Here I am sharing some experience in building a branching scenario e-learning module called The Choice. The Choice is a branching scenario e-learning is part of MTC’s Bribery and Corruption Training suite that I created as a part of the Cursim/Omniplex team. The Choice is build using Articulate Storyline 360.
First, I researched some well know examples of branching scenario e-learning serving as point of refrence and inspiration.
A visual novel (Japanese: ビジュアルノベル, Hepburn: bijuaru noberu), often abbreviated as VN, is an interactive fiction video game genre, which originated in Japan, featuring text-based story with narrative style of literature and interactivity aided by static or sprite-based visuals, most often using anime-style art or occasionally live-action stills (and sometimes video footage). As the name might suggest, they resemble mixed-media novels. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_novel)Wikipedia
After watching ‘What Visual Novels & Indie Comics can learn from each other” there are some interesting points that I took regarding navigation and how the visuals are done.
Visual novels have a standard set of backgrounds for scenes which usually isn’t much such as school, outside, home, so the background is pretty much reused all the time.
The Characters’ visualization has also one standard pose and the character will show only when they talking or delivering a line. Somehow similar as some of mobile games.
Considering all the references, I decided to use the static background approach from Visual Novels, which will be a time saver since I need time put aside to build and test.
I really love what BBC did in the How to Survive a Nuclear Bomb. But considering the limitation of Articulate Storyline and me (as I am not a HTML developer), I decided to use standard Articulate Storyline player facilities such as the sound/volume button and the seekbar with a chromeless classic player.
Quoting a discussion with Ryan Martin from Broken Co-worker and Elearningsecrets.com, that in scenarios the learner holds control on when to move forward in the story which is the contrary of the traditional e-learning where we try to limit the numbers of clicks. I observed the same approach is used in visual novels where you tap or click to progress the story.
As middle ground we used this approach:
The click next button are mostly put next to “Speech Bubbles” as you can see below
This approach seems to work quite well, based on the feedback from learners after the launch. Only about 5% of the 100 person who filled in the survey of the course has put a thumb down to how the navigation is presented.
In the future, I am thinking to get rid of the chevron and just use a click anywhere to progress a scene, although that might pose a challenge for ‘traditional’ people who are looking for an instruction or the same looking chevron to go next.