My son and I went for a walk along the shore of a creek the other day. At one point, the creek narrowed, and the water-flow slowed so much that you could actually walk across it. We were on one side and we could see that on the other side there was a little white building that looked as though it was worth exploring. From a young age, I have helped him develop into a curious person who likes to explore and learn continuously.
As you can see from the photo, there is more than one way to get to the other side. And this made me think of ‘branching’ as a technique that we use when designing eLearning solutions.
Branching is a technique that we use within the design of a self-directed online course. It’s used when a scenario or situation is presented, and there is more than one possible approach that you could take.Branching is a technique that we use within the design of a self-directed online course. It's used when a scenario or situation is presented, and there is more than one possible approach that you could take. Click To Tweet
Just like how crossing this creek presented more than one option. And of course, each option comes with its unique set of consequences. One route may be easier than another. We may even decide that one is preferred over others. I think you see my point.
Imagine you are working your way through a self-directed online course on the topic of “Giving Feedback.” At some point, you arrive at a screen where a difficult situation is described. There has been on-going tension between two employees for months now and it has escalated to a point where it is impacting your entire team.
It is at this point that ‘branching’ might be used to help you explore the different options for the next steps and corresponding consequences of each choice. Imagine that you have 3 buttons in front of you named “Good,” “Better,” and “Best.” Hmmm…has your curiosity kicked in at this point? Of course it has! Which one will you pick?
As soon as you select one of those buttons, you are experiencing branching in action. In fact, it is as if there are now three courses happening simultaneously…one for each of those buttons. Once you carry on and discover how the next steps play out based on the choice you made, you are returned to that same screen with the three buttons.
At this point, you can continue on with the course OR you can pick one of those other buttons to see what would have happened if you’d made a different choice.
We now have more than just branching happening here. In this example, I’ve integrated ‘choose your own adventure‘ and even a little ‘gamification‘ but I can’t help myself. It’s how my brain works. And it’s what a quality eLearning designer does. It’s what my team and I do.
Reach out to me and let’s meet up together on Zoom to chat about the knowledge and skill gaps of your employees. Together we can make a plan to close them.
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