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3 Tips to Getting Started with Articulate Storyline

Our team at Endurance Learning recently expanded as we added Lindsay Garcia into our fold.

Over the past year, Lindsay made the leap from k-12 classroom teacher to learning and development professional and has quickly picked up the skills necessary to put together effective, visually engaging elearning courses using Articulate’s suite of rapid development tools.

When I asked Lindsay if she had advice for anyone in a similar situation – anyone who found themselves in a role where they had to quickly pick up Articulate Storyline development skills – this is what she had to say:

Articulate Storyline is the current top dog of eLearning authoring programs. It’s efficient and user-friendly, allowing eLearning to be both visually engaging and interactive, which is probably why most organizations are listing experience in Storyline as a top requirement for eLearning roles. As a newbie, this can be a bit intimidating. I feel you. My master’s program said to pick an authoring program and create a course; no direction given. Luckily, I chose Storyline and taught myself how to use it from the ground up. I’m here to bestow upon you three tips that helped me go from zero to SL Hero.

Templates are Your Friends

This is something I cannot stress enough: Articulate Content Library templates ARE. NOT. THE. ENEMY. There are pros and cons when it comes to the use of templates to create eLearning courses. Here’s my two cents on templates: what’s a more efficient way to learn a program than seeing the program in action? As a novice, I would explore the available templates SL offered and play around with the visual design elements, layouts, and interactions they incorporate. By doing this I taught myself how triggers work (and don’t work) and learned the features and techniques I could use to design eLearning. Should you depend on templates for every course you will make, especially once you’re a pro ID or developer for a big company? No, definitely not. However, templates can help you get your bearings while working within Storyline and provide you with ideas and inspiration when you hit a creative roadblock.

Take Advantage of the Pros

What do we all do when we aren’t sure how to do something? We look it up on the internet. Not sure how to create a freeform drag-and-drop interaction in Storyline? Sure, there’s how-to videos on YouTube.com, but why not learn how to do it from the pros; the people who helped create SL and those who utilize it every day? You can.

Articulate’s E-Learning Heroes community contains a bounty of information focused on Articulate programs, especially Storyline. I stumbled across this community through an internet search and never looked back. Not only does E-Learning Heroes provide answers to specific questions through user discussion boards and blogs, but they also have general eLearning articles for newbies, free downloads (such as templates, assets, and design resources), and challenges users can participate in to engage in the various features of Storyline. As a newbie, you may want to wait on the challenges until you get your feet wet, but I highly recommend you make use of the countless resources E-Learning Heroes offers.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

The numerous features within Storyline and how you utilize them can be the difference between smooth course development and wondering how the clock’s small-hand has moved from the 3 to the 5 and you are still on slide 3 (that clock reference is really revealing my age). Similar to PowerPoint, SL allows you to set themes for your course colors and fonts. You can also set specific shapes and interactive objects, like buttons, to be uniform in color and design within a course by:

  • Right clicking on the preferred object,
  • Clicking “Set as Default”.

Now every time you insert that object, it will be identical to your default object, like magic.

Another feature of SL is the Slide Master. This allows you to build out slide layouts that you can apply within your course with one click. It may be (who’s kidding, IT IS) tedious to set all of these features up beforehand, however you will thank yourself for having theme colors, fonts, and layouts at your fingertips as you develop your courses. Do these steps. Believe me, they will save your time and your sanity.

E-Learning Heroes has a great article on these features and in-depth info on the Slide Master.

There you have it. You, too, can go from zero to Storyline Hero by incorporating these three tips once you dive into Storyline. Leave a comment if you’ve come across any tips you feel a SL newbie could benefit from and/or share some of your eLearning creations. I’d love to learn from you.

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