This is the first of a series of posts where I walk through the creation of a complex branching scenario example, from starting idea to finished Storyline module. I hope it will be useful and encouraging to anyone starting out with elearning branching scenarios and take it a step beyond Designing Predicaments, which has one mini-scenario as its focus.
In terms of Working Out Loud I’m cheating a little as I’m not doing it ‘live’ but in retrospect, working through the decisions I made creating a scenario for a demonstration a couple of years ago. But I should be able to remember what we did and why, and also be able to comment from the point of view of ‘If I’d known then what I know now.’ I’ll do this as a series of weekly episodes.
Here’s the whole working-out-loud-branching-scenario series so far:
- Analysing the needs
- The learning approach
- The scenario decisions
- The situation and characters
- Prototyping in Twine (part 1)
- Prototyping in Twine (part 2)
- The full prototype
- Into Storyline
Our story begins with identifying the needs. This module wasn’t written for a specific client, it was written for a demonstration and potential for an off-the-shelf package. The subject expert was Jackie Jamieson of Inspiring Solutions Scotland Ltd (http://www.inspiring-solutions.co.uk/)
Action mapping stage 1: the success measure
- engagement measures would improve as managers give feedback that helps their team’s motivation
- performance measures would improve as managers clearly identify and praise the kind of behaviours and performance they are looking for
Action Mapping stage 2: target behaviour to achieve the success measure
- they deliver the feedback in a situation that is suits the personality and preferences of the individual. While some people enjoy receiving attention in front of their teammates, others would want privacy.
- they deliver the feedback in a standalone conversation with no other agenda – particularly they don’t ‘sandwich’ it with other negative feedback
- they make the feedback as specific as possible, isolating the actions the person took
- they put it in context, mentioning how the person’s actions helped the organisation
- if the person dismisses the praise, as some people will do, they restate and reiterate it
- they show genuine gratitude, not just performing their ‘duty’ to give positive feedback
Action Mapping stage 3: barriers to good performance
- They deliver praise in the context in which they’d like to receive it.
- they have heard of the ‘sandwich’ technique and think positive feedback is a way of preparing the ground for corrective feedback, balancing it with praise “Your dress sense is really good. You just need to work on your recordkeeping, which really isn’t up to par. But I’m very pleased with your handwriting”. This technique goes against the psychology of most employees, who will remember only the negative. Most people are wise to the technique now, and will often follow the initial praise with ‘Is there a but … coming?’
- they find the act of giving praise a bit embarrassing, and will often gloss over it with ‘Good work!’ ‘You did well!’. They may be acting out of a sense that their staff member is generally good and that needs to be acknowledged, but without specific instances of good decisions or actions by the person. While it can be pleasant for the recipient, it’s not informative and doesn’t provide any guide to the way to act in future.
- they forget that they have to represent the organisation – it’s about more than just ‘I’m pleased with your performance’. This isn’t just a personal relationship.
- The opposite fault is that they do it in a flat, emotionless way as a formality that has to be ticked off, because they don’t recognise any personal gratitude
- they collude in a staff member’s embarrassment at receiving praise (‘I’m just doing my job’) and take this as a cue to leave the subject and move on
Is learning the answer?
Next: the learning approach