Branched scenarios: Branch out to the next level with Vyond and Storyline 360
This blog follows on from our beginners guide to creating attention-grabbing learning with Vyond and Storyline 360 and our intermediate guide on how to use animated characters to bring digital learning to life. This blog will walk you through our advanced guide to creating branched scenarios using Vyond and Storyline 360.
Branched scenarios are not a new concept for eLearning professionals. We’ve been blogging about how a multi-branched scenario can incentivize game-play since 2015. So why is branching still such a hot topic?
Well, in recent years, branching scenarios have become much easier to create. With easy-to-use, intuitive tools, such as Storyline 360 and Vyond to hand – an engaging, learner-driven eLearning course can be made.
So, what are branched scenarios?
Branched scenarios are a great way of allowing learners to develop practical skills without the fear or risk of failure. Simply put, branched scenarios cover the three ‘c’s’:
- The challenge
- The choice
- The consequence
Why should you use video in your branched scenarios?
Video, animated or live action, allows you to portray emotion in a way that you would not be able to with text or images. Branched scenarios emulate the real world, allowing your learners to apply their knowledge and skills. If the real-world emotion is not portrayed, your branched scenarios may not be as effective.
How do I create a branched scenario with Vyond and Storyline?
Step one: Plan!
I’m a huge advocate for Storyboarding all eLearning courses. Even more so when it comes to branched scenarios. Multi-branched courses can become huge beasts. If you dive right in with development, and especially video creation, you could find yourself making a few mistakes.
There is no ‘right way’ to storyboard your scenario. My go-to is post-it notes, it’s an easy way to map out your learner’s journey, and ensure you’ve got it really clear in your mind. (And, on our webinar this week, a lovely attendee told me about Padlet – digital post it notes? Game. Changer.)
But I also checked in with our fantastic team that do this every day – Cursim, Omniplex’s Learning Services Division. The team there said they often use organograms in MS Office software, such as PowerPoint or Word, to map out their scenarios.
But whichever way you do it – planning is definitely the all-important first step.
Step two: Story size set up
When using Vyond and Storyline 360 together, it’s important that the aspect ratios match – especially if you want your video to fill your whole slide. To change your story size:
- Add in your first slide to your Storyline file.
- Navigate to your ‘design’ tab on your Storyline ribbon.
- On the left-hand side you will see a ‘story size’ option.
- Change this to the 16:9 ratio – if you want your Vyond video to fill the full screen.
Step three: Create your videos
Now that we’ve planned out our scenario, we can get started with the build. Building courses in Vyond is quick and easy – but if you want to you can watch our getting started tutorial, here.
When it comes to creating branched scenarios with video, you’re going to end up with a lot of videos. But we do not want our learners to realise this is the case. We want our learners to believe that this is one, seamless, continuous video throughout their course.
To overcome the glitch between videos – and give the impression of one seamless video – we have a very easy trick. Simply copy the last video you created, and ‘continue the last scene’, before deleting out the previous scenes. Check out this example:
In this example, I want the video on slide 1.4 to follow seamlessly on from the video in 1.2. So, in Vyond, I will:
- Copy my video from slide 1.2 (Say yes anyway)
- Rename my video to “1.4 (Hope for the best)”
- Click the ‘+’ button in the timeline and select ‘Continue last scene’
- Select all previous scenes, right click and select delete (or hit the delete button on your keyboard)
Step four: Videos, Layers and Triggers
Once you’ve completed your videos in Vyond, you’ll want to insert them into your Storyline file. Go back to your plan and make sure you have all the videos you need.
In this blog I’m going to focus on one slide, but the steps are the same for each segment of your branch. Get it right once – and you’ll be flying through branched scenarios in no time.
- First, we need to add in our video. Simply navigate to the slide and click ‘video’ from the insert ribbon.
- Once your video is in place, we need to add our interaction layer (this is where you’re giving the learner either the ‘choice’ or the ‘consequence’). This layer is likely to involve buttons, as you can see in the example below. This allows the learner to progress through the course. Add your text, and your buttons, to your interaction layer.
- You then need to set up your triggers. These will direct learners to new slides (and therefore videos) based on their choice. As you can see in my example, we set a trigger up to jump to slide “1.3 Find out if it’s SCORM compliant” when the user clicks “Find out”.
- Repeat this step for any other buttons you may have.
- Return to your base layer and add a final trigger. This time we want the layer to display when the timeline ends (i.e. when the video finishes).
All you then have to do is repeat the above five steps for each branch of your scenario and – hey presto! – you have an animated, video branched scenario.
If you’d rather watch this in action, check out the below recording of my webinar – going through the exact steps above. (You may want to fast forward five minutes, unless you want to hear where our attendees were dialling in from!)