3 Replies
Mary Beth Faccioli

Branching allows you to easily see the relationships between slides. With layers, this is hidden. I once had to revamp a course for a client, and the entire course was built on one slide with tons of layers! It was practically impossible to work with. Also, branching is a simple way to go from slide to slide, where layers involve triggers and thus is more complicated from the point of view of behind-the-scenes code. I try to do everything as simply as possible in Storyline so there is less opportunity for buggy-ness. I pretty much only use layers if I want the same base slide with stuff appearing on top of it - for example, if I have buttons on a slide, and once they're visited, an instruction box appears. I would put the instruction box on a layer. I'm sure others work differently, but this is my process after several years of working with Storyline.

Ray Cole

I tend to try to group things by activity. So if I'm implementing a conversation between two characters, I would try to keep that entire activity on one slide, using layers to progress through the conversation. I'd then move to a new slide for the next activity. That might involve branching--for example, after the the conversation, there might be more than one place the learner would like to go and depending on what option they choose, I'd branch to one or another new slide.

If I'm giving the learner the opportunity to practice doing something in a simulation (say, setting a wake-up alarm on a new model of alarm clock), I would try to implement that simulation on a single slide using layers and triggers. I'd move off that slide when the learner was done setting up the wake-up alarm and was ready to do something else.

Where this sometimes breaks down is if the activity or simulation is complex enough that it requires more than a simple linear march through a stack of layers (e.g., the back and forth of a conversation) or a  hub-and-spoke design in which learners interact with objects on the base layer of the slide and pop up to a layer for some work and then return to the base layer before pushing a button or interacting there to pop up to another layer. If you need to pop up to a layer, and then make that new layer the hub of a multi-layer sub-activity, that's when I bust things out to a new slide so as to avoid having to manually manage the showing and hiding of each layer.

Cheers!

    -Ray