Limitations of the Rise Scenario Block for Building Branching Scenarios

Jun 02, 2020

Hi there,

I just thought that I'd jot down a little commentary on my experience in using Rise 360 for building branching scenarios.

I worked with clinical subject matter experts to plan, map out and test medical consultation training scenarios. We made a lot of use of the Twine tool for design and prototyping.

It was then time to make the scenarios far more presentable and appealing to medical trainees and I was very happy to learn that Rise had a ready-made Scenario block that I could use for branching scenarios. I have developed e-learning in Storyline and I wasn't very keen on building branching scenarios and the associated behind-the-scene measures in Storyline from ground up. (Some of you may have keyed in on the last part of the previous sentence and you may even be thinking: "Rise? Variables? Oh oh...!". That's the beauty of hindsight!)

I attended training webinars on Rise and then sat down to represent one of the easier medical scenarios using that beautiful tool. Below, I have listed the brick walls I subsequently ran into after hours of exploration. I would love for feedback from you that says "You are doing it wrong! It IS possible! This is how you do that …!"

1. I needed characters to represent patients with appropriate expressions of pain, confusion, relief, querying, etc. Unfortunately, the Rise scenario block gives me access to only a limited subset of the characters available in Storyline. These available characters are adults in work suits, medical scrubs and workman’s gear. Which is a bit of a downer when I need to represent an 80 year old or a 10 year old patient! The youngest character available in the Rise scenario block looks at least 19 years old so it’s a bit of a believability stretch to use her in paediatric scenarios! (And the "negative" and "stressed" expressions on any of the characters just look like the character has received a paper cut or is stuck on a particularly difficult crossword clue).

2. Even if I used one of the working age adult characters as a patient, Rise insists on showing their full body – wearing their work suit, casual outfit or doctor’s apparel, etc. This is quite limiting when I need to represent patients who normally wear hospital gowns in wards rather than building construction gear. There is no option to show just the head and shoulders – which may have helped somewhat as even the oldest Rise characters are dressed as if they have just stepped out of a board meeting.

3. I can understand the reluctance to have photographic child characters in the Articulate content library, but why are there no illustrated child characters? Such pondering was irrelevant as I found that the Rise scenario block does not permit me to use ANY illustrated characters in any case!

4. OK, forget the Rise characters – I thought that I could work around the above limitations by using my own pictures of patients (from my organisation’s set of stock images) as uploaded replacements for the Rise Scenario background. Alas – the background image in Rise scenario blocks is BLURRED! And I can't hide nor delete the mandatory chippy chirpy happy Rise character in their work outfit in any case.

5. The 200 character limit to the scenario text and feedback, and 150 character limit to available responses. OK, I understand that those limits are probably to do with making Rise Scenarios automatically mobile-friendly. But … if I mention one drug name and a medical condition in a response then there's suddenly no more room for the rest of my sentence! I feel that such text limitations should be lifted when a particular e-learning course is not intended for use on mobile devices. 

6. No apparent means of implementing variables. This is the biggest show-stopper for me regarding using the Rise Scenario block (and probably Rise itself) for implementing branching scenarios. I need to track and measure the time, cost and patient care management factors resulting from a clinician's decision-making as they traverse the scenario. These are vital to scoring and feedback.

I guess the above issues mean I will have to forget Rise and instead use Storyline (or competing product: Smartbuilder) to build my branching scenarios. That's not a rhetorical statement - I would like to be contradicted! We did all of the hard work in designing, mapping and testing our branching scenarios and had hoped that implementation would be the easiest phase!  


13 Replies
Karl Muller

When Articulate released the Scenario block, we were very excited to start using it.

As the features and functions of this block type were largely unknown to us, we decided to create a rapid prototype. We needed a proof of concept to validate that Rise could deliver what we needed without putting a lot of initial development resources into it.

The scenario we created for the prototype was very small but representative of what we hoped to achieve functionally.

We built the scenario and documented any functional deficiencies we found as we went along. We evaluated the result as a team, and as the scenario was far from what we required, we reworked the design to match the way Rise scenarios worked. Then we built two more variations and evaluated them.

No matter what we did, we could not fully implement our design despite making some uncomfortable compromises. The Rise scenario block lacked some very fundamental functionality and imposed limitations, many of which you have described.

Within the space of two days it became very clear that the Rise Scenario block did not meet our requirements. As we were unable to demonstrate a successful proof of concept to management, we decided not to use the Rise Scenario block at all.

Fortunately we were able to come to this determination at negligible cost to our organization. 

Many Rise users have created successful scenarios, but it's not the right tool for us.

Karl Muller

Hi Margaret,

For anyone evaluating Rise, the free trial account is a huge advantage.

As I noted above, the way to evaluate Rise is to build a course (or a part of it) that is representative of the features and functions you require.

Build blocks of each type and learn how they work and what they can and cannot do. There is no perfect eLearning tool out there, so some compromise will be required, but determine what is essential and what you can live without. Using a set of criteria is highly recommended.

If you are more technically inclined, many shortcomings in Rise can be supplemented by Storyline. But the learning curve for this tool is steep.

Good luck with your evaluation.

Math Notermans

One small, but annoying lack is the fact that when you want to paste text into Rise scenario scenes, responses DO NOT get any visual feedback when your text is too long for the given max amount. Thus then pasting fails and you keep wondering...

Why does my text not paste ?

There really should be some warning telling you you exceed the max amount... 

Paul Tottle

Likewise, the Rise scenarios are too simple for my basic needs. But I do like their motion graphics. I've just gone through the Storyline templates and there's nothing anywhere as fun as the Rise one.  Strange.  The Rise one has mobile messaging-like animation of the text. We need some updated Storyline templates!

Oh, darn. Back to building from scratch again.