Further thoughts on Articulate360

Following on from my post on Rise

You are first prompted to install 360.  However, you quickly realize this is just the new installer/aggregated menu.  Once installed, this then prompts you to install or launch other tools – if you have the trial banner then “Preso” is shunted off the bottom.

Articulate360 menu with open, install and launch options

articulate/Articulate 360 menu

Installation of the local content was a bit tricky – I had my local IT team to tinker with my admin permissions to allow the Storyline and Replay installs whilst Studio 360 would not install due to a “conflicting version of Studio is currently installed”.  Fair enough as presumably they interact with PowerPoint in the same way.

The feel (as well as the 360 name) of the new Storyline is very Microsoft – perhaps predictably considering the close alignment with PowerPoint in the past.  This all feels very Office still, the purple theme giving a warm OneNote kinda feel to proceedings.

Once into Storyline360 things look even more familiar – indeed it looks and acts much like Storyline 2.  The differences for now are really what is highlighted on the first/home screen (see image).

The additional media libraries are fine but many people will have an image bank or corporate access to Thinkstock anyway and Review is probably presumptive that IDs are getting more time with their SMEs (or more of their SMEs’ time) than they are!


Feeling at Home in OneNote Storyline

Then the real value would be left in coming from the responsive player.  It would be lovely if the product comparisons (web / PDF) linked to videos or pages showing the specific change to the Storyline UI and UX.

Bigger differences are clear in Replay where it is now a more genuine alternative to Camtasia Studio thanks to the “New editing tools”.

The editing tools offer the simple Cut/Delete/Split/Silence that you tend to need and would remove my tendancy to switch between iMovie, Replay, Screencastify [which is more the mark ‘Peek’ is after] and other things.

Replay home page

One major change highlighted here

Plenty of good reviews elsewhere (for example here) so I’ll stop at that point.  Needless to say it will be interesting to look into this and other authoring tools again at BETT and Learning Tech this year and try to get a handle of what is the best way forward.

First impressions of Articulate’s Rise

I am currently making use of my 30 day trial period for Articulate 360 and thought I would make some quick comments about, my initial experience, using the Rise tool:

  1. easy to use and similar in appearance to WordPress, Adapt, etc.
  2. as expected, there are annoyances in what you can and cannot edit – for example “lesson” as the term for a section/page
  3. whilst there are interactive items and options for visual layouts it remains something of a layout tool for text – easy to use for just maing something ‘nice looking’ when you could just build out (in a more ugly form) in an LMS like Moodle, Totara, Blackboard, etc. or even Google Docs, Office365, etc.
  4. variations in font size don’t really seem to work forme but that might be my preferences for how things should look
  5. the inbuilt Preview tool is nice for checking layout on different device sizes. However, its not all that clear where boxes will allow you to scroll on text overflow (for example flip card items) or not (for example quiz question feedback).
  6. export to SCORM and publication on LMS worked fine (1.2 with no quiz scoring requirement).

Learning Pool Live 2016

Learning Pool Live was another ‘roaring success‘ for the company – even in its enlarged form having incorporated the MindClick user base as well all the ‘potential’ customers like me.

The event was, as in previous years, full of energy and good sessions.  Unfortunately I was feeling very rough so didn’t take as much out of it as I might have previously – I skipped the closing keynote to get some air – which is possibly why its taken me so long to reflect and make some notes!

David Meade

Like last year – a really invigorating start to the day.  The humour he brings stops this being too cheesy and it is a great start point for thinking how we can make eLearning as engaging as his activities/presentation.

I’d agree that, with the right establishment of environments and mindsets, change is possible.

Deborah Frances White

Another presenter I’ve seen before who is also always very engaging – including on her recent RHLSTP appearance.

The focus of this session was on some of the tweaks you can make to be better at communication, especially presentations, largely common sense but certainly some ‘ah yes’ moments:

  • not some kind of magic, most people are coached to be better – even the most polished communicators have developed their skills and charisma
  • can learn from the comedy circuit, new talent night is full of people who develop self confidence over time
  • if you want to develop your confidence do an open mic night, or karaoke…SOBER
  • corporate world presentations set a very low bar, can be relatively good quite easily!
  • weight on front foot for posture, avoid being ‘prey’. Act like the hunter: purposeful movement, decisive, don’t hide behind lecterns or furniture, etc.
  • PowerPoint should not be used to distract from you or the message
  • yes, be authentic, but not if that means being crap – be your best self
  • think how you want people to FEEL by turning up to a session
  • you are Lady Gaga – slides are back up dancers.

Cathy Moore

Anyone with an Instructional Design (ID) background will know Cathy’s work, indeed I used to reference her in my MSc papers.

Lots of valid points made, albeit that I’m more than aware I fall down on implementing this best practice [why included as sub bullets]:

  • design activities not information, activities to fix a real world challenge and use information as the evidence
    • I’d say the issue here is that SMEs often think it terms of chunks of knowledge dumps – whilst you sometimes get to the bottom of issues through performance consulting too often people struggle to articulate what they really do or how they need other people to change
  • if quizzing you’ll be encouraging short term memory for people to pass the test
    • yep, I tend to avoid this as much as possible.  However, it is one approach to ensure key messages are actually being picked up and I find is useful to check that someone going through a branching exercise still sees the bigger picture.  Also, pretesting is, of course, very valuable in relation to compliance and the like.
  • feedback in eLearning can be presented as from HR or another character – not just a ‘god’ type voice
    • yes, one of the best outcomes I’ve had working with a vendor on a bespoke project was where an ex-boss character acted as a coach throughout, effectively introducing models and information via feedback.
  • shift from ‘what they need to know’ to ‘what do they need to do’
    • I normally always try the second question but the challenge is moving sponsors away from the first position.
  • space the activities, with rising challenge if possible. Can cap off with live chat if needed to allow for discussion and reflection
    • I’m always keen to break things on an LMS but mobile is realistically the only way try spacing is going to work.
  • her action mapping is one approach to changing this, use with SME to ask questions. First question is ‘what is the goal?’ then ‘what they need to do’, ‘why aren’t they doing it’, etc.

e-Learning for Healthcare

Into the client case studies and examples with this one…

They have 20,000 learning objects but this focused on a particular project (MindEd) where the audience was less clear than some other pieces of content.  This led to a pretty exemplar ID project including bringing in a wide variety of stakeholders to the design process.  One advantage of this was to capture stories from people directly impacted by the issues and these testimonials became valuable narrative for the learning.  The end product was also more visual and designed for mobile, with rich graphic design, compared to previous work.  This won Adapt project of the year in the day’s award ceremony.


The particular learning team presenting realised they needed to accelerate innovation to avoid extinction.

Mindclick were also facing a challenge from digital agencies moving into learning – challenge to up their game around fantastic design.  Started to think of ‘players’ not ‘learners’ – create exploration where rules are clear and failure accepted.

Barclays UK academy set out their six user experience principles, meeting different profiles of learner they’d identified, and started working in more agile (less waterfall) kinds of ways.  One outcome of this is a secondary gamification platform that sits outside of their firewall but leverages the LMS.

Summary and link to slides: evolve to survive.

MindClick Gamification

Mostly another look at their Boots game – challenging the knowledge retention issues of traditional learning.

Summary: give choice, add element of risk, encourage healthy competition.  Keep it relevant though and learn through failure.

Apprenticeships: more following the October guidance

Having continued to reflect since my last post on this topic as well as taking in the October guidance (both through reading and a couple of related events).  It’s starting to look a lot clearer now…my current view on the three main options for employers:

Ignore it all together…

A lot of companies will continue to ignore apprenticeships as the 20% off-the-job and new division between providers and assessment organisations will not be as efficient as what can be done via other development approaches.

It’s not just about the levy – company’s existing training will have some level of value and quality.  I’ve always felt workplace learning, FE and HE need to be much more joined up and its good that the levy is starting to make people look wider than their existing silo, for example the OU working with people consultants from KPMG for a wider solution.

There remains though a lot of snobbery in learning, including:

  • from apprenticeship providers about the quality of non-accredited workplace learning
  • about the lack of skills in HE from FE and employers
  • the HE snobbery around degrees being of most value.

That the levy seems to be breaking down at least the last of these, via degree apprenticeships, and getting some cross-sector conversations going can only be a good thing.  However, as mentioned in this article, if the model is to be employer led why force funding for apprenticeships only?  And will degree apprenticeships get very far if even the BBC refers to them as ‘degree apprenticeships‘ as if a non-recognized qualification.

…or sub-contract…

There’s a logic in presuming subcontracting will be the most popular route with companies who have existing L&D teams but little/no experience of apprenticeships.

You would expect few will have met the short Skills Funding Agency deadlines at this enrollment window and even fewer will attempt the full employer-provider model this time around.  The October guidance suggests sub-contracting is a valuable (upto £500k per annum) way for L&D teams to save their companies from some of the levy ‘hit’ whilst putting existing learning into more formal structures. Indeed its also become clearer in October that the SFA sees investment in management information systems as essential for employer-providers.  This and other logistics may be a big ask for all but the biggest employers and you suspect sub-contracting well allow many employers to deliver the training they deem appropriate but leverage a provider’s economies of scale for systems, standards management, Ofsted requirements, etc.

…or wait and see.

The deadlines of late November for registrations were challenging (when SFA employer engagement events were fully booked in the run up) so the ‘big bang’ of the levy introduction (the event I went to said 500 companies had attended/booked nationwide) may well become a whimper for a year or two.

That the SFA needed to send the below note out on the day of the registration deadlines shows that there’s interest – even if organisations have failed to be totally clear on who is responsible for what in this new world!

The SFA has noticed that some organisations have submitted multiple PQQs despite clear guidance.

Organisations are reminded that only one PQQ route must be submitted. Please check that this is the case.


Havas Talent Bites event

I’m well behind with event write-ups but thought I’d just get down, in rough form, some of the key takeaways from this event back in October.

It was the first time I’d received an invite and all the presentations were really good.  Apparently the topic of workplace/organizational/employee culture was ‘softer’ than some they’ve had in the past but there was still plenty of good data and takeaways.


  • data, including their own, shows engagement does impact performance
  • improvements to culture and feeling valued more important than increases in pay for engagement

I queried some of the data in terms of cause and effect, for example can you argue share price performance is linked to good engagement scores on Glassdoor surveys or are people using data such as Glassdoor’s to impact their share buying behaviors?  Obviously share buying algorithms are complex but it’s also probably fair to say your company will perform well across multiple metrics if culture is good.

  • data shows importance of transparency, recognition, communication from leadership, solicitation of feedback, listening to feedback

I used Glassdoor a bit when job hunting but don’t think I actually used it when researching my, now, employer.  So the event was a useful reminder to use it as part of the brand positioning, particularly for ‘people’ teams trying to build engagement and a feeling that learning is important [or indeed that learning is work and work is learning].  Indeed a few jobs ago we actively responded to comments on social media about my department – some examples were given in the Q&A where orgs are really joined up on this and actively using gd as a brand platform.


Talked about the transformation of their business and the importance of cultural fit for new hires and bringing existing staff along.  There was discussion around recruiting by attitude and training the skill from there.  Their leadership model aiming to: Align, model, coach, reinforce way forward.

Liked their idea of having staff engage in “Social Fridays” – 30mins every month on how to engage with social.  Hope to snowball from your people into quality recruitment and support transformation.  They are also offering training to non-employee groups, including alumni and those on maternity (which is a great idea).


There were a few snippets, stories and ideas in this that I liked including:

  • The way to portray culture as the connection between the “I” and “we” in the workplace.
  • The point that if you are going to articulate the company’s values and behaviors then you need to reinforce those at every touch point.  Including describing the work of the organization via the behaviors (I doubt many do this very well).
  • Consistent recruitment, including ways to avoid unconscious bias, also important.