I’ve had many clients come to me requesting a Storyline course, but after hearing more about their time or budget constraints and doing a needs analysis, I often recommend Articulate Rise instead. Why would I suggest using a rapid course authoring tool like Articulate Rise to develop eLearning deliverables and not the more robust, customizable Storyline? The answer is simple: Agility.
Take this lunch metaphor…
I liken the Rise vs Storyline debate to a business lunch: Sometimes you just need a healthy, but uncomplicated quick lunch at Freshii (where the ingredients are prepared in advance, and you have a menu with set options that are made in front of you while you wait).
Other occasions might call for a different venue: An artisanal, farm-to-table restaurant where you’re having the chef’s daily tasting menu. You’ll wait longer for your meal, and you’ll pay a lot more, but the seasonal ingredients are more likely to be ethically sourced and prepared with care, elevating your meal from a fueling necessity to a shared experience.
Here are some of my favourite features of Articulate 360, and Rise in particular:
What Canadian organizations need to know about Rise 360
If you’re a public authority, provincially-funded charity, or regulatory body in Canada, a cloud-based eLearning tool like Articulate 360 may NOT be a good fit if:
In short, Articulate Rise is the right course authoring tool some of the time: When limited resources or project constraints dictate quick content turnaround, Rise can be more agile than Storyline. If your organization’s requirements pose a barrier to cloud-based tools, then Articulate Rise won’t be a good fit for you. Work with a consultant to leverage other custom course authoring tools instead, and be sure to clearly outline your data management protocols with any external consultant.
Pro-tip: It helps that Storyline 360 is easy to transfer from internal to external teams (and vice-versa), so it’s a convenient way for us consultants to collaborate with internal learning development teams.
Be sure to discuss your requirements and barriers with your eLearning consultant who can help you navigate the many course authoring options out there!
What does eLearning mean in your organization? I’ve learned that whenever we’re talking about online learning assets, it’s better not to assume! Is it a standalone "module" that looks like a self-directed PowerPoint deck? Or is it any combination of interactive files, media and learning activities— basically any learning that isn't delivered in person in a classroom?
With any gig I take on, I always check with my client to clarify what we both mean by eLearning. It's surprising sometimes to see how close or far our definitions can be! Having worked with a variety of customer and employee-facing online learning materials, my own definition of eLearning has broadened over the last few years. I’ve embraced a more inclusive understanding of eLearning than its traditional definition, in line with many of the organizations I serve.
Terms often used for eLearning
Don’t forget about the course authoring tools in your LMS
How eLearning is built (or authored, to use industry jargon) has a wider array of options now too. Formerly, eLearning mostly referred to custom developed content using a third-party authoring tool like Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate. Period. And that’s still completely acceptable and highly impactful. But many organizations forget that they can author courses directly in their LMS (arguably a better strategy than third-party applications, depending on your LMS, of course!) If you haven’t explored using your LMS itself to develop an eLearning course, this might be the time.
What are some effective course objects (or rich media assets) used in eLearning?
Depending on what your organization needs and how it makes sense to deliver them, any combination of these learning assets or course objects could form an engaging eLearning experience:
There is a valuable movement happening in the eLearning industry right now; we’re finally shifting away from thinking of learning as a course and more as an experience. Learning doesn’t begin and end within the confines of an eLearning course—it happens on the job, during a commute, in discussion on social media, and a million other digital ways. Thinking of eLearning in the broader context of the experience will help you build more impactful online learning too.
Pro tip: Spend a few minutes defining what you mean by eLearning within your organization, and ensure you have the same discussion too with any external contractors. This way, you'll all be on the same page and can get started collaborating!
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The term custom course development is widely used, but what does custom actually mean? Essentially, custom eLearning or instructor-led materials can mean anything that has had instructional design applied to create a unique course object. Instead of acquiring an out-of-the-box training product from a third party, you create your own (or outsource this to an eLearning consultant like me).
Here are a few examples of custom strategies I’ve helped clients work through:
Levels of Interactivities
Extras – Not included unless identified within scope requirements
I love designing custom course content for my clients; it’s one of the many stimulating challenges of my work that help me continually evolve as a professional. It’s the perfect opportunity to try innovative instructional design techniques, incorporate findings from new studies on how adults learn, and clients and learners get a course that meets their needs.
Do you have a custom course project in mind?
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Leah Chang is a learning consultant with 16+ years of experience designing online and classroom learning. In her spare time she goes on self-propelled travel adventures and tries to grow vegetables.