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The short answer to the question of Storyline’s capabilities as they relate to anything outside of pre-packaged eLearning, is… not much. A bold statement, to some, but as an experienced gamer, programmer, and eLearning developer it’s a hard truth. With that said, I’ll give more detail as to why exactly that is, and shed some light on the issue.

Regardless of industry, we all want to promote our skills, and really flex the muscles of our software. To that end, I’ll begin with what’s possible in the Storyline sandbox and give credit where it’s due. A good starting point is that if you want a templated eLearning module, or a series of them, there’s really no substitute for Articulate Storyline. With it, you’re able to create a template and package any number of effects in the program. Storyline seems to me like someone took PowerPoint’s user interface and was told to keep adding features until they ran out of ideas. Seriously, compare the two. It’s shocking. Here are a few pros to Storyline:

  • Pre-packaged

  • Quick

  • More powerful then PowerPoint

  • Comes with SCORM on export


Now that we’re done with our praises, we’ll review the other side of things. Earlier I compared Storyline to PowerPoint, which is a more important comparison than you may think. It’s due to the fact that you have the ability to make a functional learning program, but without the ability to do much more. It’s like having PowerPoint with a few more effects (on a timeline), a flash player, and a functional question bank feature for quizzing that simplifies the whole process. With that being said, once you cross the realm of a sequential learning program, all you’re left with is a web of slide linkages if you want to produce anything more exciting, such as a Jeopardy program. A program that, with time and preparation, on another platform such as Flash would give you much more flexibility. Here are a few cons to Storyline:

  • Pre-packaged (this also works against it for those who want more customization)

  • Too much like PowerPoint

  • Customization is possible, but it takes time and often requires more complex programming (individuals who are not programmers, may find it difficult to customize eLearning beyond what is offered in Storyline)

  • External calls (outside of the pre-packaged ones) require JavaScript

  • Lacks functionality for more engaging programs (i.e. mobile learning games, virtual simulations or gamification in eLearning courses).


Having said what I have about Powerpoint err… Storyline, I’ve seen many people out there trying to create eLearning programs that seem to have more complex logic with Storyline, but simply do not. To create the most engaging eLearning courses or mobile learning games, Storyline does not have the capabilities in most cases, to do what we need it to do. Custom programming is required to create truly engaging on-line experience.

If you would like to explore more about gamification, mobile learning and eLearning, take a peek at our company website: Pathways Training and eLearning, at . We always look for fresh ways to engage learners and to make the learning experience as fun as possible!

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