Articulate Storyline 2

From E-Learning Faculty Modules


Contents

Module Summary

To design digital learning objects, instructional designers use various types of authoring tools. These authoring tools have a range of enablements (capabilities).

Design enablements: Foremost are the actual design capabilities. These include what may be built with the tool: embedded multimedia, branching sequences, customizations, design look-and-feels, record-capturing, and deployment (via websites, learning management systems, and other spaces). Another important design enablement involves the various versions of files that may be output by the authoring tool. One of the important output features involves “wrappers” not only with metadata about the learning object but also functionalities for data collection about how users are interacting with the stand-alone digital learning object (in addition to quantitative grade collection); more specifically, this is in reference to SCORM (sharable content object reference model) compliance and Tin Can API compliance.

Also critical is the backend ease-of-design and development.

The more capabilities there are to a tool, the more buttons and sliders and click boxes, which also means the greater the chances of unintended settings (depending on defaults). This is why it is important to have templating for building learning objects when using more complex authoring tools.

Cloud aspects: Some makers of authoring tools also enable the hosting of their learning objects on their own site (like SoftChalk Create). The cloud hosting enables full tool functionality (and delivery on a variety of websites) and full data capturing.

Support: Another competitive differentiator involves the level of support for users of the tool. The supports include tutorials, help documentation, and the maintenance of supportive online communities.


Takeaways

Learners will...

  • Explore some of the design affordances of Articulate Storyline 2
  • View some of the characters that may be used in Articulate Storyline 2 learning objects
  • Explore how to use Articulate Replay (screen recorder) content in an Articulate Storyline 2 learning object
  • Consider some constructive ways to approach design in Articulate Storyline 2
  • Understand some of the benefits of the online Articulate E-Learning Heroes community


Module Pretest

1. What is Articulate Storyline 2? What are some of its affordances as an authoring tool for digital learning objects?

2. What are illustrated or photographic characters that may be used in Articulate Storyline 2?

3. What is Articulate Replay? How does it enable the capturing of screen casts (screen-based video broadcasts)?

4. What are constructive ways to set up the work before going to Articulate Storyline 2?

5. What are some of the benefits of the online Articulate E-Learning Heroes community?


Main Contents

This area describes some of the features of Articulate Storyline 2 and Articulate Replay.

1. What is Articulate Storyline 2? What are some of its affordances as an authoring tool for digital learning objects?

Articulate Storyline 2 is an authoring tool that enables the creation of interactive digital learning objects. In the terminology of this software tool, digital learning objects (or stand-alone short trainings) are “scenes” which are comprised of generally sequential “slides.” A digital learning object may contain a number of scenes and slides and various paths through those scenes.

As with most such tools, this software enables the integration of a variety of multimedia—screenshots and digital images, audio files, video files, and text—into a coherent interactive learning object. The learning object may contain interactive quiz elements, which may be set to capture performance information.

The learning may be experienced in a sequential way or in a navigable way (through a menu bar), based on the fairly distinctive Articulate Storyline player. This player may also integrate a Resources feature, which enables the capture and download of resource-type files, such as in .docx or .pdf formats.

Based on how learners respond to particular answers to questions, they may be sent along different paths in the learning object. This is enabled by the uses of pre-created triggers or newly-created triggers—which are “states” which when realized lead to particular outcomes. Some common triggers include navigating between slides, playing particular media, restarting the course, going to a URL, or printing the results of a quiz. Unique sequences of behaviors may be created in Articulate Storyline 2, and there is a “Show Conditions” feature in the Trigger Wizard to add metadata about that particular sequence. (As with authoring tools, it’s a good idea to create learning sequences primed for re-use, so developers do not have to “reinvent the wheel”.) Some triggers show “animations” or a change of state based on certain conditionals being met.

Also, this tool enables branching to create some types of customized learning. (This branching is displayed in an in-tool visual storyboard, give provide a light overview of the built-in sequencing.)


Image:CommonTriggersScreenshot.jpg


Variables may be defined and used to customize the digital learning object, such as using a learner’s submitted name later in the training or filling in a certificate field with a person’s full submitted name.

A major affordance includes the ability to create a digital learning object once and then deploy it on a number of different websites and learning management systems (LMSes). In particular, if score-keeping may be desirable (such as on LMSes and massive open online courses MOOCs), Articulate Storyline 2 enables contents to be output using SCORM 1.2 or SCORM 2004 or the Tin Can API standards. “SCORM” refers to the sharable content object reference model, and more may be explored about that in the following article: “Sharable Content Object Reference Model” (SCORM) on Wikipedia. Also, there is information on the Tin Can API Tin Can API Home Page.

The files output by Articulate Storyline 2 is that it enables file outputs in Flash, HTML 5, Android, and iOS (for mobile-friendly contents)--to enable consumption of the contents across the Web and various mobile devices' operating systems.

The following images show the Articulate Storyline 2 landing page and then the new project starting scene.


Image:ArticulateStorylineLandingPage.jpg


Image:NewProjectStartingScene.jpg


2. What are illustrated or photographic characters that may be used in Articulate Storyline 2?


In the educational context, the software tool also comes with a free character bundle in either illustrated or photographic form. The characters may be seen in close-ups, torso, and full-body views. They come in various diverse representational forms, emotions, and positional stances.


Image:AnIllustratedCharacter.jpg


Image:APhotographicCharacter.jpg


3. What is Articulate Replay? How does it enable the capturing of screen casts (screen-based video broadcasts)?

Another tool in the educational bundle includes a screen recorder, Articulate Replay (a desktop client). As with other screen recorders, Replay enables an individual to simultaneously capture video and audio from both the computer screen (Channel A) and the web cam (Channel B). This video may be edited within Articulate Replay to showcase either Channel A or B based on the timelines at the bottom of the tool (or this may be done in real-time through drag-and-drop features). The built-in transitions are automated and smooth; they are also editable. Additional screencasts, videos, audio clips, imagery, and other multimedia elements may be further integrated. Lower-thirds (text-based graphic overlays at the bottom of the video screen) may be added to the Articulate Replay-created videos. Videos are output as .mp4s (a very common compressed format for online videos).


Image:GettingStartedArticulateReplayLandingScreen.jpg


Image:ArticulateReplayNewProject.jpg


4. What are constructive ways to set up the work before going to Articulate Storyline 2?


Different instructional designers and development teams have different preferred work approaches.

Generally, it helps to “paper prototype” the learning sequence and the learning objects within that sequence, to research the necessary content information, to draft the learning objects, to create the draft artwork, to storyboard the contents, and to create a quick mock-up. This mockup may be critiqued within the team…before anything is built.

Of course, all contents have to be legal—which means that intellectual property should be respected, privacy rights respected (are all media releases properly signed?), and accessibility built into the learning object (are all online contents compliant with Section 508?).

It may help to take notes about constructive ways to increase work efficiencies in building in Articulate Storyline 2.


5. What are some of the benefits of the online Articulate E-Learning Heroes community?


The Articulate E-Learning Heroes online community is a creative and active group of those who design online learning, and they often share creative methods for using the software tool. Beyond creative applications, they actually have members who provide insightful and supportive answers to queries—and these interchanges may be found using Google or some other search engine.


Examples

There are some examples of digital learning objects created using Articulate Storyline 2 that are “in the wild.” Some of the most effective ones are created by instructional designers with experiences in animations and video because they can best use the triggers for a seamless and interactive learning experience. However, even without those higher-end development skills, Articulate Storyline 2 and Articulate Replay do enable a depth of rich learning experiences.


How To

What is most effective in terms of a design approach really depends on the instructional designer (or design team), the learning context, the learning deliverables, and so on. Also, the software tools mentioned here are continuously changing. Therefore, it probably does not make a lot of sense to add more “how to” details here.


Possible Pitfalls

As with any digital tool, there are trade-offs in its use. Where Articulate Storyline 2 stands in relation to other authoring tools on the market varies. It is comparable in some ways to some tools but not others. It has features which are unique to itself. Its cost is non-trivial in the context of higher education. The learning curve for the tool is fairly high.

In projects that require SCORM compliance, Articulate Storyline 2 is a local authoring tool of choice.


Module Post-Test

1. What is Articulate Storyline 2? What are some of its affordances as an authoring tool for digital learning objects?

2. What are illustrated or photographic characters that may be used in Articulate Storyline 2?

3. What is Articulate Replay? How does it enable the capturing of screen casts (screen-based video broadcasts)?

4. What are constructive ways to set up the work before going to Articulate Storyline 2?

5. What are some of the benefits of the online Articulate E-Learning Heroes community?


References

Extra Resources

“Creating a Digital Learning Object with Articulate Storyline 2” in C2C Digital Magazine (Fall 2015 / Winter 2016)

Articulate Storyline 2 Online Community