Articulate recently released Storyline 360, part of the Articulate 360 suite of products available through a subscription on Articulate's website.
If you've spent any time using Storyline 2, you'll find that Storyline 360 is just about identical. And while it's true that little has changed between Storyline 2 and 360, there are some subtle improvements in the new version.
For instance, there's access to the Content Library (I wrote about the Content Library last week). There is also enhanced support for multiple screens. In the image below, check out the five icons in the upper right of the preview window. By default, projects preview as a desktop user. However, Storyline 360 projects can be used by learners on several types of devices (such as desktops, tablets, and mobile devices). You can now use the Preview window to get an idea of how your content will look on those devices.
I'm curious to see what my layout will look like for tablet users. All I need to do is click the Tablet Landscape icon.
Not only does the slide resize to accommodate a Tablet, the Player (which was at the bottom of the Desktop version of the slide) becomes a mobile Player (it’s smaller and changes screen position).
I love the fact that it's now an easy process to get a reasonable peek at what my slides will look like on multiple screens/devices. I'm also happy to see the Player behave so responsively and reposition appropriately on different devices.
Kevin Siegel, CTT, COTP, is the founder and president of IconLogic. Following a career in Public Affairs with the US Coast Guard and in private industry, Kevin has spent decades as a technical communicator, classroom and online trainer, public speaker, and has written hundreds of computer training books for adult learners. He has been recognized by Adobe as one of the top trainers world-wide.
The long anticipated Articulate Storyline upgrade was announced recently by Articulate and came not as Storyline 3 (as many expected) but rather in the form of the subscription-based Articulate 360, a suite of tools that includes every tool that Articulate makes.
Articulate has decided to change the way upgrades to their products are going to work in the future. There will no longer be traditional upgrades to the licensed products that one has purchased and installed on their desktop. Upgrades will be made to the Articulate 360 tools. You can continue using the desktop version of Storyline 2 and Studio '13, but don't expect any future upgrades to these tools.
With the new subscription model, you pay an annual fee of $999 ($599 for the first year if you are an existing Storyline or Studio customer). To edit existing projects, or create new content, you will need to keep your subscription active. Although the pricing seems a bit steep, consider what you get. For instance, there is a robust Content Library that has a vast array of professional templates and a huge number of characters and other eLearning assets.
Other components include access to Replay 360 (a screen recording tool useful for making video demos), Rise (a template based online authoring tool for creating very simple and responsive courses), Articulate Review (online based course review process where many can comment and provide feedback), Preso (an iPad app that lets you create and annotate slides, add video and turn to a movie), and Peek (a desktop app that let's you record either Mac or PC screens).
And of course there's Storyline 360, which is very similar to the current Storyline 2 in look and feel. However, there are some additional features in the 360 version. For instance, there's a major focus on support for mobile output by, among other things, making HTML5 the primary output and support for touchscreen and gesture interfaces. There is also a new dial control similar to a slider and a couple of new trigger events.
One thing to think about before taking the plunge and going with 360 is backward compatibility--there is none. If you upgrade a project from Storyline 2 to 360, there's no going backward to version 2. This can be a major issue if you share files with other developers or content creators who cannot or will not upgrade from version 2 to 360.
In the coming weeks I'll be showing you some of the ins and outs of the 360 tools I mentioned below. And keep in mind that if you need training or help with Articulate Storyline or Studio, we've got you covered with these awesome live, online Articulate classes.
Hitting the sweet spot when it comes to line and paragraph spacing in Storyline can be annoyingly troublesome if you are not aware of the subtle options available to you.
The spacing controls are of course available under the Paragraph, Line Spacing area of the Home tab on the Ribbon when text is selected in a slide or notes:
When accessed, the Line Spacing drop-down menu includes line spacing presets in 0.5 increments from 1.0 to 3.0. These values represent the ratio of the line spacing to the size of the type.
Often times and because of the font selection, available space, or other reasons, the presets just don't cut it. It pays to take the extra little step and choose Line Spacing Options.
From the Line Spacing drop-down menu in the Paragraphdialog box, selecting Multiple gives you the option to enter your specific line spacing ratio instead of just using a preset.
Another area of interest in the same dialog box is the Spacing Before and After values. These represent the automatic default spacing above or below paragraphs. These also can be precisely tweaked to make your content fit much more beautifully.
When publishing to LMS from Storyline, you will need to pay close attention to the "REPORTING AND TRACKING" options available to you as part of the "Publish" settings. These options could impact whether or not your LMS can successfully and completely track the published output and report relevant data.
In the Output Options area of the LMS, select the SCORM version compatible with your LMS. It's likely that your LMS supports more than one specification standard. For example, your LMS may support SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 2004. If you have the choice between SCORM 1.2, and SCORM 2004 I recommend using SCORM 2004. If you are not sure what your LMS is capable of supporting, check with your LMS support team before publishing.
Click the Reporting and Tracking button and you will find additional LMS settings. Storyline supports SCORM 2004 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Edition (the 4th Edition has greater support for tracking and reporting than previous editions).
From the LMS Reporting: Report Status to LMS as area there are four choices (shown below).
The choice you need to select here varies from one LMS to another. I suggest you run some tests to see which ones work best for your LMS.
Finally, it's in the Tracking area where Storyline determines what constitutes course completion and where Storyline knows where to report results.
If you have a knowledge check/quiz as part of your lesson, it's likely that you want to select Track using quiz result. If you happen to have multiple result slides (perhaps pre-test, survey, and post-test result slides) it's critical that you choose the Result slide that is the aggregated results slide of other results.
Don't forget to talk to your LMS support team and run some tests before publishing and sharing with your learners.
You can use Articulate Storyline to create eLearning lessons that are accessible to users who have visual, hearing, mobility, or other types of disabilities.
Published Storyline lessons can be read by a screen reader. Screen readers are programs that use auditory feedback to read screen information to a learner. In addition, the screen reader acts as a mouse pointer, providing navigation via keyboard commands.
The most widely used screen readers are separate commercial products: JAWS from Freedom Scientific, Window-Eyes from GW Micro, Dolphin Supernova by Dolphin, System Access from Serotek, and ZoomText Magnifier/Reader from AiSquared are prominent examples in the English-speaking market. The open source screen reader NVDA is gaining popularity.
Here's how easy it is to add accessibility text (also known as Alternate text) to a Storyline image:
With an image selected, go to the far right of the Ribbon's Format tab and click the menu to the right of Size.
From the left of the dialog box, select Alt Text and, in the Alternate text field, type the text you want read aloud to the learner.
And that's it. When an assistive device comes across an object with Alternative Text, the assistive device will read the text aloud for the learner.
When enabling player notes in published Storyline projects, you might end up with overlapping text. This can happen if your slide titles are long (requiring three lines at the top of the notes pane in the player).
Unless you plan on adding extra white space below the title or above the script in the notes panel, you will need to shorten the slide titles to a take up a maximum of two lines. (Note that adding extra space should be done with paragraph "Space Before" or "Space After" otherwise consistency is going to be a problem.)
Another issue that you will likely run into with overlaps are titles that overlap the separator line as shown below. (Separator lines are on by default via the Player settings.)
I am not suggesting that you make the title a single line only, but I've found a way to make the separator line invisible by making it fully transparent. You will find the setting to modify the separator transparency in the Player settings under Custom > Colors & Effects tab. Here's how:
Click Show advanced color editing
From the Edit item menu choose Transcript > Separator
I often get asked the question about choosing the right slide size in Articulate Storyline. The Slide size or as it's known in Storyline as "Story Size" in not one of those things that you really come across casually in Storyline. It's a bit out of the way.
When creating a new project in Storyline, you are not presented with a dialogue box to input slide size. Therefore, Storyline simply goes ahead and selects a size default for you which happens to be 720 x 540 pixels.
The more important value in project slide dimensions is really the aspect ratio which happens to be 4:3. (Width/Height for 720/540). This default aspect ratio is the most commonly used in computer monitors, TV sets, and most tablets. The other aspect ratio is 16:9 which is suitable for widescreen devices and should be used only if you know that your audience is using 16:9 displays.
Accessing the area in Storyline where you can modify slide size and aspect ratio should you decide to do so, is under the "Design" tab in either the story view or slide view.
The default slide size of 720 x 540px is a throwback to the NTSC video standard. One reason you may want to modify this default is if you need more canvas (real estate) in your slide. Perhaps your design and content require more space or just need to spread out.
Another factor that may need consideration when selecting slide size is the "Player Size" used when publishing your project. The default player setting is "Lock player at optimal size". This setting forces the output to maintain the scaling at exactly 100% of pixel dimensions (no scaling). Modifying the "Player size" to "Scale player to fill browser window" will scale the project regardless of the set width and height.
If you've recorded the screen with Articulate Storyline and elected to insert View mode steps, it's ikely that you'll need to modify the behavior of the cursor that gets created automatically on every slide. Fortunately, there are several cursor formatting options available.
Open a slide containing a cursor and double-click the cursor to display the Mouse Tools tab on the Ribbon.
Use the Clicks group to change the click sound heard by learners to a Single or Double-click, or remove the sound completely if it's annoying anyone. (Note: There is no Apply to All option so if you want to remove or edit the click sound, you'll need to repeat the process on every slide.)
Next you'll find the Cursors group where you can quickly change the appearance of the cursor (really useful if, during the recording process, the cursor your system displayed wasn't the one Storyline chose for you). Not finding the Cursor you need? no worries. Click the arrow at the bottom right of the group to expand the group.
From there you'll find additional cursors along with an option to Browse for Cursors (you can load any cursor file on your computer or network).
You can use the Path group to perform such cursor trickery as changing the Pointer Path from curved to straight (curved is the default and is ideal), slowing down the cursor speed, hiding or showing the click effect, and changing the direction used by the cursor as it approaches a target.
Last but not least, if all of the Path options above weren't enough, you can always manually drag the cursor around the slide and make it bend to your will (as it were).
Perhaps you're already familiar with states in Articulate Storyline such as normal, hover, down, visited, hidden, and disabled, but not quite acquainted or aware of two additional object states known as "Drop Correct" and "Drop Incorrect." Let's discuss where, how, and when to take advantage of these states.
First, understand that these states are most useful when you have a "drag and drop" interaction (either as part of a Freeform Quiz slide or in a regular slide that includes a "Object Drop Over" or "Object Drop On" event (When)).
Second, you need to define the "Drop Correct" and "Drop Incorrect" states in the states panel for the objects you need to make "draggable" or "droppable". Maybe you can include a visual clue (an icon or symbol) that represent a correct or incorrect appearance of the element after it has been dragged and dropped.
To take advantage of the newly created "Drop Correct" and "Drop Incorrect," you need to have a "drag and drop" interaction either in a quiz slide or in a normal slide. In a Freeform Quiz Slide, the states are automatically triggered when an interaction is submitted. Let's take a look at a normal slide interaction example.
In the interaction represented in the figure below, each letter object has been defined a "Drop Correct" and "Drop Incorrect" states. In addition to the "draggable" letters. There are two targets (the buckets) where the letter can be dropped.
For each draggable letter, two triggers are created that change the state of the element (letter) to "Drop Correct" or "Drop Incorrect" when the element is dropped over the "correct" or "incorrect" targets as shown in the figures below:
Finally, preview the slide to test the interaction.
Open or create a Storyline project and then insert a button on a slide (or select an existing button).
Click the OK button twice to close both dialog boxes.
If you publish the lesson and click the button, the print dialog box will open and you'll be able to print the slide.