This question was sent to me just this month after a training session. Let me set it up for you… In our advanced class, we teach the students how to build a custom menu and control the navigation of that menu using True/False Variables (aka, Boolean–for the nerds out there).
What is happening in this example is the “visited” states of the buttons are designed to look like an “in progress” state. This is a simple solution, since “visited” states are automatic. We have also created a “complete” state for each button on the “Menu” slide. Since this is a custom state, we have more control over when we want that state to change. You will notice that we added a custom “Menu” button to the player that jumps to this slide, so the user can always go back and explore a different topic. In this exercise, we have created a True/False variable for each topic and we trigger the state change to “complete” only after the variable has switched to “true”. Therefore, our last scene can only be reached when all three topic variables are “true”. We teach a similar process in class, since this is a common request we receive from the organizations for whom we build courses.
Why do we need a custom menu?
Here is the dilemma… If someone were to take this course and reach slide 4 of Topic A and decide to hit the menu button to go back and visit another topic, they would see that the button for Topic A has changed to the visited state, which tells them they are in progress. They can now visit any other topic they wish, but if they choose Topic A again, they begin back at the beginning of Topic A. So, back to the original question. Can we create a bookmark so that Storyline knows how far they progressed in Topic A? Then, the next time they select the button for Topic A, it takes to them exactly to the slide where they left off, rather than back to the beginning. This is a great question. And like most questions asked of Storyline, the answer is “of course.”
Using Variables to Track Progress
Let’s talk about HOW. There are probably a few different solutions out there that are equally effective, and I have seen a few that are very labor intensive and confusing. For our solution, we added three different Numeric Variables–one for each topic. For those of you who are newer to variables, we recommend that you use variables like a container. You will use these containers whenever you need to store something. In this case, we are going to be storing information that will tell us how many slides the student has seen in a given scene. (For more help with Variables, check out Articulate 360 Training or one of the hands-on Articulate training courses offered by Yukon or our global training partners.)
From Story View you can easily add a trigger for each slide that assigns the value of that number to the corresponding variable slide (Slide 1 = 1, Slide 2 = 2, etc.).
Alternate Solution: There are some solutions where you can just add a value to the variable, like a counter, but that would require more triggers and variables than you probably care to add. Therefore, while it is an alternate solution, it is not a recommended solution.
Adjusting the Triggers on the Main Menu
Once you have created all the “adjust variable” triggers, it is time to revisit the Menu Slide. From this slide, we will create the triggers to jump to the proper location in each scene. In the previous example, each button was triggered to jump to a scene. In our new version, we will add a trigger to jump to a slide based on the value of our topic’s numeric variable. Therefore, we will need to use Conditions.
Finally, each button will need a trigger for each slide in its scene. To create the additional triggers for each button, we recommend copying and pasting the trigger. You can edit this trigger easily by just selecting the highlighted words on the trigger.
Tip: Copying, pasting, and editing the triggers will allow you to program all of your button actions pretty quickly.
Numeric variables are perfect for tracking progress in Storyline, be they used for navigation (as shown here) or for creating a progress meter. How do you track progress in your courses? We’d love to hear from you! Leave your comments below to let us know your ideas.
“That’s Storyline, and I am sticking to it!”
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.