Using Triggers, Variables, Conditions in Storyline

B Online Learning use Articulate Storyline to create the next level of learner focused, engaging content for our clients.  Here are the three key concepts Articulate Storyline uses to create this type of content in a developer friendly way.


In essence a trigger is what Storyline uses to carry out a command that within the content. This command can be one of many things such as:

  • Progressing to new screen
  • Showing a new item on screen
  • Playing media (Audio, Video, Flash)
  • Changing the visual state of an object
  • Controlling a quiz
  • Selecting a path
  • Submit an interaction

These are only some of the triggers available and Storyline’s ability to add multiple triggers to the one action means that interactions can be developed in a holistic manner that focuses on the broader interaction dynamics instead of coding of individual commands. Simply a trigger is that any user action (cllick, hover, drag and drop, play, typing) that will cause one or more content reactions.

Triggers are amazing and form one of the main building blocks for any engaging interaction, but what if want to have more control over the learning environment. To replicate the workings of a true learning environment the developer also needs to be able to easily add attributes to their triggers so that the experience of the learner can be controlled to suit their learning outcomes.


Using variables in Storyline adds a new layer of detail onto user interactions by providing gates or controls over what is happening on screen and when it is allowed to happen.
Let’s look a simple example. Take an action reaction trigger, let’s say the user needs to click the next button to move onto the next interaction. :

  1. On the left the user click the button, on the right the user moves on.
  2. But what if, before the user can click on the next button, we want them to finish watching an embedded video on the screen.
  3. By adding a variable to the next button that only makes it active once the video has finished playing we can ensure that the user watches the required content before they move on.
  4. Before the video is finished the variable stops the next button from moving them on.
  5. When the video is finished however the variable is updated and now the next button becomes active, when the user click the button now they will continue their experience.

This is a simple example but the same concept can be easily used across multiple interactions on the one screen.


Conditions allow multiple variables or triggers to work with or against one another.

In the above example a condition can change the outcome of the interaction with the variables. For instance lets say that at the beginning of this course the user was asked to choose if they were a manager or a customer service representative and they selected manager. Now as the user moves through the content certain items will allow them access, when the variables allow this, only if they are a manager.

Or for our branching example, conditions can be utilised to help select the path through the content again based on users previous choices or even variables that have been accumulating (in the instance of number variables) whilst user has completed previous tasks.

So in closing we can see how content can be taken well beyond the dull read and click format by using layers of additional logic. Building interactions in Articulate Storyline is simple once the basic concepts are grasped, however the point should be made that comprehensive planning of the interaction, its mechanics, the lead in factors that contribute and also the down line consequences is of pivotal importance to making the interaction work with the desired learning outcomes.

B Online Learning are the Exclusive Certified Articulate trainers in Australia and New Zealand find out more here.

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