In the e-learning world, the term “branched” comes up fairly often. But what do people mean when they talk about, “branched scenarios,” or “branched e-learning?” Usually, it’s a way to describe an e-learning course where the learner can choose from multiple paths, otherwise known as “branches.”

This might sound complicated to build or code, but that’s not the case at all. In fact, it’s as simple as hyper-linking slides, and Articulate Storyline is a great tool for building branched interactions. In this article, I’ll show you the three easy steps, and then walk you through an example so you can see the process in action.

The scenario

Let’s say you’re creating an e-learning course about how to host your team’s Quarterly Meeting. You want to create a scenario that asks the meeting host to choose a mode for conducting his or her session: web conference, chat room, or via web cam. Then, based on that selection, the host completes a quiz with questions related the selected mode.

Step 1: Create your slides

Your first step is to build out the slides for your course or scenario. In this case, I have an initial slide that asks the scenario-based question and forces the learner to make a selection:

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Next I created three slides: One for each of the mode options. Learners won’t see all three slides, only the slide that corresponds to the mode they chose. From here, learners click a button to start a quiz about that mode.

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My next step is to build out the quiz slides for my course. In this case, I built out a total of 9 quiz slides, comprised of three questions for each of the three options.

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Creating and building out your slides will probably be the longest part of the process to make branched e-learning.

Once you created all of your slides, take a look at your course in Story View. By default, they are lined up in a linear order, one slide after the other, like this:

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Right now, everything’s in the order you created it. These next two steps will rewire your navigation to reflect your branched scenario.  

Step 2: Link everything using triggers

Once you’ve created your slides, you can start setting up your triggers. That’s really all there is to creating branched e-learning: it’s just triggers that hyperlink to the appropriate slides. On the first slide, create a trigger on each of your mode images (the webcam, the laptop, and the teleconference phone) that hyperlink to the corresponding slide.

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Then, link the “Get Started” button on those slides to the first question slide that goes with the quiz for that mode. Now, you’ve started a branched scenario!

Step 3: Edit the default navigation

Storyline comes with some default navigation options, and you’ll need to edit these to get your branched scenario working just the way you want.

You’ll notice each slide has a trigger for the Next button that will “Jump to Next Slide” when learners click that button on the player. Remove this trigger from all the slides that branch out; otherwise, learners can simply click the Next button to move forward, which is confusing and not what you want them to do. You may even want to hide the Next and Back buttons altogether with a few tweaks to your Slide Settings.

Once you’ve added all your triggers and edited the default navigation, your Story View will look something like this:

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And like that, you’ve created branched e-learning! Story View is really helpful when you want to get a bigger picture view of the branching connections in your course. Creating branched e-learning in Storyline is so easy—just add your slides and hyperlink them in the order you want!

Do you have any tips of your own about creating branched e-learning? We love to hear your best practices and ideas, so if you have any experience in this area, please leave a comment below!

You can always sign up for a fully functional, free 30-day trial of Articulate software. And don’t forget to post your questions and comments in the forums! We’re here to help. For more e-learning tips, examples, and downloads, follow us on Twitter.

8 Comments
Dan Sweigert
Sergey Snegirev branchtrack.com