We design scenario-based e-learning courses, which employ real-life situations to transmit content. Especially effective in developing "soft skills" and "software training", we use them to engage learners, give meaning to what they are learning, and increase the level of interactivity.
A typical example might involves students working their way through a storyline, usually based around an ill-structured or complex problem, which they are required to solve. In the process students must apply their subject knowledge, and critical thinking and problem solving skills in a safe, real-world context.
These scenarios are often non-linear, and can provide numerous feedback opportunities to students, based on the decisions they make at each stage in the process. Scenario-based learning may be self-contained, in that completing the scenario is the entire task, or it may be the first part of a larger assignment requiring the student to complete the scenario, and then provide a written or oral reflection and self-assessment on the process.
Scenario-based learning provides FIVE primary benefits:
When designing scenario-based e-learning, we avoid common mistakes:
We avoid providing “over-eager-style” feedback. Although feedback is helpful, as it immediately tells (the learner) what I’ve done right or wrong. In the middle of a story, feedback can deprive students of the chance to think and learn. Eager-beaver-like feedback, poorly designed and sequenced, interrupts the learning process by telling students what to think.
We question common but inaccurate trends. In many circles, “showing” learning is inaccurately seen as messy and inefficient. This is untrue. The real world lets us learn from experience. The training world tells us what to do.
- Let the learner make a decision.
- Show the real-world consequence
In these learning simulations, we have a certain design style: