Tips for Building Large Interactive Course using Articulate Storyline

Articulate Storyline

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eCoursys Desk

Requirements & challenges of building large interactive course of 15 to 20 hours using Articulate storyline is different from building a small 30 mins creative content. Changes in design & layouts at later stage can have far reaching impact on quality, rework & uniformity.

We recently completed building a large 20 hour course consisting of over 24 modules (story files) seamlessly integrated together to work on multiple delivery platforms.

Slide Masters & Feedback Masters

Spend quality time in designing your slide masters to avoid consistency nightmares at later time.

Points to consider

  • 01

    Instructional design & detailed storyboards become very important inputs in designing master layouts. Having well-designed layouts can reduce your development time considerably & at the same bring uniformity & consistency across course modules.

  • 02

    Master slide is not just about layouts, it is great place to define & place your global components like background colors/images, header, title bar, footer, menu bars, help, resource links, logo, fonts, etc., Ability to control these at master slide level gives lot of flexibility for course-wide changes at later stage.

  • 03

    Before you define master layouts, decide your slide size ratio (4:3 or 16:9). 16:9 is recommended. Switching back & forth at later stage is almost impossible without messing up the content positions & alignments.

  • 04

    Define your theme font & color schemes at the slide master level & retain the same scheme in all the slides unless it is absolutely necessary to deviate. This will help apply global font changes & color scheme changes across all slides through slide master.

Break-up & Link

It is just impossible to build 15-20 hour course in a single single story file. Anything above 2 hours (~200mb or more) in a single file is counter-productive in terms of editing content, saving content, publishing & testing content.

Points to consider

  • 01

    Build smaller modules (each module as separate story file). If you have done good job in defining course structure into small self-sufficient sections, topics, lessons, etc. of 30 to 60 minutes length, breaking -up into modules is just next logical step. There are multiple advantages of this approach including parallel development of modules, easy maintenance, slicing & dicing modules to build new courses like beginner, advanced, etc

  • 02

    When the entire course is developed as 20-25 independent modules (story files), you are essentially linking published module entry points through global menu. It is important to ensure that your modules are independent & module level content is not interlinked with other module level content. You can only link to starting point of a module from another module since each module is a separate published output.

  • 03

    Define your published output folder structure for the entire course with each sub-folder to keep published output of respective modules. When linking the modules in the global menu, use relative path (of story.html or story_html5.html) in these module folders in global menu (using external URL trigger).

  • 04

    Since you are creating multiple independent modules (story files), slide & feedback masters get duplicated in each story file. Any changes to master slides will have to be replicated in all the module story files. This should not become an issue if you have spent good time in building & finalizing the slide masters before building modules.

OPTIMIZE MULTIMEDIA

Average 60 mins finished course with decent multimedia like audio narrations, videos, slideshows, etc can easily grow into 60-80 mb in size.

Points to consider

  • 01

    There is no concept of global repository or reuse of multimedia files across slides. If a video is used 10 times across slides, 10 copies are created. This will directly contribute to overall size of the course.

  • 02

    If there are animations which do not require user interaction, look at the possibility of creating them as videos outside Stroyline 2 (for example power point), This will avoid complicating the slide with objects, timelines & triggers to build similar animation in Storyline.

  • 03

    Having multiple videos & images in the same slide (or in layers) can increase the slide loading time. Audio/video synchronization may also become erratic. Give sufficient silence period at the between audio/video auto-play to avoid audio-video lag, audio overlapping & audio truncation.

  • 04

    Optimize the quality of images, videos & audio using quality settings on publishing screen based on the delivery platform.

  • 05

    When you import slide and scenes from one story to another story file, Storyline creates duplicate slide masters even when they are exactly same. This can add to the overall course size. Before publishing, clean up the unused/duplicate slide masters.

Have questions?

Feel free to contact us with your feedback & questions. We will be happy to share our experiences.