Learning Takes Root with Branching Scenarios

Branching scenarios are a great way to introduce complex problems into an e-Learning module. A branching scenario is like a “choose your own adventure” book, where every decision you make in the beginning impacts where you end up and what your options are. 

You can use branching scenarios to help your learners:

  • Recognize and challenge their personal assumptions—great for diversity training
  • Recover from mistakes in a chain-reaction type process—great for learners working in a lab
  • Navigate ambiguous situations—great for law enforcement personnel 
  • Decide when to stop asking questions and just act—great for situations when running excessive tests can exceed the budget

How to create scenarios:

It’s easy to create branching scenarios with Lectora® e-Learning authoring software. You just need to create actions and conditions that evaluate the value of variables. When you create an action, you can choose to add a condition—telling Lectora to do this action IF the condition is satisfied. When you add a condition, an ELSE action becomes available. Choosing to add an ELSE action tells Lectora to do this IF the condition is satisfied, ELSE do this other action. 

Keep track of the branches in your scenarios with a flow chart—you know, those things you always see in silly online posts about whether or not you’re actually wearing leggings, not pants or how to choose a typeface for your project.

Be aware that outlining and building scenarios takes longer than creating a few slides with bullet points. For a real life example, take a look at this quote from Cathy Moore’s article on branching scenarios, where she talks about the time and behind the scenes work of an actual scenario project she worked on:

“A scenario of this length and complexity takes me about 20-40 hours to plot and write. That’s the time I need after the goals have been identified, we know what the learners need to do in the real world, we understand the mistakes they commonly make, and the SME has provided at least the germ of a realistic story. It doesn’t include project management time, audience testing, audio and graphics sourcing, Flash development, QA, etc., and it assumes that reviewers don’t make major changes.”

Despite the extra time and effort involved, scenarios are a great way to increase learner engagement and often generate discussion between learners. You may find your staff consulting with each other after the course about what path they took and the type of feedback they each got.

To sum it up, e-Learning + scenarios = big ROI. Download a free trial of Lectora® Inspire today and start creating your amazing e-Learning scenario. And don’t forget to subscribe to the Lectora e-Learning Blog for more e-Learning resources, online training tips and other goodies.