The Rapid Elearning Blog

next generation rapid e-learning

Ten years ago, the e-learning industry was still mostly Flash-based. That meant organizations either had to buy e-learning courses, have them custom-built, or hire a Flash programmer to build them. The cost for doing so meant most organizations didn’t have access to the world of online training.

That all changed when the PowerPoint-to-Flash tools like Articulate Studio, emerged. It democratized the world of online training because it put e-learning into the hands of anyone who wanted to build a course. If you came from that world where building Flash courses took more time and cost more, everything was rapid. Thus, the term, rapid e-learning.

The Evolution of Rapid E-learning

Flash required special skills which made authoring in PowerPoint so attractive. With some creativity, one could build engaging and interactive e-learning courses in PowerPoint. However, the reality is that PowerPoint has a ceiling and doesn’t offer all of the interactive capabilities required for many e-learning courses. I outlined that in this post on why PowerPoint isn’t the right choice for interactive e-learning.

PowerPoint isn't the best for interactive rapid e-learning

  • Interactivity is mostly limited to click-and-reveal.
  • It requires a lot of redundant production which gets exponentially more complex.
  • You can’t use variables to create adaptive training or branched interactions.

When Storyline came out in 2012 it really changed the rapid e-learning industry. For the first time, one could build highly interactive content with PowerPoint comfort and without a background in programming. That was an exciting time for first-generation rapid e-learning developers.

Second Generation Rapid E-Learning

I’m often asked where is the rapid part of rapid e-learning? For those who are entering the industry today, it’s a bit different.

Storyline is still a killer application. However, there is an opportunity for those who want a new type of authoring, or what could be called rapid(er) e-learning. Welcome to the world of Rise.

In a sense, Rise is to Storyline what PowerPoint was to Flash. It offers even easier authoring that allows for quick development and delivery. It’s fully responsive and works great on mobile devices.

Comparing Rise to Storyline

Rise courses are constructed using pre-determined blocks. Choose a block, add content, and publish. Whereas, Storyline is a freeform slide that requires a bit more work.

new rapid e-learning example insert tabs interaction Rise

A great way to see the difference is by looking at how to insert a tabs interaction (one of the most common interaction types). In Rise, select a tabs interaction block and insert the content. That’s it.

In Storyline, it’s relatively easy to build a tabs interaction, but it requires more steps. Decide how it will look and work. And then from there build custom tabs, add layers, and then connect triggers.

As you can see, Rise is a whole lot faster and easier. It’s the new and improved rapid e-learning.

Combining Rise and Storyline for Powerful Rapid E-Learning

The cool thing is that when you want some custom interactions, build them in Storyline and add them to the Rise course. Thus you get the best of both worlds: fast, easy authoring in Rise combined with custom interactivity of Storyline.

rapid e-learning Articulate Rise example

Click here to view the Rise demo.

Above is a quick demo where I modified one of the Storyline templates in Content Library to work in Rise as a simple interaction.

Other Examples of Rapid E-Learning Courses in Rise

And for those wondering what you can do, here are few Rise demos:

other rapid e-learning examples in Rise

If you haven’t tried Rise, give it a go. Let me know what you think. Eventually, this e-learning stuff will get so easy we’ll just be sitting at home watching Netflix and eating bonbons.


Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

10 responses to “The New & Improved Rapid E-Learning”

Hi Tom.

I agree that RISE is a great tool, however for me it is not the rapid part that is best (although it is great!) – it is the RESPONSIVE ouput that is the killer – making things available on ANY device.

I avoid using storyline elements in RISE courses as it removes this responsive feel (I know they will still be accessible across all devices, it just loses the true responsiveness).

I look forward to more and more features being added to RISE, especially to blocks.

Keep up the great work!


February 20th, 2018

I like the examples. How’d you build the scenario?

February 20th, 2018

Curious to see how this works. We have SL3, and no budget to change to 360, but it’s still nice to keep up with what’s new. Unfortunately, the demo will not load for me in IE, Edge or Chrome.

Rise comes *so close* to being an amazing tool, but its lack of support for localization (translation) of content is a deal-breaker for anyone who builds training for clients or customers outside the U.S. I’m still scratching my head as to why Rise was released without this functionality. Label export is nice, but I’m talking about content.

So, while I can build prototypes in Rise because it’s so easy to do… then I have to recreate then in Storyline as Rise has no XLIFF or even Word/PDF export support for import, translation, or legal review.
I have to cut and paste content (or obviously, not use Rise).
Very, very frustrating, especially as Rise is slick in so many other ways.

February 20th, 2018

@Joyce: the links are working, my guess is that they’re being blocked at your org.

February 20th, 2018

@Becca: I’ll do a write up on how I build the content.

February 20th, 2018

@M Duda: thanks for the feedback and your patience as Rise evolves and new features are released. We’re actively working on localization features (as well as others). The nice thing with Rise is that we can build a feature and deliver it as soon as it’s done.

February 21st, 2018

Thanks, Tom, for helping us understand the progression of elearning. Not many have the experience to do that.

February 26th, 2018

Good Post.

March 21st, 2018

I wrote a couple of follow up posts that start next Tuesday. First, I’ll show some of what I did in Rise and why. And then in the other one, I’ll show an easy way to work with graphics.