

This isn't a question looking for a shortcut. If it takes 300 to 3000 hours then I can understand that.

I'm also aware that Storyline and Studio are different products.

Thank you to the community and all replies are appreciated.


31 Replies
Phil Mayor

Hi Nicholas, I would estimate that I have spent about 5000+ hours working in Storyline, a year a go I would say I was working at an advanced level.  Now I would say I am better than last year.

I think you can get proficient in Storyline in about 4 weeks, Intermediate/advanced in about six  months, it all depends on what you are building and what you need storyline to do.  Some people may never step beyond Beginner/proficient because they do not need those skills.

Studio requires you to learn 3 or four different programs, personally I think the learning curve is a bit steeper.  This is of course reduced if you already have good ppt skills, if however you are do not have ppt skills I would start with Storyline.

Nick n/a

Thanks for your great reply Phil.

5000+ hours is impressive. Just...wow. .

How many hours a day would you say would be good to develop intermediate/advanced skills over six months?

It seems that clients would prefer Studio as well as Storyline hence my question. But yes I agree that Storyline would be easier to pick up.

You can create an awful lot with just ppt I've found and I have met IDs who preferred that as an initial tool for building.

Joshua Roberts

Well if you believe the theory of 10,000 hours to become a master - then a long long time. Phil's assessment there indicates decent time frames for feeling as though you are accomplished using the software.

Again it's probably a good idea to identify just how proficient you need/want to become with the software and attempt to find your niche within it.

Glad you're going to get going though Nicholas!

Nick n/a

Joshua Roberts said:

Again it's probably a good idea to identify just how proficient you need/want to become with the software and attempt to find your niche within it.

I'm looking at that option. I haven't yet determined the level of proficiency needed just yet and will have to build that into a development plan.

Thank you for your encouragement Joshua.

Bruce Graham


As above - how good do you want to be?

5000 hours only takes 8 hours a day for 300 days a year - and as a freelancer that is not a lot really.

I would reckon I do 10-12 hours a day, 6 days a week, and have done for 5+ years, so 15,000 hours on all Articulate products combined. Some days I feel like a beginner when I read posts from my colleagues here....this is not some sort of ego-trip, just trying to answer your question as realistically as I can.

When you start to do this as a profession, you have to learn not only the product, but how to APPLY it.

It might take you a couple of weeks to learn, for example, markers, but it may take months and months of different courses to see the possibilities of using each feature, and how to use them.

I am just about feeling proficient in how to use videos - not only the technicalities, but WHEN to use them. I am now creating and using them in virtually every course I build, in fact - one course I have just completed, (on Creativity...) uses videos on just about every "slide" of each of the 6 modules. It took some work to convince the client it would work, but he bought in and had totally "gone for it".

There are no "equations", no formulae, no "time periods". You can be as good as they come at the products, and get no work, if being a freelancer is your plan. There is more to it than just a tick in the box. That is why I absolutely HATE certificates for attending courses. So what?

Make sure the development plan has more in it than just the delivery tool.

Bruce Graham

In that case, I'd refer you back to http://community.articulate.com/forums/t/16452.aspx

Only you can answer how long it will take you. You will become the person who sets the criteria "basic/intermediate and advanced".

It's not like they can be defined - compared to about 10 people I could mention I do not even consider myself a BEGINNER compared to them, but I am way more "advanced" in certain things that are related to the product. I do not believe that the 2 areas can be divorced.

Only you will know whether to specialise in Storyline, or Studio, or both, or something else. Clients want whatever you sell to them, I would not make any assumptions about what they want.

As soon as you use words like "expert", they will challenge you, they WILL catch you out, and your reputation will plummet. Nevrr sell based on you, sell based on how you can help THEM and THEIR BUSINESS NEEDS.

Only you will know when you are "proficient" enough to be able to sell yourself successfully, based on a SPECIFIC niche that you want to create and inhabit.

As I said in my earlier post - there are no real "definitives",  no "formulae", nor "recommended levels" of anything in business. Business is about having a vision, selling a vision, delivering on the vision, delighting on the vision, and being able to constantly amend yourself and your business to meet new visions.

I am not trying to detract from this career - I had a great day yesterday, "having fun" for a living, but I solved business issues without trying to or having to explain my "level" of expertise. It just feels to me like you are trying to get answers to a question which I do not recognise as realistic for a potential freelancer. I would rather try and be honest as far as I see it.

"If you keep too busy learning the tricks of the trade, you may never learn the trade." (John Wooden)

Jerson  Campos

You can spend 3,000 hours or you can spend 3,00,000 hours. I don't think the time really matters. You can spend all the time you want, but if you are only building the same type of functions and modules you'll never really be an expert. On top of that you really have to understand the concepts of what you are trying to build and understand how the software works. I think the passion behind what you want to learn is more important.  For me I love to learn new software and I always try to push my talents. It's kind of like that saying about life. "It's not how long you've lived, but how you've lived."  Well with learning "It not how long you've trained, but how you've trained."

Tim Slade

I think it really depends on the type of content you're working with. In some situations, if you have to force yourself to go experiment with the features that you don't normally work with. For example, up to a couple months ago, I had hardly used the screen recording features in Storyline. So, I had to force myself to go play with it. 

So, I don't know if I Can equate it to a number of hours. I still learn new things about Storyline/Studio everyday.


Nick n/a

@Bruce, I've bookmarked the Freelance Heroes thread and continue to re-read through it as it grows. Thank for your for your feedback and as usual it is appreciated. I do take note of responses to questions and don't take them lightly. My question is aimed at getting a rough idea rather then a 100% clear answer. I'm not trying to put levels on anyone here so perhaps my previous wording was incorrect.

@Jerson, passion and loving what you do does help I agree.

@Tim, it is hard to equate no. of hours=experience level. I know this from personal experience learning. I've spent almost four years doing something and yet my 'level' hasn't improved as fast at others but my experience has. Forcing yourself out of your comfort zone is necessary sometimes.

Bruce Graham


Many of us who work as freelancers did not plan for it; we fell into it for a variety of reasons, (me through redundancy). We had to do a simple thing, often quite quickly – match our skills to the marketplace, and find a way to sell that met our financial targets and aspirations.

I feel you are trying to ask too many questions about how to succeed, rather than determining what you will DO to succeed, and then doing it, and asking advice when you need it, to check or to change course quickly. Focus on added value rather than skill levels.

So you plan to invest xx hours in learning Storyline. Then what? Storyline v2 has been launched and you are back where you started because there are 200 new features that you want to learn and become “highly skilled” in. It worries me somewhat that you seem so cautious in all the questions you ask, caution is not something that, (IMHO) is necessarily conducive to being a successful freelancer.

Running a successful business, any business, (including freelancing) may involve a large degree of risk and agility. We live in a risk/reward environment, only moderated by how much risk and reward you want. Small, agile companies (to a point…) have the advantage over large lumbering companies that cannot turnaround.  I got a call yesterday from a company that has SEEN what I can do. They do not care how many hours I spent learning, they see how the Venn diagrams of their requirements and my skills overlap, and we are now negotiating. A large % of the work I get as a freelancer comes from people reading my posts here, and sharing my vision of how eLearning should be. It is just not based on “skill level”, (although you obviously need a modicum of technical competency, or know where to source it when needed.).

I have produced 5 SL-based courses that are going to be presented via a 3rd party to a client. The market, upon success could be between 100 and 400 more. No-one asked about “hours”, or “skill levels”. We just have business visions that match. The courses are on a subject that is so heavy, so dull (in a way) that no-one has ever considered training it using eLearning in a cartoon format before. We chanced it – and we believe that it paid off, with a POC product that is light, fun, yet COMPLETELY factual and based on realistic scenarios.

That is called business vision, and self-belief. It does not rely on any of the “How many?”, “How long?” sort of questions that you seem to be trying to answer. There are no certainties, only suggestions. You said to @Jerson that "passion and loving what you do does help". For a freelancer it is so much more than that - it is what keeps you going and driving forward. You need to develop that understanding a long time before choosing what tool(s) you will work in, because it is that that drives the contracting "spirit" - not your "level", subjectively defined, of skill.

Nancy Woinoski

Hi Nicholas I was just wondering if you have started using Storyline yet because once you do I think you'll have a  better idea of how long it is going to take for you to become proficient. Everyone is different so asking someone else how long it took them probably won't help you that much.  I also want to add that being proficient in a tool is only half the battle when it comes to creating great courses.

Holly MacDonald

My 2 cents...make sure you have a good set of basics and that you are a fast learner. Take Phil's estimate of 4 weeks - invest that time and then you have to GET projects. It's more important to know if it's possible to do something than how to do it in all honesty. If you get the work, you'll figure it out. 

The rest you will learn with each project and through your own self-development. Some stuff you might have to learn just for the fun of it. 

If it were me, I'd map out a personal development plan and set some monthly goals, allocate a certain amount of hours to it. But it should be secondary to getting work.

Hope that helps,


Ashley Chiasson

I second the opinions of Bruce and Holly in that you need to be agile and a fast learner. This is especially important in any technology driven industry. I've worked at many organizations where you've had to hit the ground running (so to speak) in that a client may have specified a technology that no one has much experience in...and you're 4 weeks from a deliverable. This is where continual learning comes in - never stagnate in your learning. Especially if you want to be an efficient, effective, and highly-sought after freelancer! 

Jeff Kortenbosch

Nicholas, as mentioned earlier, one of the best ways to get good (at whatever it is you want in life) is to start doing it. Now you may think you need projects for that but RIGHT HERE in our great community David Anderson hosts the weekly elearning challenge. It is a great list of projects you can start on and learn to use Storyline in ways you probably would not have came up with yourself.

I try to spend 1-3 hrs a week, depending on my week, on the challenge. Not all I do is finished, somethimes it's a partially completed concept but it's all about learning new things, adapting new ideas and learning from others.

I've learned the basics from all the blog-posts, tutorials and great examples in the community. But I really started to expand my thinking by participating in the challenges.

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