Articulate Storyline is one of several excellent software tools that can be used to create rich interactive learning resources. We chose it for its sophisticated features and great ease of use; the interface is familiar to anyone who uses PowerPoint. Encouraging its adoption across the institution enables us to share expertise and provide effective support, including training materials on LinkedIn Learning. It also has a strong user community that provides expert advice and inspirational examples. The only downside is the significant licence cost of this professional tool, but there is a free 30-day evaluation version available. In addition, the blend of learning design, graphic design, programming and project management skills required often mean that it is more effective for academics to commission the Digital Learning team to develop the resources they want.
This learning resource was created as part of an ESRC-funded research project to encourage the adoption of environmentally sustainable practices by hairdressers. The aim was to show them ideas and technologies that can reduce their use of hot water, electricity and products. Storyline was used to create a ‘virtual salon’ for the learners to explore. If they ‘liked’ an idea they encountered, they would be shown the savings it would generate, as well as a running total. Although we thought that hairdressers might be interested in the kWh of electricity saved, or the 000’s of litres of water, they are running a business and so it was the £000’s saved that would really persuade them to ‘go green’.
During the first phase of the project, the resource was hosted on SCORM Cloud, a commercial service that enabled us to track all the learner data – for example which ideas they liked and their total savings – and this was used to inform the research and measure its impact. When that funding was spent, the resource was moved to the University’s Edshare repository and is accessed by around 75 hairdressers each month.
Details of the learning design, Storyline features used and development process are available in a series of blog posts.