Monday, 3 August 2015

Inkle making multiple interactive narrations simple #storyboard

Since the dawn of eLearning, interactivity was a key concept. With interaction defining an action undertaken by the learner, as well as feedback provided by either humans or/and machines. No learning without going out into the real world, and experience feedback ... which is how we learn from our first days on this beautiful blue planet

Gamification and multiple story lines
But with the onset of new digital options, like gamification (wikipedia, academic definition and history), the need for new types of interaction became apparent... and it was a challenge in most cases. One of the big challenges in gamification is the fact that the learner is in charge of the path they are taking (if you use complex gamification, less true for simple: who is first, got the most points.. type of learning games). As such, you cannot simply add one gaming/learning path, you need to offer a more complex set of options, providing at least the illusion of autonomous actions.
In gamification it feels natural to have multiple stories from which a learner can choose, but of course writing it is much more complex as Heather Jackson explained in a wonderfully short and consize blogpost for the writeonsisters blog: screenplays versus game scripts: 5 differences. The writeonsisters blog turned out to be the find of the day, as it is packed with nice writing tips and resulting knowledge.
Thanks to Robin Rivera's blog on 8 tips for interactive storytelling, I was directed to Inkle, a free cloud software (in beta) which enables multiple stories to be written AND to follow-up easily thanks to the software. A really nice and useful learning software find, which I gladly share.

Inkle (@inklestudios) software to write multiple stories
The Inklewriter is free (might be due to beta version, but still free for now, you only have to pay a small fee when you want to get your writings out of the cloud), and the first steps were taken in 2011 by two Cambridge people. Inkle is an award winning software, and it feels easy to use (always a bonus!). You just provide your email, and a password, and ... you are in. The tutorial they offer is also just an option, and you can choose to either go through the full tutorial, or choose and pick one of the topics (nice to be able to choose). You can also decide to just dive in... and write/learn as you do it.
The software is made to write interactive books or stories, but because of the importance in using narration in eLearning or let's say online learning, this can be useful to set up the narration for an upcoming tutorial where you want a more playful story to be used. And the bonus of this software is that it allows you to keep track of all the stories or paths you have been creating. A nice feature, as keeping an eye on all loose ends can at times proof to be difficult.
Writing with Inkle is easy: you write a paragraph, then add options, and these options are kept together enabling you to write the full story with all loose ends neatly organized until each of there own endings is written... if that makes any sense. A real treat!

My plan of action with Inkle
Exploring a new software for online learning implementation always gets me into a space between dream and reality. For this software I am trying to build a multiple learning path through available open educational resource options... a bit like continued professional development but with multiple iterations as option. Ideally, setting up a generic structure that might - might - be used to combine your own curriculum or bigger learning goal. Just trying out if it works... seems plausible at this point.