I’ve been coding eLearning modules using Storyline for a while now, and every now and again I find a feature or a different way to program something that could have saved me time if I’d only realized it had been in the system the whole time. Here are some of the best ones:
1. Turning off base layer objects
In the past, sometimes I’d want an object to disappear once it had been clicked on, to free up the space for the layer content. I knew of several ways to do this – I could put in a trigger to change the state of the object to Hidden when it was clicked on, however, I would also have to put in extra triggers to unhide the object once the learner left the slide or closed the layer. I could use the ‘Hide Objects on Base Layer’ option in the layer options and duplicate anything that still needed to be shown. I could make ‘blocker’ objects that were the same colour as the background to hide the item at the bottom of the layer under the content.
Recently, I found that when I was in a layer, there’s an option in the timeline sidebar, where all the items on the layer are shown. At the bottom, there is a menu to show all the ‘Base Layer Objects’. Clicking on the eye next to an item in this menu allows you to turn off anything you don’t want to be visible when the learner is in a layer, for instance, the click-through object that is currently being shown. This allowed me to hide any of the base layer objects I wanted when that particular layer was visible – without having to create extra objects or triggers as a workaround.
2. Adding effects to states
Did you know that when editing the state of an object, you can add new objects with their own animations? This is great for labels that fly out or appear in your eLearning module when an object is hovered on. In the slide below, when one of the map pointers is hovered on in the eLearning module, the pointer is replaced by a bigger pointer, and a text label for that city scrolls out.
You can also add sound effects specific to states. I get a lot of use out of putting ‘ding’ and ‘buzzer’ SFX into the ‘Drop Correct’ and ‘Drop Incorrect’ states, respectively. This gives immediate feedback without the learner having to click the ‘Submit’ button or having to read anything.
3. Object timing
Sometimes, when creating objects in slides with a very long timeline that you only want on screen for a few seconds, it is difficult to drag either end of the object timeline to the place you need it to be, especially when even zooming out of the slide timeline all the way still requires you to scroll.
However, when you right-click on an object in the timeline, at the bottom of the menu there is a ‘Timing’ option. This creates a pop-up that allows you to set the exact start and end time for the object. This allows you to be very precise with when the object enters and exits your scene, or at the very least lets me shorten an object’s time without dragging the end for several screens.