There was a time when one could be sure of their responsibilities – the ID did the writing, the designer created the graphics assets, and the developer created the course. That's it – very simple. No stepping on each other's toes.
But all that changed with the advent of rapid authoring tools. Now, eLearning course creation became easy, overnight. And everybody wanted a piece of the action. The developers were floored by the simplicity; the graphics designers found it easy enough to try, and the instructional designers were convinced they did not need the developers any longer.
Being an ID, I too decided to give it a shot. Of the lot, I found Articulate Storyline (currently, Storyline 2), to be the most user-friendly. The learning curve was very easy, considering Storyline is “PowerPoint on steroids”. Honestly, I found it a fun tool to use. The interface is similar to PowerPoint, adapting to it was a cakewalk, and the timeline is so much easier to use for animations. I played around with triggers, states, and layers, and did a great job of it. I added images and clipart and realized a little help from graphics designers would not be a bad idea. Then, I tried my hand at variables – and realized how important developers are, in the entire scheme of things. And, I beat a hasty retreat.
Here's what my final opinion is – about Storyline in particular, and other rapid authoring tools, in general. Rapid authoring tools are great to quickly rustle up courses, by anyone, really. And, with the features getting more varied with each new version, these tools can be very convenient, indeed. WYSIWYG, so you know what you are getting into; and they take care of the technical aspects so no worrying about SCORM compliance. Perfect for amateurs and experts, alike!
The storyline is my choice of poison since anyone who has ever worked with PowerPoint should feel right at home with it.
What I Like About Articulate Storyline
The interface. Love it, since it is so intuitive. And the overall ease of use. I’ve never had to really hunt for anything, and it has most of the things I’d want in a course. I also like the fact that Storyline permits a high degree of customization, making my courses as attractive as my designers can stretch their imagination. There are enough built-in animation options to serve general requirements, and – for what it’s worth – I fell in love with the hotspot feature.
What I Dislike About Articulate Storyline
It’s not (yet) geared towards mobile delivery. Sure, the output works fine on tablets (read: iPads), but requiring to install the Articulate player is a damp squib. And, not being responsive, it doesn’t do much for those opting for mobile deployment. Here’s where I think Adobe Captivate (8+) has the upper hand, providing mobile views at the development stage itself. That apart, I don’t have any major gripe with Storyline.
So, Who Is It For?
For you. For me. For everybody! Really, depending on how simple or complex your course is, people from all walks of life can use it. Go ahead, take it for a spin. It’s a nice tool to play with!
Image courtesy: www.articulate.com