Using Branching Scenarios In eCourses To Build Decision-Making Skills: Why And How

Using Branching Scenarios In eCourses To Build Decision-Making Skills: Why And How
Poprotskiy Alexey/
Summary: Decision making is complex. Here is how branching scenarios in online training can help your employees build strong decision-making skills.

Why And How To Use Branching Scenarios In eCourses To Build Decision-Making Skills

Picture this: You worked on a confidential document yesterday and saved it on your computer at work. Due to some emergency at home, you called in to say you will work from home today. However, you don’t have the latest version of the document and you request a colleague to send it across to you by accessing your computer.

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The problem is that you must share the password to your computer with her. You distinctly remember reading the IT security guideline that prevents you from sharing your password with anyone. So, clearly, you should not share your password with your colleague. However, if you don’t, your work suffers, and you will miss the deadline for submitting the document. If you do, you are clearly acting against what was shared in the Information Security Training by compromising your company’s IT security policy. What should you do in such a situation?

As you see, decision making is complex and a simple list of ‘Dos and Don’ts’ does not always help in the process. The same is applicable in many situations employees run into at work such as:

  • Handling difficult customers
  • Responding to an emergency
  • Making a choice between two options

Often, there is no time for employees to consult an instruction manual or check with a colleague/ boss in these situations. So, what is the best way to prepare employees for these situations? If you are using eLearning courses for training, then ensure the courses are not mere informative that tell employees what they are supposed to do. Instead, make them engaging through scenario-based interactivities that compel employees to make decisions and face the consequences in a safe environment.

Fortunately, the latest versions of authoring tools, such as Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, and Lectora, provide opportunities for branching scenarios. Branching scenarios in eLearning courses refer to an interactive learning element where the learner is presented with a problem and has multiple options to solve it. As learners choose their option, they are guided by the consequences of those actions. So, if we go back to the example above, the options that could be available to you would be:

  1. Ignore the IT policy and share the password with your colleague and get the job done.
  2. Inform HR about the need and get them to assign someone to do the job.
  3. Request for an extension and work on the document the next day when you are at the office.

If you choose 1, then you are given a possible consequence and you have to decide what your next move will be. Similarly, if you choose 2, the consequence will be different and so also with 3.

Creating such scenarios is a time consuming, but worthwhile exercise. Fortunately, we are blessed with rapid authoring tools that make the process a lot easier than what it used to be before. With tools such as Storyline, Captivate, or Lectora, you don’t need programming skills or coding skills to create excellent branching scenarios. All you need is:

  • A good authoring tool
  • Qualified instructional designers
  • A carefully chalked out learning strategy
  • Well-designed storyboard
  • Skilled multimedia developers

When employees have taken a course with insights offered through such branching scenarios, they are more prepared to take the right decisions in a tricky situation. They would have come across numerous examples while doing the course that would have prepared them for it. Also, it is a good idea to go through real-life situations by taking inputs from employees regarding the actual situations they face on the job and incorporate them into the storyboard for better impact.

So, the next time you need to develop a safety training course, a compliance course, or for that matter any course that involves decision making, consider incorporating branching scenarios.

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Related articles:

1. Role Of Interactivities In eLearning And How You Can Use Them

2. 3 Tips To Create Less Monotonous, More Engaging eLearning

3. 4 Levels Of Learning Interaction In Online Courses

4. Free eBook: 8 Efficient Ways To Improve Learner Engagement In eLearning Using Articulate Storyline