Personalising your e-Learning Course using Characters

Click on the image to view the demo

In this demo, developed using Articulate Storyline 2, the introduction slide asks the learner to select a character to guide them through the course – they will then see only their chosen character for the remainder of the course.


The Design and Development

So, how did I do this?

I could have set up the demo with individual scenes for each character and used a trigger to take the learner to the appropriate scene once they had made their character choice. The problem with this is that you would need to duplicate the course content slides for each character – which in itself presents challenges if you are developing the course iteratively and having it reviewed, but the reviewers want to see the effect of choosing a character at the beginning.  I know this because this is initially how I developed this demo! Then I thought, there must be a better way to set this up. Storyline offers functionality that works perfectly for this type of development – using states, triggers and conditions.

So here’s how you can set this up.

  1. Firstly, you need to select a character that is going to be used as your base character. For this demo I chose Dave as my base character. So, if the learner chooses Dave, no variables or triggers are involved and they will see Dave throughout the course – and his state will always be “Normal”.
  2. Next, assign a True/False variable with a default value of “False” to each character, apart from your base character.
  3. On the introduction slide, add a trigger to each character, apart from your base character, that changes the relevant variable to “True” when the learner clicks on the character. (Additionally, for all characters, you will need to add a trigger that takes the learner to the next slide when they click on a character).
  4. At this next slide, the learner will be greeted by their chosen character – to achieve this, set up states for your base character – one for each other character, then set triggers to change the state of your base character to the appropriate state “when the timeline starts if the value of the learner’s chosen character is equal to True”. You will need to do this for each slide throughout the course that has your characters on it.


For the feedback layers in any quiz slides, add your base character and triggers to the Feedback Master slides.


The Result – and a Free Download!

Once you’ve followed these steps, you should have a workable template for customising any course with character choice functionality.

If you want to see more examples of how e-Learning Designers are using characters in online training, check out the Articulate e-Learning Heroes weekly challenge #18.

If you would like to download the Articulate Storyline 2 template – click here.


2 thoughts on “Personalising your e-Learning Course using Characters

  1. I wish the non-cartoon characters weren’t all in business attire. But my company doesn’t like to use the cartoon characters. It would be nice to have some of the real characters in just tshirts, jeans, generic uniform, maybe even some kids. This coming from someone in retail who uses a lot of scenarios. I take my own pictures for “customers,” even taking multiple shots of the same person in various “states” – but they don’t have all the numerous amounts of states the stock characters have. Oh well, maybe one day Articulate will add more.

    1. Thanks for your comment Mary. You might want to check out the characters that other vendors sell – I subscribe to e-learning Art and e-Learning Brothers for their characters as well and they have quite a range of casual characters and children. You can find links to these types of resources on my “My Toolkit” page.

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