Simulation Example: Online Branching Simulation

This simulation example was an online course in career coaching for 3,500 managers of a global manufacturing company. The course was offered in 7 languages to all management-level employees of this company around the world. The simulations followed two brief setup sections that explained what career coaching is and how to do it well. Learners could then choose any (or all) of four simulation scenarios to practice.

The Online Branching Simulation – Career Coaching with a demonstration of how the branching is written and shown in Articulate Storyline is in the LearningSim portfolio.


Situation   Need   Solution
“We’re giving an intro to career coaching for all of our managers worldwide with a mandatory, self-paced online course.” “We need this to be more than just some click-through content. How can we get people to practice the decisions that go into this skill?” “Include a set of realistic practice simulations as part of the course!”


What would it take?

  • Deliverables – Create 4 branching simulations following the 5-Step Simulation™ method, built as skill practice with feedback into a 20-30 minute online course. Each simulation runs through six decision points, presents Best, Good, and Poor option choices, and focuses on a different challenge that learners face when using the skill. Include scoring and pass/fail methods.
  • Time – Performance need and context research: 14 hours. Writing (96 screens): 68 hours. Reviews, edits, and finishing: 28 hrs. (Total: 110 hours)
  • Cost – About 70% of the total design budget. Slightly less than $20 per learner (before translation). As a complex e-learning project, this was a major investment (>$45K) for a large audience.


Challenges, Tips & Results

Challenges Tips Results
  • Four layers of review and approval for all decisions
  • Detail had to fit limited screen real estate
  • Options have to be roughly equal length to avoid telegraphing the best answer
  • Language and situations had to be selected with localization in mind
  • Establish clear expectations and a timeline pegged to decision turn-around
  • Have reviewers look at actual screens to see the prototype
  • Rely on the expertise of the simulation designer to choose wording
  • Engage regional language representatives early to catch possible problems
  • Strong learner engagement and participation
  • Simulation scenarios felt real to the learners
  • Numerous positive, unsolicited comments from managers
  • Strong sponsor reactions and support for the global initiative; the course continued in use for related programs