The Benefits Of Using Branching Scenarios In eLearning
Branching scenarios in eLearning have been the go-to learning activity for eLearning professionals for years, mainly because they are so effective and interactive. But what benefits can they really offer to your learners? In this article I'll highlight 7 benefits of integrating branching scenarios into your next eLearning course.
- They boost interactivity and user engagement.
Instead of having to sift through information and read an abundance of text, your learners have the opportunity to make choices that show them the benefits and consequences involved. They are no longer observers, but active participants who have a say in the outcome of the branching scenario. This makes them more engaged, as well as empowers them by teaching that their decisions have the ability to make a difference and that their assumptions and thoughts carry weight. When the eLearning experience is interactive and engaging, it allows learners to expand their knowledge and build their skill sets in a very powerful way.
- They make compliance training fun and entertaining.
Compliance training is typically something that employees dread, but branching scenarios in eLearning can turn even the most dry and dull compliance training into a fun and entertaining experience for your learners. Especially when the content may be complicated, a branching scenario gives learners the chance to explore it firsthand. For example, if a learner must learn about new safety measures, you can create a branching scenario that walks them through the process and gives them the ability to see how each choice leads to potentially dangerous consequences. They learn, firsthand, the hazards involved with improper safety protocol without any risks involved, so when they deal with the actual problem on the job, they will not make the same mistakes.
- They allow learners to benefit from their mistakes.
Speaking of mistakes, one of the most significant advantages of branching scenarios is that they give learners the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. They are able to see how one incorrect decision can completely alter the outcome, and understand how the choices they make lead to consequences and/or rewards. They also enable eLearning professionals to see the gaps in the comprehension, so that they can determine which key pieces of knowledge or skill sets they still need to develop, which leads to a more complete eLearning experience. Above all else, branching scenarios in eLearning provide learners with the immediate feedback they need in order to focus on the behaviors, actions, or skills they need to improve or change.
- They can be customized to meet learner needs.
Every branching scenario you create can be customized to meet the specific needs and expectations of your learners. For instance, if your employees need to acquire specific information within a matter of minutes, you can simply use fewer branches in your scenario. If they need to fully explore a more complicated process, a good idea is to create a branching scenario that features several decision points. Furthermore, to make the process more effective, you can even design a branching scenario that includes some misleading paths, so that your learners are required to put their critical thinking skills into action and access previously learned knowledge.
- They can easily be modified to cut down on development time.
The design of branching scenarios can be time consuming, particularly if you are creating one that leads to several different paths. However, you can reduce the eLearning course development time by creating a template to reuse for multiple branching scenarios. You can make it look completely different and explore new topics by simply changing the multimedia elements, or by switching out the images and graphics you used in the original branching scenario.
- They stress real world benefits without real world risks.
Rarely do we get the chance to see the outcome of any situation without taking some sort of risk in our real lives. But branching scenarios in eLearning allow your learners to do just that. They give them the ability to see in what way every choice they make will impact their job performance. They can see the real world benefits and applications of what they are learning in a non-judgmental and risk-free environment. This way, your learners are able to see how each and every bit of information they are learning can be applied outside the virtual classroom, which adds real value to the experience.
- They offer learners the opportunity to access their knowledge base.
Branching scenarios in eLearning encourage your learners to access their knowledge base and develop existing skill sets, so that they can improve their knowledge retention and memorize key ideas and concepts. You can even use branching scenarios in lieu of traditional lesson recaps, as it gives them a chance to explore and interact with the subject matter by applying the information they have learned. When they access their knowledge base through branching scenarios, learners are also given the rare chance to weed out any negative learning behaviors that may have slipped through the proverbial cracks, or support assumptions that they were unsure about before they began the branching scenario.
The benefits of branching scenarios are numerous, making them the ideal addition to any eLearning experience. If you've been debating whether or not a branching scenario is right for your learners, hopefully this article has shed some light on the many ways it can improve their knowledge absorption and their skill set development.
Now that you know the benefits of branching scenarios, read the article 6 Tips To Write Effective eLearning Course Scenario Questions that offers you insight into how you can develop eLearning course scenario questions that give your audience a first-hand look at the real world benefits they can expect to receive.