How to effectively use branched learning scenarios

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All trainers know the hopeless feeling that comes from standing in front of 30 bored learners, trying to explain a company process and why it’s so critical to the learners’ jobs and success. The learners may feign interest to be polite, but they clearly aren’t absorbing the message or engaging with the content.

What if you could take that content and convert it into an eLearning course that dropped the learner directly into the company process? What if they could make decisions in the course that gave them choices and consequences? What if they could lead themselves down a learning path that challenged them and required their input?

Branched learning scenarios let you do exactly that. They are one of the best ways to convert your process-heavy training – whether instructor-led or click and read – to an interactive and impactful experience for learners. By allowing your learners to make choices throughout the course, they create their own learning experience. They’ll take ownership of the material by making decisions that result in meaningful feedback and consequences.

Our creative designers have put together a few tips on how to make your branched learning scenarios most effective.

1. Visualize the final destination

Picture the course as a game with multiple paths leading to a destination. Before you begin to chart different learning paths within a scenario, visualize where you want your learners to end their learning journey. Starting at the end and working backward can help you to make sure you build in all the appropriate paths and scenarios.

2. Keep an organized wireframe

Just like mapping out a storyboard, you’ll thank yourself if you first map out the various learning paths that your learner can travel. Focus on choices and consequences. Clearly map when learners will encounter interactions, what choices they’ll have in that interaction, and what consequences will occur for each choice. When creating your “wrong turns”, consider the common mistakes your learners make in the workplace that prevent them from achieving your desired action. That way, they’ll learn to avoid repeating those mistakes when it counts.

3. Don’t overwhelm your learners

Our designers suggest a maximum of three paths per scenario. Your learners will still feel like they have control over the course, but you’ll save yourself hours in quality assurance (QA) and can gather tailored data about the learner’s confidence and knowledge.

4. Devote extra time to QA

Branched learning requires more QA time than more standard forms of eLearning. Your QA team will need to walk through each learning path within the scenario to make sure that your triggers are working correctly and that your learner always reaches the same destination, no matter which path he or she chooses.

Our creative designers can help you to conceptualize and design a custom branched learning course to increase learner engagement and provide additional data points for your ROI. Call us, today, to learn more.

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