I was asked to review the book “Articulate Storyline Essentials” by Ashley Chiasson. The Articulate Storyline Hub is a pretty comprehensive site for learning and troubleshooting Storyline projects and you may wonder if a book is even necessary in this day and age. What’s nice about a book, and this book in particular, is how it approaches the subject.
This is a nice compact book and really does provide the essentials, without adding extraneous details. As Ashley points out there is a lot of help that can be had on the Elearning Heroes Community. Here are some observations I had:
- The book is logically laid out and I appreciated the pace of the book.
- I also really liked the tone of the book. It has an encouraging and enthusiastic tone that reinforced the fact that Storyline is an easy tool to pick up and learn. I have worked with Ashley, so can attest that this is a very authentic style.
- I would have liked a few more specific references for resources, sprinkled throughout the book. While Storyline does provide you with the basics of what you need, there are features where it is limited (image editing, audio editing) and most developers augment with other tools and novice developers might not know this. “Forewarned is forearmed” they say, and knowing where limitations exist would give developers guidance around managing those limitations. When you come across a limitation, you are disappointed and frustrated that you can’t necessarily do what you want with the tool. I love Storyline but as with any tool, you can’t expect it to be all things to all people.
Note: The book does direct you to a previously published book “Learning Articulate Storyline” which I reviewed previously and mentions another book that Ashley is working on called “Mastering Articulate Storyline” that will extend beyond the basics.
What I really appreciated about this book, however, was how it framed the creation of your e-learning as a “story”. Seems obvious, as the tool is called “Storyline” but most people describe the output they create as e-learning or courses. By labeling it as a story throughout the entire book, you are reminded that you are not just creating a course, but you are weaving a story and that Articulate Storyline is a storytelling tool, not just an e-learning authoring tool. This is a really powerful way to think about your output. It elevates the various components (images, interactivity, audio/video) to story elements. And for new users to the tool, “creating a story” should provide a great starting point to conceptualize projects. Tell the story that you want to tell, don’t create a course.
I think this is a great book for a novice user and very much look forward to Ashley’s next book.
Disclaimer: I was provided a review copy of the book and have worked directly with Ashley. Neither of these factors influenced my review.