Overview: In interactive stories, also called branching scenarios, participants follow a scenario and decide how it evolves. They are a virtual adaptation of “Choose Your Own Adventure” books and allow professors to create an interactive case study. At different stages of the scenario, a list of choices is presented to the participants who must decide based on the facts of the story and the material provided. The choices made have a direct consequence on the course of the story and participants cannot usually reverse their decision. They must accept the consequences of their choices.
Tips and Tricks:
- Getting inspiration from existing cases is extremely useful.
- Preparing the scenario and its different branches beforehand makes the creation process easier. Linking the scenario branches to the intended learning outcomes can help create the options.
- Sometimes there can be the illusion of a choice. Some branches can be looped back to the main storyline.
- Trying to keep a limited number of main storylines (3 to 5), as well as a limited number of endings (3 to 5), will keep the creation and content manageable.
- Students can go through the scenario alone or in small groups. The story can also be used as a presentation to the class, in which case choices are made collectively. A group approach can help to build different perspectives of the same topic.
- Branching scenarios allow students to progress at their own pace and make their own choices. The professor should assist them as they move along the story, be available to answer questions, and discuss the choices made.
Duration: From 15 minutes to 3 hours.
Re-playability: Yes, by exploring different branches of the scenario.
Continuity: Interactive stories can eventually be linked together (or to other scenario-based activities) to create a semester-long storyline.
Number of players: From 1 person to large groups.
- On the theme of biodiversity, a case study on whaling [French only].
- On the theme of natural resources, a case study on mining projects [French only].
Tutorials and resources: Many different tools can be used to create interactive stories.
- The infamous PowerPoint can be used to create branching scenarios. See: Example 1 and Example 2 [French only].
- H5P is an online platform to create interactive stories (among other things).
- Twine is a free and open-source platform to create interactive stories (among other things). Twine is a bit more complex as it uses various forms of coding (many tutorials are available online).