Enhance Your E-Learning Courses with stock Images and VideosWhen it comes to the visual design of your e-learning projects, you’ve probably found that sourcing free stock image assets is one of the most time-consuming tasks in your workflow. Between figuring out what you need and then hunting it down, you can easily lose several hours out of your day.

Does this process look familiar?

  1. Identify the images you need.
  2. Navigate out of your project and fire up your web browser.
  3. Start searching for the right free image for your course.
  4. Find a free image that works. Then consider important follow-up questions, like:
    • Is this image really “free”?
    • Is it safe to use for commercial purposes?
    • What are the attribution requirements?
    • Can I safely download from this site or will my company’s firewall block me?
  5. Depending on your answers to Question 4, either download the image or return to Step 3.
  6. Once you’ve found a suitable image and successfully downloaded it, you need to go back into your authoring tool of choice and insert the image into your project.
  7. Several weeks later, when a reviewer wants a different image, you’ll start the process over again at Step 1.


Following this process, you’re at least six steps in before you’re ready to drop an image into your course. It’s no wonder you probably feel like sourcing graphics is a big hassle!

It’s for all these reasons and more that I’m certain you’ll love the 10.3+ million stock images and videos just added to Content Library, which you can access right from within Storyline 360. Here’s how it works:

  1. In Storyline 360, click on a slide to open it and then go to the Insert menu. You’ll see a host of new options under the “Content Library” grouping. From here you can select Photos, Illustrations, Icons, or Videos.

    New Stock Images & Videos in Content Library
  2. Type search terms into the “Start searching now” field and hit Enter.

    Type Search Terms and Hit Enter
  3. Once you’ve found just the right image, click to select it and then click the “Insert” button to insert it into your project.

    Select Image and Hit Insert Button

That’s it! No need to leave Storyline. No sweating that download file. No worrying about paying for course assets. No stressing out about copyright or attribution requirements, since all of the images in Articulate 360 are free and clear to use. Woot! You just streamlined your workflow and saved yourself a bunch of clicks … and you didn’t have to spend anything to do it.

Ideas for Using Stock Images and Videos in Your Projects

Having access to stock images and videos built right into Storyline 360 is more than a huge time-saver; it’s also a great resource for sparking creative ideas. In fact, I’m finding all sorts of cool new uses for them in my projects. Here are just a few ideas that come to mind…

  1. Think like a film director and use free stock video to set the stage for a scenario interaction. You can get away with a much less detailed scenario backdrop when you’ve already established that your scene takes place in an office setting, for instance. Check out this quick example I put together to demonstrate how you can use free stock assets to achieve this effect.
  2. Want to add a graphic to an object’s state to show that it’s been viewed/completed? Now you’ve got a huge assortment of vector graphics you can add to objects—checkmarks, an X, or a star, for instance.

    Add vector graphic to object state
    New to Storyline 360? Learn all about working with object states in this handy Storyline tutorial.

  3. Give your course a professional look by combining stock photos and vector graphics. If you’re not quite sure how to pull it off, try mimicking an example like the one pictured below.

    Example of combining stock images

    Or, snag this free download from Montse Anderson, which features a simple but sophisticated mix of photos and vector images with a tabs layout.

  4. Sometimes all you need is a nice background image that’s on message with the theme of your project. Stock photos are wonderful for this! For example, the following layout features a free background photo of veggies—the perfect backdrop for a slide on healthy eating.

    Free stock images as background

Nifty ideas, right? And these are just a few ways to take advantage of the new assets available in Content Library; there are countless more ways to make these free assets work for you.

How do you see yourself using the new stock images and videos? Share your ideas in a comment below. And we’d love for you to follow us on Twitter, where we post the latest and greatest news about everything e-learning.

Want to try something you learned here, but don't have Articulate software? Get a free 30-day trial of Articulate 360 to check out Content Library, Storyline 360, and more. Also, be sure to come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning.