How to define learner time in an elearning course

How to define learner time in an elearning course

So your boss wants to know how many pages of content can fit into the one hour long elearning course that all employees must participate in; or, your team leader asks how long the powerpoint you are going to convert will take the end users to complete in their learning path. In another scenario, your client asks you what will be the end learning result when you convert a 50 slide powerpoint into online learning. If any of these scenarios sound familiar to you, you could be wondering how to determine a definitive answer to the mystery that is calculating elearning course time?

This is a common and often debated question amongst Subject Matter Experts and Course Creator’s alike.

calculating learning time

Many factors come into consideration when calculating learning time. It is difficult to determine learner time based on slide count or even course content text pages, because of many factors.
Some of these factors are as follows:

  • Type of content , some content leans to descriptive paragraphs and images that support. Some is best portrayed with complex, labeled diagrams or multiple layers and animations. A slide with some text and images will take much less time than a slide with complicated layers, video or animation. A level 3 interactive game based course will take much longer than the 1-2 minutes a learner might spend on text slide or a click and reveal.
  • Learner variation: learners come in all different shapes and sizes! Just as in traditional classroom settings, learners don’t come in a one size fits all package. Everyone learns at different rates. One learner could whizz through a slide in 45 seconds while another could slowly read through the content and digest it in 4 minutes. When estimating learner time, we need to account for this diversity.
  • Technological proficiency: similarly, some learners will be more technologically in tune than others. They will click click the next button, and sail through the interactions in no time. Other users may take 15-30 seconds working out which buttons to press in order to reveal content, or to turn the page.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ calculation to determine seat time for an elearning course. After our own inhouse debate, and then scouring the web, we found various thoughts on how many words and slides constitute an hour of learning.

calculation to determine seat time for an elearning course

Many elearning developers believe that approximately 50 slides or content screens equal 1 hour of e-Learning, and a 10,000 word script is also equal to 1 hour of e-Learning. This is of course subjective and dependent on the factors listed above. However, if you need a broad guide, use this as a starting point.

Next assistance with course development, find out more.

Text to Speech voice narration using Articulate Storyline 360

Text to Speech voice narration using Articulate Storyline 360

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!

Text-to-speech Articulate 360

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.

text-to-speech enter text

Then you can choose your language and voice/accent and Voila! You have e-learning content with narration.

text-to-speech choice language and voice

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:

  1. Don’t use abbreviations
  2. If a correctly spelled word isn’t pronounced the way you want, try spelling it phonetically
  3. 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.

Articulate Storyline 3 vs Articulate 360: Which product should I invest in?

Articulate Storyline 3 vs Articulate 360: Which product should I invest in?

We provide a lot of training using the Articulate software and one of the most common questions we are asked is which one of these products will give me the best value? Which one is the most user friendly?

There is no right or wrong answer because both will help you create captivating online courses. The question should be which one is more appropriate for the elearning I am creating?

We rounded up the details of both new Articulate software below.


Articulate 360

Articulate 360 comes with a variety of tools as opposed to Storyline 3 which just gives you the upgraded version of Storyline 3.

With your subscription to 360, you get access to the following tools:

  • Storyline 360 – Industry standard for creating interactive elearning SCORM content
  • Studio 360 – Transform PowerPoint presentations into Courses.
  • Rise 360 – Build fully responsive courses in minutes, right within your web browser.
  • Content Library 360 – An ever-expanding source of course assets, with over 3 million images/videos + characters & slide templates.
  • Review 360 – Simplify project reviews with your stakeholders with instant upload & sharing, comments, and notifications.
  • Replay 360 – Record and edit personalised screencastsn.
  • Peek 360 – Record screencasts and instantly upload to Review for sharing.
  • Articulate 360 Training – Gives you the training you need from eLearning experts.

One nice new feature available in Storyline 360 is Text-to-Speech, it allows you to convert text to speech right in 360. This is a powerful feature, we still feel the voice narration created sounds a little computer generate.

Articulate 360 is a subscription-based software. This means you have to pay a monthly fee for all that Articulate 360 has to offer. This is ongoing, so if you only want to fork out the payment one time, this solution probably isn’t for you.


Articulate Storyline 3

Storyline 3 is the same great product that we have come to know and love. Storyline 3 is a perpetual license, which means you pay the lump sum for it now and don’t have to pay again, that is until the new version of Storyline comes out and you want to upgrade.

Storyline 3 comes with the added features:

  • Allows you to structure text with tables, which can be great for organizing your content.
  • Create and add closed captions. We have worked with WCAG and Section 508 in the past and this feature is an added bonus if you do any work for disabled employees.
  • The motion paths are much more advanced and new trigger events let you create content that is more game- like.
  • A new responsive player that will look great on tablets and mobile phones.

To put it simply, Storyline 3 is an upgraded version of your old Storyline. If you only want to spend the money once, are happy with your current Storyline 2 and don’t need access to a reviewing tool or the content library, this is the product for you. If you are happy to go with a subscription, Articulate 360 gives you access to more tools to work with. It is continually getting upgraded so you reap the benefits of the advancements.

Still not sure, click here to compare features across all Storyline versions.

How to reduce the Storyline published file size?

How to reduce the Storyline published file size?

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.

Storyline Publish Quality


How to reduce the Storyline published file size?

How to calculate your course duration

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

Storyline Publish Button

2) The following popup will appear, then click the button highlighted below:

Publish Popup

3) Next to “Duration”, highlighted below you will see the estimated course duration

Storyline Project Info

How to reduce the Storyline published file size?

New features in Articulate Storyline 2 you must check out!

Articulate Storyline 2Articulate 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.

A Negative:
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.