Who can best use course authoring software like Articulate Storyline?

Why Articulate Storyline

I have attended many meetings with L&D managers so far. During last few months, I have always been asked particularly about a certain thing. It is about pre-requisites needed for a faculty to start using course authoring software like Articulate Storyline. It is basically a content authoring tool. Apart from this, there are several other usual queries from those companies. They are setting up smaller size internal teams to develop content in-house. Alternatively, they are trying to figure out, if and how much portion of the content they may outsource. Also, what portion and type of the content they may develop internally.

Some of them have perhaps sought some rough experience of outsourcing the content or found it a bit more expensive than expected initially due to changes in content or other reasons. A few of them are concerned about timeline commitments, content modifications to be done in future, budgets available versus volume of content to be produced, etc. While this make /buy (or create /outsource) decision is based on several parameters for a company, it’s always better to plan a small size internal team for content creation which can take care of most urgent projects, amendments to existing content and so on.

The Problem

To begin with, it’s quite logical to think how the existing resources within the T&D /L&D team can start creating content. It is usually done using most popular content authoring software like Articulate Storyline. Strictly speaking, there is not much prior technical or software skill required (apart from using PowerPoint which most of us have).

Creating content in the PowerPoint style interface with which you are familiar is quite easy. It is quicker to get the hang of it within just a few hour. Within a couple of days, you start to import existing ppt slides, use a few good basic features of Storyline to add buttons, characters, interactive elements. You can also publish it as SCORM compliant online module to be hosted on your LMS. Storyline has many advanced features too. But the interface is designed to be a more familiar one which looks like PowerPoint. With the help of advanced features, you are able to create more interactive and involving content.

The solution

Having said that, one must bear in mind one attribute. It is that you will need to invest a little more time and effort for learning and trying out the advanced features. You have to learn to use timeline effectively, in order to create Level 3 style content. Generally, they involve simulations, animations, game based learning and so on. Thus, for an internal content creation team with fewer members (who may not be graphic designers), it is not easy. Though, it may be better that Level 3 type of content creation is outsourced and internal teams can develop up to basic Level 2 type of courses in-house.

Expertise for creating Level 3 courses can also be developed in-house in later phases. But it certainly takes much more time and effort even for internal teams to create a Level 3 style course modules. In this case, usual issues like attrition of key team members can halt the in-house development process. But in case of outsourced content work, it’s the responsibility of selected vendor company to fulfill your timeline commitments.

In summary, all faculties, trainers, and young /enthusiastic content executives from any L&D team can certainly excel. They can start using content authoring software like Articulate Storyline with its basic features. This can be done by going through very useful training video resources over YouTube, online user guide, etc. Subsequently, they can invest more time to learn advanced features of the software. This can be measured right up to using variables to store data, etc. For this purpose they can also avail of Authorized /Certified Training programs. This is made available by select training partners like Stratbeans Consulting in India and others all over the World.

– by Anand Thakar

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