Drag and drop development advice needed - pyramid game

Oct 19, 2022

Hey guys. I'm working on a Storyline project game in which I'm trying to implement drag and drop.

The learner needs to figure out where in the pyramid hierarchy each text element fits and drag them there within a given amount of time. I'm attaching a simplified version that is analogous to the idea of the game (the game itself is not about food).

I've got my initial functionality of dragging items to a box and having them stay there (although it's a bit clunky).

Mainly though, I'm trying to figure out how to deal with this:

Beyond the top of the pyramid (the main category item, e.g. 'food' in this example), the user can arrange the 2nd tier subcategories in six (I think?) different correct ways.

And on the lowest tier items, they have umpteen correct arrangements, depending on where they dragged their 2nd tier categories (meat, fruit, vegetables).

When the user has set their board, they will click "submit". I want to be able to score them something like "You got these correct" and have the text boxes that are correct (which can come in a variety of arrangements) stay in their spots on the pyramid, and have the ones that are wrong fly off the pyramid and back to the lower third, for them to "try again."

I want to be able to assess a range of various correct layouts. Is there a straightforward solution that doesn't involve a deep nest of variables and triggers that I'm not seeing? 

I thought about hotspots or hidden objects, and doing something with counters or labeling/grouping items, but I keep going in circles on the cleanest logic.

I'm not super adept with deep development math, so you may have to baby-step me through this a bit..

If anyone has any ideas, I'm all ears!

2 Replies
Joe Hauglie

Hi James - I've read and thought about your challenge here and have a couple of thoughts.

First, how large is the data set that you want your learners to work with? The examples you show are good, but one clear limitation to the topic (food) is that you have quite a lot of options that you present to the learner. So while you say you want them to show "where...each text element fits" you don't tell us how many text elements you have. And that could be where you can try a couple of different approaches. 

  • If you take "food" as your topic, then instead of presenting umpteen options, why not break this into a few smaller "bites" (pun intended)? That is, the learner needs to drag/drop "meat," "fruit," and "vegetables" into their (top) spots first. There would be 9 possible solutions.
  • If you have them work with only one pyramid at a time, you are able to manage the possible interactions. So either mask off the other two (just put a transparent object over the ones they won't work with) or put the one you want them to work with on a separate layer (or slide, by branching).

The second idea is to consider what you really want your learners to demonstrate through the drag and drop in the first place. What have they been expected to learn up to this point? Or are you seeing this as a "what do you already know" activity?

I suggest you think about this first, since it will help you narrow down your interaction. Using drag and drop is a good way to see whether they understand classification, terminology, or can simply figure out matching shapes. And you don't need to set up a grocery aisle of choices to do that.

Good luck!

James W Henry

Hi Joe and thanks so much for your reply and efforts on my problem.

As this was time-sensitive I had to find a solution or workaround a few
weeks ago and I came close to scrapping the game and replacing it with
something simpler.

However, after bouncing the problem off a couple of people, I came to a
similar conclusion as you suggest, and was able to keep my initial pyramid
idea, in the end.

So what I have now is:
learners first choose the most appropriate pyramid top., then they are
allowed to proceed to
the first wing of the next level. Then they place those elements, one by
Then they move to the 2nd wing, and so on.

It actually works quite well and has a sufficient degree of challenge (with
added time pressure I'm still working on).

So the moral of the story is, as always: CHUNKING.

As to your questions, there are 13 elements comprising the pyramid- 1 at
the top, 3 secondary elements and 9 tertiary.

Going through the sorting game process as I have it now, it takes roughly
2-3 minutes, which is in the right ballpark for what I intended.

The actual topic is "The pyramid principle" of communication, but it was
easier for me to paint a picture with the food categories.

Thanks again very much for your time and reply. It's appreciated!