Why Using Illustrations For Story-Based Courses Is Key

Illustrations For Story-Based Courses: Why Using The Illustration-Based Approach Is Essential For Engaging Courses

Imagine that you are working on a new project, and after analyzing the content, you think it lends well to a story-based approach. To make your story lively and engaging, you propose the illustration-based graphic approach. However, due to crunched timelines, you are worried that the project plan may not allow sufficient time for the creation of character illustrations and backgrounds. You don’t wish to change your approach since you think that it is the best instructional strategy to teach the content. What will you do in such a situation? Most likely, you will try to find readily-available resources such as a library of templates and graphic assets.

Scenario or story-based courses are thought to have a higher engagement level compared to other approaches, as they help to put learners in real-life situations that they have to deal with in their day-to-day lives. The visual approach for these courses can include either photographs or illustrations (vector illustrations). Although an illustration-based visual strategy can add a lot of value to an eLearning course (in terms of engaging the learners), it could be challenging to manage custom design and development within the given budget and timelines. In this article, we will explore some of the key aspects and challenges associated with photo-based and illustration-based visual approaches.

Illustration Image

Photo-Based Vs. Illustration-Based Approach

A photo-based approach, on one hand, is easy to implement, but on the other hand, has some serious limitations. For example, finding the same character images in different positions and angles, and with different backdrops is the biggest challenge. Also, most of the times, character photos having the exact descriptions and desired expressions are not available in stock libraries. As a result, the overall effectiveness of a course may be impacted.

An illustration-based approach offers a lot more flexibility in this respect. You can create characters having the specific desired descriptions, positions, and expressions, and you can use various backgrounds and graphic assets to create the required backdrops.

Having said that, an illustration-based approach also has its own set of limitations, the most important limitation being the additional time and effort required to create the illustrations. This also means that this approach involves higher development costs.

Therefore, there is a need to find a simpler way to create vector illustrations and backgrounds in less time.

Development Tools For Creation Of Vector Illustrations

Traditionally, illustrations courses were developed in Flash, Photoshop, or PowerPoint. Today, Articulate Storyline is by far the most widely used eLearning authoring tool. However, creating illustrations and backgrounds in Storyline is extremely challenging with the inbuilt tools of the software, thus making it difficult to create vector illustrations and backgrounds.

For custom-designed illustration-based courses built in Storyline, the characters and backgrounds first need to be created in Flash, Photoshop, or PowerPoint, and then imported into Storyline. When these illustrations are imported in Storyline, there are multiple issues with editing or building interactions using these illustrations. So, even for the smallest of edits you may want to make to an illustration, will need you to go back to the original software you have used to create it.

Illustrated Character Image1                Illustration Character Image4

Library Of Ready-To-Use Vector Illustrations

Considering all these factors, it would be great to have a library that offers ready-to-use vector illustrations that the users can directly download and use in their courses. The good news is that there are online libraries that have hundreds of vector graphics created using Articulate Storyline.

These libraries have a collection of diverse backgrounds such as offices, kitchens, pharma stores, shops, restaurants, hospitals, and various other commercial and non-commercial spaces. It also contains illustrated graphics for a large number of varied characters including male and female players, office staff, hotel staff, medical and related staff, delivery boys, and so on. In addition to backgrounds and illustrations, the library has a huge collection of individual graphic assets that can be used in combination with other elements to create a complete scenario or build a story. Graphic assets include, for example, coffee machines, buildings, factories, towers, interior decoration items, hospital equipment, printers, and cupboards to name a few. These illustrations can either be used individually or in combination with other assets as required.

The biggest advantage of using these graphics is that, since they are all vector graphics created using the inbuilt tools of Storyline, they can be easily edited and customized in Storyline as per the requirement.