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How do I build branching Video Stories in Dawn?

  • Updated:

Note: Branching Video stories are currently available as an alpha feature in Dawn. This means:

  • The feature is currently under development, and significant changes to workflows and functionality are expected.
  • All Video stories created in alpha will be lost once the feature is fully released. Feel free to play with the feature, but remember that none of that work will be retained.

Branching Video story interactions in Dawn can be created to allow learners to choose their own pathways when viewing  and interacting with video content. At key moments in Video stories, learners are given multiple choice questions and their answers determine what content they see next. This makes instructional videos more engaging, allowing learners to explore according to their own interests, knowledge, and needs!

There are two major steps in the building a Video story:

  1. Set up your video and transcript
  2. Create story choices, scenes, and branches

1. Set up your video and transcript

To create Video story interactions:

  1. Select the desired Section in the catalog entry and click Add instruction.
  2. Select Video.
  1. Check the Enable story mode box to turn on the branching video features.
    • Note: Dawn automatically creates an End scene at the end of a selected video. Because Video stories allow navigation between different timestamps within a single video through answering Choice questions, you can create additional End scenes.
  2. Give the Video story a Title.
  3. Provide the Max mastery award value you want learners to be able to earn over the course of the Video story.
  1. Select the video you want to use from the Video dropdown.
    • Note: In order for videos to appear in this menu, you have to upload them to the Resource library.
  2. If you automatically generated a transcript or you uploaded one manually, the Transcript appears to the right of the video. If not, a blank transcript appears that you can populate.

2. Create story Choices, Scene markers, and End scenes

Everything that occurs in a Video story is built around your video transcript, so it's important to get that as accurate and polished as possible.

Once the video and transcript are set up, you can start building the components that make Video stories work:

  • Choices: These are decision points you create within a video where the video pauses, and learners are asked to answer a multiple choice question that determines where they go next. Each decision in a Choice takes the learner to a specified Scene marker, takes them to a specific timestamp, or simply lets them continue watching the video from where it paused to give them the Choice.
  • Scene markers: These are timestamps you create within the video, indicating the beginning of a scene. Choice decisions can be set up to jump learners to Scene markers, so it's useful to place them anywhere you'll want to navigate learners to.
  • End scenes: Any Scene marker can be made into an End scene by checking the End scene box. When learners reach End scenes the instruction is considered complete and they are taken to the next instruction item.

These components come together to create all the possible learner pathways through a Video story. Video stories can get complicated, so you must always plan each pathway to make sure learners get the information and experience you want them to have, and that they have a possible route to an End scene within any pathway.

There are many ways to plan and create Video stories; here is the process we recommend:

  1. When planning and creating your videos, decide:
    • Where you want each Choice to appear.
    • What scenes you need and where those Scene markers will go.
    • Which pathways you want available to your learners, and make sure they work.
  2. Upload your video and create the transcript.
  3. Add Scene makers where you need them, including End scenes.
  4. Add Choices where you need them and connect each decision to the appropriate Scene marker or timestamp.
  5. Test your pathways.

Add Scene markers

To add Scene:

  1. Using the Transcript editor, find the video Text that begins the desired scene.
    • Example: We want a new Scene marker right before the line Let's talk about Cardio Health which begin at 18:30.
  2. Underneath the video preview, enter a timestamp (in seconds:frames) that occurs at or just before that video Text.
    • Example: Notice that we have entered 18:30 as the timestamp, and the video scrubber jumps to that position.
  3. Click Add and select Scene marker.
  1. The Scene marker is placed the specified timestamp, and a clickable arrow marker appears on the preview video scrubber.
    • Example: Notice that the scene appears at 18:30.
  2. Give the Scene marker a name and indicate the  Mastery award points you want the learner to earn for watching this scene.
    • Example: We named this scene Cardio Health to indicate the content covered in this scene, and assign a Mastery award of 10 (if earned, viewing this scene will give the learner 10 out of the possible 30 Max mastery award specified above).
  3. Check the End scene box if you want the Video story to end when the learner finishes this scene. A Video story can have multiple End scenes, and must always have at least one.
    • Example: We leave this unchecked because we want this scene to end with a Choice.
  4. Repeat this process for every Scene marker you want in this Video story.

Add Choices and branches

If possible, it's best to add all of the Scene markers you need before you start adding Choices because you can use the Scene markers to easily and clearly define the Pathway branches each decision results in.

To add a Choice:

  1. Using the Transcript editor, find where you want your decision to appear. This is likely just before or just after one of the subtitle Texts, so you can use the timestamps there to guide you.
    • Example: We want to let the learner decide which topic to review first. This Choice should occur just after the line Which material would you like to review? Cardio health? Strength training? or Healthy eating? which ends at 17:00.
  2. Underneath the video preview, enter the timestamp (in seconds:frames) that you identified above.
    • Example: Notice that we have entered 17:00 as the timestamp, and the video scrubber jumps to that position.
  3. Click Add.
  1. Select Interaction and Choice.
  1. The Choice editor opens; give the Choice a Title and compose your Question.
  1. On the Choices card, provide each decision option. Click Add choice if you want more.
    • Example: We have offered four Choices: Cardio health, Strength training, Healthy eating, and I don't want to review any of these topics. Let's move on.
  1. On the Response card, you define where each Choice takes the learner, how much Mastery award each choice is worth, and what Feedback each choice returns. Click Add response if you want more.
    • Example: We created four branches for this Choice; one for each of the for possible Responses. If the learner chooses one of the first three options, they earn 10 out of the possible 30 Max mastery award specified above, and are taken to a Scene marker created for the chosen topic. If they choose not to review any topics, they earn o Mastery award, and are taken to the End scene to move on from this Video story.
  2. When you are finished, click the Back button and your changes are saved.
  1. The Choice interaction now appears with a timestamp of 17:00. You can edit it by clicking the pencil icon.
  2. Repeat this process for each Choice in the Video story.

Test your pathways

Once you have created all of your Scene markers, End scenes, and Choices to define the branching pathway options, make sure to test the Video story. Click View as a learner to see what your learners will see.


Have a question or feedback? Let us know over in Discussions!