Imagine your company has spent a small fortune developing a library of brilliant, world-class online training materials. You’ve had the best experts at your disposal, and your online training courses generate noticeable results. Except there’s one problem. More and more, the people you’re training aren’t at their desks. They’re commuting, travelling, and working from remote places around the world where they don’t have easy access to a laptop or desktop for Flash-based content.
Thanks to advances in hardware and cloud computing, workers increasingly conduct business with mobile devices like phones and tablets. However, for corporate training content, this freedom to roam comes at a price: the rich interactions they originally built into courses in Flash won’t work on mobile devices. Does that mean companies have to scrap all the legacy content in their training libraries? Absolutely not. But it does mean that companies will need to optimize course content so learners maintain engagement from any device.
Enter Unicorn Training, one of the premier providers of e-learning solutions, specializing in the financial services sector. For over 25 years, companies worldwide have trusted Unicorn to create courses for tens of thousands of employees. And as demand for mobile content grows with the proliferation of lightweight yet powerful devices, companies are once again turning to Unicorn—and Unicorn’s turning to Storyline.
“Increasingly, we need solutions that publish content to run on mobile and tablet devices as well as desktops,” says Samantha (Sam) Yates, instructional designer at Unicorn Training. “When we compared the available products, we looked at features like community engagement, power without programming, support for variables, customization, and overall ease of use. Storyline ticked more boxes than the rest, and just felt like the right solution.”
Unicorn had the chance to dive into Storyline when the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) tapped them to update over 200 hours of Flash-based training modules, which Unicorn had originally produced for them back in 2006. “In mid-January, CIPS asked us to refresh 132 learning topics and 64 case studies, and make them accessible for learners on Android, iOS, and iPad devices—for launch by September,” Sam recalls.
Immediately, the team was smitten with Storyline’s easy learning curve. They quickly created custom design templates for a consistent look and feel throughout the modules, which let them work on multiple courses at once. Even when designing in parallel, the team found they actually collaborated more than ever because of Storyline. “Closing the gap between design and production let us see the results of our work on the screen immediately,” says Sam. “We could design, edit, and adapt the storyboard on the fly to take advantage of our group’s creative synergy.”
CIPS was delighted by the new modules, which Unicorn delivered ahead of schedule. “I love the way the new designs were implemented. The way the content and questions look and work on-screen, and the interactive elements—it’s brilliant,” says Karen Beamish, CIPS program manager.
The success of the CIPS modules landed Unicorn two more large refresh-and-convert projects with CIPS, both scheduled for delivery later this year. “Even with a team of just six people on this project we were able to take on and deliver excellent results in a timescale and cost that would have otherwise been impossible,” notes Sam. “And we were able to do so because we used Storyline as our authoring tool.”
Efficiencies like this proved just as critical for Unicorn’s charity work with “Global Giveback,” an initiative run by LINGOs and Last Mile Learning. Sam answered the challenge to create a 90-minute e-learning course and developed “Influencing Without Authority.” With limited resources, she needed to be able to wear both design and production hats to make the project possible. “I was able to build the entire course myself without any programming knowledge,” says Sam. “Storyline has been a godsend.”
The course presents situational learning exercises featuring a character named Maria on a fictional island called Katoa. Immediately, learners connect with the visually rich, interactive experience thanks to customized slide layers, triggers, states, and buttons. Sam notes, “Though I was already familiar with Storyline, I’ve really been able to stretch my knowledge of it with this type of project.”
Sam took care to make the course feel authentic and resonate with the audience of foreign aid workers. But she also had to think about the way the course functioned, since many of the 200,000 targeted aid workers live in remote places and simply carry a mobile device. She explains, “By building the course in Storyline, we’ve been able to make the course mobile-compatible. Should they need to, users will also be able to study the course offline on iPads using the Articulate Mobile Player app.”
As more and more learners consume content on mobile devices, designers will need to provide flexible accessibility options without sacrificing the rich interactivity that’s critical to engaging learners. “Since we started using Storyline, we’re spending less time actually building courses and more time thinking about how best to present information across multiple devices,” observes Sam. “There’s a sweet spot between making a tool powerful enough to do what people want and simple enough for people to use it. For me, Storyline pretty much nails that.”
Find out more about Unicorn Training at www.unicorntraining.com.