A few months back, I spoke to a recruiter who asked me if I knew articulate. I secretly grinned, 'Didn’t she mean do you know 'how to' articulate?' I was also a little peeved, how could she ask me about my articulation skills when she herself wasn't being grammatically correct! "I think I have decent communication and articulation skills"; I said. Now, it was her turn to chuckle. Turns out she was referring to Articulate-Articulate Storyline-the e-learning authoring tool!!
Since that incident, I have made every attempt to learn about Articulate Storyline and tried to gain real time experience in it. So, here's a rundown on my experience of Articulate as a new user.
1) Characterisation: Articulate allows you to add characters with different profiling and they also have a myriad expressions, gestures and postures. For instance, if you are creating a training on a medical product, you can actually have the character of a Doctor explaining concepts and running you through details of procedures. Even if you want to get really innovative, Articulate has a lot to offer. In a recent assignment that I was working on, we used Harry Potter and Hogwarts as the background to represent challenges online learners face. We created 5 different virtual characters in the Hogwarts’ School of Wizardry and you had to click on the magic crystal ball to get a solution to the challenges each character was facing. Isn’t that simply bewitching?
2) Simulation: With Articulate, you can simulate real life scenarios that you want to train your target audience on. For example, if you want to train your customer service reps on customer service and dealing with different customer scenarios, you can actually create a virtual Customer Service Desk where you have different customers approaching the reps with a variety of issues. The rep has to deal with each customer differently based on their profile and issue. At the end of the rep’s interaction with each customer there can be feedback and scoring on how the interaction went. You can’t get better than that in mimicking real-life situations!
3) Hands on training: Imagine that you wanted to train a user on a new tool and also give them the experience of using that tool. Guess what? With Articulate you can do just that. Not just can you give the end user an overview of all the functionalities of the tool, you can also make them interact with the tool by getting them to click on the different menu options. Articulate allows you to import Screen shots of the tool while you are using it. For example, if you are launching a new Performance Management tool, with Articulate, you can capture cursor movements and show how to access the site and navigate through it. Then, using screenshots, you can get the user to test their knowledge of using the tool. So much for being hands on!
4) Multiple review options: Reviewing learning on Articulate has a wide suite of options. It could be as simple as a multiple-choice quiz at the end of a lesson or fun like the “Be a Millionaire” quiz. Articulate also has the option of adapting ready made assessment and gaming packages to create exciting and interesting review methods. I have seen a new joiner induction for a car company where the review was like a journey in the car. You could choose your driver profile and you had to answer questions or solve problems along your way and for every correct answer you would get gasoline for the car or some fancy accessories/features to enhance the car! Wouldn’t something like that make your learner really raring to go?
5) Accessibility: Accessibility is very important today. For the uninitiated, Ontario is the first province in Canada to pass a legislation (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, AODA) to develop mandatory accessibility standards. The act aims to identify, remove, and prevent barriers for people with disabilities, in key areas of daily living. Now, Articulate has in built options to make online training accessible for users who are differently abled by using closed captioning, tabbing and alternate text. The best part is that this can be done while designing the course itself to allow for pre-emptive action. Corrective measures need not be taken once the course has been published to accommodate different needs. Isn’t that so thoughtful and inclusive as a training option?
That was my rave review about Articulate Storyline. Those of you who are seasoned in this field may wonder what is so remarkable about Articulate. Can’t these effects be created with other e-learning tools too? Such as Adobe Captivate? Oh, yes! But that is a topic for another time and more importantly for someone who is a beginner, you can’t get more user friendly than Articulate. Articulate doesn’t give you the mind-numbing feeling of using unfamiliar technology. In fact, if you know how to use PowerPoint, chances are you will learn the ropes pretty quickly with Articulate.
As far as I am concerned, I am no longer flummoxed when someone asks me if I know Articulate. I now tell people I know how to Articulate to Captivate my learners.
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