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Teaching with Plotagon Animation

How Are Course Designers Using Educational Animations?

Articulate E-Learning Heroes Challenge #76 is about creating educational animations. My entry demonstrates how teachers can use animation tools, such as Plotagon, in the the classroom to engage students in learning.


In my example, a Driver’s Education instructor would have a class discussion about the most important defensive driving tips. Allow students to express their own views on the driving issues they believe are the most critical. Next, allow students to create short videos concerning the tips they determine are most important. Devote a class period to watching and discussing the videos the students create!


To create my animated video example, I used Plotagon, an application that allows users to easily turn written text into animated videos. I inserted the Plotagon mp.4 video into a PowerPoint presentation, to add some text overlay at the beginning and the end of the video:

Then, I published the PowerPoint as a video presentation and uploaded it to YouTube:

Authoring Tools: Plotagon, PowerPoint

New Articulate 360 Rise Feature: Storyline Blocks!

Articulate E-Learning Heroes Challenge #193 asks the question: How Are You Using Storyline Blocks in Rise?

Rise, one of the apps in the Articulate 360 suite of eLearning applications, allows eLearning developers to quickly create responsive courses. In October of last year, I was excited to learn that it was now possible to include Storyline lessons in Rise, using the Storyline block feature.

I played around with the new feature and created an Articulate Rise demo using the new Storyline block function:

Click to view the Articulate Rise demo.

 These are the steps I took to create the Rise lesson:

Step 1 – Create 3 one-slide Storyline video/recipe cards (cookies, cobbler, & brownies). Publish each to Articulate Review.

This is what the brownie video/recipe card looks like by itself in Articulate Review:

Click to view the Storyline module in Articulate Review.

The recipe icon is a Storyline marker that triggers the recipe’s state to change from hidden to normal.


The print icon has an “execute javascript” trigger to print the recipe to a pdf.


The “video” is a series of photos I edited in Camtasia, using some zoom animation effects.

Step 2 – Create the Rise course, & customize with a cover photo.

Step 3 – Add one image/text block lesson:

Step 4 – Select and add the three Storyline block lessons (available to select because I published them in Articulate Review first).

I think the addition of the new Storyline block lesson feature makes it much easier to rapidly create versatile, responsive eLearning courses in Rise. What’s your verdict?

Update: Since this post was originally uploaded last October 2017, I’ve used the Storyline block in one of the Rise courses I developed for a client. I inserted a Storyline learning game I created, called Who has the Right-of-Way? into an online Driver’s Ed course.

Authoring tools for this presentation: Storyline 360, Articulate Rise, PowerPoint, Camtasia


Rotoscoping Animation for E-Learning Courses #167

Articulate’s E-Learning Heroes Challenge #167 is all about creating a rotoscoping animation demo for e-learning courses. To see my demo, click the image below.

I had actually never heard the term “rotoscoping animation” before, but when the classic Take On Me music video from the ’80s was referenced, I recalled the cool hand-drawn animation effect that was used.

Rotoscoping is a technique used by animators, where they trace over motion picture footage, frame by frame, when realistic action is required. I wanted to try to replicate the effect. The problem is, it takes a long time to do that!

Since I don’t have time to spend several hours on producing this effect for e-learning, I tried using a shortcut involving PowerPoint’s Artistic Effects filters. 


I created my “rotoscoping animation” effect in less than half an hour! To view the tutorial on how I did it, click the image below.

Authoring Tools: PowerPoint 2016, Storyline 360

ELH Challenge 174: Random Word Generator

This is my entry for Articulate’s E-Learning ELH Challenge # 174Using JavaScript to Create Random Word Generators in E-Learning.

Click the image below to give the Fairytale Generator a spin!



To use the generator, simply click each button as many times as you need to choose your desired components: characters, locations, and actions. Clicking the buttons will generate random words or phrases for each category.

Then, click NEXT to view your customized fairytale. Want to make changes? Click PREV to go back to change the components, then advance the slide again to see how your fairytale has changed.


The generator uses JavaScript to generate the random words. Matthew Bibby has a great, easy-to-follow tutorial on Generating Random Words or Phrases in Storyline on the Articulate E-Learning Heroes community website, along with downloads you can use. I followed his method closely to create my demo!

Authoring Tools: Articulate Storyline 360

E-Learning Noir: Using Only Black and White in Course Design

This is my entry for Articulate’s E-Learning ELH Challenge #172. Click the image below to view the demo.

This challenge is all about creating an e-learning module in black and white. Storyline 360 makes it easy to customize an existing template with lightening speed! I chose a template from the Articulate Content Library, then applied a gray-scale color scheme to the slide master and feedback master.

A bit of tweaking was necessary to get the colors just right, primarily with the text. I added some entrance animations and slide transitions to the slides. Next, I applied a subtle glow effect to the characters on several slides.


I created a short black and white animated video to go on the media slide, using Vyond animation (formerly GoAnimate).

We don’t need no stinkin’ colors!

A FREEBIE Template
  • To download the customizable Storyline 360 template, click here: Basic Black

Authoring Tools: Articulate Storyline 360, Vyond animation

FREEBIE Health Care Tabs Template

This is yet another entry for Articulate’s E-Learning ELH Challenge #171: Course Starter Templates for the Healthcare Industry. This Storyline 360 template can be customized to suit your needs.

Select the image below to view the demo.

For this health care tabs template, I used the “scrubbed” font below to create characters with a medical theme.


Using PowerPoint, I added color to each font picture, before uploading them to the Storyline template.

Download the the FREEBIE:
E-Learning Hero Inspiration

This template was inspired by Trina Rimmer’s Storyline tabs template, available at:

Authoring Tools: PowerPoint, Articulate Storyline 360

Hand-Crafted Explainer Videos – Articulate Challenge #170

Articulate’s E-Learning Heroes Challenge #170 is to create and share your own “hand-crafted” explainer video, similar to a Common Craft style video. Select the image below to view my demo.

The idea is to draw the images on paper, cut them out with scissors, and film your hand-drawn images as you move them about by hand. Record your e-learning script and add your narration to complete the e-learning module.

Use Analog Tools?!

Common Craft - Tools of the Trade

Pens, markers, rulers, scissors… I had a few challenges with this challenge!

  1. I can’t draw,
  2. I don’t own a tripod, and
  3. I don’t have the time necessary to use this approach.

So I decided to create my own version of a quick Common Craft style video, using some of my trusty computer tools:

  • Common Craft cutout icons

  • PowerPoint – to customize the Common Craft icons, and use the PowerPoint Pen tool to draw the Mona Lisa.

  • Vyond, to animate the characters
  • Storyline 360, to add the audio narration and publish the module for the web
  • PowerPoint, to draw the Mona Lisa

Greenery – Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year

Articulate’s E-Learning Heroes Challenge #154 is to use Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year, Greenery, in designing an e-learning module. I customized a Storyline 360 e-learning template, using the Greenery color. Click the image below to view the demo.

I also designed a short course with Articulate RISE, featuring Greenery.

Click to download the Freebie Storyline 360 Template:

Bonus tip! Check out and download David Anderson’s cool Color Tint and Shade Generator!

Authoring Tools: Articulate RISE, Articulate Storyline 360


Visual Storytelling with Photo Collages #27

Click the image to see the colorful interaction.

For the E-Learning Heroes Challenge #27, Visual Storytelling with Photo Collages, I decided to use the labeled graphic lesson format in Articulate RISE to display my “collage.”

I used PowerPoint to create a comic-book slide, using colorized Kartoon Kutz font characters for images. Then I saved the slide as an image, and used that as the basis of my labeled graphic interaction.

Authoring Tools: PowerPoint 2016, Articulate RISE


Freebie – ELH #165 E-Learning Graphics Using Free Font Icons

View the Demo

Articulate’s ELH Challenge #165 is to create custom e-learning graphics using free font icons. Click the image below to see a Storyline 360 demo of my challenge entry.

Download the Freebie!

Get the editable PowerPoint file by clicking here:

Authoring Tools for this demo: PowerPoint 2016, Articulate Storyline 360

Freebie: FAQ Interaction – ELH Challenge #139

Makeover Challenge

Articulate’s ELH Challenge #139 is to makeover a classic Storyline 1 eLearning interaction. I chose to makeover the FAQ Interaction template, pictured below.

old FAQ1

New Orientation

In my Storyline 2 update, I changed the screen size and orientation to portrait, suitable for a tablet or PC, and I’ve given the interaction a responsive expandable accordion FAQ look.

Click the image below to see a demo of the new FAQ Interaction.

Download the Freebie!

Get the editable .story file by clicking here:

Authoring Tool for this demo: Articulate Storyline 2