Have you ever tried to create a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book? I have, twice. The first time left me with a whirlwind of paper strewn across the floor and my childish patience broken; I decided to go play football instead. The second time I was older, wiser and more patient. I tried using PowerPoint and then OneNote to create a great branching adventure narrative. I ended up with so many broken links, mixed up slides and a terrible headache that I ditched it and went out to watch a movie.
BranchTrack has come along to help me realise my dream. Alright, maybe their vision is a little bigger than that. They’ve come to rock the world of e-learning and are creating a service that helps businesses train staff with a strong, flexible and fun program.
BranchTrack began life as an idea born out of the frustration Sergey Snegirev and a friend had when they created a branching scenario game for a corporate sales team. The experience led them to realise the need there was in the e-learning sphere for a service that could speed up the authoring, design and delivery of branching dialogues.
A close brush with failure, but eventual success, at Garage48 convinced them of the promise their idea held and now in only two months since they partnered with eegloo they have a website and beta service ready to go.
The software is designed to allow anyone, but especially e-learning content creators, to quickly and easily create branching dialogue tree structures that can be shared, embedded or downloaded to be integrated into courses built in Lectora, Adobe Captivate and Articulate products.
The value of this type of learning should be evident to anyone who has been on either end of a customer service training program, as Sergey told me, “You can teach people a lot of theory, but they will not learn to sell until they try and fail repeatedly.” BranchTrack gives trainers a safe environment for their trainees to go through that trial and error process.
The guys at BranchTrack hope to keep the software free, or at least cheap to use as well. The plan is to provide a suite of analytical tools for trainers and companies including the ability to see the most, and least, common paths people take through the dialogue trees (useful when looking at where to focus training), see the exact routes an individual learner took, and other features that will be added along the development roadmap.
Of course BranchTrack is not just for customer service based e-learning. I’m not alone in picturing Create Your Own Adventure style games being made and others have thought of using the service for creative writing courses or to build a career advisor simulator. I’m excited to see how people might pick up this toolbox and with imagination create unexpected things, although personally I’ll stick to building a dungeon crawling adventure that leads the player to far too many hilarious and surprising deaths.
Check out an example below and see if you can beat the investor to get interested in your idea. If you come up with your own applications, feel free to comment below and send them to us.