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Articulate Storyline: A First Look at a New Elearning Design Tool


 In which I argue that Articulate's Storyline represents a big development in learning design and creation.

WALL•E week - Day 5

Articulate Storyline promises to take us into the next generation of learning. That's a lot to live up to and is it anything more than sales-talk?

I think we can agree that one limitation of most e-learning tools to date has been their linearity. True, this has often been brought about through an over reliance upon PowerPoint as the source of e-learning content. So Storyline's promise to break away from linear content production and to break away from powerpoint is certainly very welcome. That's not to say that you cannot use PowerPoint with Storyline but now it is only an option.

Interactivity is another feature promised in Storyline. Again, this is very welcome, however, we do need more than just mouseovers, rollovers and the option to go back. Interactivity should not be just an object changing colour when the mouse is moved over it or something happening on the screen when the learner clicks on a trigger; interactivity should involve the learner actually doing something to further their learning and for this to be captured by the program. To my mind, that is the challenge of future e-learning and Storyline, at the moment, does not meet that challenge.

Collaboration is also key to modern pedagogy nowadays and, sadly, I see no means built into Storyline which facilitates collaborative learning, not even with the option to share notes or experiences via Twitter or Evernote. Essentially, Storyline still seems to produce a standalone product that is delivered to one person individually. That is a great shame but, hopefully, some third party might develop add-ins to facilitate such collaboration.

I do feel that Storyline represents a far better way of doing what we currently do in e-learning; it is a far better tool for producing what we currently produce than almost all others on the market. However, I get the feeling that the market is looking for something more. Certainly the education market would find e-learning very difficult to accept if it continued only to produce the type of content it has up to now. Don't get me wrong here, there is some great and engaging e-learning content being produced but, essentially, the user (learner) remains in a passive role apart from clicking here, reading this or watching that. Education requires something more dynamic and engaging for their learners. It is a great pity that Articulate seems to have overlooked the requirements of the modern learner in their new package. To be honest though, look at their competitors, Adobe, Techsmith etc and you will probably still not see products that meet this need.

So in conclusion, let me say that Articulate's Storyline represents a big development in the design and production of e-learning, a step that certainly gives them a big lead on their competitors. I do not feel, sadly, that it is yet the step into the next generation of e-learning that I, for one, am looking for. Perhaps the next iteration of Articulate's Studio product may provide that step, we can only wait and see. Yet, there you have the other bugbear with Storyline; if Storyline is so good and so innovative why are Articulate developing a new version of Studio? If you were looking to buy a new e-learning creation tool, you would be very impressed with the facilities in Storyline but at the back of your mind you would probably also be saying 'let's wait to see what the next version of Articulate Studio offers'.

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