Voice to text has been commonplace for years now. It feels natural to dictate a text message to our phone, write a shopping list by telling siri what we need, give navigation instructions orally in our cars, the list goes on. Recently, however; Articulate has enabled the opposite – text to speech. Without engaging a voiceover artist or even using a microphone, you can now create narration in your e-learning courses!
Articulate has made it simple to create a voiceover narration. It’s as straightforward as writing your script and entering it into the voice to text field.
Then you can choose your language and voice/accent and Voila! You have e-learning content with narration.
Text-to-speech narration works just like other audio clips in Storyline, so you can use the audio tools to customise it. You can even use different voices for different clips, which is helpful for creating dialogue between two characters.
Here are some tips for getting the best pronunciation and phrasing with Text-to-speech:
- Don’t use abbreviations
- If a correctly spelled word isn’t pronounced the way you want, try spelling it phonetically
- If you need longer pauses, then convert your Text-to-speech and open it in the built-in audio editor and add silence where required
There are some drawbacks to using Articulate’s Text-to-speech function. While it is simple and cost effective, it still sounds very computer generated. We can see this improving in the future, as technology of computer animated voices gets better. It also doesn’t have the same inflection of an actual human voice. It sometimes doesn’t portray the sentence as the course author would have suggested, placing emphasis on the wrong words. This could arguably distract the user from the learning at hand. However, we think it’s beneficial to cater for as many learning styles as possible at one time and using voiceover narration for some or all of your content can assist students who learn best auditory.
If you have large images, audio or video in a Storyline file and you need to reduce the size of your published output, simply edit the quality settings by following the steps below:
1) Click the Publish button
2) Under Properties, Quality: click Custom optimization
3) Click Custom and then adjust the Video, Audio and Image quality.
Have you ever wondered how long your e-learning course is? Storyline allows you to do this by automatically calculating the duration of the course timeline. Follow the steps below to find out how:
How to calculate your course duration
1) Click the Publish button
2) The following popup will appear, then click the button highlighted below:
3) Next to “Duration”, highlighted below you will see the estimated course duration
Articulate Storyline 2 been released and bundled with a heap of new features. Rather than go through them all we have chosen some of our favourites that will allow you to take your courses to the next level.
1. Motion Paths
We have been waiting for this feature for a long time and it doesn’t disappoint. Now you can create motion paths that can be triggered anywhere on the timeline. How often have we wished we had the ability to make objects move in Storyline like we do in PowerPoint? Now we can.
2. Dockable Panels
If you are so inclined, you can move the triggers, slide layers, timeline, states, and other panels to somewhere else on your desktop, or to a second monitor. This will let you have room to focus only on the scene you are working on.
3. Auto Recovery
I don’t know about you but I am one of those people who have opened their project to begin work and realised that I didn’t hit save last time and have lost hours of work. Now this won’t happen anymore. The Auto recovery feature allows you to start where you left off whether you didn’t save or your computer crashed.
4. Slider Interactions
This is one of my favourite new features. Storyline has created an interaction that allows users to manipulate data, explore relationships between objects and principles and to make it even better it looks great in your course.
5. Read only seek bar
Often I want a learner to have their own control over the course navigation, but still enforce some sort of time accountability on a slide. Through a read only seek bar, learners have to stay on the slide for the allotted amount of time but still have their own autonomy when clicking next. It’s a win win!
5. Trigger to hide the next button
In Storyline 2, the Trigger Wizard has new events, allowing you more options to control objects on the slide. The flexibility to hide the next button until users have completed the slide is a helpful new option that we already see ourselves using again and again.
6. Copy and Paste Layers
We see this as a huge time saver; we love having the ability to copy and paste layers. No more having to create and re-create the same layers for new slides.
7. Animation Painter
We love format painter and use it all the time. We are so excited about the new Animation painter for adding the styling to all of our animations!
8. Character Spacing
This new feature lets developers space characters any way they want. With this feature we have can make text look any way we want. Time to get creative!
9. Question Import
Remember the pain of having to manually write each question and its answers into the question field? With this new feature, we can import questions from an excel or a text file and to create assessments efficiently.
One thing we really wish Articulate would provide further support in is HTML 5. Although it is supported, we still find any courses that are sizeable or have videos; audio or advanced variables can have trouble on an iPad or mobile device.