Articulate Storyline Pre-Beta

Articulate Storyline Pre-Beta

I have seen the new Articulate Storyline – or at least a pre-beta version of it. Don Freda gave us a demo via webinar at the Articulate UK Users conference at the University of Leeds. So what does Storyline do that Studio doesn’t? Well it didn’t feel like a full Studio replacement but that may be because of the limited demo that we saw. First of all Storyline is a standalone program – it doesn’t rely on PowerPoint as its base authoring environment. This is both both good and bad – good because no longer do we have to rely on piggy backing off another application, bad because does it effectively recreate all the functionality that we relied upon in PowerPoint? I couldn’t get any pictures sadly but here are the menus from Storyline:

Home, Insert, Slides, Design, Animations, View, Help, Character Tools (Design, Format)

So what does each of these menus do? Well I really don’t know (even after watching the demo) but my best guess is that they pretty much replicate a lot of the PowerPoint functionality in the same way that PowerPoint functions such as animations etc. were added to Quizmaker 09.

Most of Don’s demo focussed on the scenario building aspects of Storyline. Its ability to develop scenarios with different characters (using the Character Tools menus above) is really powerful. You can create libraries of different characters and then weave them into scenarios which use branching to take the learners on different routes through the content. So for example when you are presented with a scenario where two people are discussing a possible solution you can choose which solution you would go with and follow the ‘storyline’ from there. To make the scenario more believable you can even alter each character’s expression to suit the situation so Frankie can be happy, sad or even perplexed at the touch of a slider (well a drop-down actually). This capability is underpinned by things like ‘MouseOver’ or ‘Hover’ or ‘Click’ events just like in real app development. In this respect Storyline really does take hyperlinks and branching to a new level, and one which is way beyond what you can currently achieve easily with PowerPoint.

Don also touched on whether it would work with the iPad. The good news is that it will – there will be a new publish option to iOS (though there may be some features not fully supported). How this will work for the two current form factors (iPhone and iPad) remains to be seen. There won’t however be a publish to HTML5 option.

Regarding workflow it looks like Storyline will replace Studio as the core authoring environment and like Studio it will have the add Quizmaker or Engage buttons to drop in quizzes or learning interactions before finally publishing.

So where does that leave Studio? Well Studio, Quizmaker and Engage are all due an upgrade by the end of this year so it seems that Studio (effectively Presenter) will be positioned as the entry level authoring environment while Storyline will be used by more advanced users. This strategy seems sensible and it allows an organisation to buy a certain number of Studio licenses for low level users and a smaller number of Storyline licenses for more advanced e-learning designers. The pricing for Storyline is apparently going to be ‘similar’ to Presenter so I guess that means it can be bought standalone or with Quizmaker and/or Engagage for $xxx

Release date for Storyline is ‘this summer’. Will Studio users be able to upgrade to Storyline? Should we do so, or should we wait until the Studio upgrade later in the year? I don’t know the answer but it’s something I am definitely thinking about!

That’s about it. Time to start designing my new Storyline course!

I’ve requested to be included on the beta test programme so hopefully we will see more pretty shortly. Can’t wait!

Follow Storyline thread on Articulate e-Learning Heroes Forum:

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