We love stories! No matter what we are working on – whether it’s training in person, online learning, or designing a website – we like to incorporate interactive and narrative elements to make it more enjoyable and engaging for our users. Interactive storytelling also has significant pedagogical value.
For example, we often use branching scenarios in our online learning content. Branching scenarios are interactive stories that make learning fun and engaging.
They are useful because they allow learners to make choices and see the consequences of their actions in a safe and controlled environment.
Imagine you are playing a video game (or reading something from a certain litigious book series) where you can choose different paths and make decisions. The story changes based on the choices you make. Branching scenarios work similarly but with a focus on learning.
When learners engage with branching scenarios, they get to explore different options and directly see how their choices affect real-life situations. They can learn by trying things out and making mistakes, but without any real danger. This learning experience can also make it easier for them to remember and understand the information, which helps them learn better overall.
There are many tools available to make interactive stories and other types of non-linear narratives.
But, to quickly create branching scenarios or simply have fun with interactive storytelling, we often use a tool called Twine.
So what is Twine and what can we use it for in the library context?
What is Twine?
Twine is an open-source tool for creating interactive and nonlinear stories, typically in the form of choose-your-own-adventure (™!) style games.
It’s great for creating branching scenarios because it’s quite user friendly and flexible. And it can help you visualise and map out the different pathways and outcomes.
As well as branching scenarios for learning content, it can be used to build a wide range of storytelling experiences, including gamebooks, visual novels, and interactive fiction.
Examples of Twine projects in libraries
Twine offers an innovative and immersive way to tell stories in an educational context. And plenty of libraries (and other educators) have used Twine to create interesting learning resources.
For example, this scenario-based, interactive module was created by Emila Mercyk of Michigan State University to train reference librarians to conduct efficient reference interviews.
And in this post on the Letters To A Young Librarian blog, Jillian Sandy explains the process of creating a game to help students practise catalogue searching.
On CILIP Scotland’s blog, school librarian Derek France talks about using Twine to make a digital escape room library induction for students.
So if this has inspired you to start a Twine project for yourself, we’ve found some helpful guides around the web.
This lesson by Gabi Kirilloff on the Programming Historian website includes practical suggestions for using games in the classroom and provides a technical tutorial for making a text-based game using Twine.
The Meta Game is a Twine game that teaches people how to use Twine for telling stories.
And TEL Twine guide is a short guide created by TEL which features a step by step walkthrough of setting up your first Twine.
In online learning, branching scenarios and interactive storytelling have the potential to change how we learn. By combining narratives, interactivity, and learner agency, we can create engaging and impactful learning adventures. Instead of just being passive listeners, learners can actively participate in their own learning journey. So, let’s embrace these techniques and unlock the full potential of online learning.
Give Twine a go and let us know what you’ve created.