Articulate Storyline: It’s Pretty Easy to Learn

Working in the field of e-learning, sometimes I feel like an antique. While I’m not one to go around admitting my age, I can say I remember the excitement when my elementary school got its first computer—attached to a television—that the entire school had to share. I was perplexed when 5 ¼ inch floppy discs became obsolete, replaced by the much sturdier 3.5 inch diskette.

So, yes, it’s an understatement that technology has come a long way in my lifetime. And I’ve been pretty content to sit back and watch it grow without learning much about it. I mean, I can navigate Facebook pretty well and make a pretty cute newsletter in Publisher for a moms’ group. But during all of this technology growth, I have not taken the time to really learn any new tools that are out there. Until now.

Let me back up. You might be wondering how I landed in the field of e-learning despite not really keeping up with technology. For nearly a decade, I have been doing contract QA (quality assurance) for Artisan E-Learning because I am a grammar perfectionist.

Last year, I joined the company full time. A few weeks into my new role, these words came from on high: “I’d like you to take our Articulate Storyline webinar, just so you can understand the lingo.” Ok, why not? How hard could this be? I would like to understand this whole thing a little better, since so many of our courses use Articulate Storyline. I can certainly “learn the lingo” in a 12-hour class.

That’s when I realized, not only CAN I learn the new technology, but I actually LOVE it!

It’s not that the class was easy. I had the least experience (none) of those in the class with me. Every time I had to ask a question, I wondered what the other people in the class were thinking about me. I was being challenged. Then it hit me—all these mistakes I’ve been pointing out for years—I can fix myself! This is my inner perfectionist’s dream!

I’d like to encourage you, if you’re like me—a bit afraid to learn new technology—to learn how to use an e-learning authoring tool. And I think Articulate Storyline is a great tool to start with. Here are some tips to help you build confidence when learning Articulate Storyline:

  • Change your mindset. Think of how much time this will save! Say you have just looked at a course that is almost finished, but you see a word that needs to be capitalized on one screen and a missing period on another. Instead of finding a developer who is available, waiting for him or her to make the changes and republish the course, and then checking the course again to make sure that it was done correctly, you can do this all yourself! What might have been a 3-day process could be done in as little as 15 minutes!
  • Draw on what you already know. I was pretty good at Publisher, and I had helped my kids make PowerPoint presentations for school. Once I started thinking of Articulate Storyline as PowerPoint on steroids, I felt a little more prepared to tackle it.
  • Get the 30-day free trial. This will give you the chance to play with it before investing the money. Don’t feel like you can build a complete, gorgeous course in those 30 days? See if you can use an existing course and just work with it. Change colors, fonts, timing, etc., to get a feel for it. (Just don’t accidentally replace the finished course with your new creation!)
  • Take an Articulate Storyline class. The online workshop I participated in was so helpful because the instructor (Tim Slade) walked us through the steps, giving us the chance to try each skill he taught and to ask questions as we went. It was hands-on and interactive—a completely different learning experience than simply watching a training video or reading instructions. Check out our schedule of upcoming Articulate Storyline Workshops, Quick Courses, and Free Webinars if you are interested in attending online workshop like I did!
  • Start small. My first Articulate Storyline assignment overwhelmed me, and I dejectedly passed it off to a seasoned developer. My second assignment was to add periods to a list on a screen. I rocked that! I then was asked to find a developer to put a button on a screen with a link. I said, “No way! I can do that myself!” And I could—probably because I recently had success with the smaller project.
  • Grow in your confidence. After I added the button with a link, I began feeling like I have this baby conquered. And, you know what? I kind of do! I have been doing things in Articulate Storyline that I never dreamed I’d be able to do when first I attended that webinar! With each task I do, I get a little more skilled and a little more confident. Keep trying things that are a little more difficult.
  • Ask questions. If you are not sure how to do something or if Articulate Storyline is fighting with you (all good love affairs have occasional conflicts, you know), ask someone with expertise for help. I have found the Articulate Community to be very helpful, also.

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a developer, and he let me know that my boss told him I was becoming quite an “Articulate Storyline Maven.” I kind of want that on a plaque. Or a shirt. Or a tattoo.

Did you have similar experiences with learning (and loving) Articulate Storyline? Comment below and share your own tips to encourage others in their Articulate Storyline adventures!

Rachelle Anness
Artisan E-Learning

5 Responses to “Articulate Storyline: It’s Pretty Easy to Learn

  • When I started my job almost five years ago, I had zero knowledge about authoring tools. I was taking the place of someone who had just started beta testing for the original Storyline. He left about the same day I took over the task of learning this new software. Not only was I trying to learn a new software but I was also finding bugs in this not-yet-released version. I was instantly overwhelmed. I was trying to design training with no experience, and when things didn’t work like I wanted them to, I didn’t know if it was me or a bug. With the help of the Articulate community and the company as a whole, I struggled through that time and now know Storyline well enough to teach it to new employees. When I talk to someone about training ideas, I tell them “pretty much any idea you can come up with, I can figure out how to make it work with Storyline.” And there have been few exceptions to that! So I agree…it’s pretty easy to learn!

    • Thanks for commenting, Jill! I totally agree! I think the reason Storyline can be so intimidating (especially when you’re first starting out), is that the sky is the limit. You can create almost anything you can image!

    • Rachelle Anness
      6 years ago

      That’s a great experience to share, Jill! I can imagine how overwhelming your experience must have been! But all the hard work paid off, and probably made you a better trainer!

  • Jennifer Valley
    6 years ago

    I think Storyline is by far the easiest authoring tool to pick up but it’s also powerful and automated enough that you can be both productive and daring. Loved reading about your experience and I’m definitely jealous you got sent to a class. What a lovely employer!

    • I totally agree, Jennifer. If you already know how to use PowerPower, the learning curve for Storyline is far less steep.

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