Screen shot from Giving Positive Feedback

Branching scenario design out loud #8: into Storyline

This is the final part of Branching Scenario Design Out Loud.

Having run through the prototype in Quandary as much as we could (I didn’t have Twine at the time), and making lots of tweaks to the wording, particularly to make it more conversational, it was time to create the Storyline version.

Because this wasn’t for a real client, we didn’t have brand guidelines to work with, or previous courses to maintain consistency with. I decided simply to use some default Storyline designs and characters. I’ve always felt a but uneasy about Storyline’s cartoon characters, and felt I could deliver something slightly more believable using photographic characters. If you know Storyline you’ll have seen these characters many times before, but for our audience – Jackie’s potential clients – they wouldn’t be so familiar.

I have to say upfront – this isn’t the greatest Storyline module! In fact it was only the second thing I’d ever built in Storyline and I was learning the software from a book as I went along. If I were doing it again now I’d be more economical with both variables and actual pages, and wouldn’t use default designs and characters.

Jackie had a few pages of guidance on how to give positive feedback. We debated whether to make this available
At the start as a compulsory sequence (we quickly dropped this as antithetical to the scenario method)

  • At the start as an option
  • Only in the debrief
  • Throughout as an option

We decided on the last strategy. The guidance didn’t specifically tell you the best answer in each decision – it was more principle-based, so it should be available as support for anyone who wants it. Some learners will prefer to review the principles before diving into the scenario. And of course it should be available again after the debrief. Calling it ‘Feedback tips’ makes it seem less didactic and more of a job aid.

Screen shot from Giving Positive Feedback
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Tutorial screen from Giving Positive Feedback
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I kept track of the decisions made using Storyline variables.

Storyline variables in Giving Positive Feedback
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Here, for example, you can see how the learner gets credit for mentioning the impact of Alex’s report.

Screen shot from Storyline showing variables in use in a slide
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Before the full debrief I give the learner a snapshot of how well they’ve done and the chance to try again.
I did this in a rather clumsy way – I’m sure there’s a better way that Storyline experts would do it.

In Storyline I have a screen with the main learning points, each on a layer. Depending on the ones they’ve done well, I display some and not others.

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The resulting screen has big gaps. It only looks like a list if all the layers are visible. I didn’t know (and still don’t know) how to show only the ‘good’ points in a generated list.

If the learner opts not to try again, we go on to the debrief, which I described earlier in Planning the Debrief.

You can see the finished article at

You can download the Storyline file and use it for whatever purposes you like (unless it’s just to humiliate me!) at (24Mb)

Let me reiterate I’m not touting this as a great example of Storyline – it’s a beginner’s product, but I hope the story of how it was done will be useful to you in getting started with your own scenario. And if the Storyline file serves as a template for you, I’m happy.

Here’s the whole working-out-loud-branching-scenario  series:

  1. Analysing the needs
  2. The learning approach
  3. The scenario decisions
  4. The situation and characters
  5. Prototyping in Twine (part 1)
  6. Prototyping in Twine (part 2)
  7. The full prototype
  8. Into Storyline (this post)


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