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Articulate Storyline for Making Compliance Courses – Views of the Expert

E-learning is used extensively by companies to deliver compliance training. According to a study conducted by the E-learning Magazine, about 65% of the content that is delivered online is about compliance training. The high flexibility of e-learning, coupled with its cost-effectiveness has made the learning format the preferred choice of the corporate world. Online courses can be translated very effectively, and this goes a long way in meeting the learning needs of the global workforce. Furthermore, it is possible to generate e-learning course completion certificates using a Learning Management System (LMS). These certificates can be filed with regulatory authorities to meet statutory compliance training requirements.

Many organizations face 2 major challenges in delivering compliance training of high efficacy.

  1. Compliance courses primarily deal with legal and regulatory aspects. Most learners consider the content of these courses dry and boring.
  2. Staff members need to be trained to identify potential violations of relevant statutes and norms, and this requires much more than mere transfer of information.

These problems can be overcome by making the learning content highly engaging and using problem-based learning (PBL) elements such as scenarios and case-studies. And, the key to meeting these needs is the selection of the right authoring tool.

One of the e-learning development software, widely used to develop online compliance courses is Articulate Storyline. A survey held by the E-learning Guild in 2013 revealed that Storyline is the most popular rapid authoring tool. To find out more about this widely used online course development software, I talked to Vijay, a veteran e-learning developer at CommLab India, a firm that has been providing e-learning solutions since 2000. Here are the excerpts of the interview.

How can Articulate Storyline help develop engaging compliance courses?

Vijay: Articulate Storyline is power packed with various features that help develop efficacious online compliance training materials.This software supports a wide variety of instructional strategies used to make compliance training interesting. For instance, you can use storytelling very effectively using Articulate Storyline.

And, how is that possible?

Vijay: This tool comes with an in-built library of more than 47, 500 photos of actors and characters in various poses. This is very useful to create compelling stories which hook the learners to the screen. For instance, we developed a story-based course on accounting standards which was a big hit. You can also use these characters as avatars to narrate a story. We have created a safety training program in which an “animated worker” narrates the story of her friend who lost his right hand because he did not comply with the prescribed safety norms.

Storytelling for effective complaince training

Videos are widely used in compliance courses. How well does Storyline support videos?

Vijay: You can harness the full learning potential of videos using Articulate Storyline. These media elements can be used to educate learners about the importance of compliance training, using a short video from the CEO or other members of the top brass. Videos are also very useful to demonstrate safety procedures and handling of equipment.

Coming to the technical aspects of using videos, Storyline provides native support to the FLV. MP4 and SWF formats. You can also add videos to your online course from websites. The tool also allows you to record videos from your webcam.

Gamification is the order of the day. Can we create good gamified courses using Storyline?

Vijay: Gamification helps eliminate the stress of learning and makes the training program enjoyable. Storyline allows e-learning developers to make the best use of gamified elements. The tool enables developers create good gamified learning experiences using triggers, variables and layers. We have developed many gamified compliance courses using Articulate Storyline. My favorite is the course on food safety.

Click here to play the Food Safety Hazards training game

Compliance training is meaningless if it does not help prevent violations of rules. How can Storyline help develop compliance courses that help learners identify potential violations?

Vijay: Good question. This tool provides unparalleled support to scenario and case-study based learning. You can create scenarios that help learners identify possible violations and handle them effectively.For instance, you can use scenarios to explain what learners need to do when they face sexual harassment at the workplace.

Complaince training scenario

Compliance training scenario created using Articulate Storyline

You can use branching scenarios to depict the implications of different options. Also, Articulate Storyline helps you use the mobile device very effectively to ensure adherence to rules.


Vijay: You can create mobile-compatible learning nuggets to provide just-in-time learning support to identify potential violations. For instance, we have created a “mobile checklist” to help identify violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Articulate Storyline provides excellent support to the two widely used mobile platforms, iOS and Android.

Translation of compliance training content goes a long way in providing a clear understanding of the laws and norms. How does Storyline score on this count?

Vijay: It is very easy to render content into the desired language(s) using this tool. You can export the course as an MS-Word document or an XML file. You can hand over this document to the translator, and once it is translated, all you need to do is import the translated document into Storyline, and the translated course is ready.Furthermore, Storyline provides excellent support to languages which use double byte character sets (DBCS) such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. It also supports languages written in “right-to-left” scripts such as Arabic and Hebrew.

Many firms “wake up” at the last moment and seldom find adequate time to meet the statutory compliance training requirements. How quickly can you develop compliance courses using Storyline?

Vijay: Most organizations convert their classroom training materials in the form of PowerPoint presentations into e-learning courses. You can develop a one-hour online compliance course from PPT materials in about 3 weeks. 

You have worked on Captivate 9 and Lectora Inspire 12 besides Storyline. How do you rate the abilities of Articulate Storyline 2, the latest version of the tool, vis-à-vis the two e-learning development software?

Vijay: Storyline is a simple tool to use. Its Graphic User Interface (GUI) is very similar to that of MS-PowerPoint and this lowers the learning curve for this rapid authoring tool considerably. Captivate 9 is one of the best tools in the market to produce responsive e-learning output. Coming to Lectora Inspire 12, I feel it is very useful when you need to produce multi-lingual online training content.

This is what Vijay has to say about developing compliance courses using Articulate Storyline. Hope you enjoyed the interview. Do share your views.

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