Storyline and Sparks: Five Years of Elearning Development

I’ve just updated my academic library’s library orientation tutorials, the Spark Tutorials, for the 2018-19 school year! These are the third iteration of the Spark Tutorials as they exist today.

And I just realized – I’ve been developing elearning for five years now! I’ve been developing elearning with Articulate Storyline since 2013. I’ve also been using Adobe Captivate and Camtasia, but Storyline is by far my favorite (shhh, don’t tell!). It’s amazing how much technology changes. In five years, Storyline has advanced so much, as have my own elearning development skills. Flash isn’t even a thing anymore!

I’m really proud of the work I’ve done with the Spark Tutorials. On a campus of 40,000 students and 15 instruction librarians, it was essential to scale up our reach through asynchronous elearning modules. We’ve gone from zero elearning to thousands of students completing these tutorials in the last two academic years. While I’m leaving my librarian position later this month, the Spark Tutorials will continue providing a quality learning experience for Cal State Fullerton students for the next year at least.

I’ve done a lot of thinking and writing about the Spark Tutorials. I even wrote a book chapter for Teaching with Digital Badges: Best Practices for Libraries, a really neat book that will be released September 15th. I’ve done several presentations on the Sparks, and I’ve written a couple of blog posts, too. A couple of the Sparks were even accepted into PRIMO, the Peer-Reviewed Instructional Materials Online database.

I’m delighted to have advanced in my elearning development skills, so I’d like to show my work so that you can see how much I’ve progressed over several years.

Storyline and sparks five years of elearning

Introduction to Research: Scholarly Journals

This is the first big thing I ever created with Storyline! As library staff at Arizona State, I was part of a committee that was designing online library research tutorials that would award digital badges.

I think my demo tutorial turned out pretty well:

You might even say that I set the design standard for Arizona State’s later tutorials! Compare my demo with this tutorial.

Spark Tutorials

I got into Storyline in a big way after I became the Instructional Design Librarian at California State University, Fullerton. I was really lucky to get a Storyline license and some server space to host them!

Here are several iterations of the Spark Tutorials:

Library Tutorial Pilot

The predecessor to the Spark Tutorials, this 2015 tutorial was a proof-of-concept that we piloted with several freshman classes. The word FIRe stands for Fluent Information Researcher. This silly name was the inspiration for the Spark Tutorials that followed.

Services & Collections

There are four Spark Tutorials now – you can compare the original 2016 version with the 2018 version, the third iteration.

This Spark was accepted into PRIMO.

Finding Books & Media

Finding Articles & Databases

This Spark was accepted into PRIMO.

Help & Support

Other Storyline Work

Along the way, I created several other tutorials and tools and games using Storyline:

Lessons Learned

Having a server to host all of these tutorials was essential! I pay for personal web hosting, but I was lucky to get server space at the library to host all of these tutorials so that learners wouldn’t have to log in.

That said, I learned a lot about SCORM packages and making Storyline tutorials play nice with Moodle, the campus LMS! Three words summarizes my experience: Thousands. Of. Settings. Moodle was a huge pain when I originally embedded the Spark Tutorials in a course to facilitate awarding digital badges. I will duplicate content forever before having to deal with all of those settings again!

Storyline is awesome! I have so much fun being creative. If I can dream it, Storyline can do it, or it can do it with a little coding (and a little coddling). I’m endlessly grateful for the E-Learning Heroes community, where Storyline users share tons of ideas and raw files! Adobe Captivate’s community is nonexistent in comparison.

As I wrap up my time at the library, I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to be creative and to set the course for the library’s online offerings. Ever onwards and upwards!