Brenda Allen

      Comparing Rise and Storyline

      Based largely on the materials provided for viewing, these are my initial impressions:


      The most striking difference is the sheer visual appeal of Rise.  It is immediately arresting with a contemporary, vibrant and very beautiful look.  Storyline could be described as more traditional looking and certainly appears to be a great deal more intricate, although that may be a feature of the materials themselves or the way they have been interpreted.


      The Storyline layout is more segmented and more layered. An extensive selection of graphic devices and types of hotspot are in evidence across the screen. These assist in breaking up some otherwise very dense content and illuminating meaning. Progression is primarily horizontal – left to right – although there is a side bar available. The layout of Rise is much more open, sweeping and organic. Progression is vertical, aided by the side bar and the way the content index is designed.  The impression given so far is that Rise has a more flowing orientation with plenty of built-in space, whilst Storyline is more multi-dimensional and tightly structured.  I realise I am lacking the right terminology to express all these characteristics!  Not least as we are effectively operating in three or more dimensions.


      Storyline seems to be very well suited to providing language lessons, whether teacher-led or learner-driven.  The variety of features lend themselves to the transfer of familiar styles of lesson plan to an online format.  It also copes well with the complexity of language learning materials – bringing the content alive on the screen and making it truly interactive.  I notice that the examples are highly customized, which could be a deciding factor when choosing the more appropriate tool for exploitation. I imagine there would need to be far more investment, financially and therefore creatively, which could potentially lead to a greater sense of ownership.  It would also encourage a higher level of expertise – requiring more training at the outset which would, hopefully,  be reflected in the final content.

      From what I have seen so far, Rise seems to excel with a text-based approach.  There is also some very attractive artwork close to hand.  I suspect it has great flexibility in creating a far more eclectic range of courses across different subject areas. As it is browser-based, it will be highly accessible for users and course designers alike.  This convenience factor will be reflected when it comes to content selection.