Perhaps you’ve been lurking in the E-Learning Heroes community, reading articles about e-learning design and instructional design, but you haven’t yet used our software. Or maybe your company uses another e-learning authoring tool, but you’re interested in giving our trial a shot to see how it goes.

Whatever compelled you to download the trial, we’re happy you chose to do so. And to ensure it’s a great experience for you, here are four easy tips to maximize your time with the software.

Schedule Time to Use It

We all know how time flies: first you install the free trial, and the next thing you know your 30 days are up before you’ve had a chance to play with it! Avoid this by making sure you have time on your schedule to explore it thoroughly. If the next few weeks are a crunchtime for a huge project and you can barely take a lunch break, it’s probably not the best time to download the trial.

If you DO have openings in your schedule over the next 30 days, it’s wise to go ahead and schedule a few chunks of time into your calendar that you can devote strictly to exploring the trial. Personally, I know that if it’s not on the calendar, I will completely forget about it!

Set Goals for Yourself

A great way to make the most of your trial is to figure out ahead of time what you want to achieve in the first place. Perhaps there’s a specific feature you need to use in the projects you’ll create that you want to test out. Or, maybe you want to use the free trial to create demo courses you can then use to convince your boss you need this software to do your job. Whatever the case may be, identify your goals for downloading this trial and how you’ll accomplish those goals.

Use the Community's Resources

To download the trial, you had to sign up for an Articulate ID account. Your Articulate ID is actually your access to tons of awesome freebies and goodies from Articulate’s E-Learning Heroes community, the world’s largest and most active online e-learning community. Since you’re downloading the trial, you’re probably new to the software and would like some helpful resources to get you productive quickly. Well, you’re in luck: we’ve created and curated boatloads of great content that will help you get rolling as soon you hit the Download Trial button.

First of all, we created this free Articulate Storyline 2 Getting Started E-Book; it walks you through creating your first project, step by step. On our website, we also have this Storyline Product Hub where you can access all our Storyline 2 step-by-step tutorials, read helpful articles, and download free resources, like Storyline 2 templates and course assets. The first time you launch Storyline, you’ll also be prompted with 6 Getting Started video tutorials that are very helpful.

On top of that, if you have a question or get stuck, you can pop into our moderated community forums any time, day or night, and get almost immediate feedback and/or help for your most pressing product questions.

Create Some Cool Demos

While you have access to the software during your free trial, you should take advantage of this to build out a few cool demos or sample courses that you can use in your portfolio. Create a simple tabs interaction about your favorite topic. Get inspired by any of the hundreds of ideas we’ve shared in our Weekly E-Learning Challenges. The point is, you can use this free trial as a chance to create something cool that you can hold onto and show off long after your trial has expired. That’s pretty valuable!

Remember, your free trial is a great (but limited time!) opportunity to explore not only the tool but how you can take advantage of all the valuable (free!) resources and support that Articulate offers its users. Do you have any other tips or tricks that you’d recommend to someone downloading the trial? Let me know in the comments below!

Want to try something you learned here, but don't have Articulate software? Download a free 30-day trial, and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning.

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Jennifer Brown