Scenario-based learning has been widely applied in both formal and informal eLearning. Essentially, scenario-based learning incorporates real-life scenarios to support active learning, comprehension, and applications of the lessons learnt.
Aside from ensuring high engagement with learners, scenario-based learning has several benefits of which includes:
- Providing a safe and conducive environment for trial and error
- Accelerating time
- Triggering memories
- Improving knowledge retention and engagement
- Encouraging critical thinking
- Stimulates both long and short-term memory
- Increasing overall motivation
These are a few of the benefits that comes with scenario-based learning, as such various industries have incorporated it into their Learning Management Systems (LMS) eLearning.
Trainers can create scenarios on two levels:
- Basic or minor scenario-based learning – This level assesses and validates a learner’s basic comprehension and knowledge retention
- Branching or complex scenario-based learning – This level assesses and validates a learner’s ability to apply knowledge learnt.
Within the corporate context, LMS eLearning challenges working adults to apply concepts they learnt to real-life work situations, encouraging them to examine these work situations through various perspectives, and in turn reflecting on the most effective approaches to solving problems that commonly surface in their respective industries.
To-date, countless industries have started applying scenario-based learning, encouraging critical thinking amongst employees, helping them pick up essential skills such as making prompt decisions or considering ethical dimensions or real-life situations when designing projects.
Introducing Complex Subjects
Most working adults find it difficult to assimilate into a new work flow or adapt to changes in the business system or customer handling protocols. By integrating stories into corporate eLearning, workers face lesser resistance towards accepting any sort of change or learning complex subjects.
This works for a variety of reasons:
- A story has suspense and drama, which tend to be mirror how humans communicate
- Stories have decision points with immediate feedback that are projected through a narrator’s voice when he/she controls the momentum of a story.
- A low-tech scenario makes big, and daunting topics more accessible and easier to engage with.
- Low-stake decisions are reenacting co-currently with instant feedback or commentary by trainers offering suggestions according to how a learner response in a high-stakes situation
- There is no judgement or consequence for errors, hence the learner is at liberty to self-reflect, effectively absorbing more of the learning content.
Product Training Using a Sales Simulator
Whenever sales and marketing departments need to educate their sales associates and executives on a new product or service, they are presented with several options. More often than not, companies dump all the information on a product or service in a form of text, which evidently is less effective than a scenario-based learning approach.
Studies have indicated that sales simulations give sales executives and associates a more in-depth and continent way of learning about the products and services. Here are some the reasons:
- Using customer scenarios animates the content, helping the sales executives and associates understand the product information more effectively and comprehensively.
- By applying a quiz in scenario-based learning turns a multiple-choice quiz into a more challenging situation.
- In the case where a learner approaches the scenario in a less desirable way, the scenarios can be adjusted so as to guide him/her through the learning process, instead of simply giving the answer.
E-Learning Scenarios That Encourage Reflection and Recovery
Scenarios have the potential to change the learner’s mind, allowing him/her wider perspective. For example, Open University implements scenario-based learning to encourage different perspectives, contrasting them and examining similar results.
Here is why it works:
- Each of the scenarios begins with the learner being asked to decide whether a suspect is guilty or based on a clear illustration of how their initial assessment has changed.
- The law content aspects comes at the very end of each scenario where it might land and stick better especially so when a learner is considerable engaged in a scenario.
- The usage of social polls for other learners to express their individual interpretations of the same evidence
- Additional case studies are then brought up and compared at the end of the scenario, after learners have gone through emotionally-impactful, immersive, as well as ethically and legally challenging scenarios
Audio-Driven Scenarios with Gaming Elements
Scenario-based learning comes in handy when combined with gamification elements, which are especially useful when companies are looking to boost the performance and productivity of their sales team. For an instance, adding gaming elements to scenarios within a sales simulation, helps salespeople practice and perfect their skills in a safe and conducive environment.
Here is how it works:
- A scenario that is audio-driven, is able to simulate environments that the learners work in, while it is low cost it is high on engagement.
- As the scenario needs a first-person point of view, the learner is immersed into the learning, effectively receiving a more comprehensive learning experience.
- Gaming elements add an element of urgency and competition which simulates fast-paced and target-driven sales scenarios
Studies have shown traditional eLearning to be tedious and boring with low engagement with working adults. Hence the aforementioned examples of scenario-based learning serve as pointers to how employers can contextualise their content by blending it into various scenarios.
The most important aspect of a successful scenario-based learning is creating engaging content that are impactful and lasting. Scenarios need to be relevant and relatable to the industry as well as the workers that they are intended for.