One of the most exciting aspects of my job is exploring our client’s unique instructional needs and partnering with them to create new branching sequences to meet those needs. Recently, one of our clients wanted to create a screen that allowed learners to order several physical exams. This seems like a simple request. However, there was a twist! The client wanted learners to receive the exam results for some choices, but to interpret the results for 3 of the exams by watching videos and making a judgment. Yet, all physical exam choices needed to be on the same screen. Not only that, but learners would be free to select all, some or none of the physical exams!

This is just the type of challenge I find so interesting. To meet this need, we used an inquiry node (or screen) that had all of the physical exams listed. For some exams, learners simply got a textual response with the exam results. However, for three of the exams, learners were given this response “You will interpret the results of this exam on another screen.” Once learners finished selecting all physical exams, we used rules and counters to branch learners down different paths depending upon how many of those three physical exams they chose. If they didn’t choose any, we just moved them on to the next screen. If they chose one, then they watched the video, completed their judgment about the findings, and then continued onto the next screen in the simulation. However, if they chose more than one of the 3 exams, we moved them onto those additional assessment screens.

This strategy allows learners to discover which physical exams might be helpful to form a diagnosis, and also assesses learners on how well they can interpret exams that were related to key learning objectives. To ensure that those key learning objectives were met, if learners chose not to order any of these 3 exams, they would receive feedback later in the simulation and would be given a second chance to review the videos.

You could use a similar approach if you want to include assessment questions and/or media from an answer choice on an inquiry node. To learn more, see the Free Choice Assessment Branching Tool. You can find it by searching for this title in DecisionSim.