Scenario based elearning: Making non-linear courses Part 1

Welcome! Over the coming weeks we’re going to look at how to create non-linear and branched courses quickly with Elucidat’s powerful Gamification tools. Week by week we will show you how to create my ‘Kitchen etiquette’ course from scratch.

Click here to see the course.

Here’s the order in which we will be covering each section:

  • Week 1 we will cover writing a basic script.
  • Week 2 we will cover linking and branching.
  • Week 3 we will cover achievements.

Why use Branching?

Recently, we’ve seen more and more of our clients use branching in their E-learning. There are a few major benefits:

1.) With branching it’s very easy to chunk large modules and allow users to explore the content that is most appropriate to them. You can have content focussed at particular roles, for instance, have a separate branch for ‘Managers’ and a separate branch for ‘Staff’.

2.) With branching your learner can choose how in depth their learning needs to be – for instance a learner who already has the knowledge contained in a module can skip straight to the assessment, this means they can focus their energies more effectively.

3.) With branching you can easily create scenario based courses that respond to your learners actions, for instance a correct action might lead to them continuing down a different branch to an incorrect answer.

Scripting

Before you get in to making a non-linear course, it is vital to have a clear idea of how the user flow of your project is likely to work.

In my ‘Kitchen etiquette’ course, the aim is to allow the learner to select what order they would like to approach the module in and to teach them the consequences of their actions by showing them different pages according to their choices.

To begin with, I made a very basic paper flow chart that marks which pages my learner will be sent to according to their actions (see here for more tips on rapid prototyping).

Here is my very rough diagram that I made for this course (sorry about the terrible handwriting!)

Scenario based elearning: Making non-linear courses Part 1

Once I could understand the basic flow of the course I began scripting the pages. In this course I have 21 pages, we’re going to look at how I set up the branching for page 3, ‘Cupcake kerfuffle’ (Scenario 1 in my flow chart).

Scenario based elearning: Making non-linear courses Part 1

 

Page 3 is a single choice question that links to either a page congratulating your learner (if they select the correct answer) or a page informing the learner that they haven’t chosen the correct answer (which then redirects the learner back to the question to try again after a short recap).

Here is the script I wrote after making these conclusions:


Screen ID: 003 – Cupcake Kerfuffle

Screen type: Linked page

Question: A colleague has brought baked goods for all the office. Cookies, brownies and cake, jackpot! They have been left in the office kitchen with the note ‘Help yourself’. What does ‘Help yourself’ actually mean though? Choose your answer and then press submit.

Answer 1 (correct) – make this branch to page 004

Answer 2 (incorrect) – make this branch to page 005

Answer 3 (incorrect) – make this branch to page 005


Having a simple layout like this with the pages clearly marked is incredibly valuable both when setting up, conducting your final tests or if you intend to hand the script to a third party.

Hint: I recommend having numbered titles (e.g 003) so that it is easier to check your branching, in this case I also added ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ to some of the titles for clarity.

Once I have written my script for all my pages I am ready to get building! Next week we will look at how to begin ‘Branching’ (the fun stuff!), if you would like to skip forward on your own have a look at these pages on ‘Branching’ and ‘Links’.

Click here to see part 2 of this tutorial!

 

 

 

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