E-Learning: Creating Complex Passwords

I created this piece of e-learning as a concept. Last year I was involved in a number of IT training projects one of which was to do with cybersecurity. I wanted to demonstrate an example of how branching scenarios could be incorporated into IT training for new employees.

I’m really into story design right now so a lot of my newer projects include the use of storytelling.

Planning and Development

I began by creating a learning outcome/learning objectives. I wrote two using different methods. I would usually just write objectives using Bloom’s taxonomy, but there was a possibility that I’d have to write outcomes in more of a Gagne style.

Gagne style outcome:

  • When prompted to change their password, the learner will identify the characteristics of a complex password and create a new password by typing it into the computer

Bloom style objectives:

Students will be able to…

  • Identify the characteristics of complex passwords
  • Apply characteristics of complex passwords to create new passwords

I then wrote my script. I already had an idea of the story. I wanted to create a situation that the learner could relate to. I then wanted the learner to be able to practice creating a complex password in a short activity, then describe why it’s important not to write passwords down. The story is slightly overexaggerated in some areas, but I wanted to create something a bit fun and humorous with a strong message (or strong conflict).


I used MS Word to create my script. I decided to stick to two branches in the scenario as I wanted the unit to be quite short – after all, it was a concept piece of work. If I wanted to create something longer I would have used Twine to plan the branches.

The idea behind my approach is that the learner would watch a short video, complete an activity, answer a question then see a bit more story before the unit ends. I followed Horton’s Absorb, Do and Connect approach here (or Absorb, Do and Connect).

  • Absorb: The learner is introduced to Ben. He’s been told to create a new password. The learner is given information about why they need to do this and what is involved in creating a complex password
  • Do: The learner can try creating a complex password for themselves.
  • Connect: The learner is presented with a situation where they connect the information together. They are asked a question about what to do next

Once my script was written I copied and pasted it into Vyond. I chose the characters and the scenes and exported several scenes at 1080p. I wanted to incorporate video into the learning for two reasons; to aid the storytelling and to give the experience a fluid feel. What do I mean by this? Well I wanted to see if I could create “choices” where the video still moves to make it feel as though the scene is still active, rather than a hard pause. To achieve this I created long sections of video where the characters are still blinking and moving slightly. The video will eventually finish, if you wait long enough. The downside of this is that it can make your project larger in size when it’s exported, but the aim is to create something that is long enough to play while the learner is thinking about what option to choose.

Creating the Activity

After I created all my scenes in Vyond, I exported and embedded the video into Articulate Storyline 360. I then created my branches in storyline and added choices for the learner to pick from. These were added on top of the video using the hotspot feature.

For the main activity, I wanted the learner to be able to type a password into a computer then check to see if it meets the requirements. I decided to write a small bit of javascript for this as the variable tools in storyline wouldn’t behave like I wanted them too.

Once the learner completes the activity the story then continues. The learner gets to a point where they are asked what to do next. I used a trigger in storyline to jump to a specific slide depending on what option was picked.

The branch eventually joins back to an ending slide where the unit finishes and the course exits.


There were a number of different approaches I could have taken to achieve the branching scenarios. I chose this approach as I thought it would be the quickest way to develop whilst keeping inside my comfort zone. Overall it took about 16 hours to put everything together.

If I could design anything differently I think I would go back and change the colour palette as I wasn’t overly keen on the colours I choose. I think I’d also add in some extra triggers and navigation so the learners could explore the other branches in the scenario without having to start the unit right from the beginning (although this isn’t hugely important as this unit is fairly small).

Skills Demonstrated
  • E-learning design and development
  • Video editing using Vyond
  • Using Javascript
  • Implementing branching scenarios
Tools Used
  • Vyond
  • Articulate Storyline 360