During a recent training, one of my students asked if it would be possible to create a “parking lot” space where her learners could write notes as they went through the course. She also asked if they would then be able to see a summary of those notes at the end of the course and print them for their review.
Although there are many different ways to design something like this, most options will likely involve some use of text variables. After doing some further experimenting in Storyline 2, I came up with this simple solution for taking notes throughout the course: View Example or Download Project File.
Building a Space for the Learner’s Notes
Here are the steps I used in this kayak safety course example. First, build a new scene with a new slide and name both of them. I have named both the new scene and the new slide “Sticky Notes.”
On this new slide, insert spaces for the learner’s notes. These should include Data Entry text boxes that you can insert from the Controls button. I used a sticky note design, but feel free to experiment with what look at feel works best for you. I also included a scrolling panel in my example so that the learner has the space they might need for additional notes.
Naming the Text Entry Boxes and Variable
Naming is a key step in this build! Remember, text entry boxes automatically create a text variable when they are built, so once you have all your data entry text boxes in place, be sure to name each text box in the Timeline and its corresponding variable in the Variables panel.
For example, “Note #4 Text Entry” box on the timeline has a corresponding variable of “Note4TextEntry” in the variable panel. This prevents additional confusion later!
Add the Note Elements to the Scrolling Panel
Select the individual note elements and drag them into the scrolling panel on this slide.
Tip: You may find it helpful to use the scale in the lower right to zoom the slide out to accomplish this. It may also be a good idea to insert these elements one at a time to avoid confusion.
Note: I built this example using a lightbox slide trigger from a Player Tab. You could also build a similar effect using a button or a slide. It’s up to you; remember, there’s more than one way to achieve an effect in Storyline!
Building the Lightbox Trigger and Player Tab
Open the Player and build a new Player Tab by choosing the “Add” button from the Features menu. I named mine “Parking Lot Notes”. You will also need to add a trigger to show the appropriate slide when the learner clicks this new tab. I have mine set to lightbox the Sticky Notes Slide (Slide 2.1).
Create a Summary Slide
This slide is where learners see all the notes they added and will more than likely be at the end of the course. This slide can be part of the original scene or created within its own scene. I have elected to add this slide as part of its own “Summary Scene” and have named the slide “Travel Journal.”
Now, we need to add a place to show our learner’s individual notes. You can do this by creating text boxes and inserting the individual variable references for each text variable. I have done this again using the Sticky Notes theme.
Now publish and play the entire course. Pretty neat, huh?
As I mentioned earlier, this is only one option for creating a notes section…there are more! I hope this gives you some ideas for what to do with your upcoming courses. Good luck and let me know what questions or comments you have.
And remember, with Storyline, if you build it, they will learn!
Update: Please note that the interface of the faster new trigger workflow (in Storyline 360 update 3.33.20625.0 or later) will appear slightly different! While the process is the same, this article uses screen captures from the classic trigger workflow.
Kim Hemingway says
This is a very unique idea to have a Parking Lot in an E-learn!
We teach instructors to use a Parking Lot for instructor lead classes to enable the internal dialogue of the classroom community to be transparent. Student also add questions of their own to the Parking Lot that they may be fearful of asking out loud due to language or cultural barriers/hierarchy in the classroom.
This also becomes the instructor ‘to do’ list if they need to follow up on any questions from the class. The instructor can’t know the answers to every question or be expected to remember all unanswered questions. Using the Parking Lot validates the importance of the question, when the student sees that the instructor has written it down, the classroom becomes a more learner-centered environment.
I wonder if instructors have scope to follow up with the Parking Lot in an E-Learn. I’d be very interested to hear more about how this model is used.
Yukon Learning says
That’s a great question, Kim! We agree…when we are teaching instructor-led classes, we will often need to add items to the “parking lot” that are important, but not necessarily in alignment with the content we are currently teaching. Then, we can revisit these items later, or use it to further customize any subsequent training days.
In this post, we were basically referencing an option for the individual learner to make notes regarding ideas or questions that the content may trigger. This example is not designed to be a collaboration of multiple students between the students and the teacher.
An option to consider for a collaborative space would be the Web Object feature. You could use a web object to open a white page or Google Drive style document. Students could share thoughts or ideas here, and then the instructor or Subject Matter Expert would have access to that content and could comment appropriately.
Hope this helps!
Will Storyline save the notes?
Looking to create something that my learners will use over the course of training where their text answers/notes are saved and they can refer back to it during training.
I do not know if Storyline can do that or really understand how to test it out with LMS.
Yukon Learning says
Hi there, Nadia!
Storyline absolutely saves these items for reference throughout the course.
Each data entry field comes with its own variable that stores the data while the e-Learning is running.
We recommend renaming each of those variables in the variables manager (the blue “x” on the Triggers pane) to something that will be easy for you, as the developer, to remember.
To show the learner their notes again later on, you will insert a shape or text box where you want their notes to appear. There, insert a “Reference” (from the Insert tab) where the text will go to reference the corresponding variable.
Once in Preview mode or while testing in your LMS, the variable will display the text that has been typed!
If, additionally, you are wanting to track what the learners typed within your LMS data, we would recommend using Quiz and/or Survey slides to track what learners have entered instead of using a data entry field.
Hope this helps, and happy developing!