How I Built This Branched E-Learning Scenario
I recently created this branched e-learning scenario called “The Job Interview,” a short quiz that asks you to answer common interview questions in hopes of landing your dream gig. I’m pretty psyched with how it turned out, and thought I’d walk you through what went into building it.
Storyboard in Storyline
My first step was to storyboard the scenario directly in Storyline. I started with a blank slide and added my scenario-based question and three response choices. I then created a layer for each feedback option, and composed my feedback for each choice. Next, I duplicated the first question slide and updated the content for the next question. Why duplicate? I’ve found that duplicating instead of rebuilding the next question from scratch saves time.
I continued building out slides like this until I had a slide for each interview question. I also added an intro slide, a results slide, and a placeholder on the slide master for my “progress meter,” which runs along the bottom. Here’s an example of how one of these early question slides looks:
Set Up Navigation
Once the core text of my slides was built out, I set up my navigation by creating all the links. For each choice, I linked to the appropriate feedback layer. Then, on each feedback layer, I linked the Continue button to the next question. I like to set up the navigation at the storyboarding part of the process because you can’t get a really good feel for the flow, and for any missing pieces or links that seem wrong, until you click through the course yourself.
Be forewarned: the linking part can get tricky. In my case, the linking got messy because sometimes the feedback for choice A would link a learner to one question, but the feedback for choices B and C would link to a different question, which led learners down a different path. To make sure everything was linked just right, I had to do some thorough previewing and testing to click through all the various potential choices and paths and make sure it all made sense.
At this point I also edited the player to make the Resources tab available in the top-right corner.
One everything was linked, my branching scheme looked a bit like this:
Set Up Scoring and Results
The next thing I did was to set up my scoring by creating a number variable called TotalScore, which has a default value of 0. When the learner clicks on a choice to answer a question, a trigger either adds or subtracts points from the TotalScore, depending on the answer. To test my scoring, I inserted a reference to my TotalScore variable on the master slide. This way I could track that it was correctly adding and subtracting points as I clicked through each set of choices.
For my results slide, I created a Pass layer and a Fail layer. I then set up a trigger on the base layer to display whichever one corresponded with the learner’s score.
Scoring got a bit tricky because some choices were worth more points than others. I created a simple text file where I documented each question, each choice, and how many points each choice was worth. I used this to calculate the highest and lowest possible scores, which I needed to know to set up my results slide and to create my custom progress meter along the bottom of the slide.
Styled and Added Imagery
With all my text content in place and my navigation functional, I proceeded to style my slides and add imagery. I used background photos (which I grabbed for free on Morguefile and Unsplash) with a transparency effect to set the scene, and updated my shapes, colors, buttons, and fonts. I also added in images of my character and updated her facial expression for each question and feedback layer to match the content.
I styled my intro and results slides, and then added in other details such as the text captions (with instructions for entering the username and company name on the title slide), and the prompt about the progress meter on the introduction slide.
Designed Progress Meter
Almost done! I wanted to wait until the end to design my progress meter. Why? I knew it would use a lot of states, so I wanted to make sure I had the final “look” narrowed down, as well as all the scoring set up, to avoid having to make changes to the progress meter afterwards. On the master slide, I created the progress meter, which involved a lot of states and triggers.
On this particular progress meter, the arrow indicator moves up and down (or left to right) as you gain and lose points. To make this work, I had to create a state for the indicator for each possible combination of points. The maximum possible score is 14, so I created a state for each point (1 to 14) where the arrow indicator moves to the right by a bit each time. I also created a state for each point going down to -14 (-1 to -14) where the arrow nudges to the left each time.
Then, I added triggers to make the state change depending on the value of TotalScore. So, if the TotalScore is equal to 3 points, the state of the indicator arrow will be State 3. If the TotalScore equals -14 points, the state of the indicator arrow will be State -14.
Reviewed and Tested
With everything working, it’s tempting to declare the project finished, right? Not so fast! Thorough testing is so important. Before I published this, I had three co-workers look it over and each gave me some really valuable tips and feedback. They also spotted several spelling errors and typos. With their help, I tidied up all those loose ends and got an even better and more polished final result. Yay, teamwork!
Those are the high-level steps that went into creating this branched scenario. Do you have any questions about this branched scenario? Are there any questions or feedback that you would like to see incorporated into this interview? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for all the latest e-learning tips and tricks.
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