As eLearning has grown in popularity with the momentous rise of the internet, we have seen a precipitous increase in the percentage of companies, educational institutions, and even government agencies that have adopted the use of online course training, or eLearning. This approach to training reaches into countless different applications and settings. At our company, eLearning Brothers, we have built custom eLearning for many of the public companies you have heard of or do business with every day. There are many different types of training that can be addressed through eLearning. To further complicate things, there are many different eLearning software and authoring tool options. We hope to map out the some of the differences between PowerPoint, an eLearning tool that is used by many beginners, and something which is more advanced and will save hours of production time for your eLearning: Articulate Storyline.
Nearly everyone who has come in contact with a computer in the last 20 years has used Microsoft Office on some level. Many of you have likely opened Microsoft Word or Excel for a computer class or to calculate formulas using a spreadsheet. The next most popular Office program would have to be PowerPoint. It is the Swiss Army knife of the Microsoft Office suite. It has many different uses for business, education, and can be used for the implementation of nearly any eLearning strategy. PowerPoint is a great tool for eLearning course developers—and it will take you pretty far—but there is a point at which a dedicated, specialized authoring tool will better serve your purposes in creating courses that rock. Keep reading to find out the threshold for graduating and moving on from PowerPoint.
In our experience, which is vast, the most natural progression from PowerPoint to a rapid eLearning tool would be to Articulate Storyline. The only reason we say that is because, from an aesthetic and familiarity standpoint, the menus and layout for the programs themselves look nearly identical. PowerPoint and Articulate Storyline might appear similar in nature and feature sets, but there are definitely more bells and whistles included in Storyline that will allow you to level up your eLearning development. Here are four of the most valuable features to be utilized in Storyline, listed in no particular order. Please note, not all features are exclusive to Storyline but are highlighted here because Samurai-grade skills would be required to implement them in PowerPoint.
Layers help with organization of groups of objects, triggers, media, audio, or images. There are many different objects or media that can be shown within a slide using layers. You can play or pause objects in a group. The ability to organize your assets within PowerPoint is something that is simply not available without duplicating multiple slides to achieve a similar effect.
Quizzes and Games
Using Storyline, eLearning developers can create quizzes or eLearning games for their courses. Many of the most popular games utilized in eLearning are our versions of “$10,000 Pyramid,” “Family Feud,” and “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” These quizzes and games can have their results tracked and reported directly to an LMS, giving a facilitator or instructor a progress report for each learner that engages with the course.
Variables allow you to store information for later usage within the course. This opens up nearly limitless options when combined with a few of the previously mentioned features. You can display or block certain objects on a layer or progression in a course based on a previous answer given in a quiz. You can store a text-based response to a question and have it reported to an LMS for later review. You can store randomly generated numbers that display as dice to move pieces on a board game (whose position on the board is also stored in a variable) to create a fun—and educational—activity.
Our typical user is at least somewhat familiar with PowerPoint and has very likely gotten their start in eLearning by using its tools to build eLearning courses. When course development requirements become more involved and it’s time to move to an eLearning tool that will simplify matters, transitioning to Storyline is a great, natural progression. We have 1,000s of templates that can be used for PowerPoint and scads of Storyline templates as well.
In the comments, let us know what, if any, experience you have had making a transition from PowerPoint to something that you felt would be a more powerful eLearning tool.