Learning Articulate Storyline: Two Books Reviewed

If you’ve used authoring tools, you know that programs with lots of functionality and features require more effort to learn. Although Articulate Storyline is based on the familiar PowerPoint user interface, it also provides deeper capabilities that take some time and effort to understand and implement.

Fortunately, there are now two excellent books for learning Articulate Storyline. This article reviews them both:

  • E-Learning Uncovered: Articulate Storyline by Diane Elkins and Desiree Pinder
  • Storyline for Starters by Russell Still, Steve Flowers and Phil Mayor

E-Learning Uncovered: Articulate Storyline

You’ll find nearly 250 pages packed with valuable information in E-Learning Uncovered: Articulate Storyline written by Diane Elkins and Desiree Pinder.


What’s Inside

This well-organized book appears to cover the full functionality of Storyline. The authors leave no stone unturned. Chapters 1 through 7 discuss the user interface and basic concepts, such as slides, scenes, text, graphics and positioning objects.

Chapters 8 through 11 delve into more advanced features, such as working with media, layers, states, interactions and variables. The remaining four chapters explain quizzes, screen recordings, player options and publishing. There’s also an appendix with Storyline job aids as well as a companion website with practice files and other resources.

A Thoughtful Approach

The authors take a thoughtful approach. There are lots of useful visuals, ranging from screen shots with call-outs to tables and charts.

You’ll also find valuable tips strategically placed throughout the text. There are Power Tips, Bright Ideas, Time Savers, Design Tips and Cautions. These will help you jump ahead in proficiency if you’re new to this authoring tool or new to multimedia development. See an example on the left.

The authors provide a solid conceptual framework and are good at differentiating the paradigms that are part of Articulate Storyline.

For example, there’s a clear description of when its best to use the timeline or layers and states to create an action. You’ll also find out when to create a slide template versus a slide theme. These are the types of insights that E-Learning Uncovered: Articulate Storyline presents.

If you’re looking for a Storyline reference and manual filled with super tips, you’ll be happy with E-Learning Uncovered: Articulate Storyline.

Storyline for Starters

Storyline for Starters by Russell Still, Steve Flowers and Phil Mayor feels like you’re having a conversation with experts. Their personable book includes chapter summaries, real-world examples, shortcuts and advice.

What’s Inside

Storyline for Starters is organized by higher level themes, starting with the user interface layout and the program’s dynamics (triggers, variables and states). The book moves on to presentation concepts—animations and transitions; players and publishing; and formatting features.

Next are chapters devoted to video, audio and quizzes. Finally, the book closes with a chapter on Javascript, providing code examples to try. Additional goodies include a cheat sheet of shortcuts and resources on their companion website.

A Confidence Boost

According to the authors, the book’s purpose is twofold: to get you up to speed quickly and to then learn Storyline’s advanced features. They list the chapters you’ll need to read and the steps you’ll need to take to start creating projects within one hour (or less). This can really boost the confidence of those who doubt their own development skills.

Storyline for Starters also uses numerous visuals to illustrate concepts and to demonstrate the user interface. For example, the diagram below represents how triggers work.

There are many important points and shortcuts woven through the text that are highlighted as shown below.

Although the authors don’t attempt to cover all of Storyline’s functionality, they discuss the most important features, including some in great detail with examples. They walk you through true/false variables and cross-fade transitions. They guide you through various presentation techniques and discuss issues with Quizmaker. They frequently mention mobile player considerations and go into some depth on using Javascript in Storyline.

If you’re looking for a way to get started quickly or would like a conversational-style manual by your side, then you’ll be happy with Storyline for Starters.

Frankly, these books complement each other well and both will help you learn Articulate Storyline. They just have different flavors.

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  1. Jeff says

    I actually purchased both books. They are extremely helpful and easy to read. You can be up in running with Storyline in no time. Both books are designed so you can easily jump to what to you need, which works great as a quick reference guide. I keep one book by my work computer and one by my home computer.


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