7 Steps To Create An Experiential Learning Branching Scenario For Your eLearning Course

7 Steps To Create An Experiential Learning Branching Scenario For Your eLearning Course
Summary: Often, learners are placed in the back seat and bombarded with information they barely understand and remember in the long run. By implementing learning branching scenarios, companies can offer professionals the steering wheel and let them explore the material freely. Read on to learn how to create an effective learning branching scenario for your eLearning course.

Why Should You Invest In A Learning Branching Scenario?

Learning branching scenarios do not necessarily indicate right and wrong answers, but more or less effective choices a professional can make regarding a work-related matter. They are a great interactive and non-linear solution that trains team members to enforce their critical thinking to make decisions and manage any situation. Therefore, they learn actively and are trained on realistic cases they will likely face in the near future. Additionally, learners are offered feedback immediately after each step, realizing the mistakes they must work on. Read on to discover 7 steps to create an effective learning branching scenario, as well as the most common examples of branching scenarios.

7 Steps To Create A Learning Branching Scenario

1. Identify Your Objectives

Before designing your learning branching scenario, you must identify your goals, gaps, and desired behaviors. You should be organized and create a guide on how team members will polish their technical and soft skills and enrich their knowledge. Filling people's brains with new information may be crucial, but the end goal must be a change in behavior and mindset. Everyone should learn how to make proper decisions and weigh the positives and negatives of every possible outcome beforehand. They must also be shown how they can bounce back from a bad decision.

2. Create A Scenario

You must create a realistic learning branching scenario that features cases professionals have already faced or will face. This way, the content is engaging and relevant. First, create the most favorable path, and then start adding other less desirable options. Don't add too many paths since they can frustrate learners and make your scenario unmanageable. Also, make sure to create outcomes for all the possible decision combinations. Your story must have enough but not excessive context, and you need to build characters and add speech where necessary. When adding dialogue, try to make it realistic. People must be able to understand the main characters and put themselves in their shoes. Lastly, don't put too much pressure on your trainees, and give them plenty of time to think about their course of action.

3. Build A Map

Creating your map is a detailed step you must pay extra attention to. After deciding on the best, mediocre, and worst-case scenarios, you need to determine each decision point. Try to think like the participants and add decisions that drive learners toward the resolution of a problem, even if the outcome is negative. Each decision should be accompanied by feedback. It could be as simple as letting people know whether their answer is right or wrong. Maybe you'd like to include hints that direct participants toward one decision and explain why their choice is not the best one. When building your map, you may want to add different colors for each path to keep your material organized.

4. Create Your Layout

When you are ready to build your learning branching scenario, you must find the ideal authoring tool. It should feature themes, templates, and other interactive media, like drag-and-drop options, that engage participants in active learning. Most authoring tools offer prebuilt templates. However, if they don't fit your needs, you can create a customized branch and reuse it in the future. The layout must be tailored to your target audience's age and expertise. Then, you need to add slides of the scenes that correspond to each scenario. Maybe you can add the same three scenes for the beginning, middle, and ending of every scenario.

5. Set Your Recovery After Failure

Some learners may make the wrong decisions and reach the least favorable outcome. Instead of making them feel like they failed, you can allow them to recover and fix their mistake. One option would be to restart their journey and rethink all their decisions. Another option would be to take one step back and change their last decision. The best option, though, would be to give them the freedom to change their past decisions. Instead of going one step back, they can choose which decisions they want to change to achieve a preferable result. This is especially helpful for intricate scenarios with many different decision points.

6. Add Hyperlinks

Easy navigation is key when formulating your learning branching scenario. Adding hyperlinks connects every step of the branch with the next and makes it easy for learners to review their decisions. Professionals can jump from one point to the next easily and make their learning experience seamless. Also, when using a slide presentation, you can add hyperlinks to images and direct people to the corresponding sequence without the need to scroll manually. To ensure accessibility, you should also include alt-text in all linked images so people with visual impairments can receive an audible description through their screen readers.

7. Test Everything

After your learning branching scenario is finished, you need to test it out. Pretend you are a participant and pick every single possible branch to check if everything operates smoothly. Fix any grammatical errors, glitches, ambiguities, or unrelated information. Maybe some of the dialogues are not realistic, and you need to rewrite them. You may enlist the help of a group of learners to check the material and provide their feedback. They might notice mistakes you missed or find your terminology inappropriate for the subject matter. Consequently, you have the opportunity to review your scenario and refine it.

Examples Of Branching Scenarios

Interactive Maps

This branching scenario is commonly used in corporate training and features different levels of information. For example, a company can create a map of a factory and all the different production areas. We start with the delivery of products, preparing the produce, the quality check, packaging, and sending it to customers. The map shows the floor plan of the factory and all the separate activities. Trainees can click on each stage and get a closer look at its operation. As they zoom in on each stage, they are offered more information and quizzes.

Didactic Maps

These maps are a combination of visual elements and explanatory texts. Still or moving images or short-form videos are on the right side of the screen, while text is placed on the left side. For instance, participants from the example mentioned above may be presented with factory operations on a didactic map. Then, they may need to put the production stages in the right order. Let's say they forget to add quality checking, and some products are defective. They might end up with a customer who is severely dissatisfied and complains to the authorities, leading to the recall of a product. Such an omission may cost a company millions of dollars.

Application Simulations

On many occasions, businesses require applications and prototypes in their daily activities. This learning branching scenario is an interactive way to showcase to employees how these applications operate and help them familiarize themselves with the technology. For instance, you may create a graph with the necessary information and allow participants to take action. Each decision has consequences, and employees learn how to avoid crucial mistakes. As a result, companies manage risk while training team members on how their organization's software operates.


Learning branching scenarios can be extremely engaging and effective in helping people reach their objectives if done properly. They need attention to detail and careful planning, but it's an effort worth the while. Their goal is not to teach professionals definite solutions to common issues but to shape their mindset and alter their behavior in a way that improves their decision-making abilities. Team members face challenges daily, and it's crucial to think critically about every situation and decide based on what's beneficial for corporate success and customer satisfaction.