Branching allows LAMS Authors to create several 'pathways' through a sequence.
They are similar to Optional objects, in that they create parallel pathways through a sequence,
but differ in the sense that there is no learner-based interaction to determine which Branch to take.
Also, unlike Optional Activities and Optional Sequences, Branching Objects only allow a linear progression through the sequence, that is, a learner cannot go backwards and complete a different branch.
Branching Tool Authoring
Placing a branching activity is as simple as creating any other object or activity in LAMS. Click the Authoring Space.
The Properties Inspector allows the author to change the name of the object, and also specify the branching type. More on this in just a moment.
The next step is to actually create the activities and branches that will make up the Branching Activity as a whole. To keep the authoring space from becoming cluttered, the contents of a Branching Activity are hidden inside the object itself - or, put more simply, you can double-click the object to see what's inside.
The Branching Space opens with two icons visible, a green 'entry' door, and a red 'exit' door. Each branch must start at the entry door and end at the exit door.
To create branches, simply drag-and-drop the activities from the toolkit and create transition lines as if for a normal LAMS sequence.
By clicking on a transition line and using the Properties Inspector, the author can specify a name for each individual branch.
Its best practice to give each branch a short but intrinsic name, for easy identification later on. The names will display near the start of each particular branch.
When all branches have been completed, the Branching Object can be closed and the Conditions and Mappings for the branching can be created.
On the Authoring space, LAMS will display a preview of the activities inside a Branching activity.
LAMS provides Authors with three different ways to define which Branch a learner should complete.
Method One: Teacher Allocated
The simplest option to create on the Authoring side is 'Teacher Allocated.' When 'teacher allocated' branching is selected, no further author-side configuration is needed, however when the sequence is launched, a LAMS monitor must manually assign each learner to a specific branch. (See the monitoring section of this page below.)
Method Two: Group-Based Branching
LAMS allows authors to route learners along specific branches based on a preexisting Grouping Object. Once both the grouping object and branching activity have been created, the author must create 'Mappings' of each group to a particular Branch. (Alternatively, the author can elect to define these in the monitoring environment).
These step-by-step instructions describe how to create a Group-Based Branching:
When using Group-Based branching, the branching decisions are completely automatic. LAMS displays the Grouping Object to Learners, and the transition from the main sequence to the branched activity is seamless.
Method Three: Tool-Output Based Branching
The third branching method involves basing the branching decisions from the output of a particular activity - that is, output from an activity based on what the learner has contributed.
Some activities may have specific conditions (such as the number of correct responses for a Multiple Choice), and most activities support Text-based conditions, where LAMS can make branching decisions based on certain words that a Learner has or has not typed into an activity.
*+There are two key concepts involved in Tool-Based branching: _Conditions_ and _Mappings_.+*
- Conditions are a way of grouping learners by their performance in the relevant activity. For example, a condition may be based on whether a learner has answered all questions in a quiz correctly or not. For more information on currently available conditions, view this page for the Multiple Choice or this page for the Forum.
- Mappings describe which Condition sends learners to which branch. Once LAMS determines which Condition the Learner is a part of, the Mapping is used to send that Learner to a particular branch.
- A particular Condition may only be mapped to a single branch, but a single branch may have several different conditions mapped to it.
These step-by-step instructions describe how to create a Tool-Output Based Branching:
Branching Tool Monitoring
When a monitor double-clicks a branching object on the Summary Tab, it expands to display the activities inside, just like on the authoring canvas.
The monitor can then open the individual activities within the branching object to view the summary pages for those activities.
Live Edit cannot be used to modify the Branching if a learner has already entered the a Branch.
Click to expand thumbnail.
On the Learner tab, a the Branching Activity may again be expanded to display all the activities it contains. However, only the branches that have been completed by the particular learner being viewed can be displayed.
For example, in the image at Left, the Learner has only completed Branch One - the activity can be opened to view the Learner responses. Branches Two and Three cannot be opened, since the learner has not attempted those Branches.
Click to expand thumbnail.
When a portfolio is created from a sequence containing a Branching Object, either Single Learner or Entire Class, the Portfolio for each learner contains only the activites from the branches they attempted.
For example, the image at left displays the portfolio for the Learner shown above. Similarly, only the activities from Branch One are available in the portfolio.