Who can best use course authoring software like Articulate Storyline?

In most meetings that I may have attended along with L&D managers so far during last few months, I have always been asked about pre-requisites needed for a faculty or trainer or any L&D executive to start using course authoring software like Articulate Storyline. Apart from this, there are several other usual queries from those companies who are setting up smaller size internal teams to develop content in-house or trying to figure out, if and how much portion of the content they may outsource and 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.

To begin with, it’s quite logical to think how the existing resources within the T&D /L&D team can start creating content using most popular content authoring software like Articulate Storyline. Really speaking, there is not much prior technical or software skill required (apart from using PowerPoint which most of us have) for using the most basic features of Storyline. 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 hours in a couple of days to import existing ppt slides, use a few good basic features of Storyline to add buttons, characters, interactive elements and 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.

Having said that, one must bear in mind that you will need to invest a little more time and effort for learning and trying out the advanced features, learn to use timeline effectively, in order to create Level 3 style content involving 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 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; whereas 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 start using content authoring software like Storyline with its basic features 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 right up to using variables to store data, etc. For this purpose they can also avail of Authorized /Certified Training programs made available by select training partners like Stratbeans Consulting in India and others all over the World.

– by Anand Thakar

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