Building Learning Objects with Storyline 2 #eteachertool

building learning objects

When building learning objects, one must consider motivation, practice, and feedback.

Now, motivating students to study subject complements, direct objects, and indirect objects is difficult. Too often learning objects are merely drills of sentences. To avoid this, I drew on the metaphor of a test subject. Click the link below to play:


Keep reading for the how’s and why’s of this learning object.


The premise is students are helping a scientist record observations about a test subject. This gives students a purpose to understand the differences between subject compliments and direct objects. Or so I hope.

Building for Motivation and Interest

Instead of jumping in with exercises, I build up to it by creating a scenario.

s-v intro pair

I also use a text fields to generate variables and include these in the text, which creates a more individualized experience.

s-v individualized

Finally, I used the timeline to pace images and text to tell the story. This pacing also avoids cognitive overload and creates a sense of animation. I also included a few “mouse squeaks” to interest the learner.

s-v timeline

Learner Control

Although the individual slides do not allow students to go forward and backward through the slides, they do have control over which topics to study in what order. After initial orientation, they see a submenu with the different types of sentences. S-V-DO, etc, is familiar notation within Language Arts / English courses. This screen shows students how they should categorize these sentences. Finally, after completing each section, the quiz unlocks.

s-v menu 2



Beyond the final quiz, there are two interactives for students to practice. Both are low-stakes. The first is a drag and drop activity. To provide immediate feedback on each selection, I enabled the “Return item to start point if dropped outside” “a correct drop target.” For the second interactive, I created a hot-spot activity, where students click the correct boxes. Each provides feedback and an explanation.

s-v practice

Now, these exercises are rote and boring for advanced students, so I wanted to allow them to skip ahead. The “OK” button advances to the next slide. However, I put a five-second delay, so students are encouraged to think about the task and attempt it before skipping.

Extra Support

Also built in to the learning object is a chance for students to learn more by clicking “Lab Notes.” Rather than making each note a separate layer for each slide, I created a separate scene to house all these notes. That way, should a student fail the final quiz, students would be redirected back to the entire collection of notes before having the chance to retake the quiz.

s-v support

More Variables

s-v variablesBeyond using variables with text fields to create a more individualized experience, I used them to unlock the quiz and the review notes on the quiz. After completing each section, the “OK” button changes the section variable from false to true. Then, by adding one conditional statement, on the sub-menu, I made the quiz button change states from “hidden” to “normal.”

s-v variables reviewI also used variables to control the lab notes’ appearance. During the course, students just see a button that returns them to the content. When students review the course, another layer appears with two buttons: forward and back. If the “review” variable is set to true, then these layers appear.


One of my favorite tools in Storyline 2 are the illustrated characters. The plethora of poses and expressions are fantastic. The other graphics came from and are Public Domain. The sound effects are from

Finally, the background image is a combination of two images. I used Photoshop to remove the classic start-up table-tennis props and layered the graph paper notes on top of the whiteboard. Notice the mouse? Finally, I have it a blue tint because science lab, right?

s-v the background

Please let me know what you think in the comments.

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