Articulate Storyline

Articulate StorylineI use Articulate Studio a lot in my e-learning projects. It’s a great tool and because it relies on PowerPoint as the primary authoring environment (Articulate Presenter is actually a PowerPoint add-on) it is ideal for trainers who are just getting into e-learning. This reliance on PowerPoint however has also caused some key problems – primarily because PowerPoint is a presentation tool not an e-learning development tool. It quite common to see e-learning that looks a lot like PowerPoint presentations with a voice over. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – Articualte Presenter was originally conceived as a presentation tool NOT an e-learning authoring tool (the name gives the game away). However as a learning designer I have always wanted to break out of the PowerPoint environment and be a little more creative with my e-learning projects.

For a while now there has been some speculation as to when the next version of Articulate Studio (the current version is Studio 09) might appear and what additional features it may contain. More recently there has been speculation that it might abandon Flash altogether and take the HTML5 route. Well it appears that the mist is clearing and we will see in 2011 TWO new products from Articulate:

A new product called Articulate Storyline which will be aimed at intermediate e-learning designers. This will be a standalone installed desktop application (like Quizmaker) and will publish to both Flash and HTML5 (primarily to keep us iPad owners happy). It will have a lot more creative control over learning interaction and also the player design. Release is due in Summer 2011.

Articulate Studio will remain but will be upgraded with new functionality. It seems that this will still be the first choice for those just getting started in e-learning. Release is not until the end of 2011.

And Quizmaker – well I assume that as a standalone product it will also get an upgrade and either be bundled with Storyline OR with Studio.

This seems like a good strategy. We need a tool with the ease of use of Articulate Studio that can break free of the constraints of being a PowerPoint add-on BUT of course learning this tool is going to a challenge to those who have never developed any e-learning (or indeed any form of on-screen multimedia) before. Hopefully moving from Studio to Storyline will be reasonably straightforward so once Studio has been mastered there is a clear next step.

The only downside? The extra cost of buying and managing two products in an organisation. But if they let us do more then that investment will be repaid quite quickly (one good client project might just do it)!

There is limited information about the new products on the Articulate web site but there is a discussion thread here:

http://community.articulate.com/forums/t/1694.aspx?PageIndex=2

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