New Home Forums Course Ideas & Outlines LINEAR or CHOOSE-YOUR-OWN-ADVENTURE format to an ecourse?

22 replies, 10 voices Last updated by  Lorraine Watson 7 years, 3 months ago
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    DavidJ Jurasek

    Hey Wise and Wonderful Ecourse Adventure Tribe,


    I have a dilemma about format.

    The context first…

    My ecourse adventure (Break-up or Breakthrough) is all about helping men who are stuck in making a choice to commit more fully to their relationships or whether to leave and start over. A key aspect of pain is the indecision and lack of discernment — coming from being deeply in a state of reactivity with their partner and replaying old attachment patterns (avoidance or clinging).

    My metaphorical frame is a Labyrinth of Love — where they are stuck in this dark cavernous place with twists and turns and no easy exits. They need to navigate — and first understand WHY they are stuck: how this is part of a larger story of love, how the “grass is greener over there” or “maybe they are not the ONE” is an illusion and how avoiding the choice to breakthrough and more deeply love their partner is a choice that causes much of their dissatisfaction. They need to discover this info about themselves and then arrange it along with info from an Oracle of Love to get bigger and deeper clarity (a MAP to True and Lasting Love). And then they need large doses of understanding and empathy to build up the courage to make a choice and act on it.

    Anyway. As I write it out this way, it seems like a linear journey. There are certainly phases and a clear movement from indecision to clarity, from fear to courage, and inaction to taking a step. Yet, I also want my ecourse adventurers to have to actively explore and make choices all along the way, as a micro way of preparing them to make bigger and more consequential real life choices. I want them to also “discover” different parts of the Labyrinth only when they are ready and willing. So some of them can explore the false “exits” or the room of masks (discovering the ways they hide from love) while at other times and other men may dive into the parts of the labyrinth that demand more courage (the well of forgiveness for example).



    1. Make it LINEAR: and so very clear and easy for us to move as a community together. Some may wish to move around, but then do I give them free reign or make it that they need to finish a section to unlock the next one? I think that is important to discourage just glossing over by passively seeing a section and moving on. I want to hold their feet to the fire so to speak so they need to invest a bit of time and face a part of themselves each time they get to a new checkpoint. All in all, making it linear seems safe and simple and easier to make.

    2. Make it CHOOSE-YOUR-OWN-ADVENTURE: This may involve mind-boggling coordination, but it could be truly liberating and evoke more of that sense of choice. If I map this out and do it that every checkpoint ends with three choices (leading to other checkpoints) and so it is all like a web,  I wonder if some men would get lost and never make the choices that progress them forward towards the climax and resolution of the ecourse. But, I guess that is the challenge even with a choose-your-own-adventure book; that they might get frustrated or go in circles. It definitely feels more risky to do this. More labour intensive to build. And yet, intriguing and promising…


    Anything strike you that I am missing from making this discernment?

    Any suggestions or input to help me choose?

    Much gratitude ahead of time on any feedback!







    Dr.Wayne Buckhanan

    @davidj, great thread and good designs. I’m wrestling through the same choices.

    Some people definitely rely on the “procedures” pattern and want to know *the* next step. Others rely on the “options” pattern and want to have choices. Which do you believe these men are relying on to keep them stuck in their relationship? I would start there.

    If you feel that one of the reasons they are stuck is relying too heavily on one or the other, maybe use their familiar pattern first, then either increase or decrease their choices to help them shift to the other pattern.

    The other consideration is whether you will use building the more complicated version as an excuse not to finish it. (And here I’m projecting!) You can always drop hints that folks could ask for options and manually give those who ask choices when they stall. Or as an email follow up that sends them to a secret page of choices.

    If everything else is equal, I recommend start linear and add options as you get feedback that they are needed/wanted. That way it gets done and you’re helping people while getting real feedback on what works or doesn’t.



    Lorraine Watson

    I would go with the overall linear process. The reason they are taking the course is to find a solution to their problem, not feel more lost and confused than they already are. If they get overwhelmed they will quit. I can see the “choose your own adventure” being more suited to a self-paced course. Having people at different points in a group would be like herding cats.

    Also remember that having too many choices is debilitating, not freeing. I think research points to 2 or 3 options.



    DavidJ Jurasek


    Thanks for your two cents. I don’t agree with the assumption that choose-your-own-adventure format is necessarily too many options. I imagine it working well to offer 2-3 choices after each checkpoint is completed. I do get the herding cats piece, in terms of group coaching calls and mutual support, etc.



    Wayne, I appreciate your discerning questions a lot! Evaluating the participants’ preferences in terms of procedure or choices is gold — I imagine they are the later and yet yearning for the former!

    Also, about getting it done — starting linear and simpler — may be best given that it would get in my way and is certainly possible to beta test after running the pilot. Thanks for helping me tease that out.




    Lisa R

    I could be wrong here but you know what I’m sensing in your post David? It’s this:

    The linear option is safe, it’s expected, it’s easy … and it’s a little bit boring. When you write about the ‘choose your own adventure’ option you seem so excited about the possibilities. Yes, it’ll be harder work and more complicated and stretching to work out, but then again, none of us are here because we want to play it safe, right?

    So, my question is which option helps you create the greatest e-course you can imagine? Is it option 1 or option 2?

    As for me, I LOVE the second option. So refreshing, so important to remind your learners of their agency, and so suited to your course and the idea of navigating the twists and turns of the labyrinth, of choices having consequences, and of paths converging, diverging and converging  again. It’s beautiful.

    Hope that helps in some way…




    DavidJ Jurasek


    Thank you so much for writing your perspective above. Just turned me around 180 again!

    Upon considering what it may feel like to go through the ecourse and how I would want to go through it myself… I do see that the choose-your-own-adventure format works best.

    AND, as I started to arrange the pieces together, I realized that naturally, it begins with more choices and exploration and gradually narrows to fewer and fewer options within the ecourse that lead each man to making real world choices as they progress — to choosing how they view their role in their relationship, whether to stay or go and ultimately whether to open up to true and lasting love or to keep sliding back into the Labyrinth to replay old patterns again.

    Thanks so much for helping me to choose the bolder choice and investing the energy to make it work!



    Bradley Morris
    Mountain Guide

    Wow, I love getting your updates @DavidJ. Your course and passion for it is palpable.

    I LOVE the Choose your Own Adventure idea. We are on this mountain to innovate and do things differently. That is definitely in alignment with that.

    I think it’s powerful and I really dig the idea of putting them through the fire. That if they make ONE choice, thinking it is the easy route, but really it turns out to be a mask that they must take off. I mean, wow!

    With that being said, the Choose your Adventure route will require more technical skills. If you’re not tech literate and don’t have the patience to learn, you will need to work with a team (if you’re not already) to:

    a) map it out in a clear, methodical way (playing with all the choices participants will have to make)

    b) build the actual auto-responder if/then experiences so everytime they make a choice, the auto-responders send them down that rabbit hole.

    c) build the platform that houses all this.

    I am wondering if you could create a simple, beta version first to test this CYA out. That way you know for sure it works….

    If money and technology weren’t an option, what would you do?


    Karryn Olson-Ramanujan

    Such a fantastic thread, and one close to my heart, because I’m facing the same issue… the journey I’m taking women on could be linear (but not meet them where they are)… or it could be more like the spokes of a spider’s web–where they might venture along one spoke for a while and then shift over to another, or backtrack.

    @bradleytmorris I love what you wrote about tech skills, cuz the learning software I’ve been looking at is set up for linear, so I see that a different approach is more time and resource intensive.

    Might you provide a ballpark idea of the investment that a less linear approach might take? I know it’s all speculation, but if I know it will take $1000 or $10,000 OR 2 extra months of work, it really pushes me in one direction or the other regarding the pilot version of my course….

    @davidj I’d love to hear updates as this evolves. Your course sounds great.

    It also occurs to me that once can perhaps pilot it as a linear course and then tweak it? Is that the case? (Inviting in @andyfreist) Or is it one of those things that’s hard to change after it’s built?




    Dr.Wayne Buckhanan

    My first thoughts on implementing a choose-your-own-adventure styled course were that it could be done simply to start.

    One method that could be done simply is opening up options via an email sequence that allows folks to “skip” to another module. That may imply that *all* the lessons are technically available, which makes it implemented slightly differently than GEA where each module must be done before going on to the next.

    Similarly, you could simply have two or three options at the end of each module for what the “next” module will be and let them “enroll” in one of those to move forward.

    With this type of “simple” implementation, the main difference in the design of the modules is that each would need to be “standalone” and can’t rely too heavily on any other module having already been completed. If you lay out the paths carefully, that might not even be a problem if there are certain sequences that can’t be reached without doing the required modules first.

    Again, depending on how you break things up and sequence them, I don’t see a reason that we couldn’t do a sequential version and repurpose the same building blocks into a self-guided version.


    Dr.Wayne Buckhanan

    I also appreciate the call to building those massively impactful experiences. My current (and historically persistent) struggle is designing the “perfect” course and get stuck in the design phase instead of implementing imperfectly.

    If that is where you find yourself, commit with me to building something that is “gloriously mediocre” to begin and then update that based on real feedback from the folks going through your transformation. I kindly, gently point you towards Brad & Andy’s early videos to compare the production value against their later videos. All have been effective, and chances are good you didn’t even notice things in the early videos your first pass through that you might notice now when comparing.

    All that is to say — recovering perfectionists often need a big dose of imperfect action (casting the brass vessel) before they allow themselves to polish the lamp (which may eventually become a color-changing LED and stainless steel behemoth, just not yet).


    Scott Brandon Hoffman

    I’m a HUGE fan of non linear and more EMOTIONAL, there’s SO many courses and information in the world that is IN THE HEAD and NOT in the HEART, to me, in the heart and in CONSCIOUSNESS is where REAL change and transformation occurs. From someone doing the work for 20 years, the other stuff drives me crazy and I’ve done plenty of it and I’m STILL crazy haha! 🙂



    Bradley Morris
    Mountain Guide

    I agree @Scott

    The Choose your Own Adventure possibilities are pretty amazing.

    What’s cool with email services like Active Campaign is you can create “If/Then” automation sequences, meaning:

    If somebody clicks on the link that takes them down path A, then that series of emails and lessons is triggered…

    But if they choose path B, then a totally different series of emails begins…

    Then say a few lessons further into either path, another option to choose paths comes up. Then based on the link they choose to click and which page they land on, you can create yet another path of emails for them to go down.

    The rabbit holes are endless.

    I do believe it’s time a choose your own adventure course is made.

    Who will be the first!?


    Bradley Morris
    Mountain Guide

    Loved your lone wolf video. Really cool website you’ve created too David!

    I appreciate the way you are shooting your videos. It’s still professional and it’s also extremely personal.

    How have things been going with your courses, projects, list building, all that jazz!

    Send an update. Would love to hear.


    Amanda Galati

    @davidj I am only reading this thread now (looks like more than 6 months after you originally posted!) and I am very, very new to getting my teeth into this GEA and my own creation, but I just had to say I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of the Choose Your Own Adventure style program … because that is exactly how I want to create my program! The comments here have helped me before I have even got started … love that! Thanks Universe 🙂 I wish you luck with whichever way you have decided to go!


    Bradley Morris
    Mountain Guide

    Welcome to the campfire Amanda! Stoked to have your voice here.

    I do believe Davidj has a sample of his choose your adventure experience for you to see….?

    I’m looking very forward to the creative brainstorming sessions we’ll have with you in the future Amanda as your idea comes to life! Keep trekking forward and all the missing pieces will come together.

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