Articulate Storyline is a powerful course development tool and a fixture of e-Learning localization. However, up to now it’s been missing a key feature to aid course translation – a media library. That all changed last month, as Articulate released a library feature in its Storyline 360 update.
This post will review the new library feature in Articulate Storyline 360, and explain why it’s an exciting development for multimedia localization.
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A media library is a centralized repository for all audio, video, graphics and multimedia files in an e-Learning course, giving developers a quick overview of all their embedded media. It also allows editors to incorporate changed media files more quickly and accurately. For example, developers can simply re-import an updated corporate logo into the library, and every instance in the course will be updated.
In fact, libraries are a relatively common feature of e-Learning authoring programs. Adobe Captivate and Animate (the successor to Flash) have had media libraries for several years, and this has generally given them a slight edge over Storyline, especially in localization quoting and integration. That all just changed.
It’s a stand-alone Media Library panel, as you can see in the screen shot that follows:
The panel contains four tabs at the top (in yellow highlight), one each for the different kinds of media that can be embedded in a course – Images, Characters, Audio and Video. In the example above, we’ve selected the Images tab, which lists each graphic available in the course. The tab provides details on each file, a preview and information on where the file is used in the course (in green highlight). The Audio and Video panels are pretty much the same, containing a list of all voice-over or video files in the course, a preview and each file’s use information.
Here’s why e-Learning localization professionals are so excited about this feature.
Having every embedded element in a course in one place makes the quoting process much faster and more accurate. For example, to get a count for on-screen titles replacement, a multimedia localization editor used to have to scan through every single timeline and layer for graphics files, all while trying to keep track of which files had been reused. Now, that same editor can just scroll through the images in the library, as well as output just the ones that contain text.
The library also lowers the chances of missing an element embedded deep in the course, like a video in a layer that’s triggered by a slide action and is therefore easy to miss when scanning timelines. Graphics text replacement and video dubbing are the most variable cost-factors in e-Learning course localization, so it’s critical to account for all of these media elements during quoting. Having a tool to track them helps ensure there are no surprises during integration.
The library provides one simple interface from which e-Learning localization post-production editors can update elements in the course. Better yet, multiple instances of the same element all re-link automatically – particularly useful for graphics which have heavy re-use. And of course, the list format allows editors to quickly see what’s been replaced and what hasn’t. For example, if a graphic is updated after initial integration, editors don’t have to track it down in the course to replace it – they can just scroll to it in the library. That means shorter integration timelines for just about any localized embedded media, and as with quoting, a lower chance of missing a file.
More accurate quoting and more streamlined integration also means fewer bugs during quality assurance. This step is particularly tricky on e-Learning projects because editors must track text formatting, animations, audio sync, graphics integration and interactivity – all at once. Courses often require multiple passes to check every element, in fact. So an overall reduction in bugs can have a significant impact on the QA timeline.
The media library feature won’t make proper course preparation any less necessary, of course. It’ll still be critical for developers to avoid importing duplicates of an element in the library. Likewise, proper audio segmentation and standard file naming will affect integration timelines. And of course, keeping all text live and editable will make your e-Learning localization more cost-effective overall. But the library is still a game changer in the industry – one that will help multimedia localization professionals produce high-quality courses in multiple languages more quickly and cost-effectively.