Onboarding Employees using a Rise Course

Facilities team member photos with their introductions

The Concept

Articulate 360 has been out for a couple of months, but I just got around to starting a 30 day trial. My favorite new application that’s included in Articulate 360 is called Rise. Rise is a super-rapid development tool that lets you create responsive courses in a fraction of the time it would take in Storyline. The interface doesn’t require any technical knowledge- it’s basically all WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get).

As a trade off, it doesn’t have the flexibility that Storyline does. I would not use Rise for a course that is aimed at changing learner’s behaviors, as you wouldn’t be able to create interactive enough scenarios. However, Rise is perfect for courses that are mostly about transmitting knowledge. If you were to break it down by Bloom’s Taxonomy levels, the learning objectives in a perfect Rise course would focus on Remembering, Understanding, and Applying.

For my course, I decided to create a Facilities Orientation guide for new hires that could be part of an onboarding process. This course is for a fake company I made up called Blue Beta. Not only did Rise make this a very fast course to build, it allows learners to easily revisit content (which would definitely be useful for new employees overwhelmed by information), and it works on mobile.

The Method

Rise has a number of different lesson types to choose from, as you can see here:

Different lesson types in Rise

For the most part, I ended up using the Blocks lesson type, as it allows you to combine many different types of content on one lesson page. Most of my content was regular text, so I use the Text and Statement block types quite heavily. I did also like the interactive and multimedia block types as well; you could really build some neat interactions using those (if your content called for it).

Different block types to choose from when building in Rise

Besides the Block lessons, I also incorporated a labeled graphic:

Labeled graphic of an office floor plan pointing our where the sales team sits.

Finally, I ended the course with a quiz to test learners on the important takeaways from the course. All of the lesson types looked gorgeous by default, but the quiz was really where I appreciated it most. The way Storyline built the quiz and the ending animation with the learner’s score is very elegant.

Answered quiz question showing explanation

Overall, I’m very pleased with Rise. I think it’s very applicable to a lot of courses we might design at my company, and it would save so much time in comparison to building the same thing in Storyline. There are definitely some things that could be improved (more customization options for sure, pulling directly from the content library is another), but the posts I’ve read in the Articulate Community show that their product team is really listening well to the feature requests and use cases that community members post.

The Result

Click here to view the course.

Customize an Object Using Drop-downs

Image of ice cream sundae with customization options shown in drop-down and checkboxes

The Concept

This week’s eLearning challenge was all about drop-down effects. Drop-downs definitely make sense for navigation, but I was really attracted to the personalization possibilities of including drop-downs in a project. I originally thought of drop-downs as a way to build an avatar for the learner, but this would have required a large number of options (gender, hair color, eye color, etc.) Then I considered a snowman builder, and finally settled on something that looks similar: an ice cream sundae. This offered a manageable number of customization and it’s pretty fun.

The Method

To start with, I created the ice cream sundae in PowerPoint. The key to making it all work (and verifying that it would still look ok if some of the layers were missing) was the Selection Pane. This lets you hide objects without needing to move them out of the way. This functionality exists in Storyline, but I think it’s pretty easy to miss in PowerPoint if you don’t know it exists. You can see in the image below I have an object called “Background”. That isn’t the blue background on the slide; it’s actually a rectangle with no outline and no fill that’s bigger than the entire sundae. When I needed to export individual components (like the cherry), exporting the rectangle and the cherry together ensured that the cherry would end up in the correct position. All of the images I exported were the exact same dimensions using that little trick.
Ice cream sundae build in PowerPoint with the Selection Pane showing all components


Once I had the individual components, I was ready to start building. Most of the objects were placed on the base layer. I made three drop-down fields and two checkboxes. If you take a look at the .story file linked at the bottom of the page, you can see that I actually built the checkboxes myself. That was entirely due to a brain fart where I forgot Storyline provides checkboxes.

To display the drop-down options, I created three layers. The layers had rectangles for the options within a drop-down, as well as another rectangle with a “drop-up” symbol. When a drop-down option is clicked, it does three things:

  1. Hide the slide layer
  2. Change the state of the corresponding sundae component on the base layer
  3. Change the state of the corresponding label on the base layer so you can see what has been selected

Additional layer in Storyline showing triggers used to control it

Back on the base layer, this is what it looks like:

Base layer in Storyline showing triggers and different states on image

The ice cream, sauces, and toppings have different states corresponding to the different options. The whipped cream and cherry only have one state each, but are hidden by default. Checking the checkbox changes their states to normal. Keeping up with proper labeling will make sorting out the triggers much easier.

The Result

Click here to see the full interaction.

Click to download the .story file and or the .ppt file if you’d like to customize the sundae options yourself.

Creating a Vertically Oriented Filmstrip

Woman typing on a computer with "Women in Tech" below

The Concept

I dipped into the past eLearning challenges and found two that I thought would go well together: #84- Using Image Sliders and Photo Galleries in Online Courses and #160- Change Your E-Learning Perspective. I wanted to create a filmstrip using a slider so it had a smooth action when switching between photos.

The Method

In order to create this slider, I started with the images. I used some absolutely amazing stock photos provided by Women of Color in Tech Chat. Once I picked out the images I wanted, I added them to Powerpoint and scaled them down into a filmstrip. I created five copies of the filmstrip and made all of the images greyscale except for one in each of the strips.
Powerpoint slide with six groups of images creating six filmstrips

Once I had everything the way I wanted it, I saved the images to use outside of Powerpoint. I was left with images that looked like this:

Filmstrip of six images of women on computers

Then it was time to start building the interaction. I added a slider and gave it six different positions. It took a bit of playing around to get the slider the correct size and position. On the Format tab, I filled the slider thumb with the image above. After that, I added five more states the slider, replacing the fill image with the other filmstrip images so the image in full color changes from state to state.

I created six layers that correspond to the image selected by the slider. Finally I created triggers to change the slider’s state and the visible layer when the slider’s variable changed to specified values. This is what the slide looked like when I finished:

Storyline slide view showing filmstrip slider and corresponding triggers

The Result

Click here to view the full interaction.

Click here to download the source file.


Using Animated Characters in eLearning

"Designing An Exercise Routine" title showing two people exercising

The Concept

Challenge #163 calls for the use of animated characters in eLearning. I went back and forth about the character I was going to use and finally decided on characters that animated the movements of physical exercises.

The Method

Most of the work for this challenge happened outside of Storyline. I started with some vector images of people exercising. In Illustrator, I ungrouped the image, made copies, and then rotated limbs around to show movement. Once I had the full range of motion represented, I exported the .pngs.

Screenshot of Illustrator showing two characters in a variety of poses


I imported the sets of images into Photoshop to create .gifs, as described by David Charney from eLearning Locker in this video. Since I only had a few images per person, it was pretty easy to figure out the timing of the .gif and what would look most realistic. To finish, I chose to make the .gifs loop forever.

Screenshot showing GIF creation process in Photoshop


Once I had the finished .gifs, the build in Storyline was very simple. I inserted the .gifs and didn’t have to worry about any animations or motion paths for the characters.

Character with dumbbell weights and instructions for performing side lateral raise exercise

The Result

Click here to see the full interaction.

Creating a Calculator in Storyline

Title with blue background and "162 Creating a Finacial Calculator"

The Concept

This week’s eLearning Challenge was #162- Share Your Interactive Budgeting Tools, Games, and Financial Calculators. I decided to create a mini course based on one of my favorite blog posts- Mr. Money Mustache’s “The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement”. The post talks about the variables that go into (early) retirement, then boils it all down with assumptions to a single table showing the relationship between savings rate and years to retirement.

I wanted to create a course that not only shows that relationship but allows the learner to calculate their savings rate to evaluate their current situation.

The Method

Creating a calculator in Storyline involves a few steps:

  1. Create text entry fields with associated numerical variables for the things you’re adding and subtracting together
  2. Create an additional variable for the total
  3. Create a button to start the calculations
  4. Create a trigger to zero out the total (in case someone changes their number and recalculates)
  5. Create triggers to add or subtract the numerical variables to your variable for the total

This is what that process looked like for my first calculation slide:

Storyline triggers showing calculation order

For the second calculation slide, I not only had to calculate the total savings amount, I also had to run the calculation to determine the savings rate (savings divided by take home pay time 100). Doing those calculations from this calculate button ensured that the information was ready to go on the next slide.

Storyline triggers showing calculations

One last thing I did was creating an animation on the final slide with a “waterfall” of coins. I create a motion path for each coin going straight down, and also added an entrance animation of spinning. It’s an interesting effect.

Storyline slide view showing numerous coin pictures with their motion lines and corresponding triggers


The Result

Click here to see the full interaction

Click here to download the .story file of the calculation slides.