Elearning scenario examples: The Broken Co-Worker

The Broken CoWorker is rightly celebrated among instructional designers for its innovative blend of comic strip, video and scenario methodology, delivering a lesson with flair and rigour, but without over-complication.

It was created by Anna Sabramowicz and Ryan Martin of ElearnerEngaged.com, and was, I think, created as Storyline demo.

Here’s a scene from the introduction, setting up the character and the challenge that’s stressing him.

Screen shot from the introduction to Broken Co-Worker

The main character is harassed by an over-familiar female colleague. He wants to distance himself from her without causing conflict in his new workplace. Here’s one of the decision points, with an ‘angel’ character giving advice.

The scenario structure: String of Pearls

This module is a series of separate decisions linked by a narrative. That is, there’s no deeper branching. This structure is sometimes called the String of Pearls.  In one formulation below, you get a chance to try each one again after you’ve made your choice. In some variations you can’t progress until you’ve chosen the correct choice. The decisions in Co-Worker could have been put in a different order and still worked.

Flowchart showing string of pearls structure - scenario followed by three choices, one of which leads to the next scenario, the others to 'retry'

Here’s the Broken Co-Worker structure in Storyline:

Structure of Broken Co-Worker


How Broken Co-Worker gives feedback

The module shows only the consequences of the decision – in video or cartoon form, not instruction.  That’s reserved until the debrief at the end.

Video and stills work together

One thing that I think is exemplary is the way they used video for some sections and stills for others. You may have considered video for scenarios but thought it was too big or expensive an undertaking to do the whole thing in video. This shows how video and stills can work together. Another thing is the way every piece of information is presented by realistic dialogue.

Elearner Engaged links

Try the full scenario at http://demos.articulate.com/showcase/broken_co-worker/story.html

This module has been such a success in the community of elearning designers that it’s become a big part of the business model of Elearner Engaged, who sell templates, bespoke comic strip designs and courses based on the principles. (https://elearnerengaged.com/elearningscenarios/).

Anna also has an excellent YouTube channel mainly based around scenarios. (https://www.youtube.com/user/eLearnerEngaged)

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