From small acorns grow huge oaks, and after a good deal of development and testing, Learning Pool have recently, and very proudly, released a brand new, intuitive branching component as part of Adapt Builder, so all of our subscribers can now drink from the blessed chalice itself, in metaphorical terms at least.
What exactly is Branching?
At this point, I’m sure there will be some readers wondering just what the devil we’re talking about. What is this branching malarkey and why the big fuss? Well, read on and we’ll help you twig.
Put simply, a branching scenario is one that tells a story, just like any other e-learning based scenario, but is interspersed with questions at various points so that the user has to decide what happens next.
The narrative starts out at a particular point, but then has the potential to ‘branch’ off in multiple different directions and end up at several completely different destinations. The path that the narrative takes depends entirely on what choices are made by the learner.
The reason so many are in thrall to the idea of being able to create content in this way is that it puts the learner in complete control. Each user will have their own personal path through the scenario and the activity can be set up so they get feedback that is tailored to the path taken. They can then retake the scenario, perhaps making a different set of choices and to see how it can pan out differently.
Making you the branch manager
The component itself is perhaps the most complex that we’ve created for Adapt Builder, and although you can keep it relatively simple if you like, there is certainly the potential for your scenario to get very intricate as you build in more and more branches and layers.
Each chunk of content within your scenario is known as an ‘item’ and it is important to grasp how these link up, and how to set each one up in order to get your scenario to flow as you want it to. Our recommendation would be to complete the Academy training first (the root of all good Adapt work!) and then play around with the component, getting used to how ‘items’ work.
Setting the scenario
Once you’re familiar with that, you can get stuck into writing your scenario.
You’ll need to think about main trunk of the narrative that you want to follow, the choice that you want to give to your learners, and consequently how the narrative will change based on that choice. You’ll need to do this each time you offer a choice to the learner. You’ll also need to think about the feedback you give for each choice.
We recommend that you plan out your scenario in advance, using the usual storyboarding techniques for each of the different branches. Once you’ve got a clear plan for the scenario, with each eventuality covered, then you’ll find it much easier to build your content into the component itself.
You can use different media to tell the story or provide feedback on each of the choices, including video, audio, graphics, text or a combination of these. There are also a number of different settings that you can apply to each of the items within the component so that they behave in different ways.
Find out more
If you’re a customer, more information on these settings, and everything you need to know to get started with the component, is covered in the branching user guide. This is available now on the evergreen Learning Pool Academy, alongside some useful demos where you can see the component in action.
If you want to get your hands on a free trial of Adapt Builder, get in touch.