This week, one of my colleagues introduced me to Cathy Moore’s Blog. The article she wanted to show me was on branching scenarios. I had just read a great post on this topic over at the Rapid E-Learning Blog, but was amazed by the course that Cathy had developed.
The scenario in “Connect with Haji Kamal” requires the learner to assist a young lieutenant to befriend a former insurgence supporter in Afghanistan. Give it a try and see if you can gain the Pashtun’s support. As the prologue points out “Your lieutenant is young. He’s new. He’s about to screw up – unless you give him good advice.”
Well, did you save the day? It took me three attempts, and I enjoyed each round. So did the players who tested the activity for their culture class.
This branching scenario is a particularly impressive example of what can be done beyond the basic point-and-click course. It’s true that each type of course has its place, but, when the situation calls for something like this option, the experience that can be created is amazing.
Of course, it’s important to remember how much development time such an activity will require. Cathy notes that, once the goals were identified, the plotting and writing of the scenario took about 20-40 hours. The whole design and development, however, took about 340 hours. Still, we shouldn’t let that deter us if a branching scenario is the best way to communicate information. Imagine how much more effective this course is compared to a point-and-click version.