The Importance of Branching Scenarios in eLearning


The Importance of Branching Scenarios in eLearning

Designing an eLearning course involves a lot of creative thinking. One of the biggest problems facing both tutors and students is that of remaining interested. Short attention spans are a problem even with the most varied of subjects, so when teaching – for example – basic health and safety, the tedious element of what needs to be learnt can be a hurdle that is difficult to overcome.

eLearning is convenient and for the student is also inexpensive. Being able to study in their own time may be a benefit, but it can also be easy for a student to push back taking a module. This is why engagement should be top of the list of aims when designing a course – and presenting it, too. One method that can be used is that of introducing branching scenarios. What do we mean by this? Let’s have a closer look.

What are Branching Scenarios?

Let’s say you are training a group remotely on the compliance regulations in the workplace. Boring it may be, but essential too. Your aim is to show the students why these regulations are in place. By using a branching scenario, and involving the students in making the decisions, you can clearly display to them how making the wrong decision can cause greater problems.

In developing branching scenarios, what you are doing is effectively giving the student two or more paths to take. This is one method of teaching in which students can learn from their mistakes, but also do so without risk. Branching scenarios are important in the fact they also give the student something real, a tangible asset learned, to take away from the module.

Branching Scenarios and Gamification in eLearning

Gamification – creating games in eLearning – is perfectly matched to branching scenarios. If you design you given scenario as a game in which the student has to, for example, find the hidden treasure or reach a certain goal you can do so using real-life examples mixed with fun yet important decisions.

This is also a method used in enhancing teamwork; pair two or more students together to reach the goal, or have them play against each other, and you have a way of keeping them engaged in even the least interesting of eLearning modules. You may also want to consider the use of animation in this method, and create specific characters to play the parts in the scenario.

Short and Simple Modules

It’s important that we come back to the subject of attention span when talking about branching scenarios. Boredom is the biggest problem in eLearning as there are often a lot of essential elements to learn that are not greatly interesting. If you keep your modules to 10 or 15 minutes, with your branching scenario reaching its climax quickly and with clear results, then your students will be more likely to stay tuned for the duration. Engagement is the key element of branching scenarios, so it’s worth investigation this method of teaching when designing your eLearning modules.

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