Create branching scenarios: Our step-by-step guide
If you read our recent post on the benefits of branching scenarios, we hope you’re ready to start creating some of your own. This step-by-step guide shows you how to create branching scenarios in Gomo.
Branching scenarios might sound complicated but actually they’re pretty easy to create – as long as you plan them out thoroughly and use an intuitive authoring tool, like Gomo, to build them.
Create branching scenarios: Plan for success
If you have a subject or course that you think might benefit from a branching approach – great! But before you go any further, test out your ideas with some sample content.
One quick way to do this is to take a few of the learning objectives for your course and design a scenario that weaves these objectives into the decision points.
Test your scenario: does it feel realistic and are the learning objectives clear? If you’re happy the scenario works, then go ahead and plan out the rest of your scenarios.
The best starting point is always your learning objectives or the behavioral changes you’re targeting with your course. From there, think about realistic situations where you can explore these points through a series of decisions the learner makes.
It can be useful to map your scenarios on Post-its so you can easily move things around or make changes. There are also open-source tools, such as Twine, which you can use to plan and map your scenarios digitally.
Create branching scenarios: Our step-by-step guide
Once your scenarios are finalized, you can start building them. This is super simple to do in Gomo.
1. Set up your screens
Rather than build your branch screen by screen, it’s easier to set up all of your screens first and then link the branches together.
In the scenario map below, for example, each decision point and consequence will be a separate screen you need to create.
It’s worth adding numbers and letters (1, 1A, 1B etc) to your scenario map so you can easily identify which screen should link to which.
2. Create your decision point screens
You may want an introductory screen that sets out the context of your scenario, or you can dive in and include your first decision point straight away, as we have in our example.
To create your decision point screen, enter your decision point text (a question, essentially) and then add the options learners will choose from to make their decision.
You may think that your decision points should be created using the question asset, but the simplest way to create branches is by using the button asset.
In our example, you can see that we’ve added the decision point and then added two potential choices as buttons.
3. Create your consequences screens
Learners will see the consequences screen immediately after making a decision. This screen normally details the consequences of their decision and sets the scene for the next one.
To create a consequences screen, enter your desired text and add a button that will take your learner to the next decision point (in our example, it’s a continue button).
4. Add branches
Once you’ve set up all of your decision point and consequences screens, you can start linking them together to create your branches.
To add your branches, use the Button Actions feature.
Go back to your first decision point and select the choice you want to add a branch to (we’ve selected the first one in our example). Then select actions from the Button Properties menu on the right.
You’ll see the Set Button actions pop-up screen. From here you can choose a range of actions that selecting the button will prompt.
Because we want the button to take the learner to another screen to create our branch, we’ve selected ‘Link to screen’ from the Action type dropdown list.
In the Result dropdown list, we’ve selected the screen we want to link to (in this example, it’s screen 3).
To create the branch, select the Update actions button.
To build the rest of your scenario, simply go through and link all your buttons to the correct screens in your scenario.
5. Set navigation
Once you’ve created your scenario, you need to consider navigation options.
You may want to give your branching scenario a ‘no turning back’ style whereby the learner can’t go back and make different decisions.
Or you may want to let your learner explore how making different choices can lead to different consequences.
It’s up to you.
Being unable to go back will make learners think more carefully about their decision and is more akin to real life.
But giving your learners the chance to explore all the possibilities of each scenario may give them the opportunity to understand the impact of different choices in a more reflective way.
If you opt for a ‘no turning back’ style of navigation, you’ll need to disable the back and next buttons on each screen in your scenario.
If you’d like to give your learners the option to backtrack, enable the back button and change the action so that it links to the correct screen in your scenario.
You can change screen navigation settings by selecting Configure under the Navigation and Tracking sections of the Screen Properties menu.
6. Thorough testing
When you create branching scenarios, remember to preview your course at any time to test out your design. It’s important to thoroughly test all branches to check the flow of your scenario is correct and follows a logical path.