Ideas to Use Video in eLearning

Video opens up a wealth of opportunity to make your eLearning modules even more interactive and engaging. The great thing about video, is that even using a small amount of video can have a huge impact on the ‘interest factor’ of your module.

As developers we can use video in Articulate Storyline to:

  • Make learning more dynamic
  • Allow the learner to observe a process as opposed to just reading about it or ask for advice on completing a task
  • Illustrate procedures as opposed to reading a list of bullet points
  • Add rich interactivity to our scenario based learning
  • Make quizzes more engaging via feedback, support and interactivity.

All of these can be achieved with the standard building blocks of Storyline, your slides, states, layers and triggers. In fact if you already use Storyline, you probably already have the experience to achieve most of these effects. All you need is some video files, and time to experiment!

Make learning more dynamic

Just by using some simple stock footage either from the Articulate 360 Content Library or a stock video site or even by filming your own you can make a static screen more interesting.

This is a very easy effect you can achieve with minimal effort:

  1. Choose a video file you like
  2. Insert it on your slide.
  3. Resize it to fill the slide.
  4. Send to back.
  5. Add your other assets on top as normal.

Easy! A good handy hint is that of the background file only goes for a few seconds is that you can set up a trigger to ‘loop the video’. Again this is easy to do, create a new trigger that will play the existing video file when it completes. This will continuously loop the background for your slide.

Video backgrounds can be more than just the title or gate pages, if you have some content you are reviewing you can add an abstract background video to give it some interest factor. This gives a nice blue abstract background that provides some interest without detracting from the main content.

You can also add some interest to a menu slide by illustrating your topics with video – again you can achieve this with standard stock video footage.

‘Guide on the side’ – Watch

You could also add a video for the learner to watch an expert complete a process or procedure as they are learning about it. BY reading about the process and watching a video demonstrating it the learner gets to see all of the nuances, and particulars of a process, that may not be obvious in just reading about the step.

Again, this is easy to add to your story.

  1. Add a layer to your slide that the video will be inserted onto.
  2. Add a button to your main slide that triggers the ‘Show layer’ action to reveal the layer with the video on it.
  3. The learner clicks the button to view the demo.
  4. You could then add a trigger to the video layer to ‘hide’ the layer once the video has finished playing, which will take the learner back to the main instructional slide.

Another simple way to add a ‘Guide on the side’ is to use Articulate’s Replay software to record a ‘how to’ video with a coach or expert talking through a procedure. You then add that to a slide in Storyline. If you wanted to you could also add additional callouts over the top of the video

‘Guide on the side’ – Ask

What if the learner could ask for advice as to how they should approach a problem? You could challenge them with a problem, and if they are unsure they could ask for advice form a ‘coach or ‘mentor’ by viewing a video. Again this is simply:

Using the ‘show layer’ trigger to show a video on a layer. The video plays back the advice. Once the learner gets the advice from the mentor/coach they can return to the problem on the main slide and make their choice.

Interactive Interview

You could take this approach further by creating an interactive question and answer activity, by asking a coach or mentor a number of questions about some content, and having a video response for each one.

  1. Record the video introduction along with the answers to each question. (You don’t need to have a proper video camera or equipment, you can just use Storyline’s ‘Record Webcam’ from the insert video options to capture the video)
  2. The video intro sits on the main slide (base layer) and each of the video answers sit on their own layer, the triggers are again a simple ‘Show Layer’ when a question is clicked.

Interactive Process

You can also easily use video to make something a bit more engaging than just a list of bullet points.

Play a video of an entire process, and as it plays icons appear and disappear next to the various steps. The learner clicks on the icon and gets an overview of what is happening at that particular stage. Then they can continue on as the video moves to the next stage etc. This is straightforward to set up:

  1. Add you video of the process to the base slide
  2. Add your icons to the base slide
  3. Use cue points to work out when your icons need to appear and disappear based on what step of the process you are up to in the video.
  4. The icons trigger a ‘show layer’. On the show layer is the description of the process step. Once the learner has reviewed the step they can click a button to trigger a ‘hide layer’ and return to the video on the base layer. (The bottom layer can pause when you go to a layer OR you can leave the video running based on how much info is on the layer)

This same process can be used for hazard identification, safe driving, changing a tire or any other process you might have!


Video based scenarios are our next step up from interactive processes. Scenarios are most effective when illustrated with advanced interactive media and when they have a game-like appearance. Video is an excellent way to provide this highly visual interactive approach.

  1. Review your scenario
  2. Break it down into the 3C’s Challenge, Choices, and Consequences
  3. Shoot short videos capturing the 3C’s
  4. Add the Challenge video to your first slide and add your choice triggers (buttons, shapes etc) to jump you to relevant consequence slide.

When it comes to quizzes in storyline, you’ve also got a number of ways you can use video to enhance your boring old multiple choice question.

Video in Quizzes – Watch and Answer

This again is a simple set up, watch a video about a process, case study etc and then answer a  question on what you just viewed.

  1. Add your video to the question slide
  2. Set up a triggers – to show answer options when video is complete (eg pause the timeline when it reaches 1 second and resume timeline when media completes). This will allow the answer options to appear once the video is complete.
  3. Select and submit answer as normal

Video in Quizzes – Video Feedback

You can also use video to provide feedback from a mentor or coach. Much more effective that a simple ‘Correct’ and ‘Click here to continue’ or just text.

  1. Set up your question as normal
  2. Add your feedback video to its respective layer (correct, incorrect, try again)

The learner answer the question, and then gets feedback from their coach.

Video in Quizzes – Interactive

You can take the Interactive process above and add another layer to it by creating an interactive quiz. The video plays in the background and you are prompted to answer questions. You’ve got to be on the ball though. The links to the questions can be time driven, so if you don’t click it fast enough you may miss it! This would be a great situation where you may have to test quick responses to a situation or story unfolding via video before you.

In this situation, rather than jumping to a layer, you jump to a question slide. Once you have answered the first question it returns you to the main slide with the background video to continue watching before you are prompted to click and answer the next question.

Like the interactive process:

  1. Add you video of the process to the base slide
  2. Add your question trigger icons to the base slide
  3. Use cue points to work out when your icons need to appear and disappear based on what step of the process you are up to in the video.
  4. The icons trigger a ‘jump to…’ question action. Once the learner has answered the question, clicking return or continue will return them to the video on the base layer.
  5. If you need to asses their answers, link the questions to a results slide for passing back to your LMS. If you don’t need to record success – rather than triggering a ‘jump to slide’ action you could just link to a layer instead (like the interactive process above)

As you can see its not difficult to incorporate video into your interactions, learning activities and quizzes in a Storyline module. You’re using the exact same slides, states, layers and triggers you always do, now you have the added interest of full motion video to engage your learner!

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