5 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Rise Courses

Rise 360 is an awesome tool for quickly creating engaging e-learning courses. The beauty of Rise is threefold: it’s easy to use, the courses look polished and professional, and the content is fully responsive. However, at the end of the day, e-learning designers know that great e-learning is not about the tool you use, and more about the quality of the content within the course itself, and some basic mistakes can have a big impact on the learning experience. Next time you’re designing a course with Rise 360, review your content and make sure you avoid the following common mistakes:

Too much text

Ultra text-heavy content is a common offense in Rise courses. The text blocks tend to be an obvious choice, the go-to block for most people. The problem is that this often leads to courses filled with endless paragraphs. This is something you want to avoid as learners can become discouraged when there’s too much reading involved. 

Pare down the text content in your course to strictly need-to-know information. Make sure there is no redundant or duplicate verbiage. Keep paragraphs short and to-the-point, no more than 2-4 sentences each. Break things out into lists, or use accordion and tab blocks to hide text; this will help avoid overwhelming learners with too much to read at once.

Not enough visuals

Visuals can be a key part of a learning experience, so it’s important to use them consistently throughout your Rise courses. As a best practice I recommend using at least one or two image blocks per lesson; if the lesson is on the longer side, perhaps even more. Consider sprinkling them throughout your lessons as something that captures the eye, adds colour and aesthetic appeal. Images can also add value in that they can help divide content within a lesson or drive home an important point or piece of information. Consider using an Image with Text block to add visual appeal while sharing an important sentence, fact, or piece of information on top of it. 

No block variety 

Text blocks are definitely the most-used block in Rise courses. Makes sense, right? Most learning content is text? Wrong! Images, interactions, videos, audio clips, drag and drop activities… are all great ways to share information that take it beyond the boring old text block.I recommend ensuring that each lesson has no more than 50% text blocks. The other 50% needs to be a variety of blocks to keep things interesting. Add images, a scenario block, a sorting activity, flash cards, or a Storyline block. There is a large variety of block types available, so familiarize yourself with them and make a consistent effort to go beyond the text block in each lesson.

Lack of interactivity

This point ties into the previous mistakes of having too much text. You don’t want to bore learners and have them read the whole time; you want learners to interact with the content.Seek out new ways to have learners engage by making decisions about content. This can be dragging choices into a Do or Don’t pile in a sorting activity, or walking through a real-life situation and making tough choices in a scenario block. Adding interactivity and the ability to interact with the on-screen content is a very helpful way to bring the learning experience to life and engage your learners. 

Endless lessons

One of the things I love about using Rise is that I’m not restricted to slide dimensions, like I am in Storyline 360 or PowerPoint. The lessons can scroll endlessly. The problem is: the lessons can scroll endlessly. While your lessons can be endless, that’s certainly not a best practice. You want to present the learning content in small, digestible chunks. If your lessons are going 20 blocks, strongly consider how you can pare it down; perhaps one long lesson can be re-organized into 2 or 3 shorter lessons instead. 

Rise 360 is a wonderful tool for quickly creating beautiful, responsive e-learning courses. But it’s important to remember that at the end of the day: it’s all about the quality of the content within our courses. By avoiding the five mistakes listed above you’ll ensure your Rise courses are top-notch and provide a great learning experience!

What are some common mistakes you’ve seen in Rise courses? I’d love to hear opinions from other instructional designers and training specialists. Let me know in the comments! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for more e-learning and training content.


Storyline vs. Rise: When To Use Which?

If you build online training, you’re likely familiar with the Articulate 360 suite of e-learning tools. Articulate 360 tends to be the go-to for most training developers as it’s a robust suite that offers everything needed to create e-learning; this includes multiple authoring tools, video recording software, an image library, and a Review tool. As part of the Articulate 360 suite you get access to two authoring tools: Storyline 360 and Rise 360. One of the most common questions people ask is “When do I use Storyline vs. Rise?”. Each tool serves a unique set of needs, but when you’re new to them, it can be hard to know which to use when. Here are some best practices for when to use Storyline vs. Rise. 

Use Rise 360 for…

Super-rapid development. There’s no doubt about it: Rise is the quicker tool for e-learning development. Popping in the different types of blocks is very quick and easy to do. From there, you simply add your text, insert a few images, and you’re done. I also find development is made easier by the fact that you can have a lesson that scrolls endlessly, instead of being confined to a slide’s dimensions.

Text-based content. Rise works especially well for text-heavy content, such as job-aids, policy documents, employee handbooks, and standard operating procedures. Pretty much any business document can be converted into a Rise course, so, if you’re thinking of putting it into a PDF document, consider a Rise course instead. 

Collaborative course development. Between Storyline and Rise, Rise is the more collaborative tool of the two. It allows you to have multiple people working in a course at the same time. So, if you need to involve multiple course creators, or if you want your Subject Matter Expert or reviewers to be able to make edits directly to the content, you’ll probably want to use Rise.

Seamless mobile experience. Rise offers a better experience across devices, hands down. The main reason is that Rise is responsive and automatically adapts to different screen sizes, whereas Storyline content is restricted to it’s slide dimensions. If your content will be heavily used on mobile devices, Rise is definitely your top choice.

Use Storyline 360 for…

Customization capabilities. If you’re looking to really control the look-and-feel of every screen, the fonts, the colours, and everything about your content, then you will want to use Storyline. With Rise, you’re limited to the block types, so if you want to go beyond that in terms of on-screen activities and the look-and-feel of your course, you need to use Storyline. 

Extensive interactivity. Storyline is an extremely powerful tool for building rich interactions; it even allows you to easily add logic and conditions to your interactivity so you can really control the experience and make all kinds of cool things happen on-screen. You can add animations and do things like build custom games and activities. If you want something really feature-rich, unique, or game-like, you’ll want to go with Storyline. 

Software simulations. Software sims are an excellent way to get learners using a new application without the risk of being in the real system. If you’re looking to create software sims, you’re going to want to use the screen recording capability in Storyline. This allows you to record your process once and easily break it down into step-by-step slides that automatically include captions, hot-spots, and more.

Keep the above-mentioned tips in mind next time you’re getting ready to develop a course, and use them to consider what is the best tool for the project at hand. Remember: you can have the best of both worlds and include Storyline content within a Rise course, using the Storyline block. I have used this feature a lot myself, especially when doing product training and wanting to bring in a few software sims. Personally, I find Rise to be my go-to because of its ease-of-use and mobile responsiveness; I fall-back to Storyline when I need to do something more custom or special. 

How do you decide whether to use Rise or Storyline for a project? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Let me know in the comments, and follow me on Twitter for more e-learning and training content