How to Increase eLearning Engagement with Branching Scenarios Steve Penfold Published on August 11, 2016 This post was written by Steve Penfold, Elucidat's Customer Success Director. When you create an eLearning course, you should consider ways to keep your audience as engaged as possible. That includes moving away from traditional click-and-read eLearning formats and creating content in a context that learners will find more engaging. Using branching scenarios is one highly effective way to encourage learners to interact with course content. In the world of eLearning course design, branching scenarios are popular because they're both interactive and practical. That makes them a great option for teaching people to apply the new knowledge they've gained while they learn. Let’s look at five ways to use branching scenarios in eLearning content development. 1. Help the learner to take control of their learning One great way to engage learners is to allow them to steer the program. You could, for example, provide a series of scenarios using different materials and allow learners to choose which one they'd like to do. Asking learners to choose a scenario will help your eLearning content to cater to their specific needs. Here’s an excellent example made with Elucidat that puts the learner in control of their experience: 2. Use branching scenarios to challenge the learner One of the best reasons to use branching scenarios is to challenge learners by asking them to choose from multiple options. The technique helps learners to practice making big decisions and to explore consequences in a safe, virtual environment. Here’s an example of how to pose a challenge to learners: You can see another example of this technique in a fraud protection course that was developed with Elucidat. In this example, you’ll notice that both challenges and consequences are presented to learners in order to show how the characters end up being defrauded. You could also use multiple-choice questions and link each possible answer to a different screen. That way, learners get instant feedback when they answer questions, creating a more engaging eLearning experience. 3. Use linked pages to route learners to the right content With an authoring tool like Elucidat, it's easy to link pages of course content to one another. Regardless of which route a learner takes in one scenario, you can use linked pages to ensure they always move seamlessly to the next section. For example, with Elucidat you can simply choose the page you want to link to and then click the “save” button. Linking your pages in this way ensures that learners can move smoothly between each section as they learn. 4. Use storyboards to create and map out different scenarios Branching scenarios often start with a simple storyboard. Whether you decide to create it in PowerPoint or Word, a storyboard will make it easier as you work on scenario-based eLearning. If you choose Elucidat, you can use the tool's “Project View” feature to build a highly visual storyboard that showcases the different pathways learners can take. For example, your storyboard can show that your branching scenario steers learners from one pathway to two different possible pathways, followed by even more pathways, with each decision they make. 5. Use information pages to offer extra support Whenever possible, you should strive to show — and not just tell— learners the material you’re trying to teach them. Just telling learners about information often creates courses that are not as engaging or memorable as they need to be. It’s a common result of creating click-and-read eLearning course content, and one reason why you should avoid it. Your courses should ask learners to respond to questions and each response should lead to a branching scenario. If learners need guidance, you should create information pages to help them along. For example, use hotspots on your images to encourage learners to click on them for more information before making a decision. Conclusion Branching scenarios can engage learners and allow them to practice making big decisions without having to literally experience consequences. That allows them to be a more effective and memorable technique than simply using click-and-read course content.