I have been developing eLearning content with Articulate Storyline, a programming-free rapid development software, since its beta development phase, prior to its launch in May of 2012. I was asked by Packt Publishing (www.PacktPub.com) to review their new title, Learning Articulate Storyline by Stephanie Harnett, which is available in both book or eBook format, alone or as part of their online library subscription. In going through this book, I find all the important topics are there, and presented in a logical order. While someone already working with Storyline may also find a few things they didn’t know, the book seems clearly aimed at the new Storyline user. A key element throughout this book is hands-on, step-by-step exercises you can try, using your own copy of Storyline and sample files available for download. For a beginner, this may make the book especially valuable; someone already using Storyline may not find these exercises a good use of the book’s space. Here are my other thoughts, in brief:
PROS: The writing style is straightforward, and most topics receive a sufficient amount of attention. Illustrations are plentiful and well used. The Tips throughout are well-chosen and should be genuinely useful for all audiences. More complex topics are usually laid out simply, step-by-step, so that a beginner can grasp the process more easily.
CONS: The book contains a large number of typos, grammatical missteps, and other oversights that should have been caught by the proofreader and copy editor. For example, on Page 40, there’s an incomplete sentence: “Slide numbering and scene numbering does not affect when navigational structure.” (sic) On page 92, for Step 14 of the exercise, I suspect that the text “Not sure what each topic is about? Here’s a quick explanation” should appear after the instruction: “Select Insert / Sound / Record Mic…and record the following narration:” There are many more little mistakes like these. Also, at times, the sequence of instructions for some topics (for example: cue points) is awkward.
Overall, though, the book is clear and thorough, and sufficiently robust to represent a comprehensive introduction to Storyline. It should serve a beginning Storyline user well–provided they are willing to overlook the proofreading and copy editing errors. Given that Storyline has now been on the market for 18 months, version 2 of the software should be due out in the coming months. The release of the next version of Storyline offers Packt Publishing an excellent opportunity to create a new edition of this book, with more thorough copy editing and proofreading. Then it has the potential to be a home run.