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by Brock Horning | September 2023

If you’re seeking a better way to upskill your employees than training manuals or linear instructional videos, the answer you’re probably looking for is branching scenario training. In these interactive videos, learners become the decision-makers, actively responding to replica real-life scenarios. Here’s why they can be a powerful tool in an educator’s toolkit.

What are branching scenario training videos?

Remember ‘choose your own adventure’ gamebooks? Readers could take control of the narrative and opt for different pathways through the story, becoming active participants in what happened next. This is the principle behind branching scenario training videos, encouraging learners to lean forward and become active participants in their learning experience.

Branching scenario training prompts viewers to make decisions throughout the learning experience. This interactive style can make use of real scenarios, usually giving 3-4 available options to engage and immerse learners in realistic scenarios. By making decisions and discovering consequences, learners can truly understand why certain choices create specific outcomes.

What makes interactive videos a natural fit for eLearning?

Time for a few stats – instructional videos are proven to be more effective than training manuals. However, 72% of employees still don’t give linear training videos their full attention. Interactive video is 81% more effective at keeping their attention, leading to better information retention. 

Branching scenario training videos keep viewers engaged by demanding regular responses. It turns them from passive viewers into active learners. To quote our co-founder Ru Howe: “Once you tell somebody they are expected to engage, a different part of their brain turns on. It’s absorbing information to inform you for the next decision.” Viewers can also tailor their learning experience and keep content relevant, which helps increase engagement.

This approach can benefit all aspects of eLearning but particularly where real-life role-play or simulation exercises would traditionally be used. Scenarios in healthcare, sales, management training and similar can quickly and easily be mapped as branching scenario training videos with the right tools.

The benefits of branching scenario training for eLearning

Better information retention

There’s a difference between knowing the right answer and knowing why it’s the right answer. If learners understand what real consequences their choices can lead to, you are empowering them to make fully-informed decisions. Putting your knowledge to the test in a real-life scenario will quickly highlight skill strengths and weaknesses which improves individual learning outcomes. 

Risk-free environment for practice

Life is not binary. There are no definite good or bad responses to many situations but some may be more effective than others. Branching scenario training can successfully teach decision-making skills in scenarios where there is a range of possible responses. Learners can use trial and error to discover likely outcomes, letting them learn from their mistakes without consequence to real customers or the company.

Higher engagement

Interactive videos promote active learning rather than passive learning. They’re not just observers or buried in a mountain of text, they can control their experience and discover their own knowledge gaps. Branching scenario training triggers positive emotions and encourages greater investment in the learning outcome.

More human method of learning

Humans learn best through lived experience. No training manual in the world is going to effectively recreate the pressure of a lifesaving intervention or the true consequences of impactful decision-making. Using the immersive nature and storytelling elements of branching scenario training, educators can recreate plausible scenarios in a risk-free environment.

Learn More on our scenario-based training page

Inspiring examples of branching scenario training videos

Here are three playable examples of branching scenario training already out in the real world:


No training manual can replicate the pressure of a medical emergency – this is the angle that Lifesaver takes. This award-winning crisis simulator is designed to teach CPR through a series of branching scenarios. If you make the wrong decision, the result could be fatal.

Nobody’s Fault

It can be hard to connect the decisions that data scientists make with the impact on the people affected by them. Data science ethics tutor Liz Karns used a branching scenario training video to demonstrate the consequences of students’ decisions, reminding them that each data point represents a real person.

Tracking Success

Taking an unusual angle on team building exercises, Virtual Adventure uses the ancient craft of wildlife tracking to gain a fresh perspective on business management. Learners embark on a virtual adventure into the South African wilderness to track wild animals and in the process discover the virtues of openness, curiosity and creativity. An effective way to teach that connection, relationships and tenacity is the way to thrive in the business world.

Recapture learner’s attention with

By far and away, the best interactive movie authoring tool I’ve had the pleasure of using. The new Game Logic feature is amazing and opens up so many potential uses that previously would’ve required me to use Storyline or Captivate to achieve.” –Paul Brennan, Virgin/O2’s Head of Learning is the perfect tool for crafting interactive learning experiences and branching scenario training videos. Intuitively designed with a ‘no code’ interface, there’s no need to know or learn anything technical before getting started. Content templates can be reused and adapted, or quickly updated with new information, saving valuable time. With the analytics dashboard, you can also get a genuine insight into how learners move through the experience. This insight can be used to measure the impact and keep improving the effectiveness of your branching scenario training video.

Ready to take your training experiences to the next level?